Monday, March 13, 2017

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED by Arin Andrews

Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen
Arin Andrews is ready to share his story with the world. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED is described as "The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen."

Arin was born Emerald. Although his family didn't accept it at first, he always knew the body he was assigned at birth was not the body he believed belonged to him. Living and dressing as a girl felt alien. In his story Arin tells how he tries to convince his family that he was meant to have short hair, dress in flannel shirts and jeans, and live the life of a male.

With the help of counseling and a support group of other transgender individuals, Arin was able to educate his parents. In this honest and upfront story readers will hear Arin's tale. From coming out as male through testosterone injections and top surgery, Arin reveals the emotional journey to the person he is today.

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED is perfect for readers looking to better understand the transgender issue. It is clear that Arin story is just beginning, but his willingness to share his story is to be commended.

Friday, February 24, 2017

ALL IN PIECES by Suzanne Young

All in PiecesI definitely had to pick up a copy of this one since Suzanne Young's THE PROGRAM series was such a hit with my high school students.


What happens when you stab a pencil into your ex-boyfriend's hand? If you are Savvy Sutton, you are now enrolled in Brooks Academy with other incorrigible students. That's where Savvy meets Cameron.

Of course, Cameron has issues, but he seems like a nice guy. Right now, Savvy needs nice. Her little brother has autism and her father is a drunk. It has been up to Savvy to raise her brother and try to make ends meet even when her dad can't hold a job.

When Aunt Kathy decides to demand full custody of little Evan, and Savvy best friend Travis ends up in rehab, she turns to Cameron. Hopefully, he isn't just a spoiled rich kid. Savvy needs a friend she can trust.

Very different from THE PROGRAM, in ALL IN PIECES Suzanne Young takes her readers into the  Savvy's dysfunctional world. It won't take long for teens to be rooting for this determined high school student as she struggles to keep things under control.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

HOW TO AVOID EXTINCTION by Paul Acampora

How to Avoid ExtinctionSince the death of his grandfather, Leo’s family has been concerned about his grandmother. She’s forgetful and tends to wander off. Somehow it became Leo’s responsibility to watch out for her.

When Gram decides to go on an adventure involving in search of her favorite dinosaurs, Leo and his cousin Abby become her traveling companions. Abby will help with the driving and Leo, well, he’ll probably help with everything else.


Their adventure takes them to unlikely places and they meet some of the most colorful characters along the way. Keeping track of Gram isn’t an easy task, but Leo is guaranteed to learn a lot and might actually enjoy himself as he gets to know more about his beloved grandmother.


Paul Acampora is also the author of DEFINING DULCIE and I KILL THE MOCKINGBIRD to name a few. HOW TO AVOID EXTINCTION explores families and taking care of those we love.

Monday, January 2, 2017

SHUTTER by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Shutter
Day Connor has grown up watching her parents both fight for justice for others so when she discovers a runaway teen accused of killing his father, hiding in her barn, she doesn't immediately call the authorities. It isn't in her nature to jump to conclusions that someone is guilty without checking out the facts.

Julian Roman is on the run. According to his version of the story, he arrived home on May 4 to discover his mother dead in the bathtub from an overdose and his father dead from a blow to the head. As the prime suspect, he is sent to juvie, but he escapes and ends up in Day's barn.

Through her photography Day has learned to look for details. When she listens to Julian's story on the news and compares it to the actual Julian hiding in the barn, she believes he may have been falsely accused. Following the clues like her parents would and asking pertinent questions, Day is determined to find out the truth.

While he waits in the barn, Julian writes in his journal and tries to make sense of not just the deaths of his parents, but also the death of his brother Steven. Ever since the car accident that claimed his young brother's life, Julian's family has struggled to keep things together. That may explain his mother's depression and his father's rage, but is Julian also a victim of his brother's death?

Author Laurie Faria Stolarz has crafted a thought-provoking thriller sure to fascinate her many fans. Also the author of PROJECT 17, WELCOME TO THE DARK HOUSE and its sequel, and the BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series, Stolarz never fails to disappoint.

Friday, December 16, 2016

THE BABY by Lisa Drakeford

The Baby
There's a party at Olivia's house. Someone reports unusual noises coming from the bathroom. Imagine the shock when Olivia discovers her best friend Nicola giving birth to a baby. Olivia never even knew her best friend was pregnant.

Once the baby is born, the truth comes out. Nicola confesses that Olivia's boy friend Jonty is the father. The two friends stop speaking.

As the months go by those involved with Olivia and Nicola have different reactions. There's Olivia's strange younger sister Alice. She was completely mesmerized as she watched the birth of a baby in her very own bathroom. Now that the baby has arrived, Alice loves to visit and spend time helping Nicola care for the tiny thing.

Jonty gradually begins to accept the role of father and spends more and more time with the baby. Nicola is grateful for the free time and even uses it to rekindle her friendship with Olivia.

Ben is the gay friend of both Olivia and Nicola. He tries to be supportive of both friends. When things get tense, he acts as mediator despite the problems in his own life.

Author Lisa Drakeford has crafted an interesting look at a teen pregnancy. THE BABY doesn't just focus on one perspective, but rather visits the inner thoughts of everyone effected by the event. Check out THE BABY to see how life changes for five friends.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

MARCH Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

March, Book Three
John Lewis's MARCH: Book Three is the latest winner of the National Book Award. His moving speech stressed his childhood memories of discrimination and how it inspired him to fight for civil rights along side Martin Luther King Jr. and others who helped change our country.

All three MARCH books are graphic novels that take young adult readers into the past to experience times that changed the course of history. The lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom Riders, the Voting Rights Act, and the marches on Washington and Selma and much more are described through the eyes of John Lewis.

The sacrifices made by those who fought for the rights of others are amazing. Their commitment to non-violence despite the brutal treatment inflicted by law enforcement and racist groups was clearly illustrated in these fascinating graphic novels. These three books are definitely worth checking out and adding to library and classroom collections.

Monday, November 21, 2016

UGLY by Robert Hoge

Ugly

UGLY by Robert Hoge is like a real-life version of WONDER by R. J. Palacio. In this poignant memoir Hoge relates his journey from infant through childhood.

Robert Hoge was born with a fist-sized tumor in the center of his face. It all but obliterated his tiny nose. His legs had also not developed properly. Both were shorter than normal and misshapen. His parents were both in shock, especially his mother who expected her fifth child to be just as perfect as her other four.

Surgeons were able to remove the tumor from little Robert's face, but this was just the beginning of multiple surgeries to reconstruct his face and amputate his legs below the knees.

Robert relates his story for readers detailing everything from his mother's gradual acceptance to his siblings who always treated him as a well loved brother. Once it was determined that Robert would live, his family made every effort to help him feel that he could accomplish anything he put his mind to.

Robert's can-do attitude won him acceptance with his friends and schoolmates as well. Through trial and error he found the things he was good at and dedicated himself to being as normal as possible. Of course, there were tough times and he experienced more than his fair share of bullying, but Robert's positive attitude and sense of humor served him well.

Now married and a father of two, he has worked in the field of writing, publishing articles, short stories, and interviews. UGLY is the perfect book to illustrate courage and determination.