Tag Archive | teens

L = Laila and her lingering FINAL DRAFT worries, by Riley Redgate (YA book review)

book cover of Final Draft, by Riley Redgate. Published by Amulet Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

“So talented!”
“Derivative and unimaginative.”
Did both read the same short story?!

Mr. Madison has told Laila all through high school to be proud of her writing style, but now a renowned novelist substitute teaching that creative writing class says the New York City teen’s work is more sci-fi fanfic than true storytelling. Ouch.

Urged by Nazarenko to get out of her comfort zone, Laila timidly goes to a club with her friends for the first time, meets lovely Hannah, and tries flirting, kissing, escaping her Ecuadorian father’s curfew demands.

Laila’s admission to Bowdoin’s prestigious writing program hinges on this final creative writing grade. May inspiration from Hannah and the city night sky be enough!

When have you decided to move from draft to publicly seen work?
**kmm

Book info: Final Draft / Riley Redgate. Amulet Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

J is Japan and MY ALMOST FLAWLESS TOKYO DREAM LIFE, by Rachel Cohn (YA book review)

book cover of My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life, by Rachel Cohn. Published by Disney/Hyperion | recommended on BooksYALove.com

From nice house to shabby apartment,
apartment to terrible foster homes,
foster care to luxury hotel?!

Elle is stunned when ‘Uncle’ Masa arrives at her latest foster home (showers allowed once a week) with her new passport and an invitation from her biological father in Japan – happy 16th birthday after all.

Being so obviously hafu (half-Japanese) and gaijin (foreigner) is no big deal at her prestigious new school attended by kids of diplomats and business people from all over the world, but utterly scandalous to Elle’s new grandmother (no wonder Kenji was forbidden to marry her Native American/ African American mom).

Not sure she’s willing to believe all the gossip about Ryuu’s past or her dad’s convoluted business dealings

When have you been suddenly the outsider?
**kmm

Book info: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life / Rachel Cohn. Disney Book Group, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy from the library; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Swept from foster care in Maryland to a Tokyo highrise, sixteen-year-old Elle must figure out where she fits in her biological father’s family and the social order at an elite international school.

Once the painkillers hooked Mom after that car wreck, drugs took their house, Elle’s security, and put Mom in jail.

When her never-seen dad offers Elle a home in Japan with him, she’s wary but goes along – to an amazing apartment in his skyscraper hotel with 24-hour room service…and his displeased mother and sister nearby.

Elle has to work hard at school to catch up, wondering why fellow swimmer Ryuu is shunned by the popular Ex-Brat crowd who inexplicably adopted her.

Will she always see her father by appointment only?
Can her new grandmother accept Elle’s mixed-race maternal heritage?
What happens if things don’t work out with her family in Tokyo?

As Elle and Ryuu get to know each other at swim practice, some Ex-Brats go beyond pushy, and business pressures are affecting her dad, badly.

H = Hurricane and help in MEET THE SKY, by McCall Hoyle (YA book review)

book cover of Meet the Sky, by McCall Hoyle, published by BlinkYA | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Evacuation means leaving the place.
Mandatory means that it must be done.
She knows this, he doesn’t even care.

After the accident, her sister’s rehab was long and arduous, her dad abandoned them, and Sophie concentrated on helping mom with their stables and preparing to become a veterinarian.

Then Finn walked back into her life like he’d never stood her up at the dance, like he didn’t remember how close they had been before, like he hadn’t disappeared without a trace, without even a phone call…

And now the hurricane grows more powerful than predicted as the teens are stuck on the barrier island, trying to stay alive!

Go back to coastal North Carolina with the author of The Thing With Feathers, which I recommended here.

Checked your emergency preparedness skills and supplies lately?
**kmm

Book info: Meet the Sky / McCall Hoyle. Blink YA, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As a ferocious hurricane approaches North Carolina, Sophie is stranded on her Outer Banks island with Finn, guaranteed to break her heart again, if they survive the storm.

Did Mom and Mere and the horses get to the mainland safely?
What brought Finn back to the island?

Surfing during a hurricane evacuation is just like class clown Finn, delaying their journey through the increasing wind to safety.

