Saturday, March 30, 2019

SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson

Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson takes readers into her story as a survivor. In SHOUT she tells about abuse by a trusted friend and the impact it had on the rest of her life.

As the daughter of a minister, she tells of the frequent moves during her childhood. Her father's unpredictable behavior made life uncertain much of the time. Shame and the knowledge that talking to anyone about her abusive experience would not be welcome news, Anderson kept it a secret for years. 

Anderson's experience revealed itself through her work. SPEAK addressed the subject of rape. TWISTED details a difficult father/son relationship. CATALYST revealed two unlikely friends. The backstories for these books are made clear through Anderson's artful, descriptive, and often stark words.

SHOUT is difficult to describe. It simply needs to be experienced. Anderson's courage speaks directly to the survivors of #MeToo. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

HEROINE by Mindy McGinnis

Softball is Mickey Catalan's focus. She's a senior hoping to help her team win the state tournament. College scouts will be coming to watch her talent as catcher and hopefully invite her to play at the D3 level. Her best friend Carolina is the team's star pitcher with scholarship hopes of her own. Unfortunately, before the season begins a nasty car accident threatens to end both girls' dreams of the future.

When Mickey is finally aware that she is in the hospital, she finds herself watching as the surgeon who pinned her hip back together is explaining her injury by snapping the leg off a Barbie doll. She listens as her divorced parents explain they will tag-team her physical therapy and doctor appointments to help with her recovery. As she hears about the intense and lengthy therapy, she realizes her softball dreams may not happen.

With the help of painkillers and a massive amount of determination, Mickey surprises everyone and is ready for the start of the softball season. Her friend Carolina's injured arm has also recover enough for her to start pitching on the day of the first game.

Although both Mickey and Carolina suffered injuries in the accident, the way they handle their recovery is different. Mickey finds the painkillers help her not only manage the pain, but also express herself in a way she never has before. When one pill isn't enough, she pops two. When her prescription runs out and the doctor won't prescribe more, she finds another supply.

Mickey is handling the physical strain of playing softball, but she is depending on the pills to make it work. When her supply dries up, she is introduced to a replacement - heroine. By that time being high is more important than her softball dreams.

Author Mindy McGinnis has expertly created a story of addiction that is sure to hit readers hard, but in doing so, she paves the way for the discussion of a rapidly growing problem in today's society. She shows just how easy it is to become dependent on narcotics, just how easy it is to access drugs, and just how easy it is to deceive family and friends. HEROINE is a must-read for teens and adults!

Sunday, March 17, 2019


Life is not easy. Angie learned that when her sister died in Iraq. She learned it when she became the center of attention after her suicide attempt became part of a school athletic event.

All that is over according to her doesn't-understand-mother. It's time to continue focusing on her dead sister as the town dedicates a statue in her honor. It's time to concentrate on the urn-it's a symbol perched on the fireplace mantel. But, as far as Angie is concerned, all her support systems are gone. Her sister, KC-her true love, Jake-her best friend -- all are gone.

Angie is still grieving. Unfortunately, she is learning that not everyone grieves in the same way. Upon hearing her mother state that she "lost the good one," Angie realizes she will have to make her own way through the sorrow that haunts her every moment. She's ready to do it alone, until an unexpected trio offers their help.

Her old friend Jamboree, a strange girl named Zeke, and the accidentally present Darius invite her to climb aboard a ratty, old RV to embark on an adventure found on a postcard from her sister. The road trip that follows helps Angie recognize that she has value and can accomplish whatever she sets out to do.

In this sequel to FAT ANGIE, author e. E. Charlton-Trujillo proves that with the encouragement of the right people and a no-matter-what attitude can take a person out of her comfort zone and into an accepting, brave new world. Dialogue that rings true, pain that feels real, and quirky places like the shortest street in the country combined to make this reader fall in love with Fat Angie once again.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

ON THE COME UP by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up
Bri wants to follow in her father's footsteps to become the rapper he never had to chance to be.  Although he was shot just as his career was beginning, everyone already knew and loved him.

Life hasn't been easy for Bri's family. Her mother Jay fell into a life of drugs after her husband died. She left Bri and her brother Trey to live with their grandparents and checked herself into rehab. Now that the kids are back with her, life still isn't good. Jay is forced to quit taking college courses toward a degree in social work when her job is eliminated. She has her hands full trying to keep food on the table and the utilities on.

When Bri wins her first rap battle in The Ring, she sees a way to help out with things at home. Unfortunately, Jay doesn't want Bri involved in the same scene as her late husband so Bri is forced to sneak around and depend on the help of a shady manager to have her music recognized.

Bri's a hit on YouTube and Instagram, but her edgy words bring criticism that threatens to not only halt her dream career, but also endanger her and her family. Her dream may be more than she can handle at the young age of sixteen.

ON THE COME UP is by Angie Thomas, author of the bestselling THE HATE U GIVE. Her story speaks to teens of all backgrounds hoping to hit it big or find their way to an awesome future.