This week brings us a fantasy, a couple of contemporary stories, and a memoir. I loved Engle’s previous memoir so I”m eager to read this one and the others are also very intriguing.
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia [Author Interview]
Katherine Tegen Books
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.
On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love? — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
Susan is the new girl—she’s sharp and driven, and strives to meet her parents’ expectations of excellence. Malcolm is the bad boy—he started raising hell at age fifteen, after his mom died of cancer, and has had a reputation ever since.
Susan’s parents are on the verge of divorce. Malcolm’s dad is a known adulterer.
Susan hasn’t told anyone, but she wants to be an artist. Malcolm doesn’t know what he wants—until he meets her.
Love is messy and families are messier, but in spite of their burdens, Susan and Malcolm fall for each other. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
Janelle and Alyssa used to be BFFs — but not anymore. Alyssa became leader of the shallowest girls in school while Janelle got involved in activism with new, true friends.
But, suddenly, Alyssa’s diabetes becomes the talk of the school. It’s turned life-threatening; without a kidney transplant, her chances are not good. Despite reservations, Janelle gets tested and finds that she’s a rare, perfect match with Alyssa for a transplant. But organ donations aren’t very common in her community, and she starts to feel pushback. When feuds and accusations push the girls further apart, Janelle doesn’t know what to do. Will the match bring the girls back together, or drive them apart for good?
With humor and heart, and a fresh, unforgettable voice, acclaimed author Jaime Reed explores the power and complexity of lifelong friendships — and the sacrifices we make along the way. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads
Soaring Earth: A Companion Memoir to Enchanted Air by Margarita Engle [Crystal’s Review of Enchanted Air]
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
In this powerful companion to her award-winning memoir Enchanted Air, Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle recounts her teenage years during the turbulent 1960s.
Margarita Engle’s childhood straddled two worlds: the lush, welcoming island of Cuba and the lonely, dream-soaked reality of Los Angeles. But the revolution has transformed Cuba into a mystery of impossibility, no longer reachable in real life. Margarita longs to travel the world, yet before she can become independent, she’ll have to start high school.
Then the shock waves of war reach America, rippling Margarita’s plans in their wake. Cast into uncertainty, she must grapple with the philosophies of peace, civil rights, freedom of expression, and environmental protection. Despite overwhelming circumstances, she finds solace and empowerment through her education. Amid the challenges of adolescence and a world steeped in conflict, Margarita finds hope beyond the struggle, and love in the most unexpected of places. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads