September 21, 2017

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Book Review: Release by Patrick Ness

Publisher’s description Inspired by Judy Blume’s Forever and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, this novel that Andrew Smith calls “beautiful, enchanting, [and] exquisitely written” is a new classic about teenage relationships, self-acceptance—and what happens when the walls we build start coming down. Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life. Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant […]

Book Review: Slider by Pete Hautman

Publisher’s description Competitive eating vies with family expectations in a funny, heartfelt novel for middle-grade readers by National Book Award winner Pete Hautman. David can eat an entire sixteen-inch pepperoni pizza in four minutes and thirty-six seconds. Not bad. But he knows he can do better. In fact, he’ll have to do better: he’s going […]

Book Review: Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley

Publisher’s description A powerful coming-of-age story about a girl whose encounters with loss, broken friendships, and newfound faith leave her forever changed, from Printz Honor winner and Morris Award Finalist Jessie Ann Foley When Wendy Boychuck’s father, a Chicago cop, was escorted from their property in handcuffs, she knew her life would never be the […]

Book Review: You Don’t Know Me but I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

Publisher’s description Rebecca Barrow’s bright, honest debut novel about chance, choice, and unconditional love is a heartfelt testament to creating the future you truly want, one puzzle piece at a time. There’s a box in the back of Audrey’s closet that she rarely thinks about. Inside is a letter, seventeen years old, from a mother […]

Book Review: The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan

Publisher’s description A funny, bracing, poignant YA romance and coming-of-age for fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and The Beginning of Everything lake effect | n. 1. The effect of any lake, especially the Great Lakes, in modifying the weather in nearby areas 2. The effect of elderly ladies, mysterious girls, and countless funerals, in upending your life, one summer at the beach It’s the summer after senior year, […]

Book Review: Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Publisher’s description An engaging and relatable novel for the digital age that perfectly captures the complicated interaction between what goes on in our real lives and what we say online. Internet sensation Madison Nakama has it all! Her pop-culture rewatch site has a massive following, and fans across the world wait on her every post […]

Book Review: It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura

Publisher’s description This charming and bittersweet coming-of-age story featuring two girls of color falling in love is part To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and part Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to […]

Book Review: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Publisher’s description This young adult novel by Sheba Karim, author of Skunk Girl, is a funny and affecting coming-of-age story for fans of Jenny Han, Megan McCafferty, and Sara Farizan. Shabnam Qureshi is facing a summer of loneliness and boredom until she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack. Shabnam […]

Book Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Publisher’s description Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances.   One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain […]

Book Review: Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Publisher’s description Fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen will fall in love this contemporary debut about finding yourself-and finding love-in unexpected places. Ocean breeze in her hair and sand between her toes, Anise can’t wait to spend the summer before her senior year surfing and hanging out on the beach with friends. Santa Cruz […]

Book Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

Publisher’s description A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair. When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked […]

Book Review: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Publisher’s description A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns. Amina has never been comfortable in […]

Book Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Publisher’s description From the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found. Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly […]

Book Review: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

Publisher’s description Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera. Things/People Margot Hates: Mami, for destroying her social life Papi, for allowing Junior to become […]

Book Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Publisher’s description You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother. Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. […]

Book Review: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Publisher’s description American Street is an evocative and powerful coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Everything, Everything; Bone Gap; and All American Boys. In this stunning debut novel, Pushcart-nominated author Ibi Zoboi draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodou culture. On […]

Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

When I’m reviewing books for professional publications, I stay quiet about them on social media. I’m always really excited once a review comes out to be able to talk about the book, finally! Here’s one of my most recent reviews, which originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of School Library Journal. I am SO EXCITED to now […]

Book Review: The Bad Decisions Playlist by Michael Rubens

Publisher’s description Sixteen-year-old Austin is always messing up and then joking his way out of tough spots. The sudden appearance of his allegedly dead father, who happens to be the very-much-alive rock star Shane Tyler, stops him cold. Austin—a talented musician himself—is sucked into his newfound father’s alluring music-biz orbit, pulling his true love, Josephine, […]

Book Review: Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

Publisher’s description The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden-all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives-and died […]

Book Review: Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki

Publisher’s description A beautiful and offbeat novel from Mariko Tamaki, co-creator of the bestselling Printz Honor and Caldecott Honor Book This One Summer. Montgomery Sole is a square peg in a small town, forced to go to a school full of jocks and girls who don’t even know what irony is. It would all be […]