Tag Archive | summer

Accidents, loss, Phantom Limbs – hope? by Paula Garner (book review)

book cover of Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner, published by Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.comHe lost his brother,
she lost her Olympic chances…
is there hope, if they work together?

Dara is a no-nonsense taskmaster as she tries to coach Otis into the Olympic Trials for swimming (now one-armed, she can’t swim out her own dreams).

But if Meg returns, how can he keep his focus? Or keep the reality of little brother Mason’s last day locked away safely?

Is what you can do the same as your identity?
**kmm

Book info: Phantom Limbs / Paula Garner. Candlewick Press, hardcover 2016, paperback 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Two different tragedies have left Dara and Otis with missing parts, but as she pushes him through grueling swim practices this summer, another piece of his past returns and may shatter all their hopes.

Dara’s missing arm has become her aggressive swim coaching to put Otis in the Olympic Trials where she should have been.
Otis’s family has become fragile with just memory where little brother Mason should be.
Meg’s silence after she moved three years ago has become a void where Otis’s heart should be.

Dara just graduated from their Ohio high school, but can she move on?
Otis loved – loves – Meg, but does she still care for him?
Meg tried moving away, moving on, but will anywhere feel like home again?

As Otis tries to balance Dara’s demands (swim practice, phantom limb pains, more swim practice, maybe new girlfriend) and his expectations for Meg’s visit (her scent, her voice, her eyes, her not being on the phone with her jock boyfriend back in California), he struggles to stay out of the dark place that swallowed him when little Mason died.

Surgery to get The Fold or not? by An Na (book review)

book cover of The Fold by An Na, published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com“Western” eyes!
Korean eyelids just aren’t the same.
Plastic surgery to get “the fold” or not?

Read the first chapter here (free, courtesy of the publisher) to discover the depth of Joyce’s crush on John Ford Kang, then check out The Fold in hardcover or paperback at your local library or independent bookstore to see how far she’ll go to make him really notice her!

Ever considered plastic surgery?
**kmm

Book info: The Fold / An Na. Atheneum, 2008 hardcover, 2017 paperback. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When her aunt offers to pay for plastic surgery, pain-averse Joyce must decide how far she’ll go to get her crush’s attention and win his heart.

Adding the eyelid “fold” is a routine procedure for Korean-American women, but everyone can see how Auntie Gomo is addicted to plastic surgery.

Not as smart or pretty as older sister Helen, not as funny as younger brother Andy, Joyce feels like a nobody as her junior year ends and adorable John Paul Kang signs her yearbook with the wrong name.

Work in their parents’ restaurant all summer while Helen does a prestigious internship at college? Not fair.

John Paul comes to the restaurant when her eyes are swollen from chili powder accident? Oh no!

Dr. Reiner says the eyelid surgery is her decision, but how can Joyce disappoint her aunt? Oh my…

Maybe it’ll all be worth it if John Paul notices her enough at church and school to remember her name. Her best friend Gina agrees, her new friend Sam isn’t so sure…

Baseball (and bullies) and The Rhino in Right Field, by Susan DeKeyser (book review)

book cover of Rhino in Right Field, by Susan DeKeyser, published by Margaret K McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comBaseball practice needs a flat open space,
so the city park is a great place!
But sharing the outfield with the zoo can be beastly!

Nick and his buddies love baseball, practicing whenever and wherever they can (no Little League yet in Wisconsin in 1948). They’re thrilled when the new owner of the town’s pro team promises a chance for kids to be on the field for opening day! (or is it just for boys?)

Read the first chapter here to meet Nick and the rhino (free, courtesy of the publisher), then head to your local library or independent bookstore for the rest of the story.

Your close encounter with unusual animals and/or minor league baseball?
**kmm

Book info: The Rhino in Right Field / Susan DeKeyser. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: For the chance to be Mudpuppy batboy for day, 12-year-old Nick will do anything – work harder in Pop’s shoe repair shop, help uncle Spiro with mysterious errands – as the baseball team’s new owner plans an extravaganza for Opening Day.

