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Unputdownable! 15yo Xiomara longs for the simple relationship she had with her mother before she became a curvy Afro-Latina, turning neighborhood boys’ heads despite wanting to be invisible to them. Burdened by her immigrant Catholic mother’s excessive devoutness, there’s no room for Xiomara to question her faith or wonder how she feels about Aman, a boy who encourages her interest in writing poetry & dubs her Poet X. Gutsy, yet vulnerable Xiomara finds her voice & tells her powerful truth in this stirring free verse story about becoming comfortable with oneself, finding your inner power, and learning how to wield it. Acevedo makes every word count. Her lovely metaphors adds dramatic dimension to the roller coaster ride of emotions. -Michelle
Equally a love letter to the power of music and a Holocaust remembrance. Lyrical, evocative language is the real strength of the book, though the story is equally engaging. It's almost more poignant because the heartbreaking details are reported so matter-of-factly, while the hopes and dreams are presented so magically, that the juxtaposition makes the harsh reality all the clearer. For fans of Number the Stars, Letters from Rifka, and other WWII tween/YA reads, this provides a new perspective, telling two Holocaust stories we don't often hear – a secular Jew's confusion over both her treatment, and afterward, her religion, and the significance of music during this terrible time. Exceedingly powerful, with illustrations acting like a garnish for the writing. -Broche
A favorite! Emotional honesty in the midst of drama, level-headed teens with artistic temperments, art and those who create it, subversive and Loved the bright, colorful, detailed illustrations and the fast paced story pared down to its essence: a prince who likes wearing dresses hires a seamstress who designs him beautiful gowns, until she realizes she must step out from his shadow to fully realize her potential, while he realizes his family will support him as his true self. This wonderful celebration of love and individuality is a book everyone needs to read, if only to be reminded that personal preference does not make someone a bad person, nor is it the end of the world to live up to your own unique personality. Age 12+ -Broche
Two days before Jane McKeene was born, the dead on the battlefields of the Civil War began to walk the earth. Though she was born to plantation owners, Jane’s mixed-race heritage and dark skin means she is now training at combat school to be an Attendant: a zombie-killer whose job it will be to protect the White woman she iscontracted to. But her tempestuous and curious nature embroil Jane and her friends in the politics and treacherous landscape of post-Reconstruction America in this alternate history. Cinder meets The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Pride & Prejudice and Zombies featuring a new kick-ass heroine whose no-nonsenseapproach to life and zombie killing make for inspired storytelling. -Broche
Princess Dennaleia of Havemont has always known three things:
her marriage to the prince of Mynaria will bind their kingdoms;
she possesses the ability to manipulate fire; and
this gift puts her in serious danger in her future home, where magic is
100-percent, nope, sorry, leave-our-kingdom-or-go-to-prison forbidden.
When an assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Denna joins forces with Mare, the prince’s stubborn sister, to search for the culprit. In their search, they discover something neither expected within the other—friendship, with potential for more.
Coulthurst’s writing has personality & humor. Between the horse puns and banter, it’s hard not to fall in love with the book itself. The characters are strong, and the story is deceptively easy to slip into for hours.
A great LGBT fantasy romance for anyone!
Jacob’s grandfather tells him tales of an island where children with strange abilities lived, safe from harm, forever. Though Jacob questions the odd photographs and strange tales, when his grandfather is killed, Jacob goes searching for the scary and magical truth. By the end of book 1, Jacob must make a life-changing decision: does he belong in the world of the children, forever? -Broche
One of the things I love most about Holly Black as a writer is the way she can take a tired genre and explode it. Think you know everything there is to know about teen vampire novels? Think again.
What's most impressive about this novel is the characterization of 17-year-old Tana Bach, and the realistic and relatable responses she has to a series of almost unimaginable situations. Finally a character that DOES something instead of just getting wrapped up in love triangle. Instead she saves the day and multiple lives, including her own.
It has been 733 days since Jessie's mom died, but this book is not sad. It's been 45 days since Jessie's dad secretly eloped with a woman he met online, but this book is not really about that either. It's about how life moves on regardless with all its good, bad, and ugly surprises, and the strength one teenage girl has to create a new version of life, complete with new friends, a new job, and a new love. - Broche
This compelling fantasy novel is the first in a trilogy, reminiscent of JRR Tolkein and CS Lewis's books. A sweeping world of different lands, races, legends, mysteries, magic, and generations of intrigue all center around a lost prince, his childhood friends, and a young woman who has visions when she bleeds.
The threads of the story are explored across the trilogy, brilliantly woven together in an ending that captures the heartbreak and hope a story like this would really entail. Age: 14+. - Broche
Potential subtitles for this novel include: How to Make the Best of Bad Situations, or Movie Glam Girl Meets Sweet Surfer Boy. If that second title sounds like an internet dating ad, it's not far off. “Mink” (East Coast) meets “Alex” (West Coast) in an online movie forum. Is it a crush? Is it simply classic film chit-chat? Bailey Rydell meets Porter Roth when she moves from DC to CA. Is their frenemy status a way to pass the time at work or something more? Vintage clothes and a sweet Vespa, surfing legends and beach parties make this a delightful summer read. - Broche
The opening lines of this book hooked me immediately:
"My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted.”
That raw honesty is carried through the rest of the book. Betrayed numerous times, hurt by family and friends, afraid to hope for love, and reluctant leader of the boarding school gang, 17-year-old Taylor can’t keep it together. She falls apart. The surprise is who is there to help put her back together when she does.
