Tag Archive | surprises

Do they dare seek the MALAMANDER?! by Thomas Taylor, art by Tom Booth (MG book review)

book cover of Malamander, by Thomas Taylor, art by Tom Booth. Published by Walker Books US/Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Secrets throughout the seaside town,
shoes neatly abandoned on the shore,
a man with a boat hook for a hand!

Winter winds moan across the shipwreck just off the pier and whip snow through Eerie-On-Sea’s cobbled streets, as Violet bursts into Herbie’s office and demands to no longer be lost.

The young Lost-and-Founder of the Grand Nautilus Hotel hides the girl from his ever-angry hotel manager and a sea captain who stabs his boat-hook hand through wooden trunks seeking her!

Her parents vanished from this hotel and left infant Violet behind 12 years ago – will Herbie help her find them?

An Eerie Book Dispensary postcard is her main clue – will its mechanical monkey prescribe a book for Violet with more information?

A writer in town says that her father’s research on the Malamander was inaccurate – why is he trying to find the unpublished manuscript?

Someone (or something) is attacking those who dare ask questions about the legendary Malamander fish-man, and the two orphaned young teens must connect all the story-threads before they are the next victims!

Just published in the US yesterday, Malamander is first in a series set in this creepy English town filled with memorable characters.

What local legends do your friends tell stories about?
**kmm

Book info: Malamander (Legends of Eerie-On-Sea, book 1) / Thomas Taylor; illustrated by Tom Booth. Walker Books US/Candlewick, 2019. [author site] [illustrator site] [book series site] [publisher site] Review copy, display pages, and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

2 pages: end of chapter 28 showing Herbie leaping to another rooftop as harpoon speeds toward him and Violet, and start of chapter 29 "Silver-Tipped"

Hard-hitting football CRACKING THE BELL, by Geoff Herbach (YA book review)

book cover of Cracking the Bell, by Geoff Herbach. Published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Running plays, making big hits,
workouts, routines, football team captain…
now with agonizing brain distress.

Football saved Isaiah when the alternative was reform school. But it can’t bring back his dead sister or his easy relationship with Grace or his swagger on the field, knowing that any tackle could bring another concussion that puts him lights-out for good.

But if Isaiah stops playing football, what’s left for him?
If he doesn’t, will he have any future to work for?

His divorced parents are sure he’ll go to college in their small Minnesota town…but other college scouts have seen his hard-hitting defensive play and want to talk.

Odd-jobs guy Joey says journaling will help the high school senior process his past problems and present dilemmas…can it make the headaches and screeching sounds in his head go away?

Grandma Gin tells him to stay away from Grace who’s finally getting her act together…but how can he?

Happy book birthday to Cracking the Bell , as Isaiah tries to hide his symptoms from Coach even while he knows that the decision to keep playing is all on him.

One hit can knock out a player forever – youth football, yes or no?
**kmm

Book info: Cracking the Bell / Geoff Herbach. Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins), 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Foster home safe for HOME GIRL Naomi? by Alex Wheatle (YA book review)

book cover of Home Girl, by Alex Wheatle. Published by Black Sheep/Akashic Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Not half-bad foster family, for once,
iccle bro and sis looking up to her –
why are they so nice?

After Mum died, Naomi took care of alcoholic Dad for years. Now the UK foster care system thinks the 14-year-old needs watching over…

Naomi’s hostility to foster families quickly exhausts her social worker’s options, and the white teen is placed temporarily with a black family.

Colleen and Tony are nice enough, their kids like Naomi, too – but Tony’s parents aren’t keen on a white girl taking space where a black foster kid could be safe.

Alternative school kids are quick with their fists and loud with slangy curses. The black girls there aren’t liking Naomi’s new cornrow braids…

When Colleen discovers Naomi’s love of urban dance, she arranges lessons at a real studio! Now isn’t the time for social services to place her with a suburban white family.

Just published in the US by Black Sheep/Akashic, Home Girl is the latest in Wheatle’s YA books set in working class British towns, examining personal identity, racial relations, and finding one’s place in the world.

When do we become ‘grown up enough’ to take on all of life’s responsibilities?
**kmm

Book info: Home Girl / Alex Wheatle. Black Sheep/Akashic Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

They rejoice in being STRANGE BIRDS together! by Celia C. Perez (MG book review)

book cover of Strange Birds, by Celia C. Perez. Published by Kokila Books PRH. | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Endangered bird feathers as a prop,
a social club with no social awareness,
time to stop this nonsense!

