New Releases

Happy book birthday to the two novels being released this Tuesday (6/21)! Are they on your to-read list?

mirrorMirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana
For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year begins in the wake of a startling discovery: A message from an alternate Earth, light years away, is intercepted by NASA. This means that on another planet, there is another version of Tara, a Tara who could be living better, burning brighter, because of tiny differences in her choices.

As the world lights up with the knowledge of Terra Nova, the mirror planet, Tara’s life on Earth begins to change. At first, small shifts happen, like attention from Nick Osterman, the most popular guy at Brierly, and her mother playing hooky from work to watch the news all day. But eventually those small shifts swell, the discovery of Terra Nova like a black hole, bending all the light around it.

As a new era of scientific history dawns and Tara’s life at Brierly continues its orbit, only one thing is clear: Nothing on Earth–and for Tara–will ever be the same again. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

neverNever Ever by Sara Saedi
Wylie Dalton didn’t believe in fairy tales or love at first sight. Then she met a real-life Peter Pan. When Wylie encounters Phinn—confident, mature, and devastatingly handsome—at a party the night before her brother goes to juvie, she can’t believe how fast she falls for him. And that’s before he shows her how to fly.

Soon Wylie and her brothers find themselves whisked away to a mysterious tropical island off the coast of New York City where nobody ages beyond seventeen and life is a constant party. Wylie’s in heaven: now her brother won’t go to jail and she can escape her over-scheduled life with all its woes and responsibilities—permanently. But the deeper Wylie falls for Phinn, the more she begins to discover has been kept from her and her brothers. Somebody on the island has been lying to her, but the truth can’t stay hidden forever. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

unplulggedUnplugged (The Wired #1) by Donna Freitas

Humanity is split into the App World and the Real World—an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy and a dying physical world for the poor. Years ago, Skylar Cruz’s family sent her to the App World for a chance at a better life.

Now Skye is a nobody, a virtual sixteen-year-old girl without any glamorous effects or expensive downloads to make her stand out in the App World. Yet none of that matters to Skye. All she wants is a chance to unplug and see her mother and sister again.

But when the borders between worlds suddenly close, Skye loses that chance. Desperate to reach her family, Skye risks everything to get back to the physical world. Once she arrives, however, she discovers a much larger, darker reality than the one she remembers.

In the tradition of M. T. Anderson’s Feed and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, Unplugged kicks off a thrilling and timely sci-fi series for teens from an award-winning writer. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

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9 YA picks for LGBT Pride Month

It’s June! And also LGBT Pride Month, a time to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots. With that in mind, I checked out quite a few LGBTQIA YA book lists. Like YA lit in general, the books featured predominantly white leads.

That being said, YA lit (and graphic novels!) starring LGBTQIA characters of color do exist and are out there! Here are my top picks:

minearistotlehappy

 

 

 

 

 

Proxy by Alex London [review]
Huntress by Malinda Lo
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie [review]
Skim by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki (illustrator)
Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown, Sherwood Smith [review]
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera [review]
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan [review]
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Revew: Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki

24921960Title: Saving Montgomery Sole
Author: Mariko Tamaki
Genres: contemporary
Pages: 240
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Review copy: Library
Availability: April 19th, 2016

Summary: Montgomery Sole is a square peg in a small town, forced to go to a school full of jocks and girls who don’t even know what irony is. It would all be impossible if it weren’t for her best friends, Thomas and Naoki. The three are also the only members of Jefferson High’s Mystery Club, dedicated to exploring the weird and unexplained, from ESP and astrology to super powers and mysterious objects.

Then there’s the Eye of Know, the possibly powerful crystal amulet Monty bought online. Will it help her predict the future or fight back against the ignorant jerks who make fun of Thomas for being gay or Monty for having two moms? Maybe the Eye is here just in time, because the newest resident of their small town is scarier than mothmen, poltergeists, or, you know, gym. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

Review: When I heard that Mariko Tamaki had a YA book coming out, I ordered it as soon as I could — I’m in love with all the comics by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki (Skim, This One Summer, SuperMutant Magic Academy), so I was really looking forward to this one. Not to mention, the cover is a gorgeous work of art, so I was happy to get ahold of it.

In Saving Montgomery Sole, Montgomery is the co-founder of the three person Mystery Club of Jefferson High. Montgomery, her theater enthusiast friend Thomas, and the ever positive Naoki Wood investigate the paranormal, strange, and utterly mysterious — phenomena like ESP and so on. At the same time, Montgomery struggles with the strain of homophobia in her school directed at her, because of her two Lesbian moms, and her friend Thomas.

