Can't Wait Wednesday: Let's Go Swimmin on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme (that will help me remember what to buy for my library) that's hosted by Wishful Endings ...

Can't Wait Wednesday: Let's Go Swimmin on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme (that will help me remember what to buy for my library) that's hosted by Wishful Endings. It's based off the weekly meme Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Boy I can't wait to read 

When Abdi's family is kidnapped, he's forced to do the unthinkable: become a child soldier with the ruthless jihadi group Al Shabaab. In order to save the lives of those he loves, and earn their freedom, Abdi agrees to be embedded as a spy within the militia's ranks and to send dispatches on their plans to the Americans. The jihadists trust Abdi immediately because his older brother, Dahir, is already one of them, protégé to General Idris, aka the Butcher. If Abdi's duplicity is discovered, he will be killed.

For weeks, Abdi trains with them, witnessing atrocity after atrocity, becoming a monster himself, wondering if he's even pretending anymore. He only escapes after he is forced into a suicide bomber's vest, which still leaves him stumps where two of his fingers used to be and his brother near death. Eventually, he finds himself on the streets of Sangui City, Kenya, stealing what he can find to get by, sleeping nights in empty alleyways, wondering what's become of the family that was stolen from him. But everything changes when Abdi's picked up for a petty theft, which sets into motion a chain reaction that forces him to reckon with a past he's been trying to forget.

In this riveting, unflinching tale of sacrifice and hope, critically-acclaimed author Natalie C. Anderson delivers another tour-de-force that will leave readers at the edge of their seats.
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
I reviewed Natalie C. Anderson's first book City of Saints and Thieves here, and I really liked it even though it isn't Own Voices. I'm really looking froward to reading her second novel.
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Review: All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

All Our Broken Pieces
I was provided a digital copy of this book by Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 
Publication date: May 7, 2019
"You can’t keep two people who are meant to be together apart for long...”

Lennon Davis doesn’t believe in much, but she does believe in the security of the number five. If she flicks the bedroom light switch five times, maybe her new L.A. school won’t suck. But that doesn’t feel right, so she flicks the switch again. And again. Ten more flicks of the switch and maybe her new step family will accept her. Twenty-five more flicks and maybe she won’t cause any more of her loved ones to die. Fifty times more and then she can finally go to sleep.

Kyler Benton witnesses this pattern of lights from the safety of his treehouse in the yard next door. It is only there, hidden from the unwanted stares of his peers, that Kyler can fill his notebooks with lyrics that reveal the true scars of the boy behind the oversized hoodies and caustic humor. But Kyler finds that descriptions of blonde hair, sad eyes, and tapping fingers are beginning to fill the pages of his notebooks. Lennon, the lonely girl next door his father has warned him about, infiltrates his mind. Even though he has enough to deal with without Lennon’s rumored tragic past in his life, Kyler can’t help but want to know the truth about his new muse.

I'd like to start by saying that I don't have OCD, so any observations that I make in this review were not made through the eyes of someone who lives with this disorder, just someone who ia interested in learning about a variety of marginalized groups.

Lennon has OCD, the recent death of her mother, her move 3,000 from Maine to LA, and her evil stepsister seem to be triggered her OCD and ritualizing but she is managing. When Lennon is paired with Kyler for their English project on a modern version of Romeo and Juliet she stumbles across someone who understands her in a way that she hasn't had since her mother died.

As far as I'm concerned Kyler and Lennon are an A team. Kyler who has had a large burn scar on his face since he was a child is use to being an outsider, he's use to people looking at his large frame, oversized hoodie, and less than pleasant attitude and assume that he must spend his days smoking out back with no ambitions, but they couldn't be more wrong.

Lennon however wears her scars on the inside. She does things in sets of 5, she functions mostly with the assistance of anti anxiety medication, and her mind is plagued horrifying thought that she might be responsible for the death of a loved one.

While Lennon is struggling for control over her mind, that doesn't mean she's a delicate flower. When she's with Kyler and he dishes out sass, she throws it right back. It was lovely to see Lennon a flawed character who didn't completely lose herself to her disorder, she keeps her personality as best as she could and fought hard.

Kyler hid his hurt behind long hair, hoodies, and a snarky attitude, and I thought it was perfect. What I loved about Kyler was that while he had insecurities about how he looked (as anyone would) and did his best to hide is scars, he was always authentically himself. While he fought his own demons (many of which took the form of his dad) he helped Lennon fight hers.

