Book – Although high schooler Fabiola Toussaint grew up in Haiti, she is an American citizen. Her mother is not. They’ve both been planning to come and live with family in Detroit, but when Customs and Immigration stop her mother at the airport, Fabiola finds herself flying alone to a strange city in a strange country to live with an aunt and three cousins she knows only over the phone.
It’s a rough dunking in the deep end of adulthood, and Fabiola’s three cousins, while loving and supportive in their own way, don’t always make her transition easier. Tough and street-smart, they have a neighborhood rep as the Three Bees–Brains for the eldest, Chantal, and Beauty and Brawn respectively for twins Donna and Pri. Nor does Aunt Jo, partially paralyzed from a stroke and often bedridden with pain, play much of a role in welcoming Fabiola to Detroit.
Bit by bit, Fabiola feels her way through assimilation to a new culture and a new family. Her cousins’ fierceness soon translates to an equally powerful protectiveness and love. Donna’s abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend is a blot on all their lives, but Fabiola is drawn to his sweet friend Kasim. A police officer offers Fabiola a chance to help her mother through the immigration process, for a price. And Fabiola can never feel too disconnected from her roots as the daughter of a Vodou mambo when Papa Legba spends his nights on the sidewalk across from her new home, singing cryptic riddles under the streetlights at the corner of American and Joy…
American Street is a powerful, original and deeply relevant first novel from a talented writer. Anyone who objects to profanity would do best to steer clear, but for other adult and older teen readers this is a strongly recommended exploration of the present-day American experience.
Book- What if society was perfect? No pollution, no dieses, everybody was just as equal as their neighbor, sounds great…right? Somewhere in the near future we accomplish this, the perfect society. After generations of working on eradicating all inequality in every single aspect of life a new form of government rises. Now known as The Society.
This is the story of Cassia Reyes, a seventeen year old girl who’s dream of a perfect life was to live in The Societies rules, be matched at the age of seventeen, get her final work position and live a long and happy life until her Farewell Ceremony. But all this changes when she is looking over her card from her Match Banquet, instead of seeing her best friend Xander Carrow’s face, for a brief second she see’s someone she recognizes…Ky Markham the other boy who lives down the street. After seeing this image for only the briefest of moments she knows only one thing, Ky was meant to be hers. A mistake by the otherwise perfect Society gives her the one thing she would never have thought she would have, a chance to choose. A story full of surprising twists and turns, the reader follows the story of Cassia Reyes and her road to societal freedom.
Matched by Ally Condie is a wonderful book about love, loss, and the power to choose your own destiny. While the book could get a little hard to follow at times it was very fun to read and it kept me guessing until the very end.
Book–Looking for a light, frothy read over the holidays? My True Love Gave to Meis the collection for you. Including stories from some of the biggest authors in the young adult literature world, these stories will appeal equally to young adults and adults looking for a clean read. I enjoyed all of the stories in this collection, but some of my favorites were “Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell, where we follow two best friends over a series of New Years Eves until they fall in love, “Your Temporary Santa” by David Levithan, where the main character’s boyfriend dresses up as Santa to surprise the main character’s sibling, and ” Angels in the Snow” by Matthew De La Pena, about a lonely young man who is stuck cat-sitting far away from his family over Christmas. This collection spans genres from realistic fiction to fantasy, so there should be a story here for everyone.
If you enjoyed this collection, you’ll be pleased to know that there is also a version to entertain you this summer: Summer Days and Summer Nights, also edited by Perkins, brings 12 more stories by twelve different authors with a similar seasonal theme. Not only that, but if you really liked any of the stories, consider checking out the authors’ novels! We have plenty of them here at the Library.
Book–Matt’s world collapsed the day his mother lost her battle with cancer. And now he is losing his father to the bottle. Nothing is the same anymore. He suddenly feels older than all of his friends and nobody seems to understand what he is going through. When Mr. Ray offers him a job working with him at the funeral home, Matt’s first reaction is to say no. He really did not want to be surrounded by death, it would just remind him of what he lost.
But when Matt realizes that he has two options: work at the Cluck Bucket or work for Mr. Ray, he takes Mr. Ray’s offer. And he is surprised at how cathartic it was to watch another person struggle with their pain. Now, Matt cannot wait for another funeral. He even wears his black suit everyday so he is prepared for work. Then he meets Lovey, who has also dealt with pain and loss, and he begins to realize that maybe he is not actually alone in the world.
