Tag Archive | US author

Memory Girl, by Linda Joy Singleton (fiction) – can she stay herself?

book cover of Memory Girl by Linda Joy Singleton published by CBAY Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comLife is too interesting to follow every rule.
Why must she be just a vessel for others’ memories?
Why can’t Jennza remain herself?

Centuries after a mind-virus wiped out humanity, only ShareHaven island research station remains, where no one ever dies. Each 25 years, carefully stored memories of Lost Ones are implanted into youth as lucky Families choose, their specific talents once again in this small world.

But Jennza wants to remember her explorations of the forbidden seashore and its amazing creatures, not have her 15 years of life overrun by decades of someone else’s memories through memdenity. Perhaps scientist Lila is hinting that this is possible. Maybe that’s how Nate survives outside the Fence…

What memories would you keep, above all others?
**kmm

Book info: Memory Girl / Linda Joy Singleton. CBAY Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: No one dies on ShareHaven in the centuries after mind-virus, but if 15 year old Jennza wants to be more than just a body for someone else’s life-memories, her time is running out.

When she’s Chosen by a Family known for practical hard work, Jennza knows she’ll miss sneaking over the safety fence to the sea cave creatures and mysterious boy Nate, as her own memories will be submerged by the memdenity of a Lost One whose skills are now needed.

Murder strikes their island stronghold, Jennza spots Nate inside ShareHaven, and someone else sees her secret.

How can Nate live outside the Fence where terrible beasts prowl the night?
Who is helping Jennza try to contact Nate?
Why does Daisy in her new Family hate the Milly whose memories Jennza will receive?

This future tale brings a few twists into the carefully ordered world that Jennza and her 14 born-mates must navigate as old minds that lived centuries ago are put into their young bodies.

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (fiction) – police + prejudice = self-protection or murder?

book cover of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas published by Balzer + Bray  | recommended on BooksYALove.comUnarmed, he’s shot by police.
Horrified, she’s the only witness.
Telling the truth will endanger her family – can she do it?

At 16, Starr should be concerned with grades, love, and her future – not drive-by shootings and police brutality in her poor neighborhood, not white kids at her suburban private school “protesting” Kahlil’s death as a way to skip class, not worrying if her testimony will bring down the wrath of gang members and police.

Happy book birthday to The Hate U Give – wish it could be purely fiction, instead of ‘straight from the headlines’ lived experience…

How can we stop this cycle of threat, miscommunication, and death?
**kmm

Book info:The Hate U Give / Angie Thomas. Balzer + Bray, 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kahlil’s murder during a routine traffic stop upends 16 year old Starr’s world as she mourns her friend’s death with her inner city neighbors, struggles to explain it to her white prep school classmates, and must decide whether to testify against that police officer, endangering everything.

Starr is two versions of herself – automatically cool black girl at the suburban prep school her parents sacrifice to pay for and then “Big Mav’s daughter who work in the store” in their poor neighborhood.

Truth or safety? Gangs and their turf wars are woven into Garden Heights.
Will her testimony send the white cop to trial? Not likely.
Can she keep being two different people, at home and at school? Tension, pressure…

If white boyfriend Chris finds out that Starr is the only witness to Kahlil’s death, surely he’ll treat her differently, and that she just couldn’t bear.

Too true, too real, The Hate U Give moves from one fatal mistake to a torrent of prejudgment and violence.

Racism, riot, murders: Dreamland Burning (fiction), by Jennifer Latham

book cover of Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham published by Little Brown  | recommended on BooksYALove.comRioting and looting for 14 hours,
Murder, torture, arson –
Whites erasing black community

Will is already uncomfortable as son of white father and Osage mother, so when the KKK starts recruiting in Tulsa just as he’s getting to know a Negro brother and sister, how should he react?

Rowan didn’t expect to find a body in her Tulsa yard this summer, or to swap comfortable lab internship for charity clinic work on ‘that side’ of town, or to be slammed with prejudices that her black mother and white father had shielded her from.

Listen to an interview with author Jennifer Latham here for some deep background and insights on why she wrote this book about this 1921 event which wasn’t openly discussed by black or white families in Tulsa for over 50 years.

