Tag Archive | LGBTQ

Names They Gave Us – enough against chaos? by Emery Lord (book review)

book cover of Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.com She did everything properly,
all promises kept on her side of the bargain,
but evidently God has other plans for her mom…

Asked by her own parents to be counselor at a different camp, while Mom recovers at their family’s church camp just around the lakeshore – Lucy is angry at God for letting the cancer come back and at her boyfriend for ‘pausing’ their relationship for summer.

If she can salvage even a scrap of comfort from working with little kids who spend the summer at Daybreak to escape terrible situations…

This mid-May 2017 novel is stirring, honest, and powerful – faith isn’t always strong, past history is often murky, and the future is never promised to anyone.

(personally, I think the title has no relevance to the story at all. Wonder why @EmeryLord agreed to it – but authors don’t have total control over titles and rarely have a say about the cover art).

Have you ever bargained with God?
**kmm

Book info: The Names They Gave Us / Emery Lord. Bloomsbury Teens, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: All Lucy wants is summer at her parents’ church camp so she can get over Mom’s cancer returning and her boyfriend ‘pausing’ their perfect relationship, but the midwest teen finds herself at another camp nearby, where worry and hope (and Jones) wrestle for her attention.

The counselors and the campers at Daybreak all carry heavy burdens of past circumstances – Mom thinks this is better for Lucy than being with her between chemo sessions?

Just a mile between both camps so Lucy can still hear Dad’s sermons every Sunday – why does that distance seem to change constantly all summer?

Deepening friendships with fellow counselors during their summer together, especially with Henry Jones – can she have a crush on him, so soon after Lukas?

Big concerns affecting her littlest campers, fretting over chemo effects, wondering if she can remember every tiny detail about Mom, huge secrets revealed and memories made. God didn’t keep his side of Lucy’s bargain to keep Mom healthy, but perhaps Lucy doesn’t have to stay mad at him forever.

Diaries of life, despair, hope – on audiobooks!

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC bring us the hopes, dreams, and fears of American teens in their own varied voices.

Please download these complete, professionally recorded audiobooks before midnight PDT Wednesday, May 17, 2017. You can listen to them whenever you want, as long as you have them saved on your computer or electronic device.

Download great audiobooks all summer long at http://www.audiobooksync.com/

CD cover of Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes | Read by Jessica Almasy, Kevin R. Free, Marc Damon Johnson, Sisi Aisha Johnson, Melanie Martinez, Cherise Boothe Published by Recorded Books |recommended on BooksYALove.comBronx Masquerade (download here free through May 17)
by Nikki Grimes
Read by Jessica Almasy, Kevin R. Free, Marc Damon Johnson, Sisi Aisha Johnson, Melanie Martinez, Cherise Boothe
Published by Recorded Books

During poetry slams at their inner city high school, 18 young people express their fears and hopes aloud.
 

Teenage Diaries: Then and Now (download here free through May 17)CD cover of Teenage Diaries Then and Now by Radio Diaries | Read by Hosted by Joe Richman Published by HighBridge Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Radio Diaries
Read by Hosted by Joe Richman
Published by HighBridge Audio

Five diverse people who recorded their lives as teens on the award-winning NPR series in the 90s return to speak about their lives as adults.

How do you chronicle your life story?
**kmm

V is Vân Ước, wishing hard for love in Cloudwish, by Fiona Wood (book review)

book cover of Cloudwish by Fiona Wood published by Poppy  | recommended on BooksYALove.comWish for love, wish for happiness,
wish to stand out as an artist,
wish to fit in at her new school…

Vân Ước worries about so many things – her mother’s deepening depression as the anniversary of her parents’ escape from Vietnam nears and how to fit in correctly as a scholarship student at her Australian private high school.

And her wishes – becoming an artist instead of a doctor (her parents’ dream), being with handsome rower Billy (her craziest dream) – seem to be coming true after that creative writing class…

Read chapter one here, courtesy of the publisher, then search for Cloudwish at your local library or independent bookstore.

What’s your highest wish?
**kmm

Book info: Cloudwish / Fiona Wood. Poppy, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [podcast with author] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Dreams of being with handsome Billy are fruitless; dreams of making her living as an artist get Vân Ước through tough days. But the Vietnamese Australian teen may have a chance at both, if the guest creative writing teacher is right!

The transition from her Sydney immigrant neighborhood where she shares strong coffee with her lesbian-in-waiting best friend to the private school where she’s a scholarship student is jarring, as is Billy’s transformation from popular prankster to nice guy in their International Baccalaureate classes.

When a tiny bottle marked ‘wish’ just vanishes into her skin during a creative writing seminar, odd things begin to happen to Vân Ước – like Billy really paying attention to her – in a good way!

Will she be able to magically change her parents’ expectations for her future?
Can Mama’s depression be cured, years after that traumatic journey from Vietnam?
What would Jane Austen do in all these strange, changed situations?

Her name means ‘cloudwish’ – and maybe, just maybe, her dearest wishes and dreams could come true.

