Tag Archive | politics

Y is for YOUR HEART, MY SKY, love despite starvation in Cuba, by Margarita Engle (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Your Heart, My Sky: Love in a Time of Hunger, by Margarita Engle. Published by Atheneum / Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Food is dwindling,
government rule tightens,
can people survive on hope alone?

Words feed your soul, but not the gnawing hunger across the island during el periodico especial en tiempos de paz in 1991, as the Soviet Union collapses and its food shipments to Cuba cease, starting a decade of starvation.

Out in the countryside, Liana is adopted by a brown dog who sings to the sky and helps the 14 year old find things to cook for her family. No, she won’t go to the government’s “summer camp” working in the sugarcane fields and leave her siblings to starve.

Neither will 15-year-old Amado, even though he’ll be an outcast in the village. If they knew his plan to evade military conscription, he’d be in prison with his brother who did the same. Constant hunger makes rebellious thoughts of freedom difficult, but he will persevere.

As the two young people try to fight their growing attraction, the singing dog called Paz does his best to nudge them together, knowing that they’ll be stronger together.

Can they grow any food without the government finding out?
Can hope alone sustain them as the police keep watch on Amado?
Should they also make a raft and try to escape to Miami?

Celebrate Poetry Month with this verse novel in three voices, by the author of Rima’s Rebellion (I recommended here).

To this day, Cuba imports most of its food – where do your representative and Senator stand on ending the decades-long US trade embargo?
**kmm

Book info: Your Heart, My Sky: Love in a Time of Hunger / Margarita Engle. Atheneum / Simon & Schuster, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

P is painting! P is president? BLAINE FOR THE WIN, by Robbie Couch (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Blaine for the Win, by Robbie Couch. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Dumped! In public!
On their anniversary!
Gotta win him back…

Blaine was sure that Joey was planning to ask him on a ritzy trip with his rich family, not break up on their one-year anniversary! The mural-painting junior doesn’t fit into senior Joey’s long-range plan to become the first out US President, since he’s “not a Serious guy” like Blaine’s classmate Zach.

Well, Blaine will show Joey that he’s serious – he’ll run for Senior class president! His best friend Trish says she’ll be his campaign manager, her girlfriend Camilla will help too (between interning at the Field Museum with dinosaur bones).

His loving, workaholic parents support him, as does his biggest fan Aunt Starr who’s living with them between jobs – best company ever on these long, no-Joey nights.

Whoa, so many requirements to get onto the ballot: 50 junior classmates’ signatures in two days, a speech to the 94-member student council, then a debate between the highest-ranked candidates in front of the whole school!

Trish helps Blaine stand out from the other candidates – he asks fellow students to talk to him, instead of telling them why he’s great. So many concerns that center around stress and mental health issues…

And cute Dannie, whose aloe vera plant was a casualty when Blaine literally ran into him on the sidewalk, joins the group as his dad’s coffeehouse in their Chicago neighborhood becomes their campaign headquarters, complete with amazing Vietnamese pastries.

Can he really make a difference for his classmates?
Will he win back Joey if he wins the race?
Where did his passion for painting murals go?

Easy-going Blaine shifts his focus from big murals to the big picture and finds out what’s really important to him.

When did you step out of your comfort zone?
**kmm

Book info: Blaine for the Win / Robbie Couch. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

IN DEEPER WATERS, treachery & secrets! #YALit by F. T. Lukens (book review)

book cover of In Deeper Waters, by F. T. Lukens.Published by Margaret McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Alliances fray,
Loyalty must be earned,
Magic is always evil… or is it?

Prince Tal’s celebratory 16th birthday journey through the realm finally takes him away from the palace where he’s been hidden since his fire magic manifested – the same dread magic as his great-grandfather who wielded it to trying to conquer kingdoms that Harth is still paying reparations to.

But before the first port of call, the youngest royal son rescues a prisoner from a burning ship, sees the handsome young man lost overboard in rough seas, and discovers him days later in the port town! How?

Tal is drawn to Athlen who can sense the prince’s magic and has his own secrets – so that’s why he didn’t drown at sea! How right it feels when they’re together… each the last one with their special powers.

When attackers try to make the prince’s magic flare out in public, the young men flee and are kidnapped by pirates! Every hour away from the shore weakens Athlen, but they absolutely must reach the Queen before Tal’s sister weds the prince of Ossetia!

Who wants to destroy the Queen’s peace treaties?
What keeps Athlen tied to the sea?
Can they escape the pirates and stay together?

Secrets upon secrets in this fast-paced adventure / love story! Read an excerpt here for free.

How far would you travel to help someone you love?
**kmm

Book Info: In Deeper Waters / F. T. Lukens. Margaret McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & 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

Y is for Yay, it’s finally time for AudioSYNC Summer!

