Accidents happen, life goes on in sorrow, the future is a mystery… right?
Orphaned by a car wreck, 16 year old Alex and little brother Isaiah now live with Aunt Mackie in a ‘very nice’ Chicago subdivision where a white neighbor rants in the Black family’s kitchen about requiring background checks for renters during a rap mega-star’s concert nearby.
She doesn’t know, no one knows that after the accident Alex began seeing the future of every object – and every person – that his fingers touch. Future of an ice cream dipper at Scoops is no big deal. But the longer he touches, the more of the future he sees, so touching the people he cares about is too much to bear.
When exactly will girlfriend Talia walk away from their future together? How long can Alex endure the future invading his every breath? Why is 12-year-old Izzy wearing headphones every single moment of summer?
Braving Izzy’s anger to find common ground before any future happens, Alex bets everything on them going to the Shiv concert together, wishing this curse would vanish… Brand-new speculative fiction from the author of Slay.
Would you want to see the future… really? **kmm
Book Info: The Cost of Knowing / Brittney Morris. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Assassinations – dreams denied. Protests and retaliation – hope swings forward, then back. War in our living rooms – who can look away?
This collection of non-fiction essays and memoirs by stellar YA and middle grade authors does go chronologically through 1968, but is vivid and nuanced and anguished – no dry parade of factoids on a timeline!
In “The Death of the Dream,” Kekla Magoon recounts the assasinations of Dr. King and RFK, while Laban Carrick Hill remembers those same days as a young child in a very racist Southern family “On the Wrong Side of History.”
What do you know about the 1968 student riots in Paris and Mexico City? – the small freedoms gained in Czechoslovakia during “Prague Spring” before the USSR Communist leaders cracked down? – the protests against Columbia University’s attempt to build a gym by razing a black neighborhood? – the Red Guard in China during the Cultural Revolution?
Police brutality against protesters in Chicago was viewed by 90 million people on live television in 1968, research on genetics and computing raced forward in laboratories, while the Olympics and Presidential election and space race dominated the headlines.
The authors relay their personal connection or outlook to the event they chronicle, with each quarter of the year headed by Elizabeth Partridge’s recap of the Nightly News including Vietnam war fatalities – military and civilian – night after night after night.
Be sure to read the contributors’ biographies at the end: Jennifer Anthony, Marc Aronson, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Loree Griffin Burns, Omar Figueroas, Paul Fleischman, Laban Carrick Hill, Mark Kurlansky, Lenore Look, David Lubar, Kate MacMillan, Kekla Magoon, Jim Murphy, Elizabeth Partridge.
Get it today at your favorite indie bookstore for Independent Bookstore Day!
What historic moment during your lifetime would you write about? **kmm
Book info: 1968: Today’s Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution & Change / edited by Marc Aronson & Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Candlewick Press, 2018. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Ghosts aren’t real,
Money worries are,
Being a ghost-tour guide will be easy…
Surely her new bosses aren’t serious about making their exclusive ghost tour stops even more haunted by helping senior citizens leave this world a bit early?
You can find the hardcover now at your local library and independent bookstore, with paperback release of Just Kill Me scheduled for late August 2017. (and, yes, the author does run ghost tours in Chicago!!)
Ever visited the death site of someone famous?
Book info: Just Kill Me / Adam Selzer. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author site] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Ghost tours in Chicago are truly a cut-throat business, Megan discovers as she begins working for Cyn and Rich, who may just be creating a few new ghosts of their own to compete with the big companies.
Megan grew up in a funeral home (a “black diaper baby”), is comfortable with death (naturally), doesn’t believe in ghosts (ditto), but does need a summer job after high school graduation – perfect for the ghost tour biz (as long as Mom doesn’t find out).
As she learns the stories behind famous crime scenes, infamous murder sites, and secret haunted spots, Megan wonders if Cyn and Rich really see the spirits they point out to tourists.
When new ghosts appear on the tour just after her bosses take their nursing home patients on evening outings, she ponders the coincidences.
Cyn continues commenting on Megan’s resemblance to a flapper who mysteriously disappeared in the 1920s, so it’s time to dig into history and get her secretive online-but-no-photos girlfriend to help unravel the mystery… before it’s too late!
My book talk: Mom is the only divorcee at the mosque, brother Muhammad is is taking a year off from college, and Dad cannot understand why Janna wears the hijab – this school year cannot end fast enough for the Illinois teen who loves her friends greatly and is being stalked mercilessly.
Pleasant things: elder-sitting Mr. Ram with his poetic mind, laughing at Nuah’s jokes, daydreaming about cute Jeremy who’s in no school cliques, re-reading Flannery O’Connor.
Less-pleasant: explaining at school that she’s fine wearing hijab on hot days, her BFF’s continued cluelessness about how Janna absolutely cannot date, competing on Islamic Quiz Bowl team (tricked into it!), chaperoning Muhammad and Sarah as they begin spending time together (Saint Sarah as future sister-in-law?!)
Most unpleasant: watching popular kids bully people who are a little different, trying to avoid Farooq of the so-pious Noor family, finding photos online of herself with uncovered hair and tagged with her name!
What’s worse – having a crush on a non-Muslim boy or memories of a ‘pious’ Muslim boy’s assault crushing her?
The imam’s answers to emailed questions are both witty and wise – will Janna take the advice given by her uncle as she edits it for the mosque’s website?
Farooq seems to be everywhere, all the time – will she ever be able to forget what he did to her?
Sometimes saints aren’t so good and the not-good-enough are better than their detractors – it’s up to Janna to decide where the lines are drawn in her own life.
Were you alive on that fateful day in September 2001?
