Tag Archive | love

Friends and more – tweens look for ANSWERS IN THE PAGES, by David Levithan (MG book review)

book cover of Answers in the Pages, by David Levithan. Alfred A. Knopf Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

What an exciting book!
Who wants to take it away?
Why can’t kids read what they want?!

The Adventurers! Donovan can’t wait to read the novel that Mr. Howe has chosen for their fifth-grade class – three young people trying to stop an evil mastermind, with danger and bravery at every turn!

But his mom’s bad habit of jumping to the end of a book halts everything. She interprets its final sentence as too mature for tweens to handle: “At that moment, Rick knew just how deeply he loved Oliver, and Oliver knew just how deeply he loved Rick, and the understanding of this moment would lead them to much of the happiness and adventure that came next.”

She calls other parents and visits the principal, making Mr. Howe take back The Adventurers until the school board can meet about it. But Donovan forgot his copy at home (way under his bed), so he gets to read it – alligators and helicopters and three amazing friends saving the world.

Meanwhile, shy Gideon is stunned to make a new friend when Roberto moves to town – a fellow lover of turtles and books. Joelle and Tucker have been his friends forever, but Roberto likes Gideon for being himself, and the pair spends more and more time together.

Can Donovan get the author to town to defend the book?
Does Oliver have to choose between help Rick escape from the alligator and capturing the villain?
Does Roberto share the same feelings as Gideon?

At the school board meeting, viewpoints clash. Some adults want to “protect kids” by banning the book. Members of the community and gay students speak up for everyone’s right to live and love.

Three stories, presented chapter by chapter – Donovan’s headed by a book symbol, Rick and Oliver’s by an alligator, and Gideon and Roberto’s by a turtle – each symbol reminding us of the characters’ essential focus.

Released in paperback on 5 September 2023 – read the first pages free here, courtesy of the publisher.

What book has revealed an important truth about your own self to you?
**kmm

Book info: Answers in the Pages / David Levithan. Alfred A. Knopf Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

They’re seeking SPELLS FOR LOST THINGS, like hearts… by Jenna Evans Welch (YA book review)

book cover of Spells for Lost Things, by Jenna Evans Welch. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

How can Willow’s aunt be dead? Mom doesn’t even have a sister!

Willow’s parents divorced two years ago, Mom took her from Brooklyn to LA, Dad remarried and had triplets. Only being in Paris with best friend Bea feels like home, but Mom won’t let her go there to finish high school…

Now Mom has inherited a witch’s beautifully renovated house from her twin sister, so they’re in Salem to sell it. Bur Mom won’t even go in the front door! Willow adores Bell House – can’t they just stay here?

Mason bounced through foster care for years as his mom’s addiction worsened. Now he’s in Salem, with her high school best friend Emma, her husband, and their blended family – they became foster parents just for him?

After an awkward meeting on the Bell House roof (telescope, Mason, stars, of course), the teens try to unravel the mystery of Lily Bell retold in the spell book kept by Mom and Aunt Sage as teens.

Why didn’t Willow know she had great-aunts who are witches?
Does Emma know where Mason’s mom is?
What is this feeling growing between Willow and Mason?

Told in alternating chapters by Willow and Mason during the summer before their senior year as they try to find a solid place to land in their lives’ uncertainty.

Available in paperback today, 8/29/23! By the author of Love & Gelato (I recommended it here), Love & Luck (more here), and Love & Olives (here).

What family tale was most surprising to you?
**kmm

Book info: Spells for Lost Things / Jenna Evans Welch. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022, paperback 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

ONCE THERE WAS…some magic, a monster, a miracle? by Kiyash Monsef (YA book review)

book cover of Once There Was, by Kiyash Monsef. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Her best friends try to help, but Marjan is sleepwalking through life since Dad was killed by who-knows-what recently in their California home. She’s trying to juggle sophomore classes and Dad’s struggling vet practice and her anger and grief.