Yes, yes, yes! AudioSYNC summer starts today! Every Thursday, we’ll have a one-week opportunity to download – free – 2 complete professionally-produced audiobooks with a theme in common.

With the free Sora app on your device, you’ll be able to “read with your ears” for as long as you keep the downloaded audiobooks! The FAQs here tell you how to set up Sora and connect it to the AudioSYNC library.

Sign up here for reminders of each week’s new selections or just stay tuned to BooksYALove.com where I’ll introduce each book pair with links every Thursday through July 29.

CD cover of Come On In, anthology edited by Ali Alsaid. Published by Recorded Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Come On In: 15 stories about immigration and finding home (free download on Sora 4/29-5/5/2021)

by Adi Alsaid [Ed.] | Read by Amielynn Abellera, Jonathan Todd Ross, Katherine Littrell, Leila Buck, Maria Liatis, Sneha Mathan

Yes! I recommended this collection of short stories writing by YA authors who are immigrants or children of immigrants during April 2021 here on BooksYALove – don’t miss the audio version with narrations in many voices and accents.

CD cover of Illegal: Disappeared, book 2, by Francisco X. Stork. Published by Scholastic Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Illegal: Disappeared, book 2 (free download on Sora 4/29-5/5/2021)

by Francisco X. Stork | Read by Roxana Ortega, Christian Barillas

The siblings seeking to escape Mexico in Disappeared are now across the US border – Sara waits in a detention facility to hear if her application for asylum has been approved while Emiliano is still on the run from both US authorities and the cartel members trying to stop him from exposing their trafficking activities.

This week’s AudioSYNC theme is “After Crossing the Border” – what happens next?
**kmm

I is immigration stories: COME ON IN, ed. by Adi Alsaid (YA book review)

book cover of Come On In: 15 Stories About Immigration and Finding Home, ed. by Ali Alsaid. Published by Inkyard Press-Harlequin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Being uprooted,
Growing in a different place,
Wondering if this is the right spot or not…

Since the earliest days of this country, people have arrived ‘from away’ in waves and trickles, immigrants with high academic credentials or no shoes on their feet, all seeking a better place.

Detained by TSA, keeping diaries of now and then, “where are you really from?” – these 15 stories by noted young adult authors who are themselves immigrants or children of immigrants illustrate the many facets of moving away and starting anew.

“The Wedding” of two Americans must be held in Canada so great-uncle from Iran may attend – travel ban keeping old man and his older brother from seeing each other for years.

High school in New Jersey is so different from Bombay that Priya cannot speak aloud, even as her little brother’s new hearing aids open up the world for him, in “First Words.”

Her grandparents finally have visas from Venezuela, but Valentina’s lost all her Spanish – how will they even communicate? “Hard to Say”…

Short story contributors include Adi Alsaid, Varsha Bajaj, Maria E. Andreu, Sharon Morse, Misa Sugiura, Nafiza Azad, Maurene Goo, Sona Charaipotra, Yamile Saied Méndez, Zoraida Córdova, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Sara Farizan, Isabel Quintero, Justine Larbalestier, and Lilliam Rivera.

How do we welcome people and invite them to come on in?
**kmm

Book Info: Come On In: 15 Stories About Immigration and Finding Home / Adi Alsaid, editor. Inkyard Press, 2020. (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

F is four friends FACING THE SUN & big changes, by Janice Lynn Mather (YA book review)

book cover of Facing the Sun, by Janice Lynn Mather. Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Poems and stories and whispers,
Secrets and revelations and sorrows,
Good friends can endure them together… right?

Eldest of five, Eve is so tired of chasing after siblings, being the perfect pastor’s daughter, awash in her parents’ worries about losing the church to developers and something about her father’s health that they won’t tell her. Singing with Toons in the perfect acoustics of that small building is harmony and peace and maybe a little more.

Her single mom keeps Nia on such a short rope, claiming that an all-girls summer arts camp just across the bay wouldn’t be safe, that she needs to read every story before they print the neighborhood newspaper. Borrowing a song heard in the sea-grove as the poem for her camp application could be Nia’s ticket to some breathing room this summer.

Faith’s mother is getting further from reality, and trying to balance homework and dance lessons at her sister’s studio and maybe liking Toons and getting home to keep Mummy safe while her father works late is pulling Faith apart. She doesn’t live on Pinder Street like most of her school-friends, but it hits hard to find out that Daddy’s down there, saying the neighbors have no rights to go onto the beach anymore.

Keekee wonders why she’s the one getting grief from their mom when it’s Toons who’s stepping around with Faith and Eve and Paulette. Her songs channel some of the sting from neighbors’ scorn, those who don’t understand that Angel’s home laundry business supports folks who can’t afford to go to the clinic for condoms or period products.

