Tag Archive | identity

Teens starting anew – strong stories to read with your ears (audiobooks)

With a support network, difficult times can be easier – but what if you’re trying to reboot your life when those closest to you want to pull you back down?

This week’s pair of free audiobooks from AudioSYNC bring us the stories of teens who’ve hit rock-bottom and are trying to clamber back up from terrible relationships and hard circumstances.

Download by clicking on the title and following the easy instructions. If you save your AudioSYNC books during their free week, you can keep them as long as you want!

CD cover of The First Time She Drowned,  by Kerry Kletter | Read by Jorjeana Marie Published by Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The First Time She Drowned – by Kerry Kletter

Read by Jorjeana Marie. Published by Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library

Thrown into a mental hospital at 16 by her mother, Cassie is now a legal adult, ready to go to college and push aside her mother’s toxic ‘love’.

But memories try to pull her down, allow her mother to ooze into her life – can she survive it all again?

CD cover of Wild Bird,  by Wendelin Van Draanen | Read by Alex McKenna Published by Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Wild Bird, by Wendelin Van Draanen

Read by Alex McKenna. Published by Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library

Wilderness therapy camp is 14-year-old Wren’s last chance to find her way clear from the drugs and questionable relationships she dove into when her family moved to a small town.

Eight weeks in the desert – to clear her mind, to find her way back into her family, to find ways to be happy with herself….

How can you support someone trying to move forward in life from dire problems?
**kmm

Is Lulu next? Murder Among the Stars, by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan (book review)

book cover of Murder Among the Stars by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com “Be your true self!”
“Act like a star!”
“Stay alive!” Two out of three’s not bad…

Lulu hasn’t been in 1920s Hollywood long, but she knows there are schemers who’ll do anything to get a role with the big movie studios – absolutely anything!

After her run-in with gangsters, hidden identities, and murderous gossip in her first mystery as Girl About Town (my no-spoilers review here), the New York native has her eyes wide open and her exit route planned during this raucous extended audition turned deadly.

Glitz, glamour, and gore – ready for your close-up?
**kmm

Book info: Murder Among the Stars (Lulu Kelly mysteries, book 2) / Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan.  Atheneum Books, 2017.  [Adam’s bio]  [Laura’s Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:  Playing footsies with a corpse wasn’t what Lulu had expected at this elegant dinner, but the young actress finds even more bizarre things during the weekend-long audition for a movie contract, as she’s drawn into another mystery in 1920s Hollywood.

Imagine being wealthy enough to build a California castle, to own a menagerie with a real lion, to flaunt your mistress in Society, to give expensive gifts to every guest without blinking an eyelash!

For newspaper and movie magnate William Randolph Hearst, this extravagant house-party is just a simple favor for writer Anita Loos, until actresses start being murdered.

For new-to-Hollywood Lulu Kelly, it’s her chance for a starring role, if the 17 year old can outlast the other twenty starlets trying to win over WR and Marion.

For Lulu’s boyfriend Freddie the private eye, this huge party at the remote estate means too many suspects and too many motives for blackmail and murder.

Why is WR’s 10 year old niece Patricia so interested in crimes and murders?
How can anyone believe that the first suspect nabbed for the first murder did it?
Who invited mobster Sal to this party and does anyone know his connection to Lulu?

Dive into the intrigue and gossip of movie legends in this second Lulu Kelly mystery, as silver screen secrets become oh so deadly.

She sees way too much as Fly on the Wall, by e. lockhart (book review)

book cover of Fly on the Wall by e lockhart published by Delacorte Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comBeing ordinary,
seeing differently,
transformed… into a fly?

After reading The Metamorphosis while longing for a guy, stressed-out Gretchen gets her wish to “be a fly on the wall” and hear what people are saying about her = she’s now a fly trapped in the boys’ locker room!

Take a peek at Gretchen’s life at Ma-Ha in this excerpt (free, courtesy of the author), then take the scenic route to your local library or favorite independent bookstore to see what she sees as a Fly On the Wall.

Would you want to hear what everyone says about you?
**kmm

Book info: Fly On the Wall / e. lockhart. Delacorte Press, 2007.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [60-second book recap video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Feeling like a nonentity in her New York City arts high school, Gretchen agonizes over her comic-drawing skills (teacher is unimpressed), her mom’s demands during the divorce (throw away how much before we move? no, thank you), her best friend (getting distant), and her crush (he will never notice her, will he?) until she amazingly turns into a fly who can see and hear everything, especially what the boys are saying (and not wearing) in their locker room! Friendship, love, identity, dumplings, and Title IX protests – all in one fly-tastic story.

Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee is Y (book review) – perfect senior year turned upside down

book cover of The Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee published by Arthur A. Levine Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com One big “what if?” question,
One not-so-smooth answer,
One life plan crumbling away…

Higgs is content to follow the detailed plan for his future – early admission to Harvard, becoming a dentist like his father and grandfather – but everything goes sour with that random question just before graduation.

Then he meets free-spirit Monarch and things take a different path utterly and entirely.

