Tag Archive | LGBTQ

Like all EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS, she must fly! by Sandy Stark-McGinnis (book review)

book cover of Extraordinary Birds, by Sandy Stark-McGinnis. Published by Bloomsbury Kids | recommended on BooksYALove.com

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).

At her new school, she’s welcomed by Cheryllynn who loves the brightest dresses and snobby Jenny who says that’s really Charlie.

If December climbs a high enough tree, will she be able to fly away from unhappy memories?

Can she really help Eleanor teach a wounded hawk to fly free again?

Will Eleanor give up on December like everyone else has?

Her vast knowledge of birds hasn’t prepared December very well for dealing with humans, but Eleanor and Cheryllynn seem better than most people.

Who has given you hope when storms kept you from soaring?
**kmm

Book info: Extraordinary Birds / Sandy Stark McGinnis. Bloomsbury Kids, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Love, food & stories = HUNGRY HEARTS anthology, edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond (YA book review)

book cover of Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love / edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sweets to tempt away a bitter spirit,
pastries that bring emotions to the surface,
family recipes and secrets to ignore or embrace…

Welcome to Hungry Heart Row, that multicultural neighborhood just across the Yarrow River from a bustling city – an eclectic collection of shops, apartments, and restaurants that reflect new tastes and old flavors, longstanding family traditions and recent changes, tales often-told and episodes never before shared.

I rarely re-read fiction because there’s so much in my to-be-read queue, but I found myself enjoying entire stories once again as I dipped back into Hungry Hearts to find morsels to tempt you with!

This yummy anthology includes interconnected stories by Elsie Chapman, Caroline Tung Richmond, Sandhya Menon, S. K. Ali, Rin Chupeco, Anna-Marie McLemore, Rebecca Roanhorse, Sara Farizan, Jay Coles, Adi Alsaid, Sangu Mandanna, Phoebe North and Karuna Riazi (meet all the authors here on the publisher’s webpage).

Cooking from the heart – what’s your favorite dish?
**kmm

Book info: Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love / edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond. Simon Pulse, 2019. [Elsie’s site] [Caroline’s IG] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Getting schooled? #YAlit to read with your ears!

For some kids, high school will be the best years of their lives – but only for some kids.

Being bullied for being different is the reality for too many kids, and this week’s free AudioSYNC audiobooks bring us some of their stories.

Remember, after you click the title (FREE now through Wednesday, 3 July 2019) and download the professionally produced audiobook, you can keep it as long as you like.

CD cover of Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass,  by Meg Medina | Read by Roxanne Hernandez Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, by Meg Medina

Read by Roxanne Hernandez

Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio

Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, but her relentless bullying erodes the teen’s self-confidence bit by bit, affecting her schoolwork and her relationships.

CD cover of Heretics Anonymous,  by Katie Henry | Read by Michael Crouch Published by HarperAudio  | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Heretics Anonymous, by Katie Henry

Read by Michael Crouch

Published by HarperAudio.

An atheist teen is less than thrilled to move (again) and attend Catholic school. Feminist Lucy (aspiring priest) introduces him to others who don’t fit in at St. Clare’s – maybe Heretics Anonymous is his safe place, too?

What can you do to keep people safe?
**kmm

She thought her home is WHERE THE HEART IS, but is it? by Jo Knowles (MG book review)

book cover of  Where the Heart Is, by Jo Knowles. Published by Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Gotta get a job,
help with the bills…
what a 13th birthday surprise!

Rachel and best friend Micah want to have a summer filled with lazy days at the lake, ice cream, and her little sister tagging along.

But money troubles are piling up for Mom and Dad, so she gets a job caring for their new neighbors’ hobby farm animals. Are they really raising that mean ol’ pig for bacon?

Too many things are changing – next year is eighth grade, the Townsends built their big new house on the best winter sledding hill, Micah wants to be her boyfriend… no crushes on boys for her.

Does Cybil want to be more than a casual friend?
Will Mom and Dad ever stop fighting about money?
Will Rachel’s pay as a farm helper be enough?

Rachel’s summer seems more like a raging river of worries than their favorite calm lakeshore beach as she tries to navigate around so many new obstacles.

Read the first chapters here free, courtesy of the publisher, to meet Rachel and family on her big birthday.

