Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Review: Chlorine Sky

Chlorine Sky Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In her debut YA novel in verse, Mahogany Browne tells the story of Skyy - a black teen who's always lived in the shadows of everyone around her. When you're a teenager, it's easy to believe that friendship will be forever, but Skyy soon realizes that maybe some differences are just too much. Skyy would spend all her days on the basketball court or floating in the local pool, while Lay Li lives for clothes, makeup and boys. Everything seems okay, until one day, it's not. For Skyy - losing a friend is heartbreaking, but it's also revealing, and maybe - just maybe - stepping out of Lay Li's shadow will allow her to find herself.

An accessible and relevant coming-of-age story for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Review: Grown

Grown Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tiffany Jackson has done it again, with a powerful story that blends mystery with a coming of age story that seems ripped from the headlines.

Enchanted Jones is a 17-year old who dreams of becoming a singer, and when R&B artist, Korey Fields, takes notice of her and promises to help her reach her dreams, she thinks she's got it made. With the support of her parents, Enchanted set out to make her mark, but in doing so she's quickly exposed to the horrific secrets that hide behind the scenes and threaten to destroy her life and the lives of other young women like her who will do almost anything to achieve their dreams.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Review: Furia

Furia Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At home, in her barrio in Argentina, Camila Hassan is the dutiful daughter who follows the strict rules of her home, lives in the shadow of her brother the rising fútbol star, and avoids her abusive father's short fuse.

But Camila lives a double-life, and on the fútbol field she is fierce, she is La Furia, she is a powerhouse that leads her women's team and has dreams of playing in North America.

Living two lives is not easy. When her brother's friend and international fútbol star comes back to town, she can't deny the fire that's kindling between them, but she has to focus on her own dreams. As her world comes crashing down around her, Camila is forced to publicize her secret life, but at what cost?

Furia is a great blend of Argentine culture, first love, and fútbol action on the pitch.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Review: Punching the Air

Punching the Air Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At the age of 16, Amal Shahid's life takes a turn he never expected. A talented and creative student, Amal is an artist and poet, but what ends up defining him is his blackness. When an altercation takes place in his neighborhood where lines have been drawn and invisible borders have been built, he is convicted of a crime that he didn't commit and his words and art become the only solace in his caged world.

I am ink
He is paper
I am pencil
He is notebook
I am text
He is screen
I am paint
He is canvas
I am man
He is boy
I am criminal
He is victim
I am alive
He is almost dead
I am black
He is white

Amal's tells his story of broken systems - school, incarceration, and "injustice" - as he strives to retain his humanity and dignity.

This is a powerful novel in verse that fans of Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, and Jacqueline Wilson will devour in one sitting (like me!)
To be released Sept. 1, 2020.

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Review: This Is My America

This Is My America This Is My America by Kim Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another powerful BLM story for teens! Can't wait for publication so I can add it to my library and get it into kids' hands.

Tracy Beaumont's life revolves around saving her father from being wrongly executed after spending the past seven years on death row. She writes weekly letters to Innocence X - a project that helps exonerate the wrongly convicted, but with less that a year until the execution she knows time is running out. Then the unimaginable happens when the police show up at her house in the middle of the night looking for her brother Jamal as a suspect in the death of a white girl. Instead of being the promising track star, Jamal is now literally on the run for his life. Determined to save both her brother and father, Tracy becomes an amateur investigator and ultimately uncovers secrets even she didn't expect.

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Review: Scythe

Scythe Scythe by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Citra and Rowan were just your average teens living in a world where humanity has evolved and there is no suffering, death, disease, war, etc. But in a world without death, the population must be maintained. Scythes are the sole purveyors of death - it's their job - and they end lives with a purpose and guidelines (at least they're supposed to). When the Honorable Scythe Faraday has chance encounters with both Citra and Rowan, he sees something in them and invites them to be his apprentices. With a year of guidance and teaching, they will have the opportunity to become Scythes and continue to fulfill this sacred duty, but they soon realize that not all Scythes are honorable, and such power comes with a hefty price.

This first book in the Arc of the Scythe trilogy will have readers clamoring for the sequels (Thunderhead - book 2 and The Toll - book 3).

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Review: Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce
Dear Justyce by Nic Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this sequel to Dear Martin - Nic Stone tells the story of Quan, who grew up just blocks away from Justyce, but whose life took dramatically different turns. As he sits behind bars, Quan writes letters to his old friend, Justyce who is attending Yale. Through these letters and flashbacks, readers see the choices and decisions (some his own and some out of his control) that lead Quan down a road that is filled with police encounters, violence, a dead police officer, and what looks to be a life behind bars.

Fans of Dear Martin will be clamoring for Quan's story this September (2020)!

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