Tag Archive | technology

Z is for ZERO O’CLOCK in Covid-19’s early days, by C. J. Farley (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Zero O'Clock, by C. J. Farley. Published by Black Sheep/ Akashic | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mysterious plague,
not fiction, not science fiction,
how will it end?

Geth’s hometown, New Rochelle, New York, is ground-zero for the Covid-19 pandemic in USA, as the entire world hits the pause button in March 2020.

The sixteen year old and her best friends are unhappier to miss next weekend’s Broadway show than about school being closed for two weeks (more teleteaching, more homework… ugh). Diego is the star quarterback, so that’s his ticket to college. Tovah is tiny and mighty and a math genius; Geth is sure that they’ll both be accepted to Columbia soon.

Two weeks’ closure keeps stretching out, stores in ‘the containment zone’ are running out of essentials, and the neighborhood foxes are scavenging boldly as trash pickup is delayed and delayed again. After each face-touch, the Black teen washes her hands for safety (her OCD compulsions are getting companions now).

Worrying about her mom working at the hospital, the Native American teen who’ll be isolating with them in their little house (Mom’s boyfriend’s stepson?), whether prom will be cancelled – Geth gets more stressed by the day, clinging to her friends’ text messages and BTS songs as a lifeline.

Neighbors dying of Covid at home, friends hospitalized on ventilators, the President saying there’s nothing to be concerned about… .

Why are they still reading The Plague for English class?
Who’s trying to sabotage Diego’s football scholarship?
What advice would her late father have?

Three months, a million emotions, thousands upon thousands of deaths – then 8 minutes 32 seconds of video that sparked a movement.

How do you look back on the early days of the pandemic?
**kmm

Book info: Zero O’Clock / C. J. Farley. Black Sheep/ Akashic, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Helping others find love, where’s her MATCH MADE IN MEHENDI? by Nandini Bajpai (YA book review)

paperback book cover of A Match Made in Mehendi, by Nandini Bajpai. Little Brown Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Henna or paint?
Matchmaking or the magic of art?
Family expectations or her own dreams?

Simi wants a future in art, not becoming a traditional matchmaker like her mom and aunt and grandmother, nor excelling in STEM like her Indian-American parents expect – let big brother Navdeep please them with his amazing computer skills.

Sophomore year is their turn to get out of the shadows where the popular crowd shoves everyone, Simi and best friend Noah decide, just like the transfer students who don’t know that Amanda tries to run everything at their New Jersey high school.

Hmm… incorporating her mehendi henna designs into a large-scale artwork could be perfect for Simi’s signature project.

Maybe stand out by matchmaking! Using Navdeep’s stalled app (Mom insists on talking in person), Noah’s clever quiz questions, and Simi’s charming icons, they create Matched! limited to students at their school.

At first, Simi and Noah stay quiet about Matched! but when more and more students take the quiz, their secret is out – and kids are excited to see who their top Matches will be.

Ohh… soccer stars Ethan and Tea are perfectly Matched even as Amanda keeps saying she’s getting Ethan back.

Umm… maybe Simi’s Matches include long-time crush Aiden from art or Suraj who transferred here for robotics.

Eek… Noah won’t tell Simi if cute new guy Connor from California is one of his matches – surely they’re compatible!

As Matches begin to meet in person and decide whether to go out or not, Amanda’s demands to be Matched with Ethan grow more frenzied – yikes!

Enjoy this debut novel to see which Matches flare brightly!

Have you ever tried a matching app?
**kmm

Book info: A Match Made in Mehendi / Nandini Bajpai. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2019, paperback 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

KIND OF SORT OF FINE to film together (maybe), by Spencer Hall (book review)

book cover of Kind of Sort of Fine, by Spencer Hall. Published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No extracurriculars,
no extra stress,
academic master plan in tatters…

After her very public breakdown last spring (in the major intersection in front of her school just before finals), overachiever Hayley faces senior year with very few AP classes and slacker-elective TV Production instead varsity tennis. Yeah, like doing the school’s morning video announcements will really impress the prestigious universities she’s aiming for…

For Lewis, senior year means that he’ll finally become head Producer in TV class, and lose some weight, and tell long-time crush/bestie Rebecca how he really feels. How can honor roll addict Hayley just slouch in to the TV studio and steal his thunder?

Hayley and Lucy are laser-focused on their future professions; Lewis, Cal, and Rebecca relate everything to their favorite 1980s movies.

Having to share a locker and make a video series together aren’t their first choices, but Hayley and Lewis have to make it work, somehow.

Lewis has to teach Hayley video editing, of course. Their mini-documentaries about students’ unusual hidden talents (laser tag, chainsaw wood carving) turn out to be very popular and surprisingly interesting to make.

But when they’re assigned to provide the best video ever for prom, their creative process starts to sputter…

Will their longtime friends always be their friends?
Will Lewis ever finish a college application?
Will Hayley’s anxiety ever, ever ease up?

