Tag Archive | LGBTQ

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!

Feminism now! Here We Are, by 44 voices, edited by Kelly Jensen (book review)

book cover of  Here We Are...Feminism for the Real World, edited by Kelly Jensen. Published by Algonquin Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.comA feminist is…
angry? empowered?
quiet? loud?

All of the above, and then some!

Essays, lists, comics, and graphs from 44 authors and illustrators bring out many facets of today’s feminist movement while reflecting on its past and ways the future might go.

Where do your life and feminism intersect?
**kmm

Book info: Here We Are: 44 Voices Write, Draw, and Speak About Feminism for the Real World, edited by Kelly Jensen. Algonquin Books for Young Readers, 2017. [editor site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: What is feminism? Can a guy be a feminist? Can you be feminist and feminine? Many questions and many views on this crucial movement begun by our great-grandmothers are gathered in this multi-dimensional book of words and images.

From Starting the Journey with essays “Forever Feminist” by Malinda Lo and “Privilege” by Matt Nathanson to Go Your Own Way with illustrated how-to “Guide to Being a Teenage Superheroine” by Allison Peyton Steger and Rebecca Sexton, seven chapters of writing and art by women and men of varying gender, racial, sexuality, and ethnic identifications discuss the movement’s history, definitions, challenges, and victories.

“Feminism isn’t a uniform’ we’re reminded as we read and explore the intersection of “Faith and Feminism” from Muslim author Kaye Mirza, of “The Big Blue Ocean and My Big Fat Body” by Angie Manfredi, or of girls’ only future role as being “The Princess or the Witch” in Wendy Lu’s comic about growing up.

Individual entries range from light-hearted – Liz Prince’s personal journey from misogynist to feminist recounted as a comic –
to angry – cultural appropriation and cornrows by Amandla Sternberg –
to serious – Kelly Jensen’s interview with Laurie Halse Anderson and Courtney Summers about rape culture, girls’ stories, and girls’ voices
and are solidly supported with a Further Reading list of fiction, non-fiction, and online resources.

Growing up female in USA: Our Stories, Our Voices – edited by Amy Reed (book review)

book cover of Our Stories, Our Voices. Edited by Amy Reed, published by Simon Pulse. | recommended on BooksYALove.comGirls have been marginalized,
belittled, abused, attacked, ignored –
time to tell the stories and fight injustice!

Strong personal essays by Martha Brockenbrough, Jaye Robin Brown, Sona Charaipotra, Brandy Colbert, Somaiya Daud, Christine Day, Alexandra Duncan, I.W. Gregorio, Maurene Goo, Ellen Hopkins, Stephanie Kuehnert, Nina LaCour, Anna-Marie McLemore, Sandhya Menon, Hannah Moskowitz, Julie Murphy, Aisha Saeed, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Amber Smith, and Tracy Walker bring a wide range of young female experiences together in this book, begun in the wake of 2016 election.

You’ll recognize some names from my recent recommendations of their fiction – like Amy Reed – The Nowhere Girls,
Julie Murphy – Dumplin’,
Maureen Goo – I Believe in a Thing Called Love,
Sandhya Menon – When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle With Love
and others from books you’ve encountered in libraries, bookshops, and friends’ collections.

Meet them, hear their voices, find your voice, vote whenever you can!
**kmm

Book info: Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America / edited by Amy Reed. Simon Pulse, 2018. [editor site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Growing up female in the US became even less safe after the 2016 elections, but personal essays by 21 YA authors can bring readers empathy, empowering messages, and a measure of hope mixed with sparks toward moving forward.

Intersectionality – being female and (non-white, immigrant, LGBQT, disabled, fat, bullied) – is the reality for many of these authors who may or may not have transformed their shame, anger, or sorrow into wide-open political activism.

Essays can cover subjects which are very difficult for some readers, so the Editor’s Note specifies which titles discuss abuse, sexual assault, and racist violence.

Read these experiences and seek out others, consult the resources given, be aware of the powers each of us has to steer the future, make your voice heard.

Rapists called to justice by The Nowhere Girls, by Amy Reed (book review)

book cover of The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGang-raped her and made sure no one believed her.
Bragging online and planning their next moves…
Popularity won’t save these guys any more!

Moving to a new town during high school is no fun, but when Grace discovers that the girl who lived in this house was forced to move away because her rapists were popular guys and that the same guys are targeting other girls, she’s determined to find a way to stop them.

Read chapter one on the publisher’s website (free) as this story begins in the middle, after Lucy is assaulted and before The Nowhere Girls take action to stop sexual attackers from ruining lives in their school and community.

Relevant, so very relevant now…

Your standing up for a vital issue moment?
**kmm

Book info: The Nowhere Girls / Amy Reed. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When Grace learns that the popular guys who gang-raped Lucy are still preying on girls and bragging about it online, she wants justice for the girl they shamed out of their small Oregon town and safety for the girls still here, but how?

With new friends Rosina (loves girls and punk music, not her uncle’s Mexican restaurant) and Erin (loves marine biology and Star Trek, feels like an android), they form the “Nowhere Girls” and anonymously invite every girl at Prescott High to resist the toxic sexist culture that has no consequences for the guys.

Can they warn girls in surrounding towns about these guys?
How can they convince adults that these assaults are real crimes?
What if no one comes to the secret meeting?

Breaking the dangerous status quo, creating solidarity among teen girls for safety – it’s time that The Nowhere Girls were everywhere!

Time’s running short to Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough (book review)

US book cover of Get It Together Delilah, by Erin Gough, published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comCan’t let Dad worry about the cafe,
can’t keep up with her schoolwork,
can’t stop dreaming about flamenco dancer Rosa.

Delilah’s senior year in Sydney is stress overload – mean girls, family cafe difficulties, and falling in love with the girl she can’t have.

What else could happen? Funny you should ask…
**kmm

Book info: Get It Together, Delilah / Erin Gough. Chronicle Books, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:
As Dad’s short vacation grows longer and longer, 17-year-old Delilah juggles schoolwork, her best friends’ expectations, and unfair business competition so she can keep her family cafe going, but is dreaming of dancing Rosa across the street of their Sydney suburb.

She refuses to ruin Dad’s trip (first since Mum ran off with another man) by telling him of their cafe manager’s arrest; she’ll just run The Flywheel till he’s back in a few weeks…

Being short-handed at the cafe means she’s falling behind on her classwork.

Helping Charlie with his wild plans to make his (older) tutor fall in love with him aren’t helping, either.

Best friend Lauren is completely ignoring Del’s coming-out, but the bullies at their school aren’t.

The underhanded tricks of a new restaurant nearby are cutting into The Flywheel’s business, Del actually talks to beautiful Rosa (and doesn’t faint) – and Dad extends his vacation – uh, oh.