I love Lennon and Kyler's, band names and slogans. I loved the moments when Kyler was able to face his fears head on in front of the whole school. I also appreciated that mental health facilities and therapist weren't villainized. It's okay to address your mental health. It's okay to ask for help. Lennon taught us that.

I will say that I wish we could see more of the relationship between Kyler and his dad. There was a lot left unsaid there and I was hoping for some type of resolution or at least accountability.

I give this book 4 stars and I suggest it to anyone and everyone, mental health concerns or not.

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Readers Advisory: Something Interesting

Monday, December 10, 2018

So there's a 7th grade girl that comes into the library, she actually just begun volunteering with us. When she comes in she says "Ms. Kym, can you find me something interesting." And she wont give me ANYTHING else to work with. At this point I think she finds it funny because she knows it drives me crazy. I'm finally beginning to understand what she wants that thought I'd help anyone else who has an preteen who likes to see your gears turn.Also I'll go back and look at this post when she comes back. lol.

This the first book that I chose for her that she really loved!
Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks -- and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father's murder.

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.

Another book she loved. Can you get where this is going. Weird but not too weird I guess. 
Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?

No idea how she feels about zombies but we'll see I guess!
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

I'm not sure if this has enough action for this particular girl, but it's certainly interesting.
What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home--and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible--and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist--almost.

I have no idea if these books will satisfy "interesting" but I'll do my best. All of these book have an unique aspect to them for the reader who wants something that's just a bit "normal contemporary". Pray for me yall. 

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Can't Wait Wednesday: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme (that will help me remember what to buy for my library) that's hosted by Wishful Endings. It's based off the weekly meme Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Boy I can't wait to read 

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Guy, I'm so excited about this book. I haven't read many books that focus on a teen mom pursuing her dreams. We have a teen mom meeting a new guy, a teen mom trying to get the old guy back, a teen mom and her regrets, but this looks different and I'm READY!
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Readers Advisory: I really liked The Hate You Give...

Sunday, December 2, 2018

If I had a dime for every time a kid came to me or a kids moms came to me and said, "I really liked The Hate You Give, do you have a book like that?" I actually wouldn't have a as many dimes as you'd think. I actually had a girl tell me she only reads books that are also movies. I'm waiting until the all figure out The Sun is Also a Star is going to be a movie... that's still happening right?? I might buy more copies of it anyway. Anyway, I was asked this question yesterday and figured I'd do a readers advisory post for those of you who are struggling to think up titles. Sooooo here we go!
So, this book isn't so much social justice as it give the background on a character who goes on to cause people to fight for social justice. This of it as a characters background story, and it's SUPER GOOD.
The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.

When Marvin Johnson's twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it's up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

 Rashad is absent again today.

That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all…

Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next—that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing—the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing.

And that’s how it started.

And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like “racism” and “police brutality.” Quinn realizes he’s got to understand it, because, bystander or not, he’s a part of history. He just has to figure out what side of history that will be.

 When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.

In the aftermath of Tariq's death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.

Tariq's friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down.

I hope this helps those of you trying to find other social and racial justice book for your teens, or for those of you who were touched by The Hate You Give and want more! Have a good week friends! 
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Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Thursday, November 29, 2018

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. 

Guys. I literally just finished this book. I read it in two days, and I have an actual headache. Talk about a book hangover. I apologize because there's no way that I'm going to be able to coherently verbalize my emotions and thoughts about this book.

If you couldn't tell, I loved this book. I bought it way back when, but I never got a chance to read it because of this darn book award committee that I was on. I run a chapter of the Forever Young Adult Book Club and this is Decembers pick and thank goodness for that.

The only way I can write this post is to make a list. So...
What I loved:

-The diversity. Clearly I'm always hoping to find diversity in my novels, but this book easily could have fallen into the tropes of color-ism (lighter skinned "good" guys and darker skinned "bad" guys) but it didn't happen. You could be good or evil no matter what shade of brown you were. Equal opportunity brownness!

-Despite the daunting size of the book, the pacing was on point. I don't recall any moments where the book dragged, I struggled to keep the names and places straight but that's probably more my brain than anything else. I found myself pushing through the book thinking "well where the heck can she possibly go from here??!!" Followed by "Oh snap! I guess that's where she goes, okay cool."

