First were a few dots in her vision, then glasses (not so cute), now clouds cover her view…
Mafalda’s eyesight is failing, and the list of things the Italian girl can do grows shorter by the week – no more having a best friend or counting stars at night.
No more playing soccer, as the black spots widen so she cannot see the ball coming toward the goal, no more walking home from school by herself.
She hates how people have already started treating her differently, hates 11th birthday presents coming many months early while she can still see their colors, hates having to move to a one-story house away from her cat…
Only Estella, the Romanian janitor at school, seems to understand how hard this all is for Mafalda and suggests making a list of things she doesn’t want to forget when she is blind.
As days pass, she must stand ever closer to see her favorite cherry tree… if only Mafalda could live in its branches so no one knew her blindness was happening so fast.
How do you cope when unhappy changes are inevitable? **kmm
Book info: The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree / Paola Peretti; translated by Denise Muir; illustrated by Carolina Rabei. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author interview] [translator interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Sure that she is truly a bird and that wings will soon burst out from the scars on her back, 11-year-old December is placed in yet another foster home, leaving everything behind except her secret journal.
She does find Eleanor nicer than most foster parents and is intrigued by her work rehabilitating injured birds (but not the taxidermy hobby…ew).
Just published in the US by Black Sheep/Akashic, Home Girl is the latest in Wheatle’s YA books set in working class British towns, examining personal identity, racial relations, and finding one’s place in the world.
When do we become ‘grown up enough’ to take on all of life’s responsibilities? **kmm
Book info: Home Girl / Alex Wheatle. Black Sheep/Akashic Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
hokey or helpful?
Hopefully heal his heartbreak.
Ashish needs to get over his breakup (first time he’s ever been dumped) and get back his basketball groove, and his Indian-American parents think setting him up with a nice Desi girl will help?
Sweetie wants her mom to realize that losing weight won’t make the high school junior happier (her friends love her right now) or run any faster (no one can beat her on the track), but how? Time for ‘Project Sassy Sweetie’ and getting out of her comfort zone!
Four very specific dates (and a behavior contract – Pappa is always a businessman) – Ashish’s Ma is sure that Sweetie is the perfect girl for him, but his love-and-leave reputation in the close-knit Bay area Desi community makes Sweetie’s mother say no to the idea.
But Sweetie says yes (Project Sassy Sweetie!), so off they go, to the temple and the Holi festival and his eccentric aunt’s place, each time enjoying one another’s company more.
Surely, on their fourth date for Sweetie’s birthday party, Amma will see this indeed was a good idea… Surely, Ashish’s white ex-girlfriend will completely fade from his memory…
Told in alternating chapters, this fun (but not frivolous) romantic story is a May 2019 companion to When Dimple Met Rishi (Ashish’s perfect big brother) – you can enjoy this book without reading the other (my no-spoiler recommendation here), but make yourself happier by reading both!
What ingrained family opinion have you overcome for the better? **kmm
Book info: There’s Something About Sweetie / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Peanut allergies are certainly no laughing matter, but one casual conversation in a fast-food place sets in motion Sadie’s whole new persona to make her unusual enough to stand out at Plainfield Community High School.
Once she makes new friends, she’d like to drop her fake allergy, but doesn’t have the courage to do it. And no way is she telling her mom about all this. How long can Sadie keep up her double life?
If you can’t find Peanut at your local library, ask them to order it. Or try an independent bookstore which may have gotten copies on the graphic novel’s December publication day.
So, how far would you go to be noticed by “the right people” at your school or workplace?
My Book Talk: So not fair, having to move during high school! Sadie is sure everyone at PCHS has known each other forever and won’t have time for new friends. When she decides to stand out by pretending that she has a severe allergy to peanuts, there’s no turning back.
The med-alert bracelet ordered in secret is on for school, off at home. Her “about me” essay for homeroom details the life-threatening incident that just a single peanut caused. The school nurse is understandably miffed when she doesn’t have the proper paperwork about her medical condition, but does let Sadie keep the emergency epi-pen in her backpack instead of the office – which is good, since Sadie really doesn’t have the prescription-only device.
She does make friends in Plainfield after all, like Lou, who would also like to cancel PE forever, and Zoo, the cute guy who’s decided that technology doesn’t make life better and forswears computers and cellphones. Zoo’s communications are intricate origami notes, which he delivers to friends’ homes by bike, between trips to the library to consult printed reference books for homework (done with pen and paper, of course). Finding Zoo’s notes in her locker makes Sadie’s day special.
So, Zoo and Sadie are becoming more-than-friends. Why can’t she just come clean about not really being allergic to peanuts? How can he come to her house when Zoo might say something that makes Mom suspicious about all of Sadie’s online research about epi-pens and allergies? Why did she decide on such a radical way to stand out at her new school?
Big bake sale, big muffins, big trouble! What happens next? Read Peanut to find out! Hoppe uses sparing amounts of red to accent his black and white drawings of the Plainfield Community High School crowd as Halliday’s story of trying-too-hard to fit in follows Sadie through her first semester in a new town. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
Faced with overflowing shelves of 2012-dated ARCs (advance reader copies) and published books as the old year wound down, I leaped at the TBR Challenge posted by Evie on her Bookish blog (I’m #251). So, in January, I’ve re-read and written recommendations on BooksYALove (and am posting the brief reviews for several titles on www.abookandahug.com) for these 2012 books:Fantasy: Watersmeet, by Ellen Jensen Abbott
As you’re hunting up these great books, remember to check with your local library and independent bookstore, since all these titles have been published already. Keeping your book-dollars close to home is good sense and good business, as these singing booksellers remind us!
Yes, I’m making progress on my To-Be-Read stack of new books and 2013 ARCs, while also writing up my To-Be-Recommended books from 2012 (and some from 2011!). Let’s see what February brings…
Ski trip! Fresh snow, new guys, curfew broken. Now Sid is broken, too.
But she won’t let anyone help her past the attack, won’t even tell anyone what happened. The coping mechanisms that she’s chosen aren’t helping her cope too well either.
What can a slacker like Corey teach this former honor student about trust or friendship or caring what happens…
Post this info where people can find it: National Sexual Assault Hotline | 1.800.656.HOPE | Free. Confidential. 24/7. or search for a local crisis center at http://centers.rainn.org/
Grab this debut novel today at your local library or independent bookstore and cheer for Sid as she works past her outrage to a better future. The author gives us Sid’s playlist, too – you can tell a lot about someone by the music they choose. **kmm
My Recommendation: Meeting cool college guy Dax was the best thing about the high school ski trip for Cassidy, until he convinced her to sneak out after curfew to a night she cannot remember.
Back home, Sid’s grades slide, her single-parent mom can’t figure out what’s wrong, her friends eventually give up trying to jolly her back to normal. Sid drops her advanced classes and drifts into “A/V Club” instead. Everyone knows that A/V Club is just Corey-the-Stoner hanging out in the DVD storage room until someone needs a video, so he won’t try to break through Sid’s new protective shell to help her get over things.
Except that he manages to say things that make her think, nudge her to try feeling good about herself again by exercising, make her wonder why she can’t remember anything about being with Dax – and he has no clue that he’s doing it. Nice that he always smells like the bakery where he works before school, that he brings new pastries for her to taste-test, that he’ll just listen if she ever wants to talk.
Why do they call him Stoner when she’s never seen him act druggie?
Could Sid ever be more than friends with Corey?
Will she ever find the key to the locked door of that blank ski trip night?
The author’s time spent working with teens in bad situations really shines through in this debut novel, as readers root for Sid to break through the barricades that her mind put up and uncover what happened with Dax so she can heal herself.
(One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
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