Tag Archive | summer

Lost daughter or just a HOMEWRECKER? by Deanna Cameron (book review)

book cover of Homewrecker, by Deanna Cameron. Published by Wattpad Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Stormy life,
grown up too fast,
Tornado! Where’s Mom?

When her druggie mom is swept away from their trailer park by a tornado, Brownyn is taken in by the family of her long-estranged father, now a rich and powerful senator.

The 17 year old always knew that her birth after David’s short separation from his wife was an accident, hushed up as he rose from young lawyer to the Senate – only once as a kid did she meet his family.

She’s stunned now by their casual wealth, the summer home on the lake, and being accepted by her stepmom and four half-siblings. They’ve always known about her?

Mom’s body is finally found, but she was strangled before the tornado hit! David’s influence keeps the investigation going, even as the media blares out Bronwyn as his secret love-child.

So she’ll get out and meet people, she now works with half-sister Andi (one grade older, YouTube makeup guru deluxe) at the drive-in movie theater. Teenager Ethan next door takes care of their garden, and Bronwyn shares her plant knowledge with him.

But she misses her friends at home, doesn’t think the detectives are really trying to solve Mom’s murder, and decides it’s time to go do some sleuthing herself – Ethan’s more than willing to roadtrip with her.

Was Mom killed over drug money or something else?
How will Bronwyn fit in at a new rich-kid school?
Why is David’s family so nice to her…really?

Secrets old and new collide as the teen struggles to become part of a real family instead of the only responsible person at home.

What long-lost kid story is your favorite?
**kmm

Book Info: Homewrecker / Deanna Cameron. Wattpad Books, 2021. [author info] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Oh, WE CAN’T KEEP MEETING LIKE THIS (can we?) – by Rachel Lynn Solomon (YA book review)

book cover of We Can't Keep Meeting Like This, by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Split seams on fancy dresses,
Bowties to tie, rescue collapsing cakes,
Behind-the-scenes magic at weddings!

As a harpist, Quinn fits neatly into her family’s Seattle wedding planning business. Not many weekends off for the recent high school grad whose late grandmother taught her to play… not much fun playing now.

Working on her sister’s late-summer wedding equals not enough time to hang out with her best friend who’s headed to college in New York, either.

And it means that Quinn will run into Tarek repeatedly as his family caters many of the same weddings. She bared her soul to him in an email last summer as he left for college, receiving no reply. Are they still friends? Just friends? Can it become more?

She’s skeptical of enduring love, scarred by Mom and Dad’s separation when she was a kid, working with every tool she’s got to keep her OCD manageable.

Quinn meets another harpist who offers her lessons and the chance to build a harp – now this is fun! Much more joyful than the thought of enrolling in business courses nearby this fall…

How does she tell her parents that she doesn’t want to join the family business?
Her big sister and fiance have started keeping kosher – what else has she missed about Asher’s life?
Will Tarek’s parents ever let him bake his amazing cakes instead of just being a cater-waiter?

Weekend after weekend all summer, Quinn and Tarek try to figure out what their relationship could be, should be…

By the author of Today Tonight Tomorrow (I recommend it here).

What story do you always tell about a memorable wedding?
**kmm

Book Info: We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This / Rachel Lynn Solomon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

ONCE UPON A QUINCEANERA, any magic leftover? by Monica Gomez-Hira (book review)

book cover of Once Upon a Quinceanera, by Monica Gomez-Hira. Published by HarperTeen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Weird summer internship,
dancing Disney party princess –
but no prince will rescue her!

Carmen must complete this internship to fill the final required credit for graduation, so she’s spending her summer dancing in a ballgown… at kids’ birthday parties… in Florida heat and humidity.

Of course, Mami made sure that she knew how to dance, even though Carmen didn’t get to have a quinceanera to celebrate turning 15 – not her fault, not at all! (Mami’s own quince plus papa equaled Carmen, and it’s just been the two of them for the longest time).

Strange that Mauro is back in Miami when his famous photographer dad has moved away; awkward that he and Carmen are dancing together after he dumped her before leaving for college.

Oh no, her snooty cousin Ariana’s parents have hired the party dance company as the ceremonial corte for her quinceanera! Extra coaching for Ariana’s special dance, too, with Carmen’s boyfriend as her escort… this summer may never end!

Performing for parties while practicing endlessly for Ariana’s quince puts Carmen and Mauro together a lot… time to talk through old times and college scenarios and…

Could Carmen really make a future with her video editing?
Does Mauro like her or is he falling for Ariana?
Can they both dance through the summer without a meltdown?

Family rivalry and fancy dresses, waltzing and wondering, cafe con leche and considering the future – Carmen searches for her own Happily Ever After.

Meet Carmen and crew as you read the first two chapters excerpt here free, courtesy of the publisher.