Too close to the shore, Sophie and Finn fight through lancing rain and wind-borne debris to find shelter. Too late?

F is FUN THINGS TO DO WITH DEAD ANIMALS for Amun & his Egyptologist mom! by Eden Unger Bowditch & Salima Ikram (MG/YA book review)

book cover of Fun Things to do With Dead Animals, by Eden Unger Bowditch & Salima Ikram, published by AUC Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Scorpions, ancient statuettes,
learning how to make mummies,
not your average childhood!

Amun Ra tries to be a normal teenager despite his mom’s mummy obsession and switching schools between Egypt and Washington DC. And the bad guys trying to steal a priceless statue, don’t forget them…

This is the first young adult fiction book published by AUC Press, well-known for its scholarly works on Egyptology, as shown by the narrow page margins and smaller typeface than used in most books for teens.

Beyond those printing quirks, the story is full of adventure and humor with chapter titles like “A Dead Mouse in Every Bag” (Mum teaching mummification at his second grade birthday party) and “Murder by Papyrus” (with Mum at a London academic conference before eighth grade).

The American and Egyptian authors live and work within sight of many places that Amun Ra visits with his classmates or on archaeological digs with Mum, and their family and friends acted out scenes in the book for the photos that the teen tapes onto pages of his story.

Any parental embarrassments that turned out to be helpful in the end?
**kmm

Book info: Fun Things To Do With Dead Animals: Egyptology – Ruins – My Life / Eden Unger Bowditch & Salima Ikram. AUC Press, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Named for an Egyptian god, traipsing from dig site to research station with Mum, wondering how his life would be now if his dad had lived – Amun Ra would rather not have mummified dogs on the kitchen table, but probably wouldn’t enjoy the boring one-place life of his classmates in either Cairo or Washington DC.

In junior high, he endures Mum’s embarrassing museum tour with his class, encounters unscrupulous people trying to steal priceless antiquities, and stumbles onto an ancient toilet system (don’t ask how, please).

Amun-Ra’s journal includes snapshots and a few flashbacks (mouse-mummifying kits at his 2nd grade birthday party) as the young teen tries to keep up with his friends on two continents, keep jackals (animal and human) away from Mum’s excavations, and decide what he wants to do with his own future.

C is CHANGERS: BOOK 4 – FOREVER, by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper (YA book review)

book cover of Changers: Book 4-Forever, by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper. Published by Black Sheep/Akashic Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Four bodies,
four identities,
same you!

The first morning of senior year is less scary than first day of freshman year for most.

But that’s when teens who are Changers wake up to their fourth transformation into a completely new identity – gender, race, sexuality, talents, every physical characteristic is likely to be different from who they appeared to be as a junior or sophomore or freshman.

And before graduation, they must decide which of those four Versions to keep for the rest of their lives!

This is a bang-up ending to the series and could be read solo, but do yourself a favor and go through the whole journey with this Changer teen’s personas of Drew (book 1 recommended here), Oryon (book 2 review), and Kim (book 3 notes) first!

How much can you change yourself to become more yourself?
**kmm

Book info: Changers: Book Four – Forever / T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper. Black Sheep/ Akashic Books, 2018. [T Cooper site] [Allison site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Junior year at Kim’s Tennessee high school brought new friendships and old conflicts renewed. One more identity to experience as a senior – and it’s the person seen in earlier visions as cause of a tragic death!

Being transformed on the first day of school each year into another body is wild.
Keeping the same inner identity without giving that away is really hard.
Maintaining the secrecy of the world’s Changers when attacked by Abiders is near-impossible!

Four Versions, four options – which choice will be their one body forever?

Preceded by Changers Book One: Drew, Book Two: Oryon, and Book Three: Kim.

A is for ART OF THE SWAP time-traveling mystery #MGlit by Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone (book review)

book cover of Art of the Swap, by Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone. Published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A missing painting,
a mystic mirror,
two tweens in a time-swap!

Welcome to the first day of 2019’s April AtoZ Challenge! (you can sign up your blog to participate until 5 April)

The lovely Newport mansion was Maggie’s summer residence in early 1900s, Hannah’s home today (Dad is The Elms‘ full-time caretaker), and both are intrigued by the disappearance of Maggie’s portrait, painted by Mary Cassatt who would later gain great fame as an artist.

