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.

Monday, November 14, 2016

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT by Sarah Darer Littman

In Case You Missed It

Fans of Sarah Darer Littman’s BACKLASH will want to find a copy of her newest book IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. The focus on the potential insecurities of the internet and its use in our personal lives are sure to make readers rethink how careless we have become about the material we post.
 
Sammy Wallach’s father comes home from his job as the CEO of an international banking company with the news that someone has hacked data from the bank. Not only has the bank’s data been breached, but also the personal files and postings of their entire family. What follows is chaos for Sammy and her family.
 
Mr. Wallach warns his family about reading the hacked emails and listening to the media’s interpretation of the emails that might reveal an unpleasant side of Mr. Wallach’s business practices. But avoiding these emails is harder than Sammy anticipated. All her friends at school are whispering about them and about her father. When she finally breaks down and takes a peek at the emails, she is shocked by the knowledge that her father may not be the man she has always known. According to what she reads, he is racist and has actually defended the practice of paying women employees less than their male counterparts.
 
If that isn’t bad enough, Sammy’s own online diary is now out there for the whole world to read. All the times she has used her private writing to vent about her parents and her friends is now public. After reading Sammy’s private thoughts recorded in this online journal, her friends abandon her. When her parents read about the concert Sammy attended without their permission, she is grounded indefinitely. Can life get any worse? Actually, yes it can!
 
Author Sarah Darer Littman’s IN CASE YOU MISSED IT is definitely a page-turner. Real life cyber threats and family drama make this a must read.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

WHAT LIGHT by Jay Asher

What Light
For Sierra celebrating Christmas involves a very different tradition than most families. Owning and operating a Christmas tree farm in Oregon means she and her parents are thinking about Christmas year-round. It also means every Christmas Sierra can remember has been spent in California running a Christmas tree lot.

This season could be the last time Sierra's family opens the tree lot. They ship trees all over the country, but in recent years the profit margin has been decreasing at the California lot. Sierra has mixed feelings about the possibility. She is looking forward to staying in Oregon and being there to celebrate Christmas with her friends, but the family tradition has its attraction, too.

As she packs for the trip south, Sierra is excited about seeing the girl she considers her best friend in California. She marvels at the fact that she is lucky to have best friends in two different places. Little does she know that she is about to meet someone new who may change her life.

As Sierra works the tree lot's big tent where customers pay for their purchases and drink hot chocolate,  she notices an attractive guy her age picking out a tree. She learns his name is Caleb, and according to her friend, he has a secret that should have Sierra keeping her distance. But, as Sierra watches him return multiple times to purchase trees, she is determined to find out if the rumors about Caleb are true.

Author Jay Asher, known for the best selling 13 REASONS WHY, writes about young love and the true meaning of "giving is better than receiving." Sierra's faith in the goodness of human nature is refreshing, and her belief in love is sure to please Asher's many fans. WHAT LIGHT is the perfect Christmas book for that special YA reader in your life.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

SAVING RED by Sonya Sones

Saving Red
Molly's life isn't perfect. Since the problems with her brother, her parents have basically stopped being parents. Her father is a workaholic and her mother's addiction to pot smoking is getting out of hand. If it wasn't for Pixel, Molly's helper dog, Molly wouldn't have any support.

When Molly meets a homeless girl named Red in the park one night, she vows to find the girl's parents and return her home for the holidays. Red accepts Molly's friendship but is reluctant to accept the material goods and money Molly offers.

It is obvious that Red suffers from mental illness, something that Molly understands all too well. As Molly spends time with Red, her own situation becomes more clear. Could meeting this troubled homeless girl actually help Molly understand her own guilty feelings about her brother and her parents' issues?

SAVING RED is the latest novel by author Sonya Sones. Written in her unique style of verse, Sones takes readers into the lives of two very different teens. Their stories illustrate the toll mental illness takes on families and individuals and how important it is to reach out and support others.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

MY KIND OF CRAZY by Robin Reul

My Kind of Crazy
Hank Kirby wants to go to the prom with Amanda Carlisle, but she barely knows he exists. When he comes up with an incredibly unique promposal, he nearly burns down Amanda's house. The idea to spell out "prom" in sparklers certainly didn't go the way he planned, and instead of impressing the girl of his dreams, Hank ends up sprinting across lawns to escape the lights and sirens.

During his frantic dash to avoid prosecution, Hank runs into Peyton Breedlove. Her tendency toward pyromania has her totally impressed with Hank stunt. Also not a fan of the popular people like Amanda, Peyton praises Hank for his efforts, and they fall into an unusual friendship.

When Hank's buddy Nick expresses interest in Peyton, Hank is ready to step aside still hoping to pair up with Amanda. However, as Hank's home-life becomes more complicated, he finds himself relating to Peyton whose own personal life is a mess. Maybe there is more of a connection than Hank imagined. He might be the only person who truly understands Peyton and has the power to protect her.

Author Robin Reul has created in Hank a hero readers will begin to root for on the very first page. Hank and Peyton are true underdogs it is a pleasure to support. MY KIND OF CRAZY has plenty of action, humor, and drama to be a sure winner with teen readers.

Monday, October 10, 2016

THE OTHER BOY by M.G. Hennessey

The Other Boy
Life hasn't been easy for Shane. If asked, he would tell you that he was born with the wrong body. His official gender at birth was female, but it didn't take long for Shane to recognize that he had the mind and heart of a boy.

Shane lives with his mother who supports his transgender status completely. His father isn't accepting it quite as gracefully. Having reached the age of puberty, Shane has the choice to begin getting hormone injections that would help his body begin developing as a male. His father isn't in favor of the injections, but Shane is determined to convince him that it is necessary for him to live the life he was meant to live.

In addition to issues with his father, Shane must also deal with his friends, his baseball teammates, and the other kids at school when the player from a competitive team posts a picture of Shane in elementary school. The picture shows Shane with long, flowing hair and the clothes of a girl. How will everyone handle Shane's secret? Will they accept him for who he really is?

Author M.G. Hennessey presents a well-written and realistic picture of being a twelve year old transgender youth. Shane has understanding and supportive people in his life, but as expected, he must deal with others who either don't understand or need time to adjust to the idea of his life choices. Readers will see the struggles involved as well as the inspirational determination of Shane and his family and friends.