Tag Archive | Massachusetts

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.

Find the escaped soul or be GROUNDED FOR ALL ETERNITY!? by Darcy Marks (YA book review)

book cover of Grounded For All Eternity, by Darcy Marks. Published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

During lockdown because a prisoner escaped from the Pit, Malachi and his squad are bored, so the teens sneak to the woods near their neighborhood in Hell and find an opening to another world. Of course, the veil is thinnest on All Hallow’s Eve… do they dare?

Mal gets pushed through to Salem, Massachusetts, without his black feathered wings! Will his friends use the skills they’re learning as future infernal law enforcement to locate him?

The humans here have auras – blue for heaven-bound, red for Hell, gray for undetermined – interesting…

Aghh! A seraph from Heaven arrives – are they in competition for a human with a gray aura?

Gotta get home before the veil closes, but the gate to Hell requires that all who entered return in a group… who is missing? The escaped prisoner Parris?!

The townspeople begin acting dangerously, pushed by manipulator Parris as he did during the Witch Trials.

As midnight approaches, Mal and friends reluctantly enlist the help of a teen boy with psychic abilities – they must capture Parris before the veil closes!

The seraph wants to call down avenging angels to wipe out the problem…

Can Mal, Crowley, and Lilith get back home to Hell?
Will Mal tell his parents that he doesn’t want to train for the job assigned by Fate?
They’ll be grounded forever, right?

The balance of the universe is at stake here!
Paperback edition available today – 13 June 2023.

Ever been to Salem?
**kmm

Book info: Grounded For All Eternity / Darcy Marks. Aladdin, hardcover 2022, paperback 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

So much to do as SISTER OF THE BOLLYWOOD BRIDE! by Nandini Bajpal (YA book review)

book cover of Sister of the Bollywood Bride, by Nandini Bajpal. Published by Poppy/ Little Brown & Company | recommended on BooksYALove.com

As big sister Vinnie’s wedding approaches and Dad is immersed in his new start-up, Mini misses their late mother more than ever. Thankfully, the Boston teen has an entire community of Desi aunties to help her with all the planning details, since Vinnie and fiance Manish are medical students in Chicago.

Tutoring pays Mini’s fashionista bills (thrift stores plus her sewing skills equals amazing), and running with her dog Yogi on the grounds of a nearby college gives her time away from planning and time to get to know handsome Vir, the dean’s son.

The beautiful gold wedding jewelry that Mom left for them inspires Mini’s vision for the big day:
Outdoor venue? The beautiful gardens in the park where Vinnie played youth sports – check!
Food from two different regions of India? Check and… the other will get back to her (eventually?)
Dress? By her designer aunt Masi, of course. Never mind that Mini’s role model and inspiration has been oddly distant these past few years.

Worrying about whether Dad will accept her dream of attending design school (instead of law/medicine/engineering that all Indian parents want for their children), if she can actually get Manish to ride in on a horse per tradition, what Vir’s very successful father will think of her – two months to plan a summer wedding!?

Mini is determined to squeeze their budget to make Vinnie’s wedding as memorable and beautiful as any Bollywood movie extravaganza, like Mom would have done.

Family, love, fun and stress, British car enthusiasts, henna and altering bridesmaids’ outfits
And then the weather forecast changes – hurricane on the horizon!

From the author of Made in Mehendi (recommended here), another Indian-American romance to savor.

What’s your favorite wedding tradition?
**kmm

Book info: Sister of the Bollywood Bride / Nandini Bajpal. Poppy/ Little Brown & Company, 2021.
[author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

U is being unhappy with TAKING UP SPACE, by Alyson Gerber (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Taking Up Space, by Alyson Gerber. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Basketball is her favorite thing!
Her changing body isn’t
How to fix this??

Since she’s getting curvier and taller all at once, Sarah feels awkward on the basketball court for the first time ever. Coach says this is normal and that the 7th grader will get used to herself again – but how long will that take!?

As Coach discusses nutrition in health class, Sarah and so-cute Benny decide to be partners for the Chef Junior competition at their Massachusetts school – he cooks such wonderful things for his family!

When Dad’s away, Mom can forget that Sarah needs a good dinner every night. At least she remembered to sign the Chef Junior permission slip.

Mom hides candy from herself, eats only little bits of boring food, forgets to buy Sarah the healthy food she asks for – how will she get back to her best size for basketball?

