Friday, January 20, 2017

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well it only took me 3 years to finally get to this final Anna & the French Kiss book!!! And oh did I love it! Taking place in France and New York, Isla has had a crush on Josh Wasserstein for 3 years and as begins her last year of American School in Paris, she will finally get her wish and become ONE with Josh. I loved Perkins' words, characters, setting- it all went together perfectly but with Isla's insecurities my hopes were dashed about the certainty of their continued love story. A must read, but I am sure Perkins fans read it when it came out, but I am so glad I finally got my copy of the book through ILL, it was definitely swoonworthy!

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Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

Our Own Private UniverseOur Own Private Universe by Robin Talley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for the ARC, Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley. Fifteen year old Aki and her best friend, Lori, pinky swear on a bet that they will be exploring their sexuality and rating it and comparing it with each other while with their church group in Mexico. Aki is African American and the preacher’s daughter and it is through her very authentic, honest, questioning character the reader follows her as she meets and traverses a romantic, bisexual relationship with Christa (from another Church group). Aki also has lots of drama with family and friend issues too. What I liked about this book is that it raised many issues and explored many relationships. Through Aki we see the teen world with lying, bullying, best friend, and also family, drama. But as Aki maneuvers her way through her summer trip, love life, and countless serious, happy, striking moments, she becomes a character you root for as she grows and changes messily (loved the debates). The reader gets an up close and questioning look at religion, Mexico, family problems, teen friendships, bullying, and bisexuality. The characters are well drawn (adults and teens) with the added backdrop of living and volunteering in a third world country making this a realistic contemporary novel, teens need. I loved in the Author Notes how Robin Talley wishes she had a book like this to read when she was a teen. Recommended.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy

Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary GarberMiss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book as part of #YearofYA and their monthly chat, STEM and YA. Join us on Thursday 1/26 at 8PM EST for our twitter chat. Sue Macy has written a gem of a picture book highlighting the life and career of Mary Garber who only wanted to play sports and write about them. I fell in love with Mary in the man's world of sports and reporting - with World War II taking the young men overseas, Mary became a sports writer. She had a way with her writing- she was honest, positive, and covered Jackie Robinson as he overcame prejudice with grace. She had to endure being the only woman wearing a press pass (banning women from the press box). Mary attended and reported on black athletes games as well as whites. Mary Garber may have been small in stature but she was a strong voice for equality in sports, newspapers and life. She was small but mighty in her pursuit of reporting and her life was a long and rich fifty years worth of writing and awards.

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The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial by Susan E. Goodman

The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on TrialThe First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial by Susan E. Goodman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this as part of the twitter chat for #YearofYA for January's topic, STEM and women in history taking place Thursday 1/26 at 8PM EST, join us! The story of African American youngster, Sarah Roberts in history begins with the day she was told she could not attend her school anymore; it was now only for white children. The story of Sara, her life, the court case arguing for equal education, begins a long struggle in history for children like Sarah. Author Susan Goodman's research and EB Lewis's paintings create a compelling picture of segregation and it's effects in history. This is a picture book all children, teens, and adults would enjoy because of its many messages-integration was a must, segregation was wrong and even losing can be a victory if people stand together for equality.

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You're Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

You're Welcome, UniverseYou're Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children’s and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the ARC, You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner. Julia is an awesome protagonist; she is righteous concerning her art style- graffiti, and her friends. When her best friend is targeted; Julia takes action:
"No one gets to call my best friend a slut, especially not up on a wall, not on my turf. She asked for help, and I took matters into my own paint-stained hands. I designed a killer piece, cut out the stencil, shook up the cans, and got to work. I'm getting away with it. I'm about to get up. On my way to becoming an all-city queen of art. I rip down the last stencil, take a step back, and admire my work. Its killer. You're welcome, Universe."
The first page does an awesome job of plunging the reader to Julia's world. She is deaf, has 2 deaf moms, a double crossing "best" friend, is kicked out of her School for the Deaf, and now attends a new school (with an interpreter, no less) all the while working at McDonalds. Where does she go from there? Well, this book rocks every page with Julia's gritty drama and her responses, actions, wit, and her love of art and illegal graffiti (legal murals) will mesmerize teens. The rocky road of high school and friendship is explored on a whole new level through authentic characters Julia, her moms, YP, Jordyn, her interpreter and art teacher. I heartily recommend this book; it is a winner, through and through.


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Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

The Education of Margot SanchezThe Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for ARC, The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera. I loved the cover of this debut novel; as soon as I started to read I knew Margot was going to be challenged throughout the book. Why? Because her gorgeous curly hair is straightened in the book by Margot since that is the way her friends from her new prep school wear their hair! Margot has finished her first year and it has been a struggle to get to where she is; she has two friends Camille and Serena, rich and living in big houses and spending their summer in the Hamptons. Margot was invited to spend the summer with her girl squad but she is now working in one of her family’s grocery stores to pay off the credit card debt she incurred when she “took” her father’s credit card and charged $600. Margot is determined to work off her debt and go to the big party at the end of the summer to get with Nick and nothing is going to stop her. Imagine how Margo feels when she meets Moises, setting up a table outside the store to obtain signatures to help old apartment building tenants keep their home. Very conflicted, Margot realizes she is attracted to this activist and he seems to like her too. But Margot will spend her summer fighting this desire since her father & brother forbid it and he doesn’t have the social standing preordained by Margot and her friends. The reader gets an up close and personal look at the diverse world of the South Bronx Margot lives and works in; the employees from the grocery store can barely make a living, her brother has been kicked out of school and now mismanages the store, always looking for a better deal that does not involve the store. Her family is a united front, hiding things from Margot and always concerned with their reputation. As the summer unfolds, Margot will be tested on many levels; in her friendships, family relationships, and those she works with – what kind of person will Margot choose to be? Lilliam Rivera did such a great job crafting Margot’s world of disparity in class, family dynamics and friendships. The characters were many, flawed and trying to eke out an existence. Margot’s South Bronx was in direct contrast to her prep school and the Hamptons. As Margot crashes into this minefield, the reader experiences with her the sexist cultural attitudes of the men (father, brother, workers), the judgments of her friends, and her own slippery slope concerning her existence, her heart, and identity. Teens will love this YA novel that speaks volumes on the drama of finding yourself. Highly recommended.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly GuiltyTruly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved the narration by Caroline Lee of this first Liane Moriarty book I have ever read (listened to) and I am definitely going to listen to Caroline Lee's narration of Big Little Lies (TV show comes on in February!) I was mesmerized by the 3 couples involved in this drama about lies, guilt, and thoughts that were best left unsaid. Clementine and Sam have 2 little girls, Holly and Ruby (I loved Lee's voices for these 2 little ones!!!) and their is pretty good. Erica and Oliver are trying to have children and are products of very dysfunctional families. These 2 couples are invited over to Tiffany & Vid's house, next door neighbors to Erica and Oliver and when a horrible accident occurs, the 3 couples are thrown into a unforgiving landscape, will they be able to work themselves back? An awesome read!!!

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