Read it. With a box of tissues. Age: 14+. - Broche
In Sangui City, Kenya, Tiny Girl lives alone in an abandoned building and steals to survive, part of a gang of thieves led by the ruthless Mr. Omoko and his minions, Bug Eye and Ketchup. After months of planning, Tiny is about to pull off the most important theft of her life--a daring burglary and computer hack that will prove her mother was murdered five years ago by her wealthy, powerful boss, Mr. Greyhill. But the break-in is interrupted by Greyhill's son, Michael, Tiny's former best friend, and soon she is drawn back into her mother's dangerous and painful past in Congo, the country they fled when Tiny was a child.I loved both the characters and the plot of this novel. It's a sobering look at a country torn apart by violence, a story of a teenager learning who she truly is, and most of all, a fast-paced, entertaining thriller that kept me guessing till the very end. I can't wait to see what this new author comes up with next. Ages 12+. - Ashley
A World Without You by Beth Revis introduces us to Bo, a teenage boy at Berkshire Academy for Children with Exceptional Needs, struggling to cope with powers (in his case, time travel) beyond his control. This YA novel begins, making us believe we have just fallen into a sci-fi story. But, we slowly realize that Bo's reality is skewed... or is it? Beth Revis paints a world that leaves even the reader wondering what's real and what isn't. Her unique perspective on mental illness blends the genres of sci-fi and realism, leaving the reader wanting to constantly learn more about the characters and their perspectives on life. - Chelsea
Completely original, heartwrenching, heartwarming, and thought-provoking. Thirteen-year-old Todd, and his dog, Manchee, leave their hometown to travel across the new planet settled by humans only one generation ago. Along the way, their interactions with others lead to questions of morality, humanity, compassion, hope, and love, causing Todd to make some goosegump-producing decisions about life and death throughout the trilogy. Ages 13+. - Broche
After Rebel of the Sands, I eagerly awaited the sequel. Traitor to the Throne exceeded expectations. The imaginative melding of Old West and Middle East still provides a fascinating backdrop for more danger, political factions, and shocking surprises. The not-entirely-human Amani is a blast (literally) as her sharp-shooter skills are called on as much as her wits. Nothing is as you think, except you can always count on Amani. Ages 12+. - Rosemary
The goal of writing an amazing story which deftly combines adventure, political intrigue, family tensions, multi-faceted characters, and a fantasy-based mystery is a daunting task, but one to which A.J. Hartley has risen to the challenge with Steeplejack. I was particularly drawn to the main character, 17 year old Anglet Sutonga. She is a young woman with both the physical prowess and mental acuity to survive in a stark land of competing tribes and cultures and a heart and conscience that drive her to do what is right, no matter the consequences. This book, a multi-cultural gem of fantasy and adventure, is perfect for fans of Marie Lu's Legend trilogy and Paola Bacigalupi's Shipbreaker. Ages 12+. - Cindy
Through the stories of four very different lost young souls, Ruta Sepetys amazingly brings the forgotten saga of the Wilhelm Gustloff to light. How could a disaster of such magnitude be so unknown? Ruta cannot write a wrong word. Salt to the Sea will stay with you for a long time. She's crafted a worthy memorial to the multitude lost at sea. Ages 12+. - Rosemary
In an honest look at teen twin Giselle's recovery from a car accident that takes the life of her twin sister Isabelle, this story explores the close bonds of twins and the desire of each to be unique as well. Danticat has managed to expose the emotions of this injured teen and her family without pulling the reader through paragraphs of sappy sorrow. A great choice for tween and young teen readers. - Cindy
This impactful book is a must read for teens and young adults. Believarexic is the simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming tale of a young girl's struggle with 'bulimarexia,' but more than that, it offers a new, enlightening perspective on all forms of mental illness. Author JJ Johnson offers poignant and honest narration from her extremely vulnerable and equally relatable fifteen-year-old self and, despite her age, she doesn't over-simplify complex emotional and mental health issues. Throughout her story, she examines the impact of family ecosystems on mental heath and beautifully illustrates the amount of self-discipline and support that it takes to heal inside and out. - Nancy
I love books that have characters that feel real in their emotions and actions, and Dumplin’ delivers in this aspect for sure. Willowdean confronts societal expectations, as well as her own self-image, when she throws her plus-size hat in the ring for a local beauty pageant.
Throw in drag queens, Dolly Parton songs, and an adorable love interest, and you’ve got one excellent, hilarious, and important YA novel. - Amber
Is it jumping the gun to call a debut novel 'brilliant'? In Gavriel Savit's Anna and the Swallow Man, we see the horrors of WWII Poland as experienced by a young, precocious girl. As darkness descends, she must depend on the enigmatic, mysterious Swallow Man. He is in some ways a giver of life (or at least survival), but death is not a stranger to him. It is so very different from the sublime The Book Thief. But if you love that WWII novel, you will want to discover Anna. Ages 12+. - Rosemary
Being a teen is not easy and neither is being the parent of one. As 14 year-old Wren Clemmens discovers when her parents abruptly send her off for eight weeks of wilderness living therapy in an attempt to get her life back on track, turning your life around is often harder than anyone imagines. I was caught up in the brutal honesty of Wren's struggles and the strength of her determination to reject her parents' solutions. The raw emotion revealed in her thoughts, words and actions will resonate with anyone who has been overwhelmed with life and just hoped to see light at the end of the tunnel. An insightful testimony to the famous words "Never give up. Never ever give up." Readers 12+. - Cindy