What big drama in your family has turned out okay in the end?
**kmm

Book Info: Once Upon a Quinceanera / Monica Gomez-Hira. HarperTeen, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Friendship, loneliness & THE CARE AND KEEPING OF FREDDY, by Susan Hill Long (MG book review)

book cover of The Care and Keeping of Freddy, by Susan Hill Long. Published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A hungry lizard amid a cricket shortage,
a sad dad trying to make it through,
a gone mom who made a new family without her…

In their small coastal Maine town, the red-haired boy stealing a cat collar from the pet store definitely stood out to best friends Georgia and Maria.

A new foster kid, Roland insists that his big brother will arrive on August 1st to take him away – the two middle-graders aren’t sure what to believe about that.

Of course, Freddy the bearded dragon is no substitute for her mother’s love, so Georgia is thrilled when her mom Blythe announces that she’s finally bringing baby Rosie to visit… and stay in town, new stepfather and all!

An abandoned glass house in the woods to explore, Maria writing her mystery novel, and the big town parade for July 4th – lots of excitement for the three friends, if Roland’s little foster brother would quit being such a pest.

Can Georgia balance friend-time with being-Rosie’s-big-sister-time?
What’s Blythe’s new big idea?
Why won’t Blythe let Georgia bring Freddy over?

By the author of Josie Bloom and the Emergency of Life (my recommendation here)

What’s the best thing about your town?
**kmm

Book Info: The Care and Keeping of Freddy / Susan Hill Long. Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

THE LUCKY LIST – Mom’s message to try again? by Rachael Lippincott (YA book review)

book cover of The Lucky List, by Rachael Lippincott.  Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Messy breakup at prom,
Dad’s selling the house,
No joy in her future…

Finding her late mom’s “Twelve adventures before twelfth grade” list shakes up Emily as she faces a boring summer while her best friend works away at camp…for a whole month.

Mom loved playing community benefit bingo, thought luck brightened the world, left a huge hole in their hearts when she died of cancer 3 years ago.

Why is now the time to sell the house they shared with Mom?
As Dad downsizes what Mom left behind, where will their memories go?
Can Emily become lucky again?

Her parents’ best friend from high school has just moved back to this small Pennsylvania town with his daughter Blake, same age as Emily.
Maybe she can help Emily break out of her prom-disaster gloom as they work on the list:

1.Get a tattoo (really, Mom?)

9. Buy a book in another language (in this little town?)

12. Kiss J.C. (wait, those aren’t Dad’s initials…)

Small steps seem like huge leaps, but if the bucket list worked for Mom, Emily has to try it!

What small steps have helped you cope with big losses?
**kmm

The Lucky List / Rachael Lippincott. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Staying friends LONG DISTANCE is hard, #MGLit graphic novel by Whitney Gardner – book review

book cover of Long Distance, by Whitney Gardner. Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Moving to Seattle?
Leaving her best friend?
(leaving her only friend…)

Middle-schooler Vega doesn’t care that she’ll have a great window for her star-gazing telescope – leaving Portland is terrible!

Her dads try to help by sending her to Camp Very Best Friend. Their new neighbor guy Qwerty is going too, also with great reluctance. And best friend Halley doesn’t even text back as Vega endures the counselor’s off-key singing on the long ride to camp…

Tent-mate Gemma and twin Isaac both collect rocks (especially thundereggs), Qwerty is a computer whiz (talks non-stop), and George (the kid in all the camp brochure photos) seems to change personality every day.

Where are the squirrels and birds and insects?
Why won’t Qwerty’s satellite phone work at camp?
Why are the counselors are super-happy every single moment?

The multicultural campers find a pine cone with a speaker inside and a secret tunnel to the big telescope promised in the brochure.

Then weird things start happening… truly weird.

Great graphic novel in hardcover, paperback or ebook – worth your gift card!

How do you cope with friends moving away?
**kmm

Long Distance / words and art by Whitney Gardner. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

MISFIT IN LOVE all by herself? by S. K. Ali (YA book review)

book cover of Misfit in Love, by S. K. Ali, published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

She’s ready for yes,
he’s already moved on –
great summer now not-so-great…

Her brother Muhammad’s nikah wedding celebration will be the perfect time for Janna to tell Nuah that his year away at college confirmed she’s finally ready to be together, but there’s hardly a quiet moment as the small Muslim ceremony has become a 300-guest extravaganza at her Indian-American dad’s fancy Illinois lakeside estate!

Between her young half-brothers’ ice cream truck obsession, wondering who her best friend’s date is, and Sarah’s attempts to rein in her fiance’s over-the-top additions to the party, hijabi Janna’s stress levels are rising as family connections and conflicts swirl.

Sarah’s cousin Haytham is a so-charming singing poet, family friend Layth is a brooding young man, and Janna’s long-divorced Egyptian-American mom is suspiciously happy to see a handsome college classmate and his teenage daughters.