Happy book birthday to Dreamland Burning! Look for it at your local library or independent bookstore, and find Jennifer’s first book Scarlett Undercover (my no-spoiler recommendation here) there, too.

How to see friendship as a bridge instead of a wall?
**kmm

Book info: Dreamland Burning / Jennifer Latham. Little Brown, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: First day of Rowan’s summer vacation – time to sleep in before lab internship begins, text her best friend, find a dead body in the back yard!? As the biracial teen investigates, details about Tulsa’s vicious and never-discussed 1921 race riot hit her as hard as the new episodes of prejudice she experiences today.

Working in Pop’s store, William sees his father sell Victrolas to Negro families, despite Jim Crow laws. Vernon Fish is recruiting Pop for the KKK and mocks Will as ‘half-breed’ for his Osage mother. Will decides to dare as his Pop does when a black teen wants to buy a record player, little imagining that getting to know Joseph and little sister Ruby as people instead of Negroes may shortly endanger all their lives.

Schedule glitch nixes Rowan’s resume-building internship, so she’s directed to work at the free clinic way across town from her fancy neighborhood and private school. She’ll check with her parents later.

In 1921, reports of a Negro man assaulting a white woman spread like wildfire, and white Tulsans begin attacking the black Greenwood section of town with nooses, guns, and greed.

Can Will really shoot anyone coming to the shop during the riot?
Who is the body under the floor of the servant house?
How does Rowan’s story today converge with Will’s actions over 90 years ago?

Told in voices past and present, this long-silenced episode of history comes vividly alive, as Rowan tries to understand what really happened after World War I when Will struggled to help Joseph and Ruby survive.

Stone Mirrors, breaking sculpture barriers (fiction), by Jeannine Atkins

book cover of Stone Mirrors by Jeannine Atkins published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers  | recommended on BooksYALove.comAccused unjustly, white against black.
Hurt unfairly, strong against weak.
Dream pursued intensely, self against society.

How did an impoverished young woman, orphaned by her Ojibwe (Chippewa) mother and freedman black father, overcome being on trial for white classmates’ poisoning during the Civil War to become a prominent sculptor living in Italy?

Check out the Google Doodle honoring her on Feb. 1, to meet Edmonia Lewis, whose determination to create art drove her to become the first noted woman sculptor of African-American and Native American descent.

Read an excerpt for this January 2017 novel in verse here courtesy of the publisher, then head to your local library or independent bookstore.

How far would you travel to accomplish your dream?
**kmm

Book info: Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis / Jeannine Atkins. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Sketching is like breathing for Edmonia, but her art classes at Oberlin Academy can’t prepare the scholarship girl for false accusations of theft and poisoning which may steal her opportunity to be an artist.

Living in the North during the Civil War doesn’t make the skin given by her freedman father any less dark. Dressing in crinolines like her white classmates doesn’t lessen her longing for the forests and woodsmoke of her mother’s Ojibwe village. Being poor and different does make her the ideal scapegoat for her white classmates’ indiscreet drinking – “poisoned by Edmonia!”

Days in the courtroom, scholarship revoked, the young woman must leave town, earn a living, seek the smallest possibility that she may ever sculpt again – and she leaps at opportunity when it finds her!

This novel in verse illumines the sparse facts of Edmonia’s life with possible details as we watch her grow into a noted sculptor living in Italy in the late 1800s when neither women nor persons of color were celebrated for their artistic talents.

Ozzie’s world is shrinking At the Edge of the Universe (fiction) by Shaun David Hutchinson

book cover of At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com First Tommy is gone,
then the memory of him is gone from every mind,
except one…

Why can’t anyone remember Tommy? His best friend since 2nd grade, boyfriend since 8th grade, love of his life – by his side on July 3rd, gone on July 4th, and no one remembers him but Ozzie!

Just published this week, you can find Ozzie’s story – with each chapter title showing a smaller and smaller diameter of the universe from science websites – at your local library or independent bookstore now.

What do you do when a friend leaves?
**kmm

Book info: At the Edge of the Universe / Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: If Ozzie can just find where his boyfriend Tommy has gone, then the high school senior can stop his family from disintegrating, celebrate gender-fluid best friend Lua’s musical success, and prove to everyone that Tommy does exist!