-Amari! Talk about a fascinating character. There are many books where a character transition from sky and timid to strong and badass, but a lot of the times by the end of the book you feel like you've read about two completely different characters. Their transition can required the reader to suspend too much of their disbelief. NOT THIS TIME FOLKS. Amari had darn good reasons to be afraid and it was understandable that she let that fear guide her, but there were constant bursts of strength and resilience, and what was also lovely to see, she was a great friend, a confidant. I loved the moments between her and Zel.

-There was just so much darn adventure and so many twists and turns. One day Zel stumbled over Amari, then they're the chosen ones (and not in a dumb way) and have to bring back magic, all the while Inan is chasing them, there are ships, a secrete camp, there are even more ships, it just goes and goes and goes. There are also weird large cat creates I guess. Dude I don't know but it was all awesome.

-Okay, let's talk about Inan without spoilers (but there might be small spoilers). A more troubling guy you'll never meet. First off, we never quite understand what happens to him at the temple. I can only assume we'll learn more in the next book. He makes this weird transition from a loyal Prince of the crown, to team Zel. That transition makes sense based off what happens in the temple, and what he learns from Zel about the struggles her people have faced. Then stuff happens at the camp, and he transitions again. As horrible as it sounds, I can understand his fear, I can understand his reasoning. From the beginning Inan has always been a weak character (although we love those heart throb moments) which may be easy to miss when you compare him to his sister Amari. But... it is what it is. Then we get to the end, and... I don't even know... I feel like the overall ending (like the entire book) I kind of predicted, but the end of the book with regards to Inan, I'm still not sure what to think... how to feel. TOMI ADEYEMI HELP ME OUT GIRLFRIEND!!

-Yall, there was so much destruction. I don't necessarily like that, but I think it took the book to a place of realism that some authors are afraid to go. Good people died. Innocent people died, and we readers weren't hidden from those details or from that heartbreak. It's a part of what made the book real.

What I need more of that I'm sure if going to be in the second book:
I struggled to understand the history of Zel's people and I'm sure that is mostly my brain struggling to adapt to the high fantasy that we readers were inundated with. I wish we could see more of the magic. I wish we could understand it more. That being said, I'm sure more of that is coming in the next book.

Guys, I apologize for all of my feelings, this post is a hot mess, but It's only been about 20 minutes since I've finished it so I'm struggling.
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Readers Advisory: Poetry and Short Stories

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Surprise! Poetry. It's kind of forgotten in the world of YA and MG book suggestions except for when a teacher has assigned homework. I few years ago I went to a workshops on Conversational Read with a woman names Diane Frankenstein. She spoke about not only the importance of reading but the importance of the conversation that take place after reading. We librarians know all about that. If a kid wants to shout out all the yellow things they see in Bear Sees Colors, we let them, as long as things don't cross a line and destroy storytime. However, conversational read gets a bit murky as kids get older. We don't read bedtime stories to our 12 year old. What's to be done? Diane suggested poetry and short stories. They're short, sweet, and NEVER to the point which provides a lot of opportunities for conversation over dinner or in the car on the way to soccer practice.

I bestow to you lovely readers, after a LONG absence due to commitments to my book award committee, readers advisory for poetry and short story readers, and parents hoping to communicate with children through literature. 

I felt a lot of obligation to add this. TeeHeeHee
Where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein's world begins. There you'll meet a boy who turns into a TV set and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.

Shel Silverstein's masterful collection of poems and drawings is one of Parent & Child magazine's 100 Greatest Books for Kids. School Library Journal said, "Silverstein has an excellent sense of rhythm and rhyme and a good ear for alliteration and assonance that make these poems a pleasure to read aloud."

The illustrations are so beautiful and so full of hope and life!
ncluded in's 2017 list of recommended diverse poetry picture books for kids. "Highly recommended for home and school libraries," commented Brightly's Charnaie Gordon. "Each melodic poem eloquently conveys the beauty of different skin tones and complexions. There are also themes of family, traditions, feelings, self-love, and acceptance echoed throughout this book."

We are color struck 

The way an artist strikes

His canvas with his brush of many hues

Look closely at these mirrors

these palettes of skin

Each color is rich

in its own right


Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

Careful--you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written--whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.

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