Identical twins share so much –
genetics, mindset, memories,
even a baby…
Crystal and Amber have promised each other that they’ll graduate and get out of this terrible neighborhood, for baby Natalie’s sake. No way that college is even possible, let alone one for auto restoration, Crystal’s ultimate dream career.
Find Speed of Life at your local library or favorite independent bookstore to see if the twins can make it out of their low-rent, low expectations neighborhood… together.
When have you reached far, far for a dream?
Book info: Speed of Life / J.M. Kelly. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: It’ll take both Crystal and Amber to raise the unexpected baby, keep up with school and work, and become the first women in their hard-scrabble family to ever graduate from high school – that’s the plan, that’s the promise.
But the twins didn’t expect that Crystal’s good grades and love of auto restoration might give her a chance to go further than a decent apartment in a less-bad part of Portland.
Or that working full-time at their aunt’s tavern would be more appealing to Amber than staying in school, where the childcare center allowed them both time to work.
Or the cute guy at the body shop would help Crystal get ready for the SAT, not knowing about baby Natalie or the sisters’ struggle to make ends meet.
Sloane’s best friend is pregnant!
By Sloane’s boyfriend!
Oh, leaving town is definitely an excellent idea!!
Even with a broken hand from punching Tyler in the nose, she can enjoy the beach with her twin brother at Mom’s house in Hawai’i, pretend she doesn’t care about her former friends (girl- and boy-) in Seattle (if they would please quit texting and calling and emailing with excuses for why it happened!), and start over as just Sloane, instead of eternally being half of a duo.
She didn’t plan on an attraction to Finn that maybe might be more than a summer fling… on the beach, you’ve got to watch out for the biggest waves.
Have you ever re-invented yourself when moving to a new place?
Book info: Summer of Sloane / Erin L. Schneider. Disney Hyperion, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: When Sloane’s best friend Mick gets pregnant by Sloane’s boyfriend, the Seattle teen is more than ready to head to Mom’s Hawai’i home and try to find her true self with no summer romance! Swim lessons for scared-of-water young Luce are doable, even with her wrist cast, but staying away from her big brother Finn is nearly impossible.
Punching Tyler in the nose? Satisfying, if hand-breaking.
Ignoring texts from him and Mick? Difficult, but necessary.
Falling for Finn? Uh-oh…
As her Hawai’i pal Mia declares it “the summer of Sloane” to reinvent herself as single and happy, she tries to shut out the past, even as Finn is reminded of it always by his aloof father. And the days of summer count down, one by one…
Be a “good girl” until married? (unlike her own mom)
Go to college? (unlike her immigrant parents)
Do anything to be popular? (unlike…hmmm)
Gabi feels pulled apart by all the different demands of her mom, her teachers, her very-Mexican friends, her be-more-white schoolmates, society’s get-skinny-now-fat-girl messages – what’s going to come out on top during her senior year?
How do you stay strong against societal pressure?
Book info: Gabi, a Girl in Pieces / Isabel Quintero. Cinco Puntos Books, 2015. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher, via Edelweiss.
My book talk: Conflicting messages from family, friends, and society leave Gabi wondering if she can truly achieve her dreams or if she must conform to the expectations of her Mexican heritage in Southern California.
As her senior year begins, Gabi still wants to lose weight, have a normal family, and have a boyfriend (and a first kiss!). Instead, she copes with her best friend’s unintended pregnancy, her meth-head father’s random appearances, and the fallout of her other best friend finally coming out to his very traditional Mexican family.
Creative writing class becomes an unexpected source of joy in her life, a distraction from the escapades of her younger brother (always overlooked by their mom, who is so critical of Gabi) and the overlong visit of her busybody aunt.
A first kiss – hooray! Macho heartbreaker – boo!
Supporting Cindy through morning sickness – not fun. Working with Martin on poetry – much better!
All the drama with mom and dad – so bad. A chance to attend prom with a real boyfriend – excellent!
Will Gabi be able to escape her mother’s unending lectures on staying ‘a good girl’ and go to college away from this stuffy town? Read her honest journal to find out. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
“If you loved me, you would…”
“No, it’s not my problem.”
“Do as we say, not as we say we believe.”
Grace still can’t believe that she’s pregnant (first time and with a condom… what luck), that her parents have disowned her for not aborting (their reputation is at stake), that the neighborly lady who rescued her is an heiress and Auschwitz survivor, or that sweet great-nephew Charlie thinks her one and only mistake is forgivable.
What other novels dealing with difficult decisions have you read lately?
Book info: Screwed / Laurie Plissner. Merit Press, 2013. [author blog] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: After a one-night stand leaves shy Grace pregnant, disowned, and distraught, the unexpected kindness of a rich widow and her cute great-nephew give her hope.
Grace’s pregnancy could be a blessing for a childless couple, but her conservative parents kick her out of the house for not having an abortion.
Mrs. Teitelbaum opens her enormous home and loving heart to Grace, ensuring that the 17 year old has good medical care and adoption counseling.
But how can Mrs. T’s great-nephew Charlie treat his new classmate Grace like a nice person after her terrible sin?
The healing comfort of friends who become family underpins this strong debut novel about hard decisions and consequences.
But having such a surplus of unused earth-orbiting luxury cruise ships that one can be repurposed into a school for unwed mothers? That definitely puts this book into sci fi category (aliens as high school teachers and vid-ads targeted to your personal nutritional and health needs are just bonus!)
You can find Elvie’s rather offbeat pregnancy journey at your local library or independent bookstore as it’s a 2012 release (still waiting on publication date for book 2).
Anyone you know been abducted by aliens lately?
My Book Talk: Elvie wanted to go into space, but as part of the Mars colonization project, not as a pregnant teen in the first-ever low-orbit high school for unwed mothers… Getting attacked by paramilitaries wasn’t part of the plan either, but Elvie still has some brains despite the Bump.
She’s been planning her whole life to travel everywhere, like her mom didn’t get to do, dying when Elvie was born, leaving behind a huge book of maps with notes about future family trips. Her dad has an emergency plan for absolutely any possible (or improbable) event and decides that Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers is just the place for her; he obviously didn’t know that Elvie’s nemesis in the Class of 2076 would be part of the school’s first group, too.
And the baby’s daddy? Vanished into thin air as soon as Elvie told him the news. Thankfully, she has best-friend-for-life Ducky as backup; that guy is so dorky about researching pregnancy stuff. Too bad he’s on Earth, and Elvie’s in orbit with snooty cheerleader Britta, who got pregnant a couple of weeks before her. No, Elvie won’t tell her that Cole fathered both babies; she doesn’t have a death wish.
When an unexpected ship docks onto the space cruise liner, Hanover is boarded by paramilitary forces…including Cole, who tells Elvie that her teachers are aliens and that their babies aren’t exactly their own anymore. She decides her baby belongs on Earth when it’s born in a few weeks, so she and the other very-pregnant teens waddle through escape routes and try to sabotage the aliens’ plans along the way.
If the teachers are aliens, what are the paramilitary guys?
Should Elvie believe the handsome hunk who knocked her up and left town?
Will there be any chocolate-pretzel-caramel-prenatal ice cream left in the snack center?
In this first book of the Ever-Expanding Universe series, Elvie’s life changes drastically in a short time; the rest of Earth’s population is in for a big surprise as well!
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