L is Laurent Linn’s novel about art & self, Draw the Line (book review)

book cover of Draw the Line by Laurent Linn published by Margaret K McElderry Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comStay quiet.
Avoid the bullies.
If it’s only words…

Adrian cannot escape reality with video games and his graphic novel art any longer! He must stand up to Doug and the other thugs whose gay-bashing has gone from talk to violence or he won’t be able to live with himself…if he survives their wrath, that is.

Visit the book’s website here to meet all the characters who’ve moved from Adrian’s real world into the graphic novel that he’d rather live in.

The paperback of Draw the Line releases in May 2017, but grab it now to see how this epic superhero battle on paper turns out in real life.

Standing up for what’s right – who’s next?
**kmm

Book info: Draw the Line / Laurent Linn; illustrations by Laurent Linn. Margaret K McElderry Books, 2016. [book website] [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Adrian escapes from his homophobic rural Texas high school by creating the detailed Renaissance world of gay superhero Graphite in graphic novel art, until violence demands action.

He finally has a date with super-sweet Lev (‘Teen Drag Queen Bingo’ in Dallas – who knew?), when a hate crime shocks their town, and Adrian knows that he must finally speak out and come out – at home and at school – regardless of the consequences.

Can the support of best friends Audrey and Trent keep him strong?
How can the school and town turn a blind eye to Doug’s attacks?
When will Adrian being himself be good enough for everyone else?

Chapters of his graphic novel with Graphite, Sultry, Willow, Oasis, and villainous Thug punctuate this story of becoming true to yourself and standing up for everyone’s rights.

J for jitters & The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli (book review)

book cover of Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli published by Balzer+Bray  | recommended on BooksYALove.comNot the cute twin,
nor the bold twin,
not ever getting kissed?

Molly and Cassie’s moms (finally getting married – yay!) have lots of great advice, but asking them how to get past just a crush to real relationship? Not gonna do that.

Published yesterday (11 April 2017), The Upside of Unrequited is Molly’s very essence: hopeful yet hesitant, creative and cautious, trying to move out of her shy chubby-girl comfort zone and get close enough to a guy to be accepted… or rejected.

Be sure to visit the publisher’s website here to read the first chapters free.

I adored Albertalli’s debut novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (my no-spoiler review here) and cannot wait to meet whoever her next novel brings us.

Are you brave enough to try something that might break your heart?
**kmm

Book info: The Upside of Unrequited / Becky Albertalli. Balzer + Bray, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Always crushing on a guy means never getting hurt, but never in a relationship either – maybe summer before senior year will be different for Molly. Her twin Cassie is with Mina now and eager to help things along – if only Molly will be brave enough to talk to someone!

Planning her moms’ wedding (finally legal in Maryland!), working with Reid in his parents’ eclectic shop for the summer, and worrying that Cassie is way too enthusiastic about hipster Will as perfect “Operation Boyfriend” material – no wonder Molly is too anxious to sleep well.

Has Cassie really fallen in love with Mina?
Will Aunt Karen relent and come to their moms’ wedding?
Why is being with Reid so… real?

Love Blind, by C. Desir & Jolene Perry (book review) – bucket list before blindness

book cover of Love Blind by C Desir & Jolene Perry published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGoing blind or singing solo?
Confronting Mom or DJing solo?
Lists of true fears, open to true friends?

As Hailey faces encroaching blindness and Kyle faces up to his failure to protect best buddy Pavel, they meet at school and begin inching toward the uncertainties of their futures as they mark items off their personal lists of fears.

Lots of bumps along this relationship road, especially as Kyle kicks himself for allowing anyone else to help Hailey jump into intimacy.

This book in two voices is written by C. Desir (I recommended her Other Broken Things here) and Jolene Perry (check out my recommendation of Stronger Than You Know  here) whose characters in difficult situations are real, heartfelt, and honest.

Meet mostly-fearless Hailey and so-shy Kyle in this free excerpt, courtesy of the publisher.

What fear is on your list-to-conquer?
**kmm

Book info: Love Blind / C. Desir & Jolene Perry. Simon Pulse, 2016. [Christa’s site]  [Jolene’s site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her eyesight deteriorates, Hailey starts a list of fears to conquer and urges new friend Kyle to do the same. While the Chicago teens start facing their fears head-on, other emotions begin to color their relationship.

When Kyle’s dad left, all the warmth at home did also. Kyle couldn’t protect best friend Pavel from horrific bullying. How can he help Hailey with her fears list… when he’s falling in love with her?

Her guitar and her music – at least those will be left for Hailey when glaucoma takes all her sight. But how can she face a future where she’ll never see the faces of her moms or be able to truly see Kyle?

Told in alternating chapters by two authors known for their strong characters in difficult situations, Love Blind explores friendship, love, and getting beyond reasonable fears to tackle the truest ones.

How to Be You, by Jeffrey Marsh (book review) – life on your terms, as YOU

book cover of How to Be You by Jeffrey Marsh published by Tarcher Perigee  | recommended on BooksYALove.comStereotypes need not limit you,
perfection is a myth,
learning to respect and love yourself is priority #1!