Will Benny start to really like her as they practice cooking together?
Why can’t Mom remember to keep enough food at home?
When will Sarah feel like herself again on the court?

Big questions during a tumultuous junior high year for her whole friend group.

What advice from health class nutrition do you remember?
**kmm

Book info: Taking Up Space / Alyson Gerber. Scholastic Press, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

D = When it comes to helping people, KARTHIK DELIVERS! by Sheela Chari (MG book review)

book cover of Karthik Delivers, by Sheela Chari. Published by Amulet Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Family dream threatened,
changes coming,
friends will get him through it.

Delivering groceries for the family store isn’t what Karthik had planned for the summer before high school, but during this bad economy in 2008, maybe it will help.

At least he’s not stuck indoors studying for the SAT like big sister. She will be the lawyer, he will be the doctor, his Indian-American parents have decided (Mom’s dream job, not his – Karthik gets woozy at the sight of blood…).

Big orders or small, his bike carries them all – to old Mr. Jain who loves to talk about cricket scores, to the lady who always orders two extra-ripe mangoes, to the college student who’s writing a play and wants Karthik in the role of Leonard Bernstein as a young man!

Who knew that the famous musician and conductor grew up here in their Boston suburb? Shanthi is sure that Karthik’s gift for perfectly remembering long lists will help him memorize the short script; he’s not so sure that his parents will let him perform for her final exam in August.

Between deliveries, he meets his friends Miles and Binh for ice cream (he knows all 50 flavors) while hoping cute classmate Juhi comes in without the bullies she hangs out with now (not likely).

The more he studies the script and Bernstein’s life and music, the more the teen identifies with this son of immigrants who went on to do great things – but what does Karthik want to do with his life?

As he delivers their groceries, Karthik gets to know his customers and helps when they need a hand – what will they do if the store can’t keep going?

Oh no! It’s Juhi’s uncle who owns new chaat restaurant whose fast-fast food is stealing away the little grocery store’s customers – is this West Side Story all over again?

Happy book birthday to Karthik Delivers – let’s hope he tells his family about the play sooner rather than later!

What dream have you put on hold? When will you launch it again?
**kmm

Book info: Karthik Delivers / Sheela Chari. Amulet Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Consequences of injustice – audiobooks to ponder

Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

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 phone or tablet, using the free Sora app to listen.

CD cover of They Went Left, by Monica Hesse, read by Caitlin Davies. Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

They Went Left (download on Sora free 6-12 May 2021)
by Monica Hesse | Read by Caitlin Davies
Published by Hachette Audio

Liberated from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in 1945, Zofia is desperate to find her younger brother Abek, the only other family member who wasn’t sent the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

But how will the 18 year old locate him among the sea of refugees in the displaced persons’ camps of Germany and Poland?

CD cover of Trell, by Dick Lehr, read by Bahni Turpin, published by Brilliance Audio Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Trell (download on Sora free 6-12 May 2021)
by Dick Lehr | Read by Bahni Turpin
Published by Brilliance Audio/Candlewick

Trell is certain that her father was wrongfully convicted of murder and convinces a disillusioned Boston investigative reporter to go back to witnesses and uncover the truth.

Can the teen and reporter track down the real killer?

What other stories of confronting injustice would you recommend?
**kmm

T is 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY, sort of, maybe… by Sandhya Menon (YA book review)

book cover of 10 Things I Hate About Pinky, by Sandhya Menon, Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Rebel-activist free spirit,
SAT ace in starched shirts –
all summer together?

She supports social causes of all types, he charts out his future law career list by list- Pinky and Samir are nothing alike. But when she’s accused of repeating rebellious behavior and his DC internship is cancelled, maybe he could pose as her new super-responsible boyfriend for the summer… if they don’t bite off each other’s heads!

Pinky’s mom and aunt co-own the lovely summer home on Cape Cod, with a lake that she and cousin Dolly-the-perfect have enjoyed for years with the other summer kids and the butterfly sanctuary that always gives Pinky peace.

Being Pinky’s summer boyfriend gets Samir closer to interning with her mom’s Bay Area corporate law firm and tests his planning-ahead nature every day… walking a rescued fainting opossum on a leash….

Acting like Samir is really her boyfriend strains Pinky’s impetuous nature, but if they can fool her family so she’s not grounded for life, it’ll be worth it… if he can get past planning every moment like his mom was still fighting cancer.

