Tag Archive | sports

Fast, fat, funny, real – THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE for him, by Sandhya Menon (YA book review)

book cover of There's Something About Sweetie, by Sandhya Menon. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Parent-arranged dates,
hokey or helpful?
Hopefully heal his heartbreak.

Ashish needs to get over his breakup (first time he’s ever been dumped) and get back his basketball groove, and his Indian-American parents think setting him up with a nice Desi girl will help?

Sweetie wants her mom to realize that losing weight won’t make the high school junior happier (her friends love her right now) or run any faster (no one can beat her on the track), but how? Time for ‘Project Sassy Sweetie’ and getting out of her comfort zone!

Four very specific dates (and a behavior contract – Pappa is always a businessman) – Ashish’s Ma is sure that Sweetie is the perfect girl for him, but his love-and-leave reputation in the close-knit Bay area Desi community makes Sweetie’s mother say no to the idea.

But Sweetie says yes (Project Sassy Sweetie!), so off they go, to the temple and the Holi festival and his eccentric aunt’s place, each time enjoying one another’s company more.

Surely, on their fourth date for Sweetie’s birthday party, Amma will see this indeed was a good idea…
Surely, Ashish’s white ex-girlfriend will completely fade from his memory…

Told in alternating chapters, this fun (but not frivolous) romantic story is a May 2019 companion to When Dimple Met Rishi (Ashish’s perfect big brother) – you can enjoy this book without reading the other (my no-spoiler recommendation here), but make yourself happier by reading both!

What ingrained family opinion have you overcome for the better?
**kmm

Book info: There’s Something About Sweetie / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

X marks pivotal 1968: TODAY’S AUTHORS EXPLORE A YEAR OF REBELLION, REVOLUTION & CHANGE, edited by Marc Aronson & Susan Campbell Bartoletti (YA book review)

book cover of 1968: Today's Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution & Change / edited by Marc Aronson & Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Assassinations – dreams denied.
Protests and retaliation – hope swings forward, then back.
War in our living rooms – who can look away?

This collection of non-fiction essays and memoirs by stellar YA and middle grade authors does go chronologically through 1968, but is vivid and nuanced and anguished – no dry parade of factoids on a timeline!

In “The Death of the Dream,” Kekla Magoon recounts the assasinations of Dr. King and RFK, while Laban Carrick Hill remembers those same days as a young child in a very racist Southern family “On the Wrong Side of History.”

What do you know about the 1968 student riots in Paris and Mexico City?
– the small freedoms gained in Czechoslovakia during “Prague Spring” before the USSR Communist leaders cracked down?
– the protests against Columbia University’s attempt to build a gym by razing a black neighborhood?
– the Red Guard in China during the Cultural Revolution?

Police brutality against protesters in Chicago was viewed by 90 million people on live television in 1968, research on genetics and computing raced forward in laboratories, while the Olympics and Presidential election and space race dominated the headlines.

The authors relay their personal connection or outlook to the event they chronicle, with each quarter of the year headed by Elizabeth Partridge’s recap of the Nightly News including Vietnam war fatalities – military and civilian – night after night after night.

Be sure to read the contributors’ biographies at the end: Jennifer Anthony, Marc Aronson, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Loree Griffin Burns, Omar Figueroas, Paul Fleischman, Laban Carrick Hill, Mark Kurlansky, Lenore Look, David Lubar, Kate MacMillan, Kekla Magoon, Jim Murphy, Elizabeth Partridge.

Get it today at your favorite indie bookstore for Independent Bookstore Day!

What historic moment during your lifetime would you write about?
**kmm

Book info: 1968: Today’s Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution & Change / edited by Marc Aronson & Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Candlewick Press, 2018. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

V for new friends & very good friends, audiobook-style!

Very fine audiobooks,
and FREE each week!
Summer starts today, with friends in very big situations.

So pleased that AudiobookSYNC is once again offering us a pair of free audiobooks to download each Thursday-Wednesday week from now through 1 August 2019, and the variety is simply stunning.

I’ll highlight the new titles each Thursday, so you can just hit the link, enter your name and email address, then download either or both professionally produced audiobooks to enjoy for as long as you keep the file on your device.

