Tag Archive | sisters

Her talents rejected? ‘Tis A SEASON MOST UNFAIR! by J. Anderson Coats (Middle grade book review)

cover image of A Season Most Unfair / J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Candlemaking is hot, stinky work, but Scholastica helps her father render the tallow and twist the wicks and dip the candles until they’re just right. Her loving stepmother can’t have children or bend down with her leg brace, so Tick has worked with Papa since she was tiny.

This year Tick is old enough to mold the Agnus Dei charms for travelers’ safety, using pricy beeswax and expensive paints. The charms sell well at the Stourbridge Fair, and Papa can’t see well enough now to paint their fine details.

So why does Papa think he needs an apprentice?!

Tick doesn’t care that Henry’s father and Papa are friends – how will an inexperienced boy help make enough candles to sell to get them through the bitter winter?

If only she can get some beeswax and make the charms…
If only she can find a way to Stourbridge Fair…
If only she can be sure that Papa still loves her enough…

There are joys among the hardships of living in medieval England, and Tick just wants to do the job that makes her happy!

By the author of The Night Ride, recommended here: https://booksyalove.com/?p=13684

What task did you like to help your family with when you were younger?
**kmm

Book info: A Season Most Unfair / J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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.

It’s not fair! Teens incite THE PEACH REBELLION post-WWII, by Wendelin Van Draanen (YA book review)

book cover of The Peach Rebellion, by Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Over a decade since coming to California during the Dust Bowl days, her tiny brothers dying of sickness and buried under a creekside tree north of here, and folks are still calling Ginny Rose’s family “Okies” after World War II, despite all their hard work.

After her first day working at the peach cannery, a flat bike tire detours the 17 year old to Peggy’s peach farm where she meets banker’s daughter Lisette.

Wow, Papa and Mama tell Ginny Rose to keep half her wages for new school clothes and her future! Her sister Anna Mae is aghast at the idea of being left behind with their deeply depressed mother

Peggy’s big sister opens the teen’s eyes to truths about the family peach farm, very unwelcome facts that explain why Doris hasn’t brought her baby back to visit.

Lisette’s fancy new house? Her father’s bank foreclosed on his good friend’s house, then the banker bought it instead of stopping the seizure?!

Ginny Rose discovers Babyland in the cemetery, where the tiniest children are buried – could she bring her little brothers here, for good?

The three teens from very different parts of society find a common purpose as Peggy and Lisette decide to help Ginny Rose on her quest!

Told in alternating chapters by Ginny Rose and Peggy during the sweltering summer of 1947.

Which friends would help you with a challenge?
**kmm

Book info: The Peach Rebellion / Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf /PRH, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

You know you can LEAN ON ME! by Bill Withers & Rachel Moss (Picturebook review)

book cover of Lean On Me / Bill Withers; illustrated by Rachel Moss. Published by LyricPop/ Akashic Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Four young friends in a seaside town help each other through good times and bad in this brand-new picturebook version of Bill Withers‘ classic song.

“Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s
Always tomorrow”

From bike mishaps and fort-building fails in elementary school to growing up through family problems to their graduation day, each verse of the song underscores how these friends care for one another.

“Lean on me
When you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on…”

Whether grownups and kiddos sing along through this upbeat book or read it using Withers’ inimitable rhythms, Lean On Me will become a family read-aloud favorite!

Happy book birthday to the newest LyricPop picturebook in the series introducing classic pop songs to a new generation, like Dream Weaver (recommended here) and Good Times Roll (more here).

Who can you lean on?
**kmm

Book info: Lean On Me / Bill Withers; illustrated by Rachel Moss. LyricPop/ Akashic Books, 2023. [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Oracle’s prophecy, a WOLFISH connection – danger! by Christiane M. Andrews (MG book review)

book cover of Wolfish, by Christiane M. Andrews. Published by Little Brown | recommended on BooksYALove.com

In their cave of mists, Oracle and Apprentice tell the future, but young Alba won’t repeat the waters’ most dismal words to rob poor peasants of a little hope.

Alas, Alba does speak truth to one boy, eleventh in the royal succession and suddenly the new king, about his joyless reign being cut short by his sibling and a beast.

Later visions show her that the king’s mother soon after birthed twins who were swiftly taken from the palace, yet all are told that her child was stillborn … where were the king’s siblings taken?

