Tag Archive | music

In wartime, she finds A WHALE IN PARIS! by Daniel Presley & Claire Polders (book review)

book cover of A Whale in Paris, by Daniel Presley & Claire Polders. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Running through the heart of Paris,
the smooth river in the City of Light –
is that a submarine or a whale?

We don’t have reported whale sightings in Paris during World War II, but young ones definitely can become separated from their pod when disoriented by percussive noises like bomb blasts.

Hope, determination, and Mama’s ukelele – that’s all that Chantal and Franklin have to aid them during the long and perilous trip back to the sea.

What is the hope that you cling to during terrible times?
**kmm

Book info: A Whale in Paris: How It Happened That Chantal Duprey Befriended a Whale During the Second World War and Helped Liberate France / Daniel Presley & Claire Polders; illustrated by Erin McGuire. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2018. [Daniel’s author site] [Claire’s author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Miraculously, despite German soldiers swarming through Chantal’s beloved Paris, a whale appears in the Seine River!

Such hope it brings to the war-weary citizens! So angry are the Germans that it won’t obey their orders! The 12 year old names him “Franklin” after the American president who has promised to liberate France.

But food is so scarce in 1944, and some Parisians say that Franklin is eating all the river fish, that perhaps he should be feeding them instead!

Why did this wonderful sea beast come so far up the river?

Can Chantal convince Franklin to go away to safety?

Can she overcome her fear of the water that claimed her mother and go with him?

In the darkest days of World War II for Paris, a young whale and a young woman race to rescue Papa and Aunt Sophie from prison.

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!

Ballad of a Broken Nose, by Arne Svingen, translated by Kari Dickson (book review)

book cover of The Ballad of a Broken Nose, by Arne Svingen, translated by Kari Dickson. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

His earbuds are filled with opera,
His neighbors are druggies and the jobless,
Just like any middle-school boy, right?

Bart does love his mum and is sure that someday she’ll be able to keep a job so they can move out of their slum apartment… not so sure about keeping away from the bullies at school.

What advice would you give Bart as he searches for his long-gone dad?

**kmm

Book info: The Ballad of a Broken Nose, by Arne Svingen, translated by Kari Dickson / Margaret K. McElderry Books, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Maybe 13-year-old Bart’s opera singing talent comes from the American father he’s never seen.
Who in his Norwegian town knew that John Jones was such a common name in the world?

Maybe his mom will finally keep a job so they can move out of the slum apartments.
Why is it so hard for her to stay sober?

Maybe learning to box will keep the bullies away or impress Ada.
What made her volunteer Bart to sing at the school show?

Maybe he’ll shake his stage fright… anything can happen, right?

Middle school years are different for each person, but this translated novel shows how common some things are.


She is, her family is BLENDED, by Sharon M. Draper (book review)

book cover of Blended, by Sharon M. Draper. Published by Atheneum BFYR| recommended on BooksYALove.comBlack dad, white mom,
One week at Daddy’s as Isabella,
one week at Mom’s as Izzy –
but never any time for just her!

If middle school were just as easy for Izzy as playing the piano, if Mom and Daddy would just get back together again (instead of finding new partners), if racial hatred would stay away from them all!

Head to your local library or independent bookstore for this October 2018 release to meet much-loved, very worried Izzy and her blended families.

How can you add harmony to your life (piano optional)?
**kmm

Book info: Blended / Sharon M. Draper. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Isabella loves her friends and playing piano, wishes her black father and white mother would get back together, and worries about the racial hatred emerging at her Ohio middle school.

At Daddy’s fancy house, the 11-year-old has an excellent piano and teacher (big recital coming up), a waterfall shower (better for her hard-to-control hair), and Dad’s nice lady friend and her cool son Darren (another ice cream fan).

At Mom’s plain house, Izzy has a portable keyboard (better for practicing at Waffle House when Mom is working late), green bedroom walls (she prefers lavender), and John Mark who makes Mom happy (and is a really great bowler).

Alternating weeks at her parents’ houses – doesn’t Isabella have any say in this?

Official forms ask if she is white, black, other – really??

Who put that horrible racist threat in her friend Imani’s locker?

Being her blended self is as hard as dealing with two blended families, so Izzy dives into her music and tries to fix the mistakes she makes there and in her life.

Tales of escape and hope to read with your ears

Songs of desperation and hope thread through his week’s free audiobooks from SYNC to 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 computer or electronic device.

Click each CD title to reach the download site – enjoy!

