Tag Archive | school

As her ancestors did, she will fight – R For Rebel, by J. Anderson Coats (book review)

book cover of R Is For Rebel, by J. Anderson Coats. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.comParents banished forever,
a life of servitude ahead for her,
acquiesce to the invaders’ plans or fight back?

Taking children from their families, reducing persons devoted to the land’s health for generations to become merely indentured workers, erasing any and every hint of the native language and traditions – typical actions of invading forces…

Read the first chapter as Malley is dragged away to the invaders’ school (preparing her to be a house servant, if she toes the line) here free, courtesy of the publisher, then visit your local library or independent bookstore to see how she deals with its restrictions as she looks for ways to escape.

This historical fiction playing out in a country which doesn’t exist in our history is as satisfying as the author’s The Wicked and the Just (recommended here) set in 12th century Wales, both featuring strong young women who fight against conquerors who invaded their homelands.

How do you rebel against injustice without endangering others?
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Book info: R is for Rebel / J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Imprisoned at the conquerors’ brainwashing school, Malley seeks ways to fight back like her Melian grandparents did without endangering her chambermates or being sent to the workhouse – small errors equal demerits, rebellion means death… but she feels so dead locked indoors, away from the fields and forests and honest work.

The Wealdan Empire forbids every tradition that made Malley’s life good – hair braided by family pattern, songs celebrating resistance fighters by name and deed, the very names that connect her to her history – but the young woman finds secret picture messages showing that another rebel is here.

How can Malley find others willing to risk rebellion, when every girl is urged to report the tiniest infraction made by another?

Why was she given the part of that butchering General Cur in the play that the girls must perform for Wealdan officials?

Hearing whispered encouragement from her storied name-kin Mallianne in dreams during the darkest nights, perhaps Malley can find an opportunity for rebellion, redemption, escape!

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.

Only those of The Select will survive! by Marit Weisenberg (book review)

book cover of Select, by Marit Weisenberg, published by Charlesbridge Teen| recommended on BooksYALove.comSmarter, faster,
biologically better in all ways –
is her family more than human?

Unlike her stepsister, daredevil Julia isn’t perfect, hangs out with the not-perfect boy ‘cousins’ and is exiled to public school for letting outsiders see their superhuman strength.

Pretending to be less-strong, less-smart, less-amazing is second nature – but what if she wants to be herself with John?

Look for this first book in The Select series at your local library or independent bookstore, as well as just-released book 2, Select Few.

**kmm

Book info: Select (Select, book 1) / Marit Weisenberg. Charlesbridge Teen, 2017 [author Facebook]  [publisher site]  [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Sent to public school as punishment, Julia discovers that her ‘family talents’ hide a deep secret that the Austin teen may not want to be part of, but does she have a choice?

Her descent from elite untouchable was abrupt after the dumb dare that got Julia and the guys she’s known forever noticed by the police, but is being ignored at a new school (and having to fake being merely outstanding at tennis) any worse than being scorned by her family group?

They heal overnight, run faster and farther than anyone else, sense trends before everyone else – but are those the only talents shared by her extended family?

When she starts sensing John’s thoughts at school, Julia becomes convinced that her charismatic father has been hiding much from the younger family members – but why?

As their feelings grow, Julia knows that she must protect John and his family from hers – but is it too late?

On ghosts, in the laundry – Sheets, by Brenna Thummler (book review)

book cover of Sheets, by Brenna Thummler. Published by Cub House/Lion Forge | recommended on BooksYALove.com Mom’s gone forever,
Dad’s drifting…
where did this ghost come from?

Junior high has enough challenges, but now Marjorie has to make sure her little brother eats (not just junk food) and run the laundry business by herself.

Maybe having a ghost around is better than dealing with the local man trying to cheat her out of their house/laundromat!

Find this August 2018 book at your local library or independent bookstore or comic shop.

Any ghosts you’d like to meet?
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Book info: Sheets / Brenna Thummler. Cub House/Lion Forge, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A schoolgirl in mourning and a tale-telling new ghost unexpectedly meet in this graphic novel that explores endings and beginnings.

Marjorie keeps the family laundry going when her father cannot cope. Never mind that she should be concentrating on her junior high assignments instead of “no starch, get that spot out, I need it today” customers – or Mr. Saubertuck’s demands that she sell out so he can build a yoga spa in their small Pennsylvania town.

Wendell brings a new story to every DYE meeting, but still isn’t ready to share with the other ghosts how he died. Never mind that it’s forbidden to even walk near the train connecting the worlds of living and dead – or to sneak a ride and arrive wind-blown in Marjorie’s laundry.

Ghosts aren’t real! If they were, Marjorie’s mother would have drifted by to comfort her little brother and dad, of course.

So how can Marjorie see little-boy-ghost Wendell?

Why could Wendell get back to the living world?