CD cover of Swing,  by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess | Read by Kwame Alexander Published by Blink | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Swing, by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess. Read by Kwame Alexander. Published by Blink

Jazz punctuates Walt and Noah’s junior year as the best friends decide to make a difference, take chances on relationships, and look toward their futures with intention. Read by the author, this book highlights what divides us and what can bring us back together.

CD cover of Blink & Caution,  by Tim Wynne-Jones | Read by MacLeod Andrews Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Blink & Caution, by Tim Wynne-Jones . Read by MacLeod Andrews . Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio

A fake kidnapping, the “victim’s” cellphone suddenly in a hungry street kid’s hands, when another on-the-run teen tries to steal it. Somehow, fidgety Blink and drug-gang escapee Caution decide to turn this into successful blackmail, neither suspecting that the other will stay true to their doomed, crazy plan.

What’s your wildest friendship adventure?
**kmm

T is for Taja whose future is CALLING MY NAME, by Liara Tamani (YA book review)

book cover of Calling My Name, by Liara Tamani. Published by Greenwillow | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Middle sister Taja breathes in learning like she breathes out prayers, wondering how her feelings about God intersect with her parents’ church-centered strictness, why all the rules for Black girls don’t apply for boys, if she can someday go where she is judged just for her own merits.

Grab at popularity like big brother with his new CDs and beatboxing?

Be all talk like little sister on the house telephone? (you know Taja needs her own line, Mama!)

Dare to change like Daddy wanting to learn saxophone as an adult?

From middle school and kickball with friends (praying to need a bra like they do) to high school and crushes that fizzle out or flame bright (Purity Code, meet Houston public schools), track star Taja observes and writes and tries to understand…everything.

Find this debut release by native Texas author at your local library or independent bookstore.

A generation ago, everything was different, but so much was the same.
What memory from your older relatives would you like to experience first-hand now?
**kmm

Book info: Calling My Name / Liara Tamani. Greenwillow Books, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

J is Japan and MY ALMOST FLAWLESS TOKYO DREAM LIFE, by Rachel Cohn (YA book review)

book cover of My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life, by Rachel Cohn. Published by Disney/Hyperion | recommended on BooksYALove.com

From nice house to shabby apartment,
apartment to terrible foster homes,
foster care to luxury hotel?!

Elle is stunned when ‘Uncle’ Masa arrives at her latest foster home (showers allowed once a week) with her new passport and an invitation from her biological father in Japan – happy 16th birthday after all.

Being so obviously hafu (half-Japanese) and gaijin (foreigner) is no big deal at her prestigious new school attended by kids of diplomats and business people from all over the world, but utterly scandalous to Elle’s new grandmother (no wonder Kenji was forbidden to marry her Native American/ African American mom).

Not sure she’s willing to believe all the gossip about Ryuu’s past or her dad’s convoluted business dealings

When have you been suddenly the outsider?
**kmm

Book info: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life / Rachel Cohn. Disney Book Group, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy from the library; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Swept from foster care in Maryland to a Tokyo highrise, sixteen-year-old Elle must figure out where she fits in her biological father’s family and the social order at an elite international school.

Once the painkillers hooked Mom after that car wreck, drugs took their house, Elle’s security, and put Mom in jail.

When her never-seen dad offers Elle a home in Japan with him, she’s wary but goes along – to an amazing apartment in his skyscraper hotel with 24-hour room service…and his displeased mother and sister nearby.

Elle has to work hard at school to catch up, wondering why fellow swimmer Ryuu is shunned by the popular Ex-Brat crowd who inexplicably adopted her.

Will she always see her father by appointment only?
Can her new grandmother accept Elle’s mixed-race maternal heritage?
What happens if things don’t work out with her family in Tokyo?

As Elle and Ryuu get to know each other at swim practice, some Ex-Brats go beyond pushy, and business pressures are affecting her dad, badly.

D = difficult choices IN A PERFECT WORLD, by Trish Doller (YA book review)

book cover of In a Perfect World / Trish Dollar. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

From Ohio to Egypt,
Far from friends and soccer camp,
To an old land and new understandings.