CD cover of Solo, by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess | Read by Kwame Alexander Published by Blink | recommended on BooksYALove.com Solo (free download from 5-11 May 2018)
by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess 
Read by Kwame Alexander 
Published by Blink

Blade wants to escape his rock-star dad’s raucous reputation… but a family secret bursts onto the young musician’s present – a novel in verse.
 

The Devil’s Highway: a True Story (free download from 5-11 May 2018)CD cover of Devil's Highway, by Luis Alberto Urrea | Read by Luis Alberto Urrea Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Luis Alberto Urrea
Read by Luis Alberto Urrea
Published by Hachette Audio

In May 2001, a group of men tried to cross the desert from Mexico into Arizona, but only half survived. Investigative reporting of a story that repeats itself often, even today.

What other stories of escape would you recommmend?
**kmm

On their Lion Island, young people of Cuba dream and rebel, by Margarita Engle (book review)

book cover of Lion Island, by Margarita Engle, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comSongs for freedom,
words as power –
freedom from Spain, from slavery?

Did you know about Chinese immigrants who fled to Cuba, escaping racist attacks in America? They struggled for freedom from unfair indenture alongside enslaved Africans during the days when Cuba sought its independence from Spain – so many stories forgotten, lost, found, retold.

Look for this historical novel-in-verse at your local library or independent bookstore in hardcover or paperback.

Could you leave your homeland for safety, then leave again?
**kmm

Book info: Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words / Margarita Engle. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: At the confluence of Cuban, Chinese, and African cultures, poetic voices of three young people tell the stories of arrival and broken promises, despair and hope, love and the future during their island home’s early years as a nation.

To learn the proper Spanish that his Chinese mother never knew, Antonio’s African father sends him to school in La Habana city.

As he runs errands within the Chinese community for wealthy men displaced from California by anti-Asian prejudice in the post-Gold Rush years, the 12 year old meets twin sister and brother Fan and Wing.

Antonio hears stories of unfairness and change, falls in love with words, wonders if they have true power.

Fan runs away from the sugarcane fields, from forced marriage – to sing and write songs and sing true.

Wing remembers being forced from their California home, wants to help the rebels in Cuba’s mountains.

Months roll into years as the three young people help hide escaped slaves, read letters of protest sent to China and Madrid, long for power over their own lives.

Lyrically, poetically, alternating voices relate the struggles of indentured Chinese workers and enslaved African people fighting for their freedom in the 1870s as Cuba strives for independence from Spain.

Twin decisions = You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, by Rachel Lynn Solomon (book review)

book cover of You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGrandma died from this terrible disease,
Now their mother has it (rather, it has her in its grip) –
do the twins have Huntington’s Disease, too?

What a way to start their senior year, waiting on the genetic testing results… Both girls have their lives all mapped out, but what if this incurable neurological disease is part of their future, too?

Scroll down on this page to read the first chapter, by Adina, courtesy of the publisher, then ask for this January 2, 2018 release at your local library or independent bookstore.

Better to get the test and know for sure, or wait it out?
**kmm

Book info: You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone / Rachel Lynn Solomon. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Adina loves playing viola, Tovah takes AP courses for best pre-med college admission, and both twins worry about whether they’ll inherit the disease that’s stealing away their mother’s life – this genetic test at age 18 will be the pass/fail for life.

The Seattle teens may look alike, speaking Hebrew and English at home, but they are so different – Adina sharing her Israeli-born mother’s love of old movies, Tovah as big a Nirvana fan as her dad and with him drawn deeper into their Jewish faith.

When the test shows that Adina has Huntington’s disease and Tovah doesn’t, the gap between them begun by an earlier incident widens, and the sisters struggle through senior year separately – Adina ardently pursuing her music and her mid-20s viola tutor while Tovah waits anxiously for acceptance to Johns Hopkins and decides she may finally have time to be with artistic Zack.

As their mother’s neurological symptoms worsen, Adina becomes certain that hers will begin early.
As the university admissions office is stubbornly silent, Tovah wonders if her years of hard work were enough.

Told in alternating chapters by the sisters, this story of faith, hopelessness, and hope spans a year of loss and love.

Depression cured by baking 100 Days of Cake!? by Shari Goldhagen (book review)

book cover of 100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen published by Atheneum BfYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comLow-key job at pet store,
Golden Girls reruns for comfort,
should make anyone happy enough, except…

Mom’s offbeat depression remedy (“just bake the perfect cake!”), therapist’s soothing talk (and he is just so cute!), trying not to disappoint friend Elle and new co-worker Alex (but sometimes even putting on her sandals is too much effort) – Molly isn’t exactly reveling in her summer before senior year as depression digs its claws into her.