Waiting out her parents’ transatlantic divorce arguments, Lane decides to take summer at her wealthy grandmother’s palatial Florida estate from boring to bold by inviting other 12 year old girls to form a secret club.

Ofelia’s overprotective Cuban-American parents want the budding journalist to stay safe, quit being so inquisitive, and certainly not apply for news-writers’ camp in New York City.

Helping her grandfather research connections between their Bahamian roots and local citrus growers leaves Aster plenty of time to cook up new dishes while Mom’s overseas in the Army.

As youngest sister, Cat is her society-conscious mother’s final chance to have a Miss Flora in the family, but she’d rather watch living birds than sit in boring club meetings.

The new friends decide to challenge the tradition of Miss Flora wearing a ceremonial hat with feathers from endangered birds – it should be in a museum!

All their low-key protests – stickers, lawn flamingos at the Flora clubhouse – get taken over by the Flora leader for publicity! How can this eclectic crew make the townspeople understand the importance of protecting local birds in peril?

Happy book birthday to Strange Birds, now available at your local library or independent bookstore.

**kmm

Book info: Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers / Celia C. Perez. Kokila Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

THE TROUBLE WITH SHOOTING STARS & scars & moondust & memories, by Meg Cannistra (MG book review)

book cover of The Trouble With Shooting Stars, by Meg Cannistra. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The car wreck changed everything,
healing is so slow –
can fractured relationships be mended too?

More operations ahead for Luna after the accident that left Dad in a wheelchair and the 12 year old with big facial scars under a treatment mask.

Her new neighbors are truly magical, as young Alessandro and Chiara ignore Luna’s scars and take her up with them in their zeppelin to brush the dust from the Moon and stars, as all spazzatrici do.

Only Uncle Mike understands how she needs to keep drawing every night when the pain won’t let her sleep – and that the spazzatrici are real.

She can’t stand to see the pity in Tailee’s eyes, stops returning her best friend’s phone calls, wants things to just be normal again.

Would stardust make Dad less sad about not working in their Italian-American family deli?

Could a shooting star grant Luna’s wish for healing if she caught one?

Sail up from Staten Island to help place new stars in their constellations and enjoy the drawings that Luna delivers to other neighbors in this magical tale – happy book birthday to The Trouble With Shooting Stars!
**kmm

Book info: The Trouble With Shooting Stars / Meg Cannistra, art by Dana Wulfekotte. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

LEARNING TO BREATHE, to make her own destiny, by Janice Lynn Mather (YA book review)

book cover of Learning to Breathe, by Janice Lynn Mather. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

“Doubles, you just like your mamma!” – words that Indira never wants to hear in their small town with eyes everywhere and tongues wagging about easy Sharice.

Sent over to Nassau for school and sleeping on the couch at her ever-angry aunt’s house, Indy has to keep up with her popular cousin Smiley in class and keep well away from older cousin Gary – some things are easy, but Gary is persistent.

Indy is ashamed of being taken advantage of, worried that her beloved Granny always thought she’d wind up just like Mamma, terrified that she could be thrown out of Aunt Patrice’s house at any moment.

Granny’s long-time advice to cool her worries in the sea accidentally leads Indy to a tranquil place away from the busy city – a yoga retreat where she finds friends and a tiny measure of peace…for now.

How long can she keep her condition a secret?
Where has Mamma moved Granny?
When will classmate Churchy abandon Indy too?

Striving to rise above difficult circumstances, this strong young Bahamian woman wants to find her grandmother and find some peace and space to be her own self.

How have you helped friends in tough situations?
**kmm

Book info: Learning to Breathe / Janice Lynn Mather. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2018, paperback Aug 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Love, food & stories = HUNGRY HEARTS anthology, edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond (YA book review)

book cover of Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love / edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sweets to tempt away a bitter spirit,
pastries that bring emotions to the surface,
family recipes and secrets to ignore or embrace…

Welcome to Hungry Heart Row, that multicultural neighborhood just across the Yarrow River from a bustling city – an eclectic collection of shops, apartments, and restaurants that reflect new tastes and old flavors, longstanding family traditions and recent changes, tales often-told and episodes never before shared.