And discover why lab partner Calvin started cutting himself after quitting the wrestling team.

And stop the universe from shrinking, shrinking, with his little Florida town at the center.

Love Blind, by C. Desir & Jolene Perry (book review) – bucket list before blindness

book cover of Love Blind by C Desir & Jolene Perry published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGoing blind or singing solo?
Confronting Mom or DJing solo?
Lists of true fears, open to true friends?

As Hailey faces encroaching blindness and Kyle faces up to his failure to protect best buddy Pavel, they meet at school and begin inching toward the uncertainties of their futures as they mark items off their personal lists of fears.

Lots of bumps along this relationship road, especially as Kyle kicks himself for allowing anyone else to help Hailey jump into intimacy.

This book in two voices is written by C. Desir (I recommended her Other Broken Things here) and Jolene Perry (check out my recommendation of Stronger Than You Know  here) whose characters in difficult situations are real, heartfelt, and honest.

Meet mostly-fearless Hailey and so-shy Kyle in this free excerpt, courtesy of the publisher.

What fear is on your list-to-conquer?
**kmm

Book info: Love Blind / C. Desir & Jolene Perry. Simon Pulse, 2016. [Christa’s site]  [Jolene’s site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her eyesight deteriorates, Hailey starts a list of fears to conquer and urges new friend Kyle to do the same. While the Chicago teens start facing their fears head-on, other emotions begin to color their relationship.

When Kyle’s dad left, all the warmth at home did also. Kyle couldn’t protect best friend Pavel from horrific bullying. How can he help Hailey with her fears list… when he’s falling in love with her?

Her guitar and her music – at least those will be left for Hailey when glaucoma takes all her sight. But how can she face a future where she’ll never see the faces of her moms or be able to truly see Kyle?

Told in alternating chapters by two authors known for their strong characters in difficult situations, Love Blind explores friendship, love, and getting beyond reasonable fears to tackle the truest ones.

Blind Guide to Stinkville, by Beth Vrable (book review) – she’s not ‘that blind’, right?

book cover of A Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel published by Sky Pony Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comLearning her way around a new town with limited sight,
coping with albinism in the sunny South,
wondering if Mom’s depression will ever lift…

Maybe Alice is right to think that she will never feel at home in the small paper mill town of Sinkville.
Or maybe she can find connections that will make her new life less stinky.

Travel to Alice’s new town today by visiting your local library or independent bookstore where you can find A Blind Guide to Stinkville as 2015 hardcover or 2016 paperback. Watch for its follow-up title, A Blind Guide to Normal, too (published in October 2016).

Do we let our first impressions of others make them ‘other’ to us?
**kmm

Book info: A Blind Guide to Stinkville / Beth Vrabel. Sky Pony Press, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Moving to a small South Carolina town means new challenges for sight-impaired Alice, but as she tries to get people to not see her as different, she discovers new friends and connections that are at risk when her parents discuss sending the 12 year old to school for the blind.

If people want to think that her farting Shi Tzu is a Seeing Eye dog, Alice won’t correct them.
If her best friend back in Seattle is suddenly busy with parties and boys, Alice can’t do much about that.
But when Mr. Hamlin may be forced into a nursing home, mean girl Eliza lies about Tooter attacking her, and Dad spends even more time at work as Mom retreats into depression, Alice is ready to fight!

Writing her essay for the local contest will fix everything…unless it can’t.

Followed by A Blind Guide to Normal, this story of unlooked-for changes and hopeful new beginnings finds “not that blind” Alice finding new perspectives and friendships. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Not If I See You First, by Eric Lindstrom (book review) – Blind to love?

book cover of Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom published by Poppy | recommended on BooksYALove.comA blind runner,
a set of rules for all occasions,
any room for forgiveness?

Lost her mom and her sight at age 7, lost her trust in love in 8th grade, lost her dad last year – Parker has hardened her heart against more pain, but avoiding Scott is no longer an option when their high schools merge.

Jog over to your local library or independent bookstore to meet Parker and see if her blind spot about Scott is bigger than her capacity to forgive.  Not If I See You First just came out in paperback last week.