Is home really “where the heart is”?
**kmm

Book info: Where the Heart Is / Jo Knowles. Candlewick Press, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

U is for Utah, where writing his AUTOBOYOGRAPHY is dangerously daring, by Christina Lauren (YA book review)

book cover of Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Moved reluctantly from California to Utah,
shutting his expanded heart back into the closet.
Just one year till graduation and escape from the land of Mormon like Mom did,
until he meets the right guy….

Drafting a novel during a single high school semester can’t be impossible, right? After all, Sebastian did it last year and sold his book!!

Not so simple, Tanner and best friend Amber discover, even when Sebastian pops in from BYU to mentor their class.

Tanner’s story begins to revolve around a just-older literary adviser who just happens to look like Sebastian and be adorable and perhaps not out of the bisexual teen’s reach.

Easy enough for Sebastian to read between the lines of Tanner’s manuscript, not so easy for him to react to Tanner’s feelings, but he does!

Four months until Tanner’s final draft is due, four months till Sebastian leaves on book tour then his two-year LDS mission.

Four months is long enough to draft a novel, but not long enough to change an entire culture, and Sebastian is so torn.

Religion, love… when do you know what’s right, what’s best for you?
**kmm

Book info: Autoboyography / Christina Lauren (Lauren Billings & Christina Hobbs). Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

O is for Nadya Okamoto & PERIOD POWER (YA book review)

book cover of Period Power, by Nadya Okamoto. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Subtitled “A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement,” this informational book seeks to start conversations and remove taboos surrounding a natural body function for half the world’s population.

Look into the history of period products, the mid-20th century educational pamphlets created by their manufacturers, and modern alternatives to their current contribution to plastics pollution.

Did you ever think about the difficulties experienced by homeless persons during their periods? Of school-age menstruators whose families can’t afford period products? Of trans persons who are reminded monthly of a gender identity that is not their own?

Okamoto’s quest to destigmatize menstruation myths and misunderstandings led her to start period.org in high school, and today the Harvard student continues to advocate through this largest youth-run NGO in women’s health – you can, too!

Donate period products at your next food drive or service project.

Choose personal period product options that are less-polluting and fight against the “tampon tax“.

Keep conversations open so women and men can normalize this fact of life.

What’s your next step?
**kmm

Book info: Period Power: a Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement / Nadya Okamoto, illustrated by Rebecca Elfast. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author Twitter] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

L = Laila and her lingering FINAL DRAFT worries, by Riley Redgate (YA book review)

book cover of Final Draft, by Riley Redgate. Published by Amulet Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

“So talented!”
“Derivative and unimaginative.”
Did both read the same short story?!

Mr. Madison has told Laila all through high school to be proud of her writing style, but now a renowned novelist substitute teaching that creative writing class says the New York City teen’s work is more sci-fi fanfic than true storytelling. Ouch.

Urged by Nazarenko to get out of her comfort zone, Laila timidly goes to a club with her friends for the first time, meets lovely Hannah, and tries flirting, kissing, escaping her Ecuadorian father’s curfew demands.

Laila’s admission to Bowdoin’s prestigious writing program hinges on this final creative writing grade. May inspiration from Hannah and the city night sky be enough!

When have you decided to move from draft to publicly seen work?
**kmm

Book info: Final Draft / Riley Redgate. Amulet Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Time for rebellion! WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE, by Tehlor Kay Mejia (YA book review)

book cover of We Set the Dark on Fire, by Tehlor Kay Meija. Published by Katherine Tegen Books/HMH | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Analytical, the planner – Primera.
Sensual, the mother – Segunda.
Two wives – harmony or life-long tension?

Because one god couldn’t choose between the two women he loved, now all men of Medio’s ruling class live in luxury with two wives, while the poor of the divided island have too little, and revolutionaries are determined to change that imbalance, whatever the cost.

Dani and Carmen have been groomed for years to take their respective places as Primera and Segunda in prominent households, secure in the gated compound far above the salt-soaked lands of the poor, but their roles quickly become masks hiding their true selves and forbidden affections.

Happy February 26th book birthday to Meija’s debut novel! Her short stories have been published in collections including Toil & Trouble, which I recommended earlier this year.