Book info: Nine, Tenn: a September 11 Story / Nora Raleigh Baskin. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: On September ninth, many people came through the Chicago airport – Sergio heading back to New York from the math awards, Aimee leaving with Dad for their new life in California while Mom races away on business, Naheed waiting for family arriving to stay with them in Ohio, Will tiredly helping Mom get his sisters to the next plane home to Pennsylvania after a vacation they didn’t want.
On September tenth, Sergio was so mad at his deadbeat dad that he skipped school and met a police officer (the wrong way), Aimee is struggling to find her place in a new school where everyone else’s parents are in the movie business, Naheed faces even more questions about wearing the hijab at middle school, and Will keeps flashing back to the way his truck-driver dad died a year ago.
On the morning of September eleventh 2001, the world changed for everyone, as the World Trade Center towers crumbled not far from Sergio’s Brooklyn school, as Aimee woke up very early California-time to phone Mom before her New York City business appointment, as Naheed decides it’s safer for her to find little sister and walk home together instead of hearing kids say “terrorist Muslims” on their, bus as Will feels the plane crash into a nearby field as skips school to think about Dad.
By September 2002, everything is different for everyone.
conspiracy theorist with a grudge,
just another day in Metropolis…
Yes, that Metropolis, where student reporter Lois Lane is tracking down city corruption, worrying about online pal (maybe more?) SmallvilleGuy, and trying to keep a low profile at school, while learning how this ‘being a friend’ thing works (Maddy has a twin?).
Second in the series, but if you haven’t read Lois Lane: Fallout (my no-spoilers recommendation here) you can still enjoy Double Down as backstory to the well-known Superman saga.
Any advice about friendship for moved-too-many-times-to-count Lois?
My book talk: When Lois discovers her best friend’s twin in a perilous situation, the student reporter begins to unearth a diabolical doctor’s connection to Metropolis’ underworld while a conspiracy theorist online threatens her friend Smallville Guy.
It should have been a routine news story about a young mural artist, but Lois finds Maddy’s too-cool twin sister delirious and searching for a mysterious doctor in Dante’s slum neighborhood.
‘The Boss’ controls this slum, rumor says, along with much of Metropolis behind-the-scenes, so Lois’ nose for news is on the hunt – is the new mayor in his pocket?
Her online friend SmallvilleGuy is concerned about new predictions of ‘flying man’ sightings, as reported on their favorite discussion site – how could Insider01 really know?
Maddy and Melody say that the supposed ‘twin connection’ is just a myth – why is Melody seeing through someone else’s eyes now?!
This second installment of the Superman backstory as told from Lois Lane’s teen point of view is a race to uncover corruption in the city and save her friends’ sanity. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
War! Glory! Valhalla!
Death. Separation. Loss.
Soul-harvest is a tricky business.
After seeing warriors of all eras battle endlessly for fun and glory in Valhalla, the youngest Valkyrie thinks humans are all war-crazed savages.
But her promise to a dead soldier takes Freya and her raven companion to Chicago, and human school with its bullies, and being hunted by Odin’s own Dark Searchers for breaking the law!
Read the first chapter here (courtesy of the author) and meet Freya as she faces a destiny that she longs to change.
Struggling against “the way it’s always been” – yes?
Book info: Valkyrie / Kate O’Hearn. Aladdin, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Allowed to visit Earth only when reaping valiant warriors’ souls, young Freya defiantly escapes Valhalla to fulfill a soldier’s last request, but at what cost?
As the youngest Valkyrie battle-maiden, Freya is reluctant to interact with humans as they die during their petty wars. Her first soul-harvest may be her last as she agrees to help Tyrone’s family in Chicago, against Odin’s law.
Trying to camouflage her wings, listening to her raven companion (a little), helping kids stand up to school bullies – so far so good, until she begins interfering with Angels of Death, and Odin discovers that she’s on Earth!
Can she protect Tyrone’s family without giving away her identity?
Is Loki the trickster on her side or not?
How far will Odin go to retrieve this absent Valkyrie?
First in a series that brings Norse legend oh-so close to modern Midgard/Earth. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
A challenge from her late mom,
a best friend willing to do anything,
a chance for an epic senior year… and maybe love.
Meet Georgia (and snarky best pal Liss) in this excerpt, courtesy of the publisher – check out her Do Everything Be Brave List, then get the whole story of how she tackles the list, copes with heartbreak, and struggles with body image.
This isn’t one of those “my mom died and I will mope through life until someone else makes it worthwhile” stories. Georgia creates her own ups (and downs), although Liss and Evelyn are with her for many things.
I loved the way that Georgia would reframe negatives into possibilities (although not always with ease) and the winding routes that her thoughts took as time passed, too.
My book talk: Inspired by her late mother’s letter, Georgia makes a list of daring things to do during her senior year, little realizing how much she and her friendships and her dreams will change along the way.
Her Greek-American father tries to keep their Chicago restaurant going despite his grief, and Georgia tries to break out of her shell by following Mom’s advice to “go do anything you like – in fact, do everything” with an I Want to Live Life list – including jump out of a plane, cut class (no, she never has), learn how to draw like Mom, ask him out…
So she and best friend Liss and new pal Evelyn start in the middle of the list and work their way around to tribal dancing (and maybe Georgia will ask Daniel out, some time).
But one ill-timed party fractures their friendship, and senior year’s zip turns to blah.
Is it worth doing the adventures on her list alone?
Can she ever get Liss back on her side?
Will she be brave enough to leave behind her mom’s artistic style?
Change is scary, but staying the same on-the-sidelines-of-life chubby girl is not an option for Georgia after Mom’s last request entreating her to learn How to Be Brave.
(One of 8,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
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