Wait, her Pakistani father didn’t just treat dogs, cats, and birds – he was a veterinarian for creatures out of myth and legend?! And “the work” is Marjan’s now, because she’s inherited his gift of knowing precisely how to care for them, wherever in the world they are.

People who live with these amazing creatures contact Marjan through the secretive Tea Shop group. Off she goes to see a griffon in England reaching the end of its very long life, an incontinent house gnome a few hours from home.

Into Dad’s vet office comes a young woman named Malloryn, a self-taught witch whose grey fox is ill. She’ll stay with Marjan for the mythic nine-tailed fox‘s lengthy treatment, maybe disperse the house’s gloom and bad aura.

Um, this ultra-rich Horatio guy isn’t collecting mythic creatures to appreciate them, like Malloryn loves Zorro or cute Sebastian’s family loves the griffon who chose his family generations ago. There’s something dark about Horatio, and Marjan wants to stay far away from his underground menagerie of faerie and stone giant and deadly manticore – every Persian tale her father told her, come to life.

Tea Shop believes that magical creatures’ contentment influences the overall good for humanity. As many creatures have disappeared lately, things are worsening in the world – and they want to find the missing.

Horatio keeps requesting her help with his creatures – can she safely stay away?
Dad was preparing for a trip to Ithaca, New York, when he was killed – will Marjan find any answers there about his death?
Sebastian wants to help her – what can two teenagers do against age-old problems?

“Once there was, once there was not…” Tales told by her father punctuate the action and peril – read the first chapter here free on the publisher’s website.

What’s your favorite mythic creature?
**kmm

Book info: Once There Was / Kiyash Monsef. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Lives lived loud and clear – historical fiction to read with your ears! (audiobook recommendations)

Our AudioSYNC offerings this week take us into different times and different places with well-crafted historical fiction audiobooks that begin with murder!

You have until Wednesday 12 July 2023 to download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Now tell me… what did they do next?

CD cover of The Boy in the Red Dress, by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss. Published by Listening Library

The Boy in the Red Dress (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss
Published by Listening Library

Murder on New Year’s Eve! In 1929 New Orleans, the Cloak & Dagger speakeasy and LBGTQIA haven features Marion in drag – who is now suspected of murder.

His best friend Millie (teenage niece of the club owner) is determined to prove his innocence and find the real killer.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/179183/the-boy-in-the-red-dress-by-kristin-lambert-read-by-sophie-amoss/

swirling lines clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of This Rebel Heart, by Katherine Locke. Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen. Published by Listening Library

This Rebel Heart (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Katherine Locke | Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen
Published by Listening Library

After her parents are murdered in 1956, young Hungarian woman Czilla is eager to leave the country and its repressive regime.

She finds allies in a man seeking his missing lover, an angel of death, and others primed to revolt for freedom.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/213314/this-rebel-heart-by-katherine-locke-read-by-kathleen-gati-steven-jay-cohen/

Best historical fiction book you ever read?
**kmm

divider clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159

Traverse A WILDERNESS OF STARS to save humanity, by Shea Ernshaw (YA book review)

book cover of A Wilderness of Stars, by Shea Ernshaw. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

An unmistakable omen,
Time to leave safety,
Time to find the stars’ secrets.

Every night, Vega and Mom talk about all the stars they can see from their secluded valley, including the constellation tattooed on the teen’s neck.

When Vega sees a dreadful omen in the skies and Mom dies, it’s time to go away – for Vega is the last Astronomer and must find the Architect to save their world.

Together, they can find a cure for the fast-spreading sickness that takes sight and hearing before death.

If she can stay clear of the star-branded Theorists who believe the Astronomer can help them end the world quickly…
If that young man truly knows where to find the Architect…
If the Architect and the Astronomer can get to the sea…

Hunted by Theorists, going quietly around dusty near-ghost towns where her face is on wanted posters, Vega moves quickly with teens Cricket and Noah, now the Last Architect.

Vega’s affection for Noah grows as they travel stealthily across the hostile wilderness toward the sea, even as she worries about the secrets of his past.

Will their knowledge – passed down orally for generations – be accurate enough to save their world?