I rarely re-read fiction because there’s so much in my to-be-read queue, but I found myself enjoying entire stories once again as I dipped back into Hungry Hearts to find morsels to tempt you with!

This yummy anthology includes interconnected stories by Elsie Chapman, Caroline Tung Richmond, Sandhya Menon, S. K. Ali, Rin Chupeco, Anna-Marie McLemore, Rebecca Roanhorse, Sara Farizan, Jay Coles, Adi Alsaid, Sangu Mandanna, Phoebe North and Karuna Riazi (meet all the authors here on the publisher’s webpage).

Cooking from the heart – what’s your favorite dish?
**kmm

Book info: Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love / edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond. Simon Pulse, 2019. [Elsie’s site] [Caroline’s IG] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Long-lived lies unravel – THE UNDOING OF THISTLE TATE, #yalit by Katelyn Detweiler (book review)

book cover of The Undoing of Thistle Tate, by Katelyn Detweiler. Published by Holiday House | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Deadline time!
Final book manuscript due to her editor now…
but she’s not the author, not by a long shot!

Floundering in his own publishing woes after the car crash that killed Thistle’s mom, her dad puts the homeschooled young teen’s name on his big, big manuscript based on her short, short story – and it’s a hit!

A few years down the road, with the last book of the series almost complete, Thistle can almost see the finish line – no more book tours in ‘Lemonade Skies’ themed outfits, no more questions about ‘her’ plots and ‘her’ characters.

Thankfully, she’s always had neighbor Liam to talk to – best friend and secret-keeper ever, now maybe more…

During an appearance at her hometown Philly bookstore, Thistle is asked by a young man to visit his very ill sister, and she veers off Dad’s script by going to the hospital.

Is she falling for Oliver and his family?
Will Dad meet the deadline for the final book in time?
Why did she ever let all this get started?

Happy book birthday to The Undoing of Thistle Tate ! Ask for it NOW at your local library or independent bookstore.

Ever have a ‘little secret’ burgeon into something uncontrollable?
**kmm

Book info: The Undoing of Thistle Tate / Katelyn Detweiler. Margaret Ferguson Books: Holiday House Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Teen doctor diagnoses SYMPTOMS OF A HEARTBREAK, #YAlit by Sona Charaipotra

book cover of Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra, published by Imprint/Macmillan | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Graduated from med school at 16,
the youngest doctor in America!
(still no driver license…)

As “Genius Girl” Saira begins her internship in pediatric oncology, she expects to be challenged by medical situations – not a hostile hospital supervisor or or failing the driving test yet again or falling in love with a patient.

Link thought she was another ‘cancer kid’ and doesn’t react well when he finds out she’s actually a doctor on his ward. Maybe he’ll let her help with his music competition online anyway.

Chemo, radiation, bone marrow donation – the terms and realities and after-effects play out among the young patients in the three interns’ caseload. And there are only 2 spots in the residency to follow…

How can she reconcile how the accounting department and medical teams see patients’ cancer treatment options so differently?

If Link’s treatment doesn’t work, how can she deal with being his last love when he is her first?

How will her extended Indian-American family react when they discover that Vish has been her ‘boyfriend’ so long because he’s not ready to come out?

Cancer has touched us all – what are you doing to help?
**kmm

Book info: Symptoms of a Heartbreak / Sona Charaipotra. Imprint (Macmillan), 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Making friends or Papa’s best cakes – PIE IN THE SKY dreams? by Remy Lai (book review)

book cover of Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai. Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Everything is different,
no one understands –
moving to a new country is so hard!

Jingwen feels like like an alien when Mom moves him and little brother to Australia, especially when Yanghao picks up English so much faster than he can. Or maybe a ghost, since his classmates hardly include him in anything because he’s so quiet.

Only remembering Papa’s special cakes makes him happy (and sad), so he decides to bake each one, just as Papa taught him back in the family bakery after all the plain, inexpensive ones were done.

Why did Mama decide to emigrate, even after Papa died?
Why can’t Jingwen understand English better? Why?
Will he be held back at school to be in little brother’s class next year!?

Illustrated middle grade novel with so much heart! (and fantastically yummy descriptions of Papa’s cakes)

How can we understand others when words don’t connect us?
**kmm

Book info: Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai. Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.