That bully Pete thinks he’ll be chosen batboy, but Nick can win this contest based on essay-writing and baseball skills – if only his Pop would sign the permission slip… hmmm

He and Ace practice fielding with Penny (wow, can she throw!), hoping Nick’s baseball won’t wind up in the rhino enclosure (again).

His Greek immigrant father is sure that working hard in the family shop is Nick’s destiny, but Uncle Spiro wants to make his own way in post-World War II Wisconsin.

Where will Nick be on Opening Day – in the Mudpuppy dugout or listening on the radio in the shoe shop?

Doing good? The Unlikelies will try… by Carrie Firestone (book review)

book cover of The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone, published by Little Brown BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comDeclared “hometown heroes”
Just a photo op
Or a chance to actually make a difference?

She never dreamed that working again at the farmstand would lead to her saving a baby’s life or becoming part of a diverse teen group who find ways to stealthily help those being bullied or trying to right decades-old wrongs!

Look for this not-just-another-boring-summer novel in hardcover or paperback at your local library or independent bookstore.

When does positive action become heroism?
**kmm

Book info: The Unlikelies / Carrie Firestone. Little Brown BFYR, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Hailed as a hometown hero, 17 year old Sadie copes with nightmares about rescuing the baby as she and new friends band together to push back against bullying online and in person.

Summer before senior year was supposed to be supposed to be boring with her best friend working far away, but meeting other teens on Long Island noted for their positive deeds takes Sadie in directions she never anticipated.

Gordie runs a day program for developmentally-delayed adults, Jean-Pierre teaches young artists, Alice does glamour photo-shoots for shelter dogs, and Valeria coordinates a massive school supply drive – how does her single brave (or impulsive) act to keep a drunk dad from driving away with a crying baby measure up to all that?

On his death bed, longtime farmstand customer Mr. Upton sends Sadie on a mission to erase his father’s bad acts – this is way more than the positivity that ‘the Unlikelies’ are unleashing against internet trolls and bullies…

And her crush on Gordie from junior high? The more that the Unlikelies are together – working with each other’s projects, figuring out how to honor Mr. Upton’s request, helping Alice find Izzy as heroin takes her down – the more that flame rekindles.

When summer job sours a bit, Stay Sweet! by Sioban Vivian (book review)

book cover of Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian, published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comOf course, she will scoop this summer!
Amazing, unforgettable ice cream made by the founder!
But what if…she can’t?

Meade Creamery is a local summer tradition for townspeople and lake vacationers alike, with one-of-a-kind ice cream flavors invented during World War II.

Only Miss Meade knows the recipes, so if she ever stops making the ice cream, what will the scoop girls do when the stock runs out?

More importantly, what can head girl Amelia do when Miss Meade’s great-nephew arrives with big plans to change the stand!?

You can find this April 2018 release at your local library or independent bookstore.

What’s your favorite “tastes like summer” ice cream flavor?
**kmm

Book info: Stay Sweet / Siobhan Vivian. Simon Schuster BYFR, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: With their stock of secret-recipe ice cream dwindling, head girl Amelia tries to lead this summer’s Meade Creamery girls as older scoopers taught her.

But when the founder’s great-nephew Grady’s arrives with spreadsheets and profitability concerns, she must balance his demands with local expectations, while trying to find the recipes that Molly Meade created when her sweetheart didn’t return from World War II.

Molly’s wartime letters to her best friend alternate with Amelia struggles today at the ice cream stand with her best friend and new scoop girls as they work to keep a local tradition alive for one more summer, despite Grady’s business major viewpoint and Amelia’s growing feelings for him.

Change is risky – Letting Go of Gravity, by Meg Leder (book review)

book cover of Letting Go of Gravity, by Meg Leder, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comAccepted to Harvard? Check.
Chosen for prestigious medical research internship? Check.
Eager and ready for these great opportunities? Nope.

Parker’s meticulous life-plan to cure the cancer affecting her twin brother goes way off course during the summer after graduation, as the introvert finds herself in charge of senior citizen pottery painting classes, is amazed by new friend Ruby’s open-heartedness, and just might find a connection with artistic Finn from grade school.