**kmm

Book info: A Wilderness of Stars / Shea Ernshaw. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

SIDE EFFECTS of meds worse than her anxiety? by Ted Anderson, Tara O’Connor, Dave Sharpe (Graphic Novel review)

book cover of Side Effects, by Ted Anderson; art & color - Tara O'Connor; lettering - Dave Sharpe. Published by Seismic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

First time living away from home,
her anxiety skyrockets…
she can’t get through college like this.

Hannah has always been worried and anxious, but everything new at college is just so overwhelming. After a deep depressive episode, her roommate helps her connect with a therapist on campus.

Dr. Jacobs is calm and reassuring, offering medication if Hannah wants to try it and cautioning her to watch for unusual side effects before her next appointment. Her brother Levi is supportive and wishes their mom would work on her own anxiety.

Oh, wow, what side effects! Such headaches, and she zaps anything she touches with electric shocks – even co-worker Jay at the library notices, yet still invites her to a very quiet, low-key party at his dorm.

Wow, Hannah is brave enough to go to the party and meet new people, including lovely Iz!

A new medication that won’t cause the terrible headaches makes Hannah disassociate from her body – is she really seeing through walls and reading people’s minds?

Her movie and dinner date with Iz is perfect! Then… crickets, no answer when Hannah texts her – what went wrong?

As freshman year rolls on, Hannah keeps trying to help herself and allows others to help her, too.

This graphic novel begins with a content warning about the mental and emotional distresses depicted and concludes with notes from the author and a mental health professional.

For help, call or text the free and confidential Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8 any time, any hour.

In a new place or situation, what do you think about first?
**kmm

Book info: Side Effects / written by Ted Anderson; art & color by Tara O’Connor; lettering by Dave Sharpe. Seismic Press, 2022. [publisher site & interviews] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Her art school future requires ceramics mastery – will she SLIP? by Marika McCoola & Aatmahja Pandya (Graphic novel review)

book cover of Slip / words by Marika McCoola, art by Aatmaja Pandya. Published by Algonquin Young Readers

Jade is attending an intensive art camp to develop her ceramics skills and prepare her art school application portfolio.

But the high schooler is worried beyond words that her best friend Phoebe just went into treatment for attempted suicide – how can she try to make new friends?

Jade’s technique with clay is good, but where’s the inspiration? Everyone else at Art Camp is so much better prepared…

One night, she crumples up yet another not-good-enough sketch and sets a match to it – there in the smoke her memories with Phoebe appear like a movie!

Mary tries to help Jade find inspiration in the woods, the art book library, the hardware store in the nearby tiny town, in being together…

When Jade’s ceramic angry cat comes out of the kiln and runs away, she’s not sure what’s happening!

Getting a scholarship for art college requires a strong portfolio, and Jade’s days at Art Camp are growing short.

How can Jade support her best friend when Phoebe doesn’t want to talk to anyone?
How can she and Mary have wonderful moments together while Jade is struggling?
How can the images in smoke and moving ceramic cat exist?

Pressure to succeed, to love and be loved, to respect others’ artworks – Jade doesn’t want to fail.

When have you searched for inspiration and found it?
**kmm

Book info: Slip / words by Marika McCoola, art by Aatmaja Pandya. Algonquin Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [artist site] [book site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

I’m determined, strong, anxious – DON’T CALL ME A HURRICANE, by Ellen Hagan (YA book review)

book cover of Don't Call Me a Hurricane, by Ellen Hagan. Published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Five years since the hurricane,
end of childhood bliss,
more changes ahead…

Eliza’s Italian-American family rebuilt shore-side, but most year-rounders on their New Jersey island sold to developers and moved inland.

Summer before their senior year, Eliza and best friend Isa are lifeguards watching over families and surfers, worrying about the nature preserve being sold, doing what they can as climate activists (maybe going a little too far sometimes).

She usually steers clear of the summer people, but grudgingly agrees to teach city boy Milo how to surf since he’ll be here with dad and stepmom all summer.