At least Carrie has time to get adjusted to life in Cairo before school starts, with the help of Adam who drives and explains customs and culture and religion and is distractingly cute.

Moving for a parent’s job (story of my life) can be challenging, rewarding, frustrating, amazing, and temporary – just like Carrie and Adam’s friendship?

Also by this author: Where the Stars Still Shine, which I featured in another A2Z year here.

What unexpected joy have you found in a new place?
**kmm

Book info: In a Perfect World / Trish Dollar. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: In Egypt for Mom’s new job, Carrie decides that exploring Cairo will ease her homesickness for Ohio, but cultural expectations collide when their driver’s teen son must take the wheel.

Adam must give up his restaurant job when his father falls ill, now driving Carrie around her new city in the summer before her senior year – so much for her to see and learn…with such a nice young man.

The charity eye clinic must hire a male doctor to assist Mom because most Egyptian men won’t allow her to treat them.

Carrie is Catholic, Adam is Muslim.
He’s Egyptian, she’s American.
She’s in Cairo for a year, he’ll probably never leave.
Tourism fuels both their hometowns, but foreigners aren’t welcome.

Their budding relationship? Haram, forbidden – but in a perfect world…

C is CHANGERS: BOOK 4 – FOREVER, by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper (YA book review)

book cover of Changers: Book 4-Forever, by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper. Published by Black Sheep/Akashic Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Four bodies,
four identities,
same you!

The first morning of senior year is less scary than first day of freshman year for most.

But that’s when teens who are Changers wake up to their fourth transformation into a completely new identity – gender, race, sexuality, talents, every physical characteristic is likely to be different from who they appeared to be as a junior or sophomore or freshman.

And before graduation, they must decide which of those four Versions to keep for the rest of their lives!

This is a bang-up ending to the series and could be read solo, but do yourself a favor and go through the whole journey with this Changer teen’s personas of Drew (book 1 recommended here), Oryon (book 2 review), and Kim (book 3 notes) first!

How much can you change yourself to become more yourself?
**kmm

Book info: Changers: Book Four – Forever / T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper. Black Sheep/ Akashic Books, 2018. [T Cooper site] [Allison site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Junior year at Kim’s Tennessee high school brought new friendships and old conflicts renewed. One more identity to experience as a senior – and it’s the person seen in earlier visions as cause of a tragic death!

Being transformed on the first day of school each year into another body is wild.
Keeping the same inner identity without giving that away is really hard.
Maintaining the secrecy of the world’s Changers when attacked by Abiders is near-impossible!

Four Versions, four options – which choice will be their one body forever?

Preceded by Changers Book One: Drew, Book Two: Oryon, and Book Three: Kim.

A is for ART OF THE SWAP time-traveling mystery #MGlit by Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone (book review)

book cover of Art of the Swap, by Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone. Published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A missing painting,
a mystic mirror,
two tweens in a time-swap!

Welcome to the first day of 2019’s April AtoZ Challenge! (you can sign up your blog to participate until 5 April)

The lovely Newport mansion was Maggie’s summer residence in early 1900s, Hannah’s home today (Dad is The Elms‘ full-time caretaker), and both are intrigued by the disappearance of Maggie’s portrait, painted by Mary Cassatt who would later gain great fame as an artist.

If you were suddenly flipped into another time, would you have enough background knowledge to cope?
**kmm

Book info: The Art of the Swap / Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone. Aladdin, hardcover 2018, paperback 2019. [Kristine’s site] [Jen’s site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Stepping through a mirror, Hannah and Maggie switch centuries in the Rhode Island mansion that both call home, and the twelve year olds take advantage of this miracle to solve a mystery.

Swept back in time, Hannah is determined to discover who stole Maggie’s portrait just before it was unveiled in 1905.
Whooshed into today, Maggie will make the most of running and pizza and Hannah’s other freedoms.

The girls talk to each other through the mirror as often as they can – how long will this amazing time travel last?
How can Hannah discover who stole the painting when Maggie’s aunt insists on ladylike behavior?