Montgomery Sole, true to the title, is incredibly central to the story. She narrates it,of course, and you see everything through her lens. That includes views (such as judging certain groups harshly) that are skewed and wrong, while also providing emotional strength and depth to the things Montgomery is going through.

Like the Tamakis’ other comics, this book had a similar tone, which I am a great fan of but may not be other people’s cup of tea. It’s poetic, quirky, and funny, while also managing to be thoughtful and occasionally melancholy.

Saving Montgomery Sole is definitely worth a read. If you’re looking for something to occupy a few hours of your time, this is it!

Recommendation: Buy it now!

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Superhero Comics

CefW4ekWwAI1unIWhen the announcement of the New Super-Man featuring a Chinese (!!) Superman by Gene Luen Yang came out a few months ago, I figured I needed to get on the superhero comic train. Here are a few of the comics I’ve been reading, and a few that I’m looking forward to:

 

 

 

 

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man by  by Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli
Silk, Vol. 0: The Life and Times of Cindy Moon by Robbie Thompson, Stacey Lee
Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl
The Totally Awesome Hulk by Greg Pak, Frank Cho

It’s super exciting that the world of superhero comics is making progress in terms of representation — and making awesome, more accessible comics at the same time! But there is still a lot of room for improvement. (I’m still mad about the whitewashed casting of Iron Fist, among other things.) Hopefully, comics like Gene Luen Yang’s upcoming New Super-Man will help accelerate change for the better.

Further reading:
Superheroes in Color on Tumblr
The ‘Asian Superhero’ Is Not An Oxymoron

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New Releases

There are five books coming out this Tuesday. Are any of these on your to-read list?

soldierSoldier (Talon #3) by Julie Kagawa
A fighter dedicated to saving humankind from dragons in strictest secrecy. That was what Garret Xavier Sebastian thought he was part of as a soldier of the Order of St. George. What he learned from a fiery dragon hatchling twisted all he believed in and set him on a collision course with certain death-but not without a chance to put things right.

Betrayed and on the run again, Ember and rogue dragon Riley discover an unthinkable truth about Talon and St. George. They’ll need Garret’s skills and insider knowledge of the Order to negotiate an impossible deal-and if they fail, there will be no way to stop all-out war. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

 

prodigyProdigy: The Graphic Novel (Legend: The Graphic Novel #2) by Marie Lu

After escaping from the Republic’s stronghold, Day and June are on the run in Vegas when the country learns that their Elector Primo has died and his son has stepped in to take his place. They meet up with the rebel stronghold of the Patriots—a large organization straddling the line between the Republic and its warring neighbor, the Colonies—and learn about an assassination plot against the Elector. Using threats and blackmail to get what he wants, the Patriots’ leader, Razor, convinces June to let herself be captured by Republic soldiers so she can win over the Elector and feed him a decoy assassination plan. But when June realizes that the new Elector is nothing like his father, she must work with Day to try to stop the Patriots’ plot before Razor can fulfill his own devastating plans. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

The Rose and the DaggerThe Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Ahdieh
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

The Star-Touched Queen High ResThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen? Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most… including herself. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

Keep Me in MindKeep Me In Mind by Jaime Reed
Ellia Dawson doesn’t recognize the handsome boy who sits in tears by her hospital bed. But he’s telling her that he’s Liam McPherson, her boyfriend. Boyfriend? Ellia thinks in shock. She has no clue who Liam is, let alone whether or not she once loved him. She remembers her family, her friends, and the fact that she wants to be a fashion designer. But Liam is a big blank in her life.

Meanwhile, Liam is devastated that Ellia, the love of his life, who suffered an accident while they were running together on the beach, has lost her memory. He is desperate to win her back, rebuild what they once had, but Ellia keeps him at an arm’s length. She’s much more comfortable with a new boy she meets at the hospital, who understands more what she’s going through. So Liam begins writing the story of the two of them, piecing together the past in the hopes of having a future with the girl he loves. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

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Poetry Link Round Up

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Are you looking for great poetry or poetry activities? Here are links to old and new posts highlighting inclusive titles and/or recommending ways to use poetry with teens.

Piles of Poetry and Novels in Verse – Rich in Color

5 Must Read Latinx YA Novels in Verse – Dr. Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez

Poetry in the Lives of Children and Young Adults – Dr. Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez at Latin@s in Kidlit

How Kwame Alexander Gets Teens Reading and Writing Poetry – School Library Journal

How to Plan a Teen Poetry Slam at the Library – School Library Journal

How to Get Kids Hooked on Reading? ‘Use Poetry. It Is A Surefire Way’ – Kwame Alexander on NPR

10 Spoken Word Poets Who Speak To Diverse Latino Experiences – Huffington Post

Poetry for Teens: Diverse Voices – Colorín Colorado

Large Fears Twitter Chat

 

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