“Growing up fabulous in a small farming town” wasn’t easy for Jeffrey, but they learned to listen closely to the voice inside, become more confident, and stand up publicly as anti-bullying champion, calling on others to do the same.

Just published on Tuesday (2 August 2016), How to Be You is a question-asking, color-outside-the-lines, story-sharing personal journey that can help you “stop trying to be someone else and start living your life” as the subtitle states.

Be sure to visit the publisher’s website here to read an excerpt opening the book and experience Jeffrey’s writing style and backstory.

What is holding you back from expressing your true self?
**kmm

Book info: How to Be You / Jeffrey Marsh. Tarcher Perigee, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Reject perfectionism and others’ expectations as you learn How to Be You in this engaging journey of self-discovery and self-connection.

Jeffrey embraces gender-neutral pronouns, created the #NoTimeToHateMyself and #DontSayThatsSoGay online conversations, and revels in sharing stories of hero/ines who transcended race, age, and other stereotypes.

Discover more about owning your own emotions, letting go of always being in control, and getting used to not knowing everything with this book of stories, writing prompts, fill-in charts and coloring vignettes. Especially useful: reframing the excuses you make to avoid new possibilities as positive qualities in your personality.

Coming of age tales to read with your ears

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC examine growing up and discovering yourself.

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Click the link for either or both titles for the quick and free download.

CD cover of audiobook Fat Angie by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo | Read by Angela Dawe Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comFat Angie (download here July 14-20, 2016)
by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Read by Angela Dawe
Published by Brilliance Audio

Mom demands weight loss, school is terrible, as Angie alone believes that her POW sister will come home from Iraq. When ultra-cool girl KC moves to her small Ohio town and sees the true Angie, life gets a lot more real in this not-traditional rom-com. (great book trailer here!)

 
On the Jellicoe Road (download here July 14-20, 2016)CD cover of audiobook On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta | Read by Rebecca Macauley Published by Bolinda Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Melina Marchetta
Read by Rebecca Macauley
Published by Bolinda Audio

Can senior Taylor keep order at between her boarding school classmates and the kids from nearby Australian town while she tries to piece together exactly why her mother abandoned her six years ago?

What other coming-of-age titles would you recommend?
**kmm

Conviction, by Kelly Loy Gilbert (book review) – baseball, prejudice & revenge?

book cover of Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert published by Hyperion Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.comJust an accident,
Dad didn’t mean to kill him.
What happened to our bargain, God?

Braden just wants to pitch his high school team to the state Finals again and get drafted for a pro baseball team.

But he hadn’t considered that his radio talk-show dad would be jailed for running over the Mexican-American cop who crossed him a while back…
Or his long-gone big brother would come back to keep Braden out of foster care…
Or that he could be called as a witness in Dad’s trial…
Or having to face the cop’s nephew on the ballfield…

Go to the publisher’s website here and click on ‘Sneak Peek’ for a free pdf download of the book’s first chapters, then grab this compelling book at your local library or independent bookstore.

Prayers or promises?
**kmm

Book info: Conviction / Kelly Loy Gilbert.  Hyperion Teen, 2015. [author’s Facebook]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Braden was in the car when his dad ran over the cop, but the high school junior can’t imagine being called to testify in the religious talk show host’s trial or having his big brother back home 10 years after Trey left their small California town or trying to calmly pitch to the cop’s nephew in the most important game of the season.

How can Dad say he loves God and then hate people just for being different?
Why doesn’t anyone talk about Braden’s mom leaving when he was a baby?
Can Dad’s lawyer really suggest what he should say at Dad’s trial?

Convolutions of baseball practices and worried prayers and trying to ignore the media and wondering what really drove Trey away from his best friend Kevin (the pastor’s son) … as the trial and baseball playoffs loom just ahead.

Hearts & minds are unsure – Audiobooks on love & memory

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC delve deep into hearts and minds, asking why we cannot control them.

From today (6/23/16) through Wednesday, you can download either or both of these complete audiobooks and listen to them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Thank you, publishers!

CD audiobook cover of Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan | Read by Nicholas Robideau and a full cast Published by Full Cast Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comBoy Meets Boy (download link here)
by David Levithan
Read by Nicholas Robideau and a full cast
Published by Full Cast Audio

The path to love twists and turns, even at Paul’s high school where gender is a non-issue (cross-dressing quarterback and motorcycle-riding cheerleaders are just everyday pals) as he is smitten by new guy Noah who barely looks his way.

 

Donny’s Brain (download link here)Cd audiobook cover of Donny's Brain by Rona Munro | Read by Paul Fox, Jared Harris, Siobhán Hewlett, Moira Quirk, Sophie Winkleman Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Rona Munro
Read by Paul Fox, Jared Harris, Siobhán Hewlett, Moira Quirk, Sophie Winkleman
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

After a terrible auto crash, Donny cannot remember the past 3 years of his life. What to do when he knows his long-ago ex-wife, but not his steadfast girlfriend?

Can we ever presume to know someone else’s innermost self?
**kmm