Find the May 2017 paperback or 2016 hardcover at your local library or independent bookstore to see how Molly copes with change, her bake-happy mom, and trying to throw off the crushing load of depression during all 100 Days of Cake.

When is it okay to pass on advice that might be more placebo than not?
**kmm

Book info: 100 Days of Cake / Shari Goldberg. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback).  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The waves of depression keep getting deeper for Molly during summer before senior year, as the Florida teen wishes that therapy really would help her, longs for her so-cute therapist, and wants everything to stop changing so she has time to get better.

Her successful hairdresser mom is certain that the 100 Cakes Challenge will perk up Molly, her best friend Elle is easing away, and FishTopia’s owner wants to sell out.

Without their job together, what will happen to her sorta-relationship with Alex?
How can she think about the SAT and college choices when she’s too tired, all the time?
Why can’t she just spend all day talking about music with dreamy Dr. B?

Ooey-Gooey Butter Cake (very gooey), Wedding Cake with Fondant (extra-lumpy), Asian Bubble Tea Cake (would her late dad like that one?) – one hundred cakes, one hundred summer days, one million chances to try again…

Her future? It Started With Goodbye! by Christina June (book review)

book cover of It Started With Goodbye by Christina June published by Blink | recommended on BooksYALove.comNot her fault!
Not fair!
Not the worst thing after all?

Tatum’s unwarranted ‘house arrest’ after (former?) BFF Ashlyn’s big mistake plus petsitting to pay the fine and all those community service hours sweltering outdoors… the only good things about this summer are her growing design business (and flirting with one particular client), getting to know Abby (so much ivy to eradicate!), and having grandma Blanche (how could uptight stepmother be this free spirit’s daughter?) at home.

Happy book birthday this week to It Started With Goodbye!

How to draw the line between supporting a friend and enabling them?
**kmm

Book info:  It Started With Goodbye / Christina June. Blink YA Books, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Attacking overgrown vines wasn’t Tatum’s plan for summer, but starting her design business online (and flirtatious emails with SK) might make ‘house arrest’ and community service a bit more bearable.

After her BFF’s bad judgment puts the Virginia teen completely under her rigid stepmother’s supervision while Dad is overseas, only pet-sitting or doing community service can get Tate out of the house shared with perfect stepsister Tilly, the ballet prodigy. Luckily, they don’t know how happy Tate is that Tilly’s grandmother Blanche is here for the summer.

Interesting to become friends with Abby and Hunter – will they ever act on their growing attraction?
Exciting that her TLC Design is getting clients online – who is SK and will she ever meet him?
Still sad that Ashlyn won’t acknowledge her part in that fiasco – will she ever answer Tate’s emails?

A bit magical having abuela Blanche on her side – almost like a Cinderella story!

Quick! find a Q name to reach 26 Kisses, by Anna Michels (book review)

book cover of 26 Kisses by Anna Michels published by Simon Pulse  | recommended on BooksYALove.comBreak-up recovery strategy #1:
Kiss boys,
Kiss lots and lots of boys!

“No one stays with their high school girlfriends,” he said.

Veda decides that kissing her way through the alphabet – with absolutely no attachments – will surely heal her broken heart this summer, until…

Find 26 Kisses at your local library now or pre-order the May 2017 paperback from your favorite independent bookstore.

How would you mend a broken heart?
**kmm

Book info: 26 Kisses / Anna Michels. Simon Pulse, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After Mark dumps her, Veda knows that summer in their Michigan resort town will just be agony. So that she doesn’t rebound into another relationship, best friend Mel suggests that Vee smooth out the painful edges by kissing 26 boys – one for each letter of the alphabet.

Top secret! Don’t tell anyone, especially their best friend Seth, who might be falling for Mel.
Don’t kiss the same guy twice! Only so many days of festivals and nights of lake beach parties before summer ends.
No attachments! Easy as cherry pie, until quirky co-worker Killian is so charming and funny and all.

Between Mel and Seth spending all their time working on music, Killian’s love for all things George Bernard Shaw, and her divorced parents’ weird dynamic, Veda still tries to keep it cool and kiss through 26 – will she make her goal with her friendships and dignity somewhat intact?