What’s good about fencing off the beach and tearing down the church so rich people can stay at yet another Bahamas hotel?
Who set the church building on fire as protest?
Where is Toons? Where?

Ties between friends and families twist and tangle in this beachside neighborhood where change seems all-peril, little promise. A tale told in the voices of all four friends, from the Bahamian-Canadian author of Learning to Breathe (my no-spoiler review here).

How do you make yourself brave enough to face changes?
**kmm

Book info: Facing the Sun / Janet Lynn Mather. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Vampires, BRASS CARRIAGES & GLASS HEARTS, by Nancy Campbell Allen (book review)

book cover of Brass Carriages and Class Hearts, by Nancy Campbell Allen. Published by Shadow Mountain | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A menacing letter,
a dashing detective –
she cannot stop in her quest for justice!

Emme firmly believes that shape-shifters have the same rights as every other person – most of those transformed for 3 days by each full moon are no danger to anyone.

Detective Oliver Reed has arrested the young woman more than once in London during her protests against new restrictive laws, and Emme’s so-elegant stepsisters are dismissive of her new role as regional spokesperson for the International Shape-Shifter Rights Organization.

As the ISRO Summit in Edinburgh nears, Emme receives a credible death threat, Detective Reed is assigned as her bodyguard, and near-accidents become frequent.

Who is trying to stop Emme from speaking at the Summit?
Can Emme and Oliver deny their growing attraction?

A fascinating steampunk world of automaton, airships, vampires, and Tesla lights, with a smattering of story elements from the Cinderella tale, this August 4, 2020 release stands on its own among the author’s ‘retellings’ under the Proper Romance banner.

Where are you standing up for the rights of the oppressed?
**kmm

Book info: Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts: a Steampunk Cinderella (Proper Romance) / Nancy Campbell Allen. Shadow Mountain, 2020. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Dare she tell THE STORY THAT CANNOT BE TOLD? by J. Kasper Kramer (book review)

book cover of The Story That Cannot Be Told, by J. Kasper Kramer. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Leader knows everything,
all must follow his new rules,
everything of the past must be erased!

“History is written by the victors,” goes the saying, but Ileana’s beloved uncle doesn’t believe that’s true and goes missing after a story critical of Romania’s Communist government goes public in 1989.

The teen’s parents whisk her out of the city, to her grandparents’ mountain village, hopefully far away from the secret police who have eyes and ears on every street corner.

In her knapsack is the notebook of stories she’s collected – old ones about the beautiful city before the Leader ruined it, older ones about her namesake princess, new ones from her uncle. Now she can add the stories about her own mother and the villagers as told by Mamaie and Tataie.

Weeks pass without word from her parents, but when strangers settle at the village inn, everyone knows this may be the last harvest festival before the government takes absolutely everything they have.

Can Ileana and her new schoolmates find a way to stop them?
What clues from the tale of Cunning Ileana might help?
Are her parents safe or have they been taken like her uncle?

Like the villagers’ tale of the White Wolf who saves the mountain people, Ileana wants her story to save those she loves… if she can.

When have you taken the truth to those who need it most?
**kmm

Book info: The Story That Cannot Be Told / J. Kasper Kramer. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Might rethink those partnerships! Chilling audiobooks…

A deal with the Devil!?
Are the police ignoring evidence?
Are you sure this partnership is on the up-and-up?

Hope you’ve already downloaded the Sora app on your phone or tablet and selected Audiobooksync as your public library there so you can quickly download and save a scary story or two from this week’s free selections.

Each pair of professionally produced audiobooks is available from Thursday morning to Wednesday night – the full calendar with selections and summaries is here.

CD cover of Faust,  by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read by Samuel West, Toby Jones, Anna Maxwell Martin, Stephen Critchlow, Derek Jacobi, Daniel Mair. Published by Naxos AudioBooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Faust (download here May 14-20, 2020)

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read by Samuel West, Toby Jones, Anna Maxwell Martin, Stephen Critchlow, Derek Jacobi, Daniel Mair. Published by Naxos AudioBooks

When the Devil offers a scholar the chance for a life filled with pleasure and power, Faust willingly gives up his soul.

But later he has second thoughts. Can one outwit the Devil?

CD cover of Stalking Jack the Ripper,  by Kerri Maniscalco, Read by Nicola Barber. Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Stalking Jack the Ripper (download here May 14-20, 2020

by Kerri Maniscalco, Read by Nicola Barber. Published by Hachette Audio

Secretly assisting her uncle in his forensic lab, wealthy teen heiress Audrey encounters all the maimed corpses attributed to the Ripper. What secret clues might they find?

What too-good-to-be-true opportunity have you gladly passed up?
**kmm