Why can’t he remember what’s important about this lakeside town?

As Halloween approaches and Mr. Saubertuck pressures Marjorie to sell their home and business, maybe a young ghost with holes in his memory and a young woman with a huge hole in her heart can find a way to heal together.

Real or not? Search for the Homestead Treasure, by Ann Treacy (book review)

book cover of Search for the Homestead Treasure, by Ann Treacy. Published by University of Minnesota Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comA family treasure,
a family tragedy –
which will drive his family’s future?

Not easy for Martin, moving from his town school, learning how to farm, being the man of the house at 14.

If he can just figure out the clues in his great-aunt’s diary and find the “dowry” brought by his grandmother from Sweden, then he can save his father’s last family connection and the farm from foreclosure.

Find this 2016 historical mystery at your local library or independent bookstore.

What’s your family’s treasure?
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Book info: The Search for the Homestead Treasure / Ann Treacy. University of Minnesota Press, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A year – that’s how long Martin will help Pa on the long-abandoned family farm in 1903 before he goes back to town, unless they locate its rumored treasure first.

An eternity – every heartbeat since their brother Dan died, when Ma lost her spark and Aunt Ida came to make sure Martin and little Lilly were cared for.

The summer months – how long the 14-year-old can sleep in the hayloft and read great-aunt Cora’s diary, hoping to find clues about what her mother brought to the frontier from Sweden before the war and hid in the doll house.

A fleeting moment – when Martin truly believes he can prepare the land for crops without Pa’s help, when he and Gypsy boy Samson can laugh about baseball, when he imagines finding the treasure to save the farm.

Samson becomes a good friend, the Barker boys are bullies, and Mr. Meehan wants to foreclose on the farm to snuff out Pa’s dream in the Minnesota prairie land where Martin searches for his family’s treasure.

Hope the journey is worth it for Charlie and Me: 421 Miles from Home, by Mark Lowery (book review)

US book cover of Charlie and Me, by Mark Lowery, published by Yellow Jacket Books| recommended on BooksYALove.com

US cover

UK book cover of Charlie and Me, by Mark Lowery, published by Yellow Jacket Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

UK cover

It was the best vacation their family ever had,
Charlie loved the dolphins, Martin loved the sea…
Just have to go back, recapture the good times!

Most middle grade guys wouldn’t voluntarily take their very individual younger brother on a very long train trip, but Martin isn’t most guys: his extremely different brother has been his annoyance and best friend since Charlie’s premature birth ten years ago.

So if Charlie would be happiest seeing the dolphins again at the seacoast hundreds of miles away, then that’s what Martin will do! No need to involve ever-sad Mum and always-working Dad – not the same since that vacation…

Us or UK cover – which do you prefer for this journey saga?
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Book info: Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home / Mark Lowery. Yellow Jacket Books (Bonnier), 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Getting back to the Cornwall seaside town where they saw the dolphins will make Charlie so happy that 13-year-old Martin takes all his savings, puts their favorite Christmas cookie tin in his pack, and heads to the train station with his neurologically special little brother – later, they’ll update their parents…

If the Dolphinwatch app is correct, they can get to the coast just in time…
As long as the railway police don’t stop them, like Mum and Dad would have if Martin had told them his plans…

Will the Angry Girl they meet on the third train (or maybe fourth) help them or not?
What if they run out of money on the way or Charlie has another asthma attack?
Can Martin really pull this off for his best-bud, pain-in-the-youknowwhat, dolphin-obsessed little brother?

Each chapter begins with the distance traveled (mostly in the right direction) and one of Martin’s poems as the two brothers traverse England on this singular journey.

Teen tales of Love & Profanity, bullying, friendship, and more (book review)

hardback book cover of Love & Profanity, edited by Nick Healy et al. Published by Switch Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comTeen angst and adoration,
family, friends, love, work –
40 true stories from authors you know and authors you’ll want to meet.

The book’s subtitle explains it all: “a Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life” and its subject index includes Stories about… Authority Figures, Being Sneaky, Friends-Bad, Friends-Good, and much more.

You can find this eclectic book at your local library or independent bookstore as the 2015 hardcover or 2016 paperback (2 different covers).

What personal story would you be bold enough to share?
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Book info: Love and Profanity: a Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life / edited by Nick Healy, with Kristen Mohn, Nate LeBoutillier, and Lindsy O’Brien. Switch Press, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback) [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Writers share vignettes from their teen years in this collection of autobiographical short stories, ranging from mild to wild, mundane to life-altering, divided into four “Love and” sections – profanity, physics, madness, and apologies.

By including YA authors we recognize like Kwame Alexander, Carrie Mesrobian, and Jon Scieszka alongside new-to-us writers like essayist Joey Franklin and science writer Esther Porter, we see a wide range of teen experiences from different genders and sexualities, regions of the US, economic and social conditions, and family configurations.