If you were suddenly flipped into another time, would you have enough background knowledge to cope?
**kmm

Book info: The Art of the Swap / Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone. Aladdin, hardcover 2018, paperback 2019. [Kristine’s site] [Jen’s site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Stepping through a mirror, Hannah and Maggie switch centuries in the Rhode Island mansion that both call home, and the twelve year olds take advantage of this miracle to solve a mystery.

Swept back in time, Hannah is determined to discover who stole Maggie’s portrait just before it was unveiled in 1905.
Whooshed into today, Maggie will make the most of running and pizza and Hannah’s other freedoms.

The girls talk to each other through the mirror as often as they can – how long will this amazing time travel last?
How can Hannah discover who stole the painting when Maggie’s aunt insists on ladylike behavior?

Alternating chapters spin the twin timeline stories as Hannah copes with corsets and treating servants like servants, Maggie finds soccer to be harder than it looks and talking to a boy (unchaperoned!) even more difficult, and the hours before the painting’s unveiling quickly tick by.

Emotions controlled by THE DARK INTERCEPT, by Julia Keller (YA book review)

book cover of The Dark Intercept, by Julia Keller. Published by Tor Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Safe from crime and anger,
Far above the plagued world…
Protected or controlled?

The Intercept records all their emotions and keeps them in check, allowing the luckiest humans to live peacefully in the tight quarters of New Earth, away from the ravaged world below.

When Violet meets Danny, whose late brother invented the Intercept, she begins to wonder if her emotions should belong to her instead and why Danny keeps returning to Old Earth’s dangers.

First in series, followed by Dark Mind Rising.

How much of your freedom would you sacrifice for safety?
**kmm

Book info: The Dark Intercept (Dark Intercept, book 1) / Julia Keller. Tor Teen, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As the all-encompassing Intercept collects every emotion from each human, sixteen-year-old Violet uncovers a rebellion on New Earth and must decide which side is telling the truth about its powers.

Violet’s father founded New Earth a generation ago, ensuring that the best and brightest escaped there from the disease and destruction on Old Earth.

Now the Intercept can monitor everyone on both Earths, crime is down everywhere, yet policeman Danny (brother of the Intercept inventor) insists on returning often to patrol Old Earth – is he looking for something?

As cameras monitor the safety of people on missions down to Old Earth, Violet sees the dire poverty there – why does New Earth only allow a few immigrations up every year?

Rumors swirl about a way to bypass the Intercept, to keep thoughts and emotions out of the New Earth government computers – what are the Rebels of Light planning?

Violet and Danny find themselves together more and more, but what the Intercept can record, the Intercept can repeat…

In wartime, love is written WITHIN THESE LINES, by Stephanie Morrill (YA book review)

book cover of Within These Lines, by Stephanie Morrill. Published by BlinkYA | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Pearl Harbor,
Evacuations and preparations,
American citizens sent to concentration camps.

Yes, Manzanar, Heart Mountain, and the other ‘relocation camps’ where Japanese-Americans were sent – with only the suitcases they could carry – were concentration camps.

Trusting neighbors to safeguard their houses, selling cars and business equipment for pennies on the dollar, Japanese-Americans on the West Coast hoped to return home soon…

Parents and neighbors wouldn’t approve of their relationship, but after his family is sent to Manzanar, Taichi and Evalina write letter after letter, daring to plan a future together.

Happy book birthday on March 5th to Within These Lines!

Would you speak out against popular opinion in stressful times, as Evalina did?
**kmm

Book info: Within These Lines / Stephanie Morrill. Blink YA Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The budding romance between Evalina and Taichi becomes a long-distance correspondence when his family is ‘evacuated’ to Manzanar concentration camp in the California desert after Pearl Harbor.

Many disagree that Japanese-Americans are true citizens of this country during World War II, but Italian-American Evalina will keep writing persuasive letters to San Francisco newspapers and arguing with her political science professor.

With blankets for apartment walls and dust blowing like despair through any crevice at Manzanar, Taichi will stand against the pro-Japan Black Dragon gang to protect his family.

