Why 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?
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.
Imagine knowing (about) someone for your entire childhood and never meeting, ever! “Shared custody” of a beloved vacation home means that Ray (Mom’s kid) and Sasha (Dad’s kid) often see their half-sisters (kids of Mom & Dad), but have never laid eyes on one another till this summer, this fateful summer…
Ask for The Whole Thing Together at your local library or independent bookstore – hardcover or audiobook – and see how Sasha and Ray learn to interact with each other during dire family troubles.
Stepfamily and shared sibling stories?
Book info: The Whole Thing Together / Ann Brashares. Delacorte Press, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: As later-born children of divorced and remarried parents with joint ownership of a Long Island beach house, Sasha and Ray have never met one another, despite years of alternately sharing a bedroom there, until the summer before their senior year when a crisis with their half-sisters brings their family together.
Why does Ray dream at the beach house and have nightmares back in the city?
Can he and Sasha really hold the same job on alternating weeks of summer (half-sister Mattie’s idea)?
What secret has Emma unearthed about her ever-feuding parents, Ray’s mom and Sasha’s dad?
This band of siblings must work out how love can keep going when family stories collide with facts, parental bonds are stretched again, and their futures are no longer boringly predictable.
Ghosts aren’t real,
Money worries are,
Being a ghost-tour guide will be easy…
Surely her new bosses aren’t serious about making their exclusive ghost tour stops even more haunted by helping senior citizens leave this world a bit early?
You can find the hardcover now at your local library and independent bookstore, with paperback release of Just Kill Me scheduled for late August 2017. (and, yes, the author does run ghost tours in Chicago!!)
Ever visited the death site of someone famous?
Book info: Just Kill Me / Adam Selzer. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author site] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Ghost tours in Chicago are truly a cut-throat business, Megan discovers as she begins working for Cyn and Rich, who may just be creating a few new ghosts of their own to compete with the big companies.
Megan grew up in a funeral home (a “black diaper baby”), is comfortable with death (naturally), doesn’t believe in ghosts (ditto), but does need a summer job after high school graduation – perfect for the ghost tour biz (as long as Mom doesn’t find out).
As she learns the stories behind famous crime scenes, infamous murder sites, and secret haunted spots, Megan wonders if Cyn and Rich really see the spirits they point out to tourists.
When new ghosts appear on the tour just after her bosses take their nursing home patients on evening outings, she ponders the coincidences.
Cyn continues commenting on Megan’s resemblance to a flapper who mysteriously disappeared in the 1920s, so it’s time to dig into history and get her secretive online-but-no-photos girlfriend to help unravel the mystery… before it’s too late!
Book info: Cure for the Common Universe / Christian McKay Heidicker. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author site] [publisher site] [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Banished to a rehab center for videogame addicts, 16 year old Jaxon is desperate to escape in time for his first-ever date with a girl in the real world, but earning his way out could involve actually talking about being abandoned by Mom – no other way to level up?!
Not his fault that his parents divorced when he was just 8 or that his mom’s addictions always make her forget he’s coming to visit or that he is escaping from his stepmother’s perfectionism by living in the videogames that he so loved playing with Mom…
Hustled away to the desert rehab center, Jaxon meets teens who truly are videogame addicts (he isn’t, just likes playing them 60 hours a week in summer) and tries to figure out how he can get back to Salt Lake City in just four days so he can meet Serena (no cellphone, no FaceBook) for their date (first date, first girl who laughed with him instead of at him).
Doing chores earns points, doing dumb stuff loses points for you and your guild (yep, using different names and being in guilds is not like gaming at all – ha!).
Earn enough points, and you can go home from v-hab (again, not at all like gaming – ha!)
But no one in the whole two-month history of Horizons has earned their way out in just 4 days – and that’s what Jaxon has to do, if he wants to see Serena… (was any gaming reward worth this much??)