Happy book birthday to Letting Go of Gravity ! Have you read Leder’s 2016 novel The Museum of Heartbreak ? I recommended it here.

Is it time for you to fly away from expectations?
**kmm

Book info: Letting Go of Gravity / Meg Leder. Simon Pulse, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A decade of hard work and Parker is accepted to Harvard! After twin Charlie was diagnosed with leukemia when they were kids, med school has been her sole goal (especially after last year’s relapse).

But she can’t stomach the internship at the hospital where Charlie was treated and finds another summer job at a pottery studio where she reconnects with Finn from elementary school.

Her best friend is in Europe for the summer, Charlie is acting so recklessly, and Parker isn’t sure how long she can put off telling her parents about how things have changed.

If Charlie is just flirting with Parker’s new friend Ruby…

V = Vikki Wakefield writing small-town In Between Days (book review)

US book cover of In-Between Days by Vikki Wakefield, published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comWaiting for that car to return from the hanging forest,
waiting to finish school and leave this tiny town,
waiting for the right guy to notice her (really notice)…

Jacklin wishes she could go to Europe like her sister did (why’d she come home?) or actually get paid for her job at the town’s failing grocery store.

Is Ma just waiting for Jacklin and Trudy to leave town for good?

Is renovating the old drive-in movie show with Jeremiah and Roly worthwhile?

What about that guy camping in the suicide grove of the national forest nearby?

Look for this summer tale of interpersonal drama and some questionable choices in hardcover or paperback at your local library or favorite independent bookstore (more opening every week in USA!)

What are you waiting for today?
**kmm

Book info: In-Between Days / Vikki Wakefield. Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2016 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

L = The Leaving Season and love and loss, after graduation, by Cat Jordan (book review)

book cover of The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan, published by Harper Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.comSo many leave for college at this time,
but leaving for another country?
What if something goes wrong?

When Middie’s perfect (really, he is the best ever!) boyfriend is kidnapped while on a humanitarian gap year project abroad, she is utterly devastated – and only Nate’s best friend understands how she feels.

If only she and Lee had anything in common besides Nate – or do they?

Read the first chapter here for free, courtesy of the publisher, to meet Middie and Nate as he leaves for Honduras and she tries to start navigating her life without him by her side daily.

How do you cope with folks leaving?
**kmm

Book info: The Leaving Season / Cat Jordan. Harper Teen, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

D for faked death list in Lucky Few, by Kathryn Ormsbee (book review)

book cover of Lucky Few by Kathryn Ormsbee, published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comFaking death without dying?
Oddest hobby ever…

Yeah, Stevie is homeschooled (don’t hold it against her), but new guy Max next door has all her co-op pals beat for weird (more than the usual “Keep Austin Weird” bumper sticker kind of weird).

Should she and best friend Sanger spend their Austin summer helping Max live out his “23 ways to fake my death without dying” list so that he can get over his near-death experience?

And is she seriously falling for Max?

Austin. Summer. Weird. Love. Funny = definitely!
**kmm

Book info: Lucky Few / Kathryn Ormsbee. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016 hardback, 2017 paperback. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A is for Alcott, in The Revelation of Louisa May, by Michaela MacColl (book review)

book cover of The Revelation of Louisa May, by Michaela MacColl, published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWhy does she have to run the household instead of writing?
And keep their Underground Railroad stop functioning (and secret)?
And discern a suitor’s true nature without her mother’s guidance?

Yes, this is that Louisa May, author of Little Women and Little Men, as a teen tasked with keeping house for her sisters and philosopher father during the summer when her mother worked away from home to support the family, rather than writing.

MacColl’s historical fiction about literary women, like Emily Dickinson in Nobody’s Secret (my recommendation here), is worth adding to your list.

Which author or poet would you like to read more about?
**kmm

Book info: The Revelation of Louisa May: a Novel of Intrigue and Romance / Michaela MacColl. Chronicle Books, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.