In the mountains, little Rae helps her adoptive parents watch their sheep, growing strong on their love and sunshine and Mop’s songs.

In the forest, a wolf-child learns to hunt and revel in the scents around him, as furred and swift-running as his litter-mates.

At the cave entrance, a young priest guarding them at night reluctantly teaches Alba how to write, and she records her vision of the twins for the priests’ library.

One day, Rae sings the song she senses in hillside breezes and sees a wolf, whose attack is stopped – by another wolf! The defending wolf allows Rae to tend his wounds, and somehow they truly see one another…

Alba’s writing is discovered, and she is banished. Now what? Now where?

To her first market day in the town, Rae and her parents go, not knowing that the king ordered all children of the twins’ age – and hers – captured!

Can Alba and Rae and the wolf escape the king’s anger and make their own futures come true?

A lyrical tale of the magic of songs and of being known, seen, loved.

Would you want to know your future?
**kmm

Book info: Wolfish / Christiane M. Andrews. Little Brown, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Can she OUTRUN THE MOON & fate through education or luck? by Stacey Lee (YA book review)

book cover of Outrun the Moon, by Stacey Lee. Published by Penguin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mercy wants better for her little brother than backbreaking laundry work, but she needs more education than their poor middle school can offer so she can start a business.

The teen negotiates her way into a semester scholarship at St. Clare’s School for Girls, the best in 1906 San Francisco, determined to brave anti-Chinese prejudice on the way to her dreams.

In return, Mercy promises snobby Elodie’s father a meeting with the Benevolent Association to apply for permission to sell his very fine chocolates in Chinatown…

Oh, how she longs to help her boyfriend Tom find his way into the sky instead of becoming an herbalist doctor like his father!

What if the headmistress decides Mercy isn’t worthy to be at St. Clare’s?
What if the Benevolent Association won’t consider their request?
What does her mother see when she foretells their futures?

Earthquake! The St. Clare’s girls escape to Golden Gate Park and, with Mercy’s practical skills, try to help others fleeing collapsed buildings and fires.

Her family! Their families! What now?

Outstanding historical fiction from the author of The Downstairs Girl (recommended here).

Are you prepared for a natural disaster?
**kmm

Book info: Outrun the Moon / Stacey Lee. Penguin, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

SIDE EFFECTS of meds worse than her anxiety? by Ted Anderson, Tara O’Connor, Dave Sharpe (Graphic Novel review)

book cover of Side Effects, by Ted Anderson; art & color - Tara O'Connor; lettering - Dave Sharpe. Published by Seismic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

First time living away from home,
her anxiety skyrockets…
she can’t get through college like this.

Hannah has always been worried and anxious, but everything new at college is just so overwhelming. After a deep depressive episode, her roommate helps her connect with a therapist on campus.

Dr. Jacobs is calm and reassuring, offering medication if Hannah wants to try it and cautioning her to watch for unusual side effects before her next appointment. Her brother Levi is supportive and wishes their mom would work on her own anxiety.

Oh, wow, what side effects! Such headaches, and she zaps anything she touches with electric shocks – even co-worker Jay at the library notices, yet still invites her to a very quiet, low-key party at his dorm.

Wow, Hannah is brave enough to go to the party and meet new people, including lovely Iz!

A new medication that won’t cause the terrible headaches makes Hannah disassociate from her body – is she really seeing through walls and reading people’s minds?

Her movie and dinner date with Iz is perfect! Then… crickets, no answer when Hannah texts her – what went wrong?

As freshman year rolls on, Hannah keeps trying to help herself and allows others to help her, too.

This graphic novel begins with a content warning about the mental and emotional distresses depicted and concludes with notes from the author and a mental health professional.

For help, call or text the free and confidential Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8 any time, any hour.

In a new place or situation, what do you think about first?
**kmm

Book info: Side Effects / written by Ted Anderson; art & color by Tara O’Connor; lettering by Dave Sharpe. Seismic Press, 2022. [publisher site & interviews] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

I’m determined, strong, anxious – DON’T CALL ME A HURRICANE, by Ellen Hagan (YA book review)

book cover of Don't Call Me a Hurricane, by Ellen Hagan. Published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Five years since the hurricane,
end of childhood bliss,
more changes ahead…

Eliza’s Italian-American family rebuilt shore-side, but most year-rounders on their New Jersey island sold to developers and moved inland.