The author, Eric Lindstrom, curated the contents of the November 2016 package for NOVLbox book service, so enter their contest here and you might be one of ten lucky winners.

What’s your blind spot?
**kmm

Book info: Not If I See You First / Eric Lindstrom. Poppy, hardcover 2015, paperback 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Merger of the New England town’s high schools places Scott back in Parker’s path, but she wants to ignore the guy who violated her trust during 8th grade, pretend that her aunt and family didn’t have to move into her house to help the blind teen cope after her father’s recent death, and brush off the track coach’s request that she train with a guide-runner for the Paralympics.

Too-honest Parker wears unique blindfolds as a fashion statement, she and best-friend-forever Sarah listen to others’ problems, and at least they didn’t have to move when the schools merged.

But can she cope with having Scott in her trig class, nightly dreams about her late father, and figuring out how this dating stuff goes with Jason?

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Into the Dim, by Janet B. Taylor (book review) – time travel into danger

book cover of Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | recommended on BooksYALove.comMom is not dead?
Just trapped in the past,
One chance to rescue her…

Hope’s photographic memory is no fluke, but an essential part of her heritage as a Viator time traveler. And she’ll need it to complement her hasty training in knife-fighting and proper lady’s behavior before the team’s one-shot trip to 12th century England.

When Outlander author Diana Gabaldon praises a time travel book, you know it’s something special.

Read the first few chapters here courtesy of the publisher, and you’ll be hooked on Hope’s story – past and present. The sequel is due in May 2017, so start your journey Into the Dim now….

If you could travel into the past, where/when would you go?
**kmm

Book info: Into the Dim / Janet B. Taylor. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Hope is relieved to discover that Mom didn’t die in that earthquake, startled to learn that her mother is trapped in the 12th century, and completely unprepared to time-travel back to Eleanor of Aquitaine’s court to rescue her!

After Mom is declared dead in an earthquake, her adoptive dad’s family in Arkansas wants to ‘stop this homeschool nonsense’ that allows Hope to edge past her crippling phobias and harness her photographic memory.

Luckily, her never-met Aunt Lucinda invites Hope to Scotland, where the teen learns of her Viator lineage which enables her aunt and others to travel – carefully, very carefully – back in time, as her mother did. But Mom missed the rendezvous and is stranded in the time of King Henry II.

Ley lines, costumes, computers, training in martial arts, languages, and customs – all necessary to make that single trip back to a certain time and place. One chance per Viator, that’s it.

Can Hope master enough skills to pass as a young lady traveling with chaperone?
What does handsome neighbor Bran Cameron suspect about her aunt and the Viators?
Why did Mom bolt back into time without telling her?

First in an exciting time-travel series where one false move could undo Hope’s sanity, the Viator secret, and the world’s history. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Black River Falls, by Jeff Hirsch (book review) – epidemic memory loss (almost)

book cover of Black River Falls by Jeff Hirsch published by Clarion | recommended on BooksYALove.comSchool, family, changes.
New places, familiar faces –
Who are we without our memories?

He remembers, after the virus slammed all memories out of everyone else in Black Falls.

Now a paramilitary force has taken control of the quarantined town… not good at all.

Start at the beginning, with this free sample of the first chapters here, courtesy of the author, whose post-apocalyptic The Eleventh Plague I recommended here (no spoilers. ever).

Which memory would you never ever want to lose?
**kmm

Book info: Black River Falls / Jeff Hirsch. [author site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The only person to keep his memories, Cardinal discovers startling secrets as private police roll into his quarantined town six months after the virus sweeps through Black Falls.

High above the New York town, Cardinal and former bully Greer are sheltering kids whose parents forgot them (and everything else) in the woods, venturing down only when supply drops are scheduled.

So eerie and sad to visit his own house and know he’s the only one who remembers living there as a family – at least his brother was away at college when the virus hit… 10 hours after exposure, and all your memories are gone.

When Cardinal spots a new girl in town after its borders have been sealed for months, the teen knows something is wrong.

When private forces take over from the National Guard, he knows that things are going to get worse.

What caused this weird virus that only affects memory?
How can he bear seeing his mom fall in love with someone?
Why is remembering his comic book creator dad so hard?

Scary, possible, unsettling – there is no reset button on the the human brain…