Alternating chapters spin the twin timeline stories as Hannah copes with corsets and treating servants like servants, Maggie finds soccer to be harder than it looks and talking to a boy (unchaperoned!) even more difficult, and the hours before the painting’s unveiling quickly tick by.

Erase his deceit, with LOVE & LUCK, by Jenna Evans Welch (YA book review)

book cover of Love & Luck, by Jenna Evans Welch. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Beautiful green Ireland,
terrible dark mood,
heal the heartbreak, that’s all she wants.

Addie’s used to being the quiet one, between her real estate agent mom, HGTV star aunt, and three older football superstar brothers, so keeping her new relationship with Cubby secret was easy, until it wasn’t.

He betrayed her in front of the whole football team with that photo, so she’s following the Ireland for the Heartbroken tour book’s advice to heal her heart – if local guy Rowan can keep Addie and Ian from pushing each other off another cliff!

From the author of Love and Gelato (my recommendation here) which tells how Addie’s best friend Lina got to Italy, where Addie and Ian are going – if she can convince her brother to get moving before Mom discovers they didn’t leave as scheduled!

Which wonderful places in your area can bring solace to the downhearted?
**kmm

Book info: Love and Luck / Jenna Evans Welch. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author IG] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After the private photo debacle with her ex-boyfriend, sixteen-year-old Addie can’t wait to escape Seattle and visit her best friend now in Italy, following a stopover in Ireland for a family wedding.

Suddenly on a clandestine Irish roadtrip with brother Ian (football star and… international music journalist?) and Rowan (local guy and Ian’s biggest fan) to chronicle an influential rock band’s roots, Addie realizes that her problem won’t disappear with distance.

As long as they visit the places recommended by Ireland for the Heartbroken guidebook, Addie is okay with going along before she and Ian head to Italy, but cute Rowan’s tiny rickety car has other ideas…

Ian’s indie music blog has nearly ten thousand followers – would he really give up a football scholarship for journalism?
Not sure if what happened with Cubby is her fault – why can’t Addie tell Mom, as Ian keeps nagging?
Social media is great for Ian, went terribly wrong for Addie – maybe she can stay in Ireland or Italy forever?

If Addie can just tell Lina everything about Cubby, if Lina can convince Mom that Addie and Ian are in Italy with her while they rumble around Ireland with charming Rowan, maybe she can figure out how to endure next year at school.

Is her life in Nazi England part of THE BIG LIE? by Julie Mayhew (book review)

book cover of The Big Lie, by Julie Mayhew. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

England conquered by Germany,
Generations of babies for the Fatherland.
Such a vision! Such a nightmare!

Of course Jessika listens and learns from her parents, so influential in their English town neighborhood and so important in the Party!

Even though it’s 2012, not even her expert ice skating can take her outside the Reich, away from her inevitable future as wife and mother, away to any place where she can love whoever she pleases.

I enjoy alternate history – this Big Lie is so believable that it’s truly frightening.

What historic event would you change to improve our now?
**kmm

Book info: The Big Lie / Julie Mayhew. Candlewick Press, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Liberated by Germany during her great-grandparents’ days, the England where middle sister Jessika lives is ruled by the Nazi Party, yet the teen fights to squelch her own feelings and doubts before trouble takes over.

The idea that an American singer would perform in London for the first time in 70 years – at the Reich’s invitation – enrages Jess’s father, annoys her ice skating coach (such lapses in concentration, Jessika…), and thrills her classmates beyond all measure, especially when those most loyal to the Party are invited to sing and march on stage for the concert!

Perhaps the Fuhrer himself will attend the concert and see how dedicated her squad is!

Maybe preparing for their performance will let Jess be closer to fascinating GG without anyone reporting the girls for unsuitable friendship.

But her best friend questions why suddenly this ‘decadent music’ is allowed instead of banned, and Clementine’s family accelerates their timetable for escaping the Party’s brutal control.

And it could be that Fisher knows something more as they practice and practice… the Storm Troopers are determined to know everything about everyone involved with the explosive concert!

Alternate history brings a chill as the Reich rules Britain in 2012.