When big-money threatens to bulldoze the butterfly sanctuary for condos, Pinky and Samir pitch in to rally the community against the developers – the clock is ticking!

Mom insists that the ‘summer kids’ have no place in town meetings, some year-rounders say the Indian-American teens aren’t welcome anywhere, but Pinky says they should keep fighting… right, Samir?

Told in alternating voices by Pinky and Samir, this frenemies-to-something-more story is a companion book to When Dimple Met Rishi (I recommend here) and There’s Something About Sweetie (reviewed here).

What’s the cause you’ll stand up for, time after time?
**kmm

Book Info: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2020. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Y for be yourself? PIPPA PARK RAISES HER GAME, by Erin Yun (middle grade book review)

book cover of Pippa Park Raises Her Game, by Erin Yun. Published by Fabled Films Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Scholarship to private school? Cool!
Expectations from family? Heavy.
Keep both worlds apart? Ummm…maybe?

Pippa loves basketball, but her big sister won’t let her try out for the middle school team until her grades are better. Algebra tutor, from snooty Lakeview Private? Yuck.

Their mother agrees, back in Korea after her work visa in Massachusetts expired. Good grades will be Pippa’s path forward, beyond the family laundromat and its long hours of work.

When Lakeview offers Pippa a basketball scholarship, Omma and sister are delighted. Pippa decides to reinvent herself as a cool girl… but can she do it at the same school as her math tutor Eliot, where his father is the principal?!

How can Pippa keep her fancy new friends from knowing her humble origins?
Can she keep up her grades to keep this scholarship?
Who recommended her for this scholarship anyway?

Worried about her best friend since forever Buddy, about Omma’s health, about playing against her old school in the big game… action on and off the court is getting intense!

How hard is it to live up to family expectations?
**kmm

Book info: Pippa Park Raises Her Game / Erin Yun. Fabled Films Press, 2020. [book site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

REVENGE OF THE RED CLUB! #PeriodPower in middle school! by Kim Harrington

book cover of Revenge of the Red Club, by Kim Harrington. Published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Riley is so glad that girls started the Red Club at her Massachusetts middle school before she got her first period and is happy to help lead the group supporting one another through menstruation’s ups and downs.

She is beyond mad when the school administration shuts down the club due to “parent complaints,” removes the emergency supplies from the Red Club’s locker, and suddenly starts enforcing an antiquated dress code that only impacts girls.

Time for the eighth grader to use her school newspaper investigative reporting skills to find out who complained about the Red Club and how to update that dress code!

Co-leader Cee puts together an action plan, and the “Revenge of the Red Club” begins – normalizing period talk, boys wearing clothes out of dress code as allies, and more.

But can the Red Club control the way that the rest of the school reacts?

Is Cole interested in Riley or in the developing news story?

Why is Riley’s best friend Ava acting so weird?

The world would be a better place if every school had a Red Club support group, and the Hawking Middle School girls are determined to get theirs back!

Want more information about menstruation issues? Check out Period Power, by Nadya Okamoto here.

How is your school supporting this part of adolescence and everyday life?
**kmm

Book info: Revenge of the Red Club / Kim Harrington. Aladdin, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Tales a-wandering – to read with your ears!

Another summer Thursday, another pair of great FREE audiobooks to download at AudioSYNC!

Click on a title below and follow the easy instructions to get your own copy to keep (yes, you can have both) by Wednesday, 26 June 2019.

Thanks to all the publishers who provide us 28 professionally produced audiobooks during this summer program.

CD cover of Astray,  by Emma Donoghue | Read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Astray, by Emma Donoghue

Read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham. Published by Hachette Audio

Four centuries of wanderers – drifters, lovers, refugees, emigrants, runaways, criminals – tell their stories all over North America, from puritan times to now.

What do their tales tell us about ourselves today?

CD cover of Olivia Twist,  by Lorie Langdon | Read by Pearl Hewitt Published by Black Hills Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Olivia Twist, by Lorie Langdon Read by Pearl Hewitt. Published by Black Hills Audiobooks

Raised as a boy-thief in a London orphanage, teen Olivia is now a society hostess with a soft heart for slum kids. She reminds Jack of someone he once knew, back when he was the Artful Dodger of thieves. What now?

Which has been your favorite audiobook so far?
**kmm