Summer before their senior year, Eliza and best friend Isa are lifeguards watching over families and surfers, worrying about the nature preserve being sold, doing what they can as climate activists (maybe going a little too far sometimes).

She usually steers clear of the summer people, but grudgingly agrees to teach city boy Milo how to surf since he’ll be here with dad and stepmom all summer.

Her therapist is trying to help the 17 year old unravel her anxiety about hurricane season, to quiet the litany of climate disaster that keeps Eliza up all night.

Milo wants to help the climate justice group – is he sincere or just trying to get closer to Eliza?

What can they do to save the nature preserve from developers with money, money, money?

Flashbacks to the hurricane’s wrath punctuate this stunning novel-in-verse examining changes and challenges.

How has climate change affected your community?
**kmm

Book info: Don’t Call Me a Hurricane / Ellen Hagan. Bloomsbury, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

WHEN THE ANGELS LEFT THE OLD COUNTRY, following the faithful, by Sacha Lamb (YA book review)

book cover of When the Angels Left the Old Country, by Sasha Lamb. Published by Levine Querido | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Studying the Talmud with an angel should keep the demon too busy to make trouble in the nameless tiny Polish village, but Little Ash manages to hear all the gossip. Many Jews have left for America, but still no word from Essie, the baker’s daughter.

In the town of Belz, 16-year-old Rose now runs the dry goods store for her distractable father, hiring lovely best friend Dinah as clerk. They’ll keep their families afloat and save enough to go to America! Dinah has not noticed that Rose is as fond of her as the young Torah scholar visiting the store is.

The villagers assume that Little Ash and the angel are young men, glad that the pair can go to Warsaw where Essie was last heard from. Oh, that emigration agent is a scoundrel, cheating so many, even killing some, like that rebbe from Belz! Little Ash will make very sure that the agent harms no one else, ever.

And so it is that they are on the steamship dock with Rose, whose year-long plan was smashed when Dinah announced her engagement. The trio watch each other’s belongings in the crowded steerage deck and pray that all aboard stay healthy enough to pass inspection at Ellis Island.

The angel carried along the rebbe’s books, hoping to bring them to his daughter. The murdered rebbe appears to the angel, saying that they must have kaddish sung for him at the earliest moment possible, lest his spirit wander forever!

Rose longs to meet kind-eyed Essie whose photo was in the letters stolen by that evil agent.

And so it was that the three friends became separated at the immigration station, as the angel was passed first because those letters showed a relative’s address.

Can the angel get Little Ash and Rose released from Ellis Island?
Can they find Essie and save her from the ‘shop boss’?
What place will they carve out for themselves in this new world?

Obligation and challenges, friendship and love – those who tried and dared, may their memory be a blessing.

What stories of arriving in new places do you tell?
**kmm

Book info: When the Angels Left the Old Country / Sacha Lamb. Levine Querido, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

IT’S A WHOLE SPIEL: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories, edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman (YA book review)

book cover of It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories, edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman. Published by Alfred A. Knopf | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Feeling too Jewish or not Jewish enough at school, summer camp, at another family’s Seder dinner, on a Birthright trip to Israel in college…

In this short story collection, young adults embrace, question, and reexamine their Jewish faith as it connects (or doesn’t) to their childhood, their family, their sexual identity, their now, and their future.

Raysh hopes to overcome her fear of drowning (again) in “He Who Revives the Dead”, while Miri’s first meeting with her new boyfriend’s parents is interrupted by an earthquake and “Aftershocks.”

Short stories by Dahlia Adler, Adi Alsaid, David Levithan, Elie Lichtschein, Katherine Locke, Alex London, Goldy Moldavsky, Hannah Moskowitz, Matthue Roth, Lance Rubin, Dana Schwartz, Laura Silverman, Rachel Lynn Solomon, and Nova Ren Suma.

“Judaism is about seeing the world for what it is and being part of a community that is greater than the sum of its parts,” reminds actress Mayim Bialik in the foreword.

Each story in this anthology is one of those parts, a vivid and varied kaleidoscope of experiences, meeting new people, and watching old friends change.

Find the print version or ebook at a library near you with WorldCat.

What part of yourself do you share with a new friend?
**kmm

Book info: It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories / edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman. Alfred A. Knopf / Random House, 2019. [Katherine’s site] [Laura’s site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.