How do you bounce back when a slip-up derails your plans?
**kmm

Book info:  The Kidney Hypothetical, or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days / Lisa Yee. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: For Higgs, his future as a Harvard-educated dentist like his dad (and as planned for his deceased older brother) is all set, until his answer to a hypothetical question starts a chain reaction of awful at his California high school and brings wild and wonderful Monarch into his life just before graduation.

 

Thanks to the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library staff in Ohio for their great book trailer videos, including this one. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Meow meets wow in photos – Men & Cats, by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud

book cover of Men & Cats by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud published by Perigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comIf kitty pix make you go “Awwww” and photos of gorgeous guys make you go “Rawr!” then this is your book!

Add it to your favorite indie bookstore wishlist (search here for a great bookstore near you: http://indiebound.org) or just go buy it now as a gift for the person who appreciates cat cute and masculine musculature.

And, yes, the French photographers are adding more fellow and feline picture-pairs to their tumblr!

**kmm

Book info: Men & Cats /Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud. Perigee Books, 2015.  [authors’ tumblr]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Photos of men and cats in matching poses prove that no words are needed to communicate the concepts of “cute plus captivating” as the creators of the wildly popular Des Hommes et des Chatons tumblr have created 50 new combos for this book.

Whether shirtlessly lounging in the sunshine or dually dapper in bowties, each pair of pix has a particular shared visual element (the one with blue eyes!).

Praying and yawning, serene and playful – enjoy men, enjoy cats, enjoy this preview of the book:

Identity-switch magic to read with your ears – SYNC audiobooks for free

Magic, malice, bodies switched, perhaps love? Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

These complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, but once downloaded, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device

Click on the title to go directly to its AudioSYNC download site, enter your name and email, and follow the instructions to get these magical, dangerous tales for yourself.

CD cover of The Ring and the Crown  by Melissa De La Cruz | Read by Jennifer Ikeda Published by Recorded Books, Inc. The Ring and the Crown
by Melissa De La Cruz
Read by Jennifer Ikeda
Published by Recorded Books, Inc.

To escape an arranged marriage in the Franco-British Empire, the princess will give her identity to Morgan whose magical talents almost equal those of the Empress herself. But can the deception keep both girls safe?

 
CD cover of Sea Hearts  by Margo Lanagan | Read by Eloise Oxer, Paul English Published by Bolinda PublishingSea Hearts
by Margo Lanagan
Read by Eloise Oxer, Paul English
Published by Bolinda Publishing

As the sea witch discovers how to turn a seal into a woman, the magical consequences may affect everyone on her remote island. Is creating the perfect wife for a sailor worth the risk?

Have you ever wished that you were someone else?
**kmm

One Death, Nine Stories (book review) – his last act triggered many firsts

book cover of One Death Nine Stories edited by Marc Aronson & Charles R Smith published by Candlewick Press “Kevin’s dead?”
“I can’t believe it!”

As they did in Pick Up Game  (my review here), the editors asked one YA author to write the first story on the collection’s theme of initiation. Then eight other writers took strands from “Down Below” as they introduced teens whose lives were impacted by Kevin’s life and death, each tale one of a pivotal line crossed, a change that can’t be undone.

Like a kaleidoscope’s image changes when it’s passed from one viewer to the next, these nine interlocked stories show many different images of the 19-year-old New Yorker, darkness with glints of hope, questions of racial identity, parental affection, and the bonds of friendship.

Just published today – come over to Kevin’s neighborhood, meet his sister, his running buddies, the funeral home cosmetologist, the dead ends and new beginnings.
**kmm

Book info: One Death, Nine Stories / edited by Marc Aronson & Charles R. Smith. Candlewick Press, 2014.  [Marc Aronson’s website] [Charles R. Smith Jr.’s website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Initiations in teen life – joyous, bitter, tragic – weave together this short story collection of the many firsts experienced after Kevin’s death by teens who knew him and some who’d never even met the 19 year old.

The anthology begins as Rita Garcia-Williams takes us to a teen’s first day of work at his uncle’s funeral home as drifting-along Morris suddenly realizes that he went to high school with the guy in that body bag.

Mick first meets Kevin as an altar boy in “Initiation” by Ellen Hopkins, but won’t play along to “The Next Next Level” of dangerous deeds in Torrey Maldanado’s story.

Kevin’s track teammate “Running Man” must outrace a bullet, tells Charles R. Smith, while Jackson starts football “Two-a-Days” down in Chris Barton’s Texas wondering about this Kevin guy whose death caused so many messages online.

“Just Once” Candy would have liked Kevin to give his affection without the bleak insults, chronicles A.S. King, while Kevin’s little sister reclaims his personal effects and finds herself saying “I Have a Gun” in Will Weaver’s tale.

Nadira’s “Making Up the Dead” (by Nora Raleigh Baskin) and making something of herself, while the college “Connections” described by Marina Budhos aren’t enough to keep Kevin in this world.

A strong collection of short stories about a life cut short and the choices made by those left behind.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)