Soup, Aurora, Meeki, Zxzord, and Fezzik want to help their guildmate get to that golden date with Serena, but he’ll have to see beyond his own limitations first.
App developers’ camp – yes!
Time away from Mamma’s nagging – yes!
Greeted as “my future wife” by some guy – no way!
Utterly furious at her parents about this arranged marriage they never mentioned to her, Dimple isn’t ready for the feelings that grow between her and Rishi in San Francisco as they try to win the camp competition as a team.
Arranged marriage today – relic of the past or possibility of a harmonious future together?
Book info: When Dimple Met Rishi / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Surely if Dimple wins this young web developers’ challenge, her mamma will stop insisting that the California teen will find her “ideal Indian husband” at Stanford this fall. When Rishi coincidentally finds Dimple at InsaneCom, she is furious to discover that their parents have arranged their marriage – and that he thinks it’s wonderful!
No makeup no glitter Dimple won’t let tradition-loving Rishi woo her – but he is sweet and articulate and even a bit charming.
Deeply romantic Rishi is sad that Dimple can’t see their wonderful future together – but maybe he can help her win the app contest now.
As Dimple and Rishi spend more time together, their attraction grows – but how can it go further when they’ll be on opposite coasts for college?
Family expectations and complications, technical issues and too much coffee, new friends with old problems – looks like InsaneCom will live up to its name for Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel!
She did everything properly,
all promises kept on her side of the bargain,
but evidently God has other plans for her mom…
Asked by her own parents to be counselor at a different camp, while Mom recovers at their family’s church camp just around the lakeshore – Lucy is angry at God for letting the cancer come back and at her boyfriend for ‘pausing’ their relationship for summer.
If she can salvage even a scrap of comfort from working with little kids who spend the summer at Daybreak to escape terrible situations…
This mid-May 2017 novel is stirring, honest, and powerful – faith isn’t always strong, past history is often murky, and the future is never promised to anyone.
(personally, I think the title has no relevance to the story at all. Wonder why @EmeryLord agreed to it – but authors don’t have total control over titles and rarely have a say about the cover art).
Have you ever bargained with God?
Book info: The Names They Gave Us / Emery Lord. Bloomsbury Teens, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: All Lucy wants is summer at her parents’ church camp so she can get over Mom’s cancer returning and her boyfriend ‘pausing’ their perfect relationship, but the midwest teen finds herself at another camp nearby, where worry and hope (and Jones) wrestle for her attention.
The counselors and the campers at Daybreak all carry heavy burdens of past circumstances – Mom thinks this is better for Lucy than being with her between chemo sessions?
Just a mile between both camps so Lucy can still hear Dad’s sermons every Sunday – why does that distance seem to change constantly all summer?
Deepening friendships with fellow counselors during their summer together, especially with Henry Jones – can she have a crush on him, so soon after Lukas?
Big concerns affecting her littlest campers, fretting over chemo effects, wondering if she can remember every tiny detail about Mom, huge secrets revealed and memories made. God didn’t keep his side of Lucy’s bargain to keep Mom healthy, but perhaps Lucy doesn’t have to stay mad at him forever.
Not her fault!
Not the worst thing after all?
Tatum’s unwarranted ‘house arrest’ after (former?) BFF Ashlyn’s big mistake plus petsitting to pay the fine and all those community service hours sweltering outdoors… the only good things about this summer are her growing design business (and flirting with one particular client), getting to know Abby (so much ivy to eradicate!), and having grandma Blanche (how could uptight stepmother be this free spirit’s daughter?) at home.
Happy book birthday this week to It Started With Goodbye!
How to draw the line between supporting a friend and enabling them?
Book info: It Started With Goodbye / Christina June. Blink YA Books, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Attacking overgrown vines wasn’t Tatum’s plan for summer, but starting her design business online (and flirtatious emails with SK) might make ‘house arrest’ and community service a bit more bearable.