When marriage is a political business, where is love?
**kmm

Book info: We Set the Dark on Fire / Tehlor Kay Meija. Katherine Tegen Books (HMH), 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: On their divided tropical island, the rich get richer, the poor are brutalized, and revolution is snaking through the land, even into the mansion that Dani and Carmen share with their new husband and perilous secrets!

As Primera, Daniela rules her emotions and every aspect of their husband’s household; as Segunda, Carmen will be adored as mother of his children. But the teens soon realize that Mateo is planning violence to keep the poor at bay and that their own secrets endanger them as well.

Dani’s parents escaped over the wall into Medio and sacrificed everything to get her into the Academy where society’s daughters train to become co-wives in ruling class households, where Carmen and friends teased her mercilessly for five years, where the La Voz revolution saves her from being found out and imprisoned.

With Carmen in the same household, how can Dani help La Voz?
Her training decrees that Primeras don’t love – what is Dani feeling now?
Her training decrees that a Segunda keeps her husband happy – why is Carmen so torn?

Fearing their husband, loving each other, Dani and Carmen may have to follow La Voz despite the dangers.

Is her life in Nazi England part of THE BIG LIE? by Julie Mayhew (book review)

book cover of The Big Lie, by Julie Mayhew. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

England conquered by Germany,
Generations of babies for the Fatherland.
Such a vision! Such a nightmare!

Of course Jessika listens and learns from her parents, so influential in their English town neighborhood and so important in the Party!

Even though it’s 2012, not even her expert ice skating can take her outside the Reich, away from her inevitable future as wife and mother, away to any place where she can love whoever she pleases.

I enjoy alternate history – this Big Lie is so believable that it’s truly frightening.

What historic event would you change to improve our now?
**kmm

Book info: The Big Lie / Julie Mayhew. Candlewick Press, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Liberated by Germany during her great-grandparents’ days, the England where middle sister Jessika lives is ruled by the Nazi Party, yet the teen fights to squelch her own feelings and doubts before trouble takes over.

The idea that an American singer would perform in London for the first time in 70 years – at the Reich’s invitation – enrages Jess’s father, annoys her ice skating coach (such lapses in concentration, Jessika…), and thrills her classmates beyond all measure, especially when those most loyal to the Party are invited to sing and march on stage for the concert!

Perhaps the Fuhrer himself will attend the concert and see how dedicated her squad is!

Maybe preparing for their performance will let Jess be closer to fascinating GG without anyone reporting the girls for unsuitable friendship.

But her best friend questions why suddenly this ‘decadent music’ is allowed instead of banned, and Clementine’s family accelerates their timetable for escaping the Party’s brutal control.

And it could be that Fisher knows something more as they practice and practice… the Storm Troopers are determined to know everything about everyone involved with the explosive concert!

Alternate history brings a chill as the Reich rules Britain in 2012.

The post-Broadway stage is set for Nate Expecations, by Tim Federle (book review)

book cover of Nate Expectations, by Tim Federle. Published by Simon & Schuster Kids | recommended on BooksYALove.com

After acting on Broadway,
living in the Big Apple –
back to small town & big bullies?

Back to Pennsylvania where his soon-to-be high school has torn down the theater wing! Of course, Nate will find a way to put on a show, with his BFF’s expert organizational skills.

Even if you missed the first books in the Nate series, you’ll quickly pick up the story of this theater kid who got his big break as a young teen – in a musical with a very short run, despite the outstanding singing of so-cute Jordan.

Head to your local library or independent bookstore for this September 2018 release and the rest of the series.

Check out the audiobook excerpt on the publisher’s website, too – the author is a great narrator.

What’s your workaround for school programs that don’t fit your passions?
**kmm

Book info: Nate Expectations / Tim Federle. Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Nate returns to his small Pennsylvania hometown after playing on Broadway, glad to be with best friend Libby as they start high school – where they tore down the theater!?

Transform Great Expectations into a fantastic musical so he can pass English class? Nate and Libby are ready!

Cast the coach’s shy niece in the lead so they can use his gym? The show must go on!

Worry that Jordan is all Hollywood now and forgetting their NYC relationship? All the time…

Time for Nate to eclispe his big brother’s athletic superstar legacy, make new friends (like videographer Ben), and show his school that musicals make the world go round!