Told in the alternating voices of Hayley and Lewis, this debut novel traces their final school year full of friendships, misunderstandings, lots of caffeine, and finding their way to their correct future (sort of).

What’s your ultimate senior year dream scenario?
**kmm

Book Info: Kind of Sort of Fine / Spencer Hall. Atheneum, 2021. (author interview) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Tapping her HIDDEN POWERS: LISE MEITNER’S CALL TO SCIENCE, by Jeannine Atkins (YA book review)

book cover of Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner's Call to Science, by Jeannine Atkins. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

School through age fourteen,
prepare to raise a family,
but she wants more, so much more!

In a time when new elements are being added to the periodic table, Lise longs to be a scientist, to study further – so unladylike for the early 1900s!

But she persists, going to university, earning her PhD, hearing the discoveries of Planck and Einstein and Hahn from the great men themselves – so much more to learn!

Segregated in her Berlin basement laboratory away from the university’s male chemists and physicists, Lise makes an electroscope to examine radioactive substances – surely they can fill the periodic table’s gaps!

She publishes her important findings in academic journals before and during and after World War I – Dr. L. Meitner is applauded, yet her male co-researchers get more of the credit.

Hitler invades her home country of Austria in 1938 – safety for a Jewish woman in Nazi Germany will soon be impossible!

Can Lise escape to another country?
How will she continue her research?
Why did her lab partner alone get a Nobel Prize for their work on nuclear fission??

This biography in verse is a worthy addition to your reading list for International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February or any day!

What woman of science do you think should be more celebrated for her work?
**kmm

Book info: Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner’s Call to Science / Jeannine Atkins. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

WELCOME TO DWEEB CLUB & video of their future!? by Betsy Uhrig (MG book review)

book cover of Welcome to Dweeb Club, by Betsy Uhrig. Published by Margaret McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Youngest kids in the school now,
gotta find your place all over again,
“Join a club” they say, “it’ll be fun…”

Being the first to sign up for a new club means that Jason and other seventh graders get to choose how things go, right?

Hmmm… H.A.I.R. Club isn’t about hair care at all (half the kids leave the first meeting) – its members are the only ones allowed to view the new state-of-the art security system at Flounder Bay Upper School, Maine.

Their first task – find out who is stealing all the croutons from the school cafeteria.

So they watch the late night security recordings and see a skunk heading down the hall. Then, at exactly midnight, the cafeteria is filled with high school kids – how did they get in?

A few more viewings and the eight Club members discover that those teenagers are them, five years in the future – how is this possible?

And none of them really like how their future selves behave – what can they do about that?

After a liquid + security laptop accident, the Club seeks help from Jason’s techie uncle who’s mystified by the programs on the security system – really?!?

Are they really seeing recordings from their own futures?
Why would a skunk seek out croutons?
Who donated the security system anyway?

One humane skunk trap, midnight stakeout missions, the continuous mocking of Jason’s bratty little sister – upper school is definitely different than elementary school! (except that last part, of course)

If offered a chance to see into your own future, would you?
**kmm

Book Info: Welcome to Dweeb Club / Betsy Uhrig. Margaret McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

BLOOD LIKE MAGIC, by Liselle Sambury – her witch test will destroy love or family! (YA book review)

book cover of Blood Like Magic, by Liselle Sambury. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Safety is staying in her family home,
facing the forces outside is her fate…
how can she balance the magic required?

Oh yes, her extended family is exasperating on a day-to-day basis, but 16-year-old Voya knows they love her and that she’d do anything to keep them safe in mid-21st century Toronto.

Now the Trinidadian-Canadian teen pleads for a second chance to claim her Calling as a witch, through a task to be set by her ancestor.

But this task is brutal, far beyond what anyone in her extended family experienced in their Calling – ‘destroy her first love.’

Time is of the essence as Voya must fall in love with someone and then eliminate them…or her little sister will die, and her entire family will lose its long-held magic!

Love match via genetic blood test?
Cozying up to a rival magic family?
Surely there must be another way…

Find this great YA debut at your local library or independent bookstore now. The series continues with Blood Like Fate in August 2022.

What would you sacrifice to keep your family safe?
**kmm

Book Info: Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic, book 1) / Liselle Sambury. Margaret K. McElderry Books (S&S), 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

MIND GAMES, by Shana Silver – Remember forever or every memory erased? (YA book review)

book cover of Mind Games, by Shana Silver. Published by Swoon Reads/Macmillan | recommended on BooksYALove.com

If you could remember every moment,
or experience someone’s memory as if it were your own –
would you?

Her brilliant parents’ invention of HiveMind means that you never have to forget cherished memories.

Everyone at their school for extraordinary talents is connected to HiveMind, and Arden has figured out how to override security and access memories to share…for a price.

But then she wakes up with a vital chunk of her own memory gone and no backups of it on HiveMind! Even worse for Bash, who’s forgotten everything about the past several weeks of his life – with no backups – how?

The classmates’ important final tech project must be presented soon… if only they could remember what it was.