Even though mixed-race marriage is illegal in their home state, it’s worth dreaming of a future together…right?

Letter by letter, thought by thought, Evalina and Taichi are separated by many valleys and mountains, held together by hope.

Stolen from Sinclair’s! MYSTERY OF THE PAINTED DRAGON, by Katherine Woodfine (book review)

book cover of Mystery of the Painted Dragon, by Katherine Woodfine. Published by Kane Miller Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A famous painting!
A locked-door theft!
A dread criminal threatens everyone…

Better than the “Boy Detective” penny thrillers that Billy reads, the cases that the young employees of Sinclair’s (amazing, astounding) Department Store all seem to have terrible villain The Baron at their core – but why is he targeting Sophie and Sinclair’s in particular?

This is third in the Sinclair’s series set in 1909 London, following The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow (my review here) and The Mystery of the Jeweled Moth (here).

Many strands come together in the fourth book, The Mystery of the Midnight Peacock (fireworks! hidden passageways! The King visiting Sinclair’s Department Store!), so ask for the whole paperback set at your local library or independent bookstore.

Which friends do you want by your side when there’s a mystery to unravel?
**kmm

Book info: The Mystery of the Painted Dragon (Sinclair’s Mysteries, book 3) / Katherine Woodfine. Kane Miller/EDC Publishing, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Sophie and Lil are on the case again when a famous painting is stolen from Sinclair’s Department Store in 1909, and the investigative teens suspect that London criminal mastermind The Baron is involved.

Snobbish art critic Mr. Lyle allows sudents of the Spencer School of Art to assist with the exhibition at Spencer’s, where a rare dragon painting loaned by the King himself holds a place of honor.

Art school instead of university? Lil’s brother Jack is hiding his enrollment at the Spencer from his parents – scandalous!

Hobbled as much by the expectations of British society as by her crippled leg, Leo eagerly escaped her parents’ country estate to attend art school in London. New friends, new opportunities, an attack in the train station?

Leo and Jack join the team as Sophie (ladies’ hats), Lil (dress model and actress), Jack (stable hand), and Billy (office boy and avid reader of detective fiction) work on their third case together as ruthless crime boss The Baron moves ever closer to his prize.

Time for rebellion! WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE, by Tehlor Kay Mejia (YA book review)

book cover of We Set the Dark on Fire, by Tehlor Kay Meija. Published by Katherine Tegen Books/HMH | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Analytical, the planner – Primera.
Sensual, the mother – Segunda.
Two wives – harmony or life-long tension?

Because one god couldn’t choose between the two women he loved, now all men of Medio’s ruling class live in luxury with two wives, while the poor of the divided island have too little, and revolutionaries are determined to change that imbalance, whatever the cost.

Dani and Carmen have been groomed for years to take their respective places as Primera and Segunda in prominent households, secure in the gated compound far above the salt-soaked lands of the poor, but their roles quickly become masks hiding their true selves and forbidden affections.

Happy February 26th book birthday to Meija’s debut novel! Her short stories have been published in collections including Toil & Trouble, which I recommended earlier this year.

When marriage is a political business, where is love?
**kmm

Book info: We Set the Dark on Fire / Tehlor Kay Meija. Katherine Tegen Books (HMH), 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: On their divided tropical island, the rich get richer, the poor are brutalized, and revolution is snaking through the land, even into the mansion that Dani and Carmen share with their new husband and perilous secrets!

As Primera, Daniela rules her emotions and every aspect of their husband’s household; as Segunda, Carmen will be adored as mother of his children. But the teens soon realize that Mateo is planning violence to keep the poor at bay and that their own secrets endanger them as well.

Dani’s parents escaped over the wall into Medio and sacrificed everything to get her into the Academy where society’s daughters train to become co-wives in ruling class households, where Carmen and friends teased her mercilessly for five years, where the La Voz revolution saves her from being found out and imprisoned.

With Carmen in the same household, how can Dani help La Voz?
Her training decrees that Primeras don’t love – what is Dani feeling now?
Her training decrees that a Segunda keeps her husband happy – why is Carmen so torn?

Fearing their husband, loving each other, Dani and Carmen may have to follow La Voz despite the dangers.