The subject index itself portrays teenage life, noting Stories About… Being Helpful (or Not), Bullying, Cars, Crushes, Romance Gone Wrong, Siblings, Struggling to Fit In, Working, and much more.

Prophecy? really… My So-Called Bollywood Life, by Nisha Sharma (book review)

book cover of My So-Called Bollywood Life, by Nisha Sharma, published by Crown Books for Young Readers| recommended on BooksYALove.comChair the prestigious student film festival,
Attend NYU Film School with the love of her life…
then it all falls apart!!

Raj knows the prophecy, knows that he’s Winnie’s destined true love – so why is he with Jenny?!

Why does he get to chair the film festival when Winnie needs that honor on her film school applications?

Wait, is her best friend keeping secrets now? Is her own Bollywood movie-loving life suddenly a dud?

Meet Winnie as you read the first chapter free on the publisher’s website, then head for your local library or independent bookstore to see if her prophesied true love bursts into her life in the best Bollywood movie tradition!

Any prophecies come true for you?
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Book info: My So-Called Bollywood Life / Nisha Sharma. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Meet her great love before she turn 18? Ha! When Winnie finds “perfect boyfriend” Raj with another girl, all she has left for their senior year is Film Club, but their new advisor is taking Raj’s ideas instead of hers!

Not the Film Festival chair this year? She needs that on her resume for NYU Film School application!

Her writing about great Bollywood movies will never be a career? Raj is such a jerk!

Could Dev be the one prophesied for her? Winnie’s birthday is getting nearer, but she doesn’t want to rush…

Dramatic events at the Festival fundraiser dance have the whole school abuzz, the Indian community in their New Jersey town wonders about the prophesy, and Winnie must use the best of Bollywood’s plot twists to make everything turn out right.

Rapists called to justice by The Nowhere Girls, by Amy Reed (book review)

book cover of The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGang-raped her and made sure no one believed her.
Bragging online and planning their next moves…
Popularity won’t save these guys any more!

Moving to a new town during high school is no fun, but when Grace discovers that the girl who lived in this house was forced to move away because her rapists were popular guys and that the same guys are targeting other girls, she’s determined to find a way to stop them.

Read chapter one on the publisher’s website (free) as this story begins in the middle, after Lucy is assaulted and before The Nowhere Girls take action to stop sexual attackers from ruining lives in their school and community.

Relevant, so very relevant now…

Your standing up for a vital issue moment?
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Book info: The Nowhere Girls / Amy Reed. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When Grace learns that the popular guys who gang-raped Lucy are still preying on girls and bragging about it online, she wants justice for the girl they shamed out of their small Oregon town and safety for the girls still here, but how?

With new friends Rosina (loves girls and punk music, not her uncle’s Mexican restaurant) and Erin (loves marine biology and Star Trek, feels like an android), they form the “Nowhere Girls” and anonymously invite every girl at Prescott High to resist the toxic sexist culture that has no consequences for the guys.

Can they warn girls in surrounding towns about these guys?
How can they convince adults that these assaults are real crimes?
What if no one comes to the secret meeting?

Breaking the dangerous status quo, creating solidarity among teen girls for safety – it’s time that The Nowhere Girls were everywhere!

The raiders are coming! Evangelina Takes Flight with her family, by Diana J. Noble (book review)

book cover of Evangelina Takes Flight, by Diana J. Noble, published by Pinata Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com Pancho Villa‘s rebels are coming!
Carry what you can and flee – or be killed!
But refugees aren’t welcomed when they cross into Texas…

So much for 13-year-old Evangelina to cope with now – a girl trying to steal her suitcase on the train (with grandfather’s secret box inside!), store signs in the Texas town that say “No Mexicans” (where can they buy food?), and wondering if they can ever go home to Mexico (is anyone safe there?).

The story is set in 1911, but many things still resonate today in the borderlands.
**kmm

Book info: Evangelina Takes Flight / Diana J. Noble. Pinata Books/Arte Publico Press, 2017. [author Facebook]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Pancho Villa and his rebel soldiers are coming? As big sister celebrates her quinceanera before the family flees their northern Mexico rancho, Evangelina worries about little Tomas’ recovering so slowly from a scorpion sting, whether grandfather can travel north with them, what they will find at her aunt’s house in Texas.

By mule wagon, with the men herding their best cattle on another trail, Evangelina’s mother gets the children to the crowded train station, but the journey onward is anything but smooth, and the Texas border town holds no welcome for refugees.

Why is wailing woman La Llorona coming into her dreams?
Will the townspeople’s prejudice keep her and Dr. Taylor from saving lives?
What is in the box grandfather gave her for safekeeping?

Evangelina might even be brave enough to attend the town meeting where rich white people are demanding that only white children can attend the school!