Has dad always been such an anti-Black racist?
Is mom’s happiness on hold till Janna leaves for college?
How can everyone have a happily ever after except her?

The story begun in Saints and Misfits (recommended here) continues as Janna tries to envision a future much different than her dreams. By the author of Love From A to Z (recommended here).

Happy book birthday to Misfit in Love!

How to you know when it’s time to let go of a dream?
**kmm

Book Info: Misfit in Love: a Saints and Misfits Novel / S.K. Ali. Salaam Reads – S&S, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

New heart, new dreams, EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW is upended, by Shannon Takaoka (YA book review)

book cover of Everything I Thought I Knew, by Shannon Takaoka, published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A better race time,
better grades for better college,
a better heart?

Chloe’s plans shatter when she’s suddenly sidelined from cross-country running to wait for a heart transplant, missing so much of her senior year that she’ll have to attend summer school with the slackers so she can graduate.

The 17 year old’s new heart came from a young donor within 30 miles of her California home, that’s all the hospital can say. Now everyday life is lots of anti-rejection pills and checkups and nightmares she never had before and avoiding her classmates’ graduation celebrations.

On a sudden whim, she decides to take surfing lessons to get away from her parents’ constant hovering and her unusual boredom with school subjects that plan-everything Chloe used to enjoy.

Kai teaches more by example than words, but every week’s lessons with the cute teen guy give her a focus beyond the yawning boredom of summer school.

Her new pal Jane is fine with Chloe’s out-of-character ideas, like getting a tattoo and trying to find out about her heart donor despite the other family’s wish not to be contacted.

If she gets better at surfing, will Kai stop giving her lessons?
Where did this sudden passion for music come from?
Who had the motorcycle crash in her recurring nightmare?

As Chloe’s dreams unspool incidents related to the crash, she’s compelled to follow those clues around the Bay Area like her life now is a mystical puzzle.

When have you felt an unexplainable connection to someone?
**kmm

Book info: Everything I Thought I Knew / Shannon Takaoka. Candlewick Press, 2020. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

C for CHASING LUCKY & choices & second chances, by Jenn Bennett (YA book review)

book cover of Chasing Lucky, by Jenn Bennett. Published by Simon Pulse | BooksYALove.com

Moving, again.
Mom’s secrets, of course.
People don’t change… or do they?

Josie dreads going back to Mom’s Rhode Island hometown where the Saint-Martin women’s “unlucky in love” curse is well-known.

But someone has to run the family bookstore while her aunt and grandmother are trekking in Nepal, so here they are for the historic coastal town’s summer tourist rush and run-ins with old friends and adversaries.

Rich families like Adrian’s sail their fancy boats and working families like Lucky’s fix them up – no love lost between the golden ones and the year-round residents.

That goldens’ party with her cousin was a mistake – turning down drunken Adrian’s advances makes 17-year-old Josie a target for the rich kids’ ridicule all summer.

When did the aspiring photographer’s childhood best friend Lucky turn into the town bad boy?
Why does he help her out of a sticky situation with the police?
What’s the truth about that scandalous picture suddenly making the rounds?

Hopefully her long-gone famous photographer father will get back in touch and help Josie escape this tiny town and go to art school on the West Coast…

A romantic boat ride, a sudden storm, vandalism, long-buried secrets unleashed in this tangled love story.
**kmm

Book info: Chasing Lucky / Jenn Bennett. Simon Pulse, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A is for ANA ON THE EDGE, by A.J. Sass (MG book review)

book cover of Ana on the Edge, by A. J. Sass. Published by Little, Brown | BooksYALove.com

Figure skating competition = rules and regimens.
Chinese-American home = expectations and routine roles.
Can time on the ice become Ana’s freedom and focus?

Age 12 means moving up to the next figure skating competition level for Ana and also following her coach to a new Bay Area rink, with new choreography and music and routine.

Ana likes her short hair, sleek skating leggings, and bold Juvenile national championship choreography. But Intermediate ladies will be skating to a princess theme, and Ana doesn’t like the quiet music or boring moves that famous Miss Lydia has chosen or having to wear a skirt to practice or the huge bill that her single mom must pay!

As a skating rink assistant this summer, Ana can earn free practice hours – too bad she has to miss being with her best friend at her old rink and at their synagogue. Awesome that she meets new student Hayden, who just moved here and is now publicly identifying as a boy.

Hayden assumed Ana was a boy too, and she didn’t correct him. Will he get mad when he finds out?

Ana feels very in-between about girl or boy – what does that all mean?

And this new choreography and music… how can Ana make it more Ana?

Discovering who you are takes time and work – Ana may have the people nearby who will help!
**kmm

Book info: Ana On the Edge / A. J. Sass. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.