After her BFF’s bad judgment puts the Virginia teen completely under her rigid stepmother’s supervision while Dad is overseas, only pet-sitting or doing community service can get Tate out of the house shared with perfect stepsister Tilly, the ballet prodigy. Luckily, they don’t know how happy Tate is that Tilly’s grandmother Blanche is here for the summer.
Interesting to become friends with Abby and Hunter – will they ever act on their growing attraction?
Exciting that her TLC Design is getting clients online – who is SK and will she ever meet him?
Still sad that Ashlyn won’t acknowledge her part in that fiasco – will she ever answer Tate’s emails?
A bit magical having abuela Blanche on her side – almost like a Cinderella story!
Book info: 26 Kisses / Anna Michels. Simon Pulse, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: After Mark dumps her, Veda knows that summer in their Michigan resort town will just be agony. So that she doesn’t rebound into another relationship, best friend Mel suggests that Vee smooth out the painful edges by kissing 26 boys – one for each letter of the alphabet.
Top secret! Don’t tell anyone, especially their best friend Seth, who might be falling for Mel.
Don’t kiss the same guy twice! Only so many days of festivals and nights of lake beach parties before summer ends.
No attachments! Easy as cherry pie, until quirky co-worker Killian is so charming and funny and all.
Between Mel and Seth spending all their time working on music, Killian’s love for all things George Bernard Shaw, and her divorced parents’ weird dynamic, Veda still tries to keep it cool and kiss through 26 – will she make her goal with her friendships and dignity somewhat intact?
Not the cute twin,
nor the bold twin,
not ever getting kissed?
Molly and Cassie’s moms (finally getting married – yay!) have lots of great advice, but asking them how to get past just a crush to real relationship? Not gonna do that.
Published yesterday (11 April 2017), The Upside of Unrequited is Molly’s very essence: hopeful yet hesitant, creative and cautious, trying to move out of her shy chubby-girl comfort zone and get close enough to a guy to be accepted… or rejected.
Be sure to visit the publisher’s website here to read the first chapters free.
I adored Albertalli’s debut novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (my no-spoiler review here) and cannot wait to meet whoever her next novel brings us.
Are you brave enough to try something that might break your heart?
Book info: The Upside of Unrequited / Becky Albertalli. Balzer + Bray, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Always crushing on a guy means never getting hurt, but never in a relationship either – maybe summer before senior year will be different for Molly. Her twin Cassie is with Mina now and eager to help things along – if only Molly will be brave enough to talk to someone!
Planning her moms’ wedding (finally legal in Maryland!), working with Reid in his parents’ eclectic shop for the summer, and worrying that Cassie is way too enthusiastic about hipster Will as perfect “Operation Boyfriend” material – no wonder Molly is too anxious to sleep well.
Has Cassie really fallen in love with Mina?
Will Aunt Karen relent and come to their moms’ wedding?
Why is being with Reid so… real?
What Mom wants, what Dad demands,
What her boyfriend plans,
When is it her turn to decide?
Mistakes – telling Fry about the Baylor House, trying to please Dad at work, imagining that Mom would allow her off the pre-med career path.
Possibilities – writing poetry with Rufus Baylor himself, finding the ‘me’ instead of only ‘us’ with Fry, discovering her own poetic voice.
So many wonderful (and on-their-way-to-better) poems in this book!
Got a poem to share in the comments?
Book info: The Language of Stars / Louise Hawes. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Sarah should have talked Fry out having a party at remote historic house in their North Carolina coastal town, but after the house is terribly damaged, her dad is even angrier at her than usual, and the partying teens are sentenced to summer school plus house restoration, she is startled to find their class taught by the reclusive poet whose summer home was wrecked and that she has a gift for words, a gift that may take her far from the med school future that her mom has planned out for her.
Filled with poetry – from the first written in many years by “the Great One” to those created during class together to the gems that Fry texts to Sarah while she’s working at her dad’s fancy restaurant – and revelations, The Language of Stars speaks love, second chances, redemption, and hope.