Her therapist is trying to help the 17 year old unravel her anxiety about hurricane season, to quiet the litany of climate disaster that keeps Eliza up all night.

Milo wants to help the climate justice group – is he sincere or just trying to get closer to Eliza?

What can they do to save the nature preserve from developers with money, money, money?

Flashbacks to the hurricane’s wrath punctuate this stunning novel-in-verse examining changes and challenges.

How has climate change affected your community?
**kmm

Book info: Don’t Call Me a Hurricane / Ellen Hagan. Bloomsbury, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

WHEN THE ANGELS LEFT THE OLD COUNTRY, following the faithful, by Sacha Lamb (YA book review)

book cover of When the Angels Left the Old Country, by Sasha Lamb. Published by Levine Querido | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Studying the Talmud with an angel should keep the demon too busy to make trouble in the nameless tiny Polish village, but Little Ash manages to hear all the gossip. Many Jews have left for America, but still no word from Essie, the baker’s daughter.

In the town of Belz, 16-year-old Rose now runs the dry goods store for her distractable father, hiring lovely best friend Dinah as clerk. They’ll keep their families afloat and save enough to go to America! Dinah has not noticed that Rose is as fond of her as the young Torah scholar visiting the store is.

The villagers assume that Little Ash and the angel are young men, glad that the pair can go to Warsaw where Essie was last heard from. Oh, that emigration agent is a scoundrel, cheating so many, even killing some, like that rebbe from Belz! Little Ash will make very sure that the agent harms no one else, ever.

And so it is that they are on the steamship dock with Rose, whose year-long plan was smashed when Dinah announced her engagement. The trio watch each other’s belongings in the crowded steerage deck and pray that all aboard stay healthy enough to pass inspection at Ellis Island.

The angel carried along the rebbe’s books, hoping to bring them to his daughter. The murdered rebbe appears to the angel, saying that they must have kaddish sung for him at the earliest moment possible, lest his spirit wander forever!

Rose longs to meet kind-eyed Essie whose photo was in the letters stolen by that evil agent.

And so it was that the three friends became separated at the immigration station, as the angel was passed first because those letters showed a relative’s address.

Can the angel get Little Ash and Rose released from Ellis Island?
Can they find Essie and save her from the ‘shop boss’?
What place will they carve out for themselves in this new world?

Obligation and challenges, friendship and love – those who tried and dared, may their memory be a blessing.

What stories of arriving in new places do you tell?
**kmm

Book info: When the Angels Left the Old Country / Sacha Lamb. Levine Querido, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

IT’S A WHOLE SPIEL: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories, edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman (YA book review)

book cover of It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories, edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman. Published by Alfred A. Knopf | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Feeling too Jewish or not Jewish enough at school, summer camp, at another family’s Seder dinner, on a Birthright trip to Israel in college…

In this short story collection, young adults embrace, question, and reexamine their Jewish faith as it connects (or doesn’t) to their childhood, their family, their sexual identity, their now, and their future.

Raysh hopes to overcome her fear of drowning (again) in “He Who Revives the Dead”, while Miri’s first meeting with her new boyfriend’s parents is interrupted by an earthquake and “Aftershocks.”

Short stories by Dahlia Adler, Adi Alsaid, David Levithan, Elie Lichtschein, Katherine Locke, Alex London, Goldy Moldavsky, Hannah Moskowitz, Matthue Roth, Lance Rubin, Dana Schwartz, Laura Silverman, Rachel Lynn Solomon, and Nova Ren Suma.

“Judaism is about seeing the world for what it is and being part of a community that is greater than the sum of its parts,” reminds actress Mayim Bialik in the foreword.

Each story in this anthology is one of those parts, a vivid and varied kaleidoscope of experiences, meeting new people, and watching old friends change.

Find the print version or ebook at a library near you with WorldCat.

What part of yourself do you share with a new friend?
**kmm

Book info: It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories / edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman. Alfred A. Knopf / Random House, 2019. [Katherine’s site] [Laura’s site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.