Who wants Arden and Bash to forget?
Why are just their memories gone?
Can they stop the literal brain drain before it’s too late?

It’s a race against the clock, because without HiveMind backups, when a memory is gone, it’s like it never happened at all.

What favorite memory would you like to preserve everything about – forever?
**kmm

Book info: Mind Games / Shana Silver. Swoon Reads/Macmillan, 2019. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Q for a queer COMPLICATED LOVE STORY SET IN SPACE aboard Qriosity, by Shaun David Hutchinson (YA book review)

book cover of A Complicated Love Story Set in Space, by Shaun David Hutchinson. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A message he can trust,
new friends in this adventure,
why can’t they remember how they got here?

It’s disorienting to wake up in a spacesuit floating outside a spaceship amid flashing warnings of imminent explosion – and to have another 16 year old inside Qirosity trying to shut down the faulty reactor and help Noa get to the airlock at the same time!

Noa stumbles out of the resuscitator (first death is the hardest), meeting Jenny on his way to find DJ – who abducted them from all over the US?

Just the three teens on this spaceship… and a grown-up kid actor’s hologram with unhelpful messages, and a murdered girl, and the kid actor’s entire mystery series to watch, and more than a lifetime supply of Nutreesh bars in the galley.

DJ and Noa are falling for each other, Jenny is plotting revenge on the aliens/kidnappers, and strange events keep them hopping as one day seems to repeat itself, repeat itself.

Steered automatically to a high school on an asteroid, they find cliques and yucky PE class and teachers who stop all the fun and the murdered girl from Qriosity who doesn’t remember being on the spaceship at all…

Why is there a high school in space?
Why does Jenny prefer Nutreesh to what Noa cooks?
Is DJ and Noa’s love real?

The three teens must rely on each other to survive months in space, a monster or two, crisis after crisis, and a school dance as they keep trying hack into Qriosity’s navigation system and get back to Earth.

Another tale of strange happenings and learning to love from the author of The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza (I recommended here) and At the Edge of the Universe (more here).

Aliens – yes or no?
**kmm

Book Info: A Complicated Love Story Set in Space / Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site]

KENSY AND MAX face danger, secrets & spies! by Jacqueline Harvey (middle grade book review)

book cover of Kensy and Max: Breaking News, by Jacqueline Harvey. Published by Kane Miller Books (US) | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Not where they expected to be,
family secrets trigger extreme events,
twin-power must save them!

Kensy and Max are used to frequent moves since their parents’ work takes the family to medical clinics all over the world, but this time…Mum and Dad have gone missing!

The 11-year-old twins are suddenly at a magnificent country estate, then their manny Fitz winds up being more bodyguard than housekeeper when they’re enrolled in an unusual school in London.

Glad to make new friends at school, Kensy and Max await word from their parents, learn more about long-lost family members, and are nearly kidnapped!

Kensy is impulsive, messy, and amazing with machines – can she figure out what’s up with the grannies at the corner newspaper shop?

Max is neat, orderly, and brilliant with codes – can he decipher the messages that Mum and Dad left in favorite books?

They keep notes on a wealthy newspaper owner, a butler with mysterious skills, secret classes at school, loads of rubble coming from their neighbor’s renovation – what does it all mean?

First in an exciting series that take Kensy and Max around the world as they search for their parents and keep one step ahead of the bad guys! Four books are available now in paperback in the US.

What mystery would you like to decode?
**kmm

Book info: Kensy and Max: Breaking News (Kensy and Max, book 1) / Jacqueline Harvey. Kane Miller Books, 2020 (US). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

No way! LUPE WONG WON’T DANCE, by Donna Barba Higuera (book review)

book cover of Lupe Wong Won't Dance, by Donna Barba Higuera. Published by Levine Querido | recommended on BooksYALove.com

PE equals sports.
How is square dancing a sport?!

Lupe wants to become a major league pitcher, so meeting the MLB’s first Asian/Latino pitcher in Seattle will be a dream come true – IF she can ace all her middle school classes.

Getting an A in PE should be easy for the Chinese-Mexican athlete, until Coach announces square dancing and a public performance!

Unhygenic hand-holding, only boys can choose their partner, questionable song lyrics – every objection that Lupe brings up to the principal is met with modifications to their lessons, meaning less time to learn the dance and be chosen to perform and earn that A… her classmates aren’t happy with her.

Advice from her Mexican-American grandmother and Chinese-American grandparents, the voice of experience from big brother, the memory of her late father… she’s just gotta try.

Doctor Who nights with autistic best friend Niles get cancelled, best friend Andy’s mom adds soccer to her overloaded schedule, and Lupe even gets the cold shoulder from her baseball team.

When her assigned partner is injured, Lupe has to dance alone! Now how can she be chosen for the performance and earn her A in PE?

Happy book birthday this week to this strong young woman and her cadre of friends!

When have you bucked tradition for what is right?
**kmm

Book info: Lupe Wong Won’t Dance / Donna Barba Higuera. Levine Querido, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.