The Boy in the Black Suit is a great book about dealing with the loss of a loved one and learning to overcome your trials. It is beautifully written with diverse and funny characters. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading realistic fiction.
Young adult readers who followed A Series of Unfortunate Events when it was released (more than a decade ago!), and the parents and other then-adult readers who devoured the books along with them, may already know that the smash-hit series is slated for a new small-screen adaptation to debut on Netflix next year. That means that right now is a great time to re-visit Snicket’s (aka Daniel Handler‘s) playfully grim universe–especially because that universe has just expanded.
ASoUE and AtWQ definitely belong in the same universe. They share the same melancholy-yet-hopeful tone, the same focus on heroic individuals struggling often unsuccessfully against a world of selfishness and corruption, and the same conviction that the surest way of telling the bad guys from the good guys is usually that the good guys love to read. In other ways, however, the two series have significant tonal differences. Where ASoUE is about as Gothic as a story can be, AtWQ chooses a different downbeat genre and skews heavily noir–if Humphrey Bogart doesn’t actually manage to climb through the pages, it’s not for lack of trying. Another big difference is that, while ASoUE’s three protagonists are siblings who can depend on one another from page one, Lemony in AtWQ starts out alone and builds himself a found family in the course of the books. Young readers who have just finished ASoUE should also know that AtWQ is a slightly more difficult read, written for an audience a few years older.
All of that said, I think that every Unfortunate Events fan should give All the Wrong Questions a try. It’s a quick and enjoyable read with a great sense of humor–and the perfect way to tide yourself over until January 13!
Book – As a connoisseur of all things memory-books, I love sinking my teeth into any novel focused on an amnesiac. My “Bookshelf of Memory” mainly contains adult fiction, but I’ve recently come across some prospective novels in the Young Adult and Youth departments. That’s how I happened upon Forgotten by Cat Patrick.
Every morning, London reads the notes she left herself the night before–general facts about her life, as well as specific details about homework, school, and important reminders for her daily life. Navigating high school is hard enough without waking up each morning with no memory of the day before. However, London’s curse is also a gift, for while she can’t recall the past, she sees “memories” of the future. She knows that her best friend will be unlucky in love, throwing herself at every guy she meets. She sees snippets of what the future holds for herself and others. Everything changes when she meets the new kid at school, Luke Henry, who in spite of her condition, London just can’t seem to forget.
The story had such an intriguing premise, but fell short of my expectations, mainly due to the high school romance scene. As a high schooler, I probably would have appreciated this book a lot more, but now I could have gone without the lovesick puppy romance. I wanted it to be more about London’s memories, and her crazy unique ability to see into the future.
Book – Before reading this memoir, I was only vaguely aware of the existence of Jazz Jennings. I remembered a picture book titled I Am Jazz, featuring a transgender young girl and was intrigued to read a more in depth story of that little girls’ life and experiences growing up.
Being Jazz: My Life As a (Transgender) Teenchronicles author Jazz Jennings experiences growing up as a transgender girl. Jazz’s story was initially featured on 20/20 with Barbara Walters at a time when there was little information or public support for transgender individuals. She would continue to shine in the public spotlight throughout her youth through countless interviews, her personal youtube channel, a reality television show on TLC, a documentary, and a children’s picture book. One of the youngest and most prominent voices in the discussion of gender identity, Jazz shares her trials and tribulations from childhood to young adult in this coming of age memoir about growing up transgender.
Many reviewers were dissatisfied with the writing in this memoir–wanting a more detailed, mature, and eloquent writing style, rather than the words of a fifteen year old teenager. For the most part, I actually found Jazz’s voice to be surprisingly refreshing and well-worded. I felt that her writing was very easy to read, and understandable, especially for the targeted audience: teens and young adults.
As a whole, I really enjoyed this memoir. It was easy to follow, intriguing, and has a unique perspective. It’s remarkable that Jazz was aware of being transgender–before even fully realizing what that word meant–at such a young age and her memoir makes me curious to read the stories of other transgender youth.
Book Series – Richard Gansy III is the scion of a privileged Virginia family, the prep school princeling golden boy with the impossible, magic dream. Ronan Lynch is rage and sharp edges under a thin veneer of skin, sneering at the world through the window of a muscle car. Adam Parrish is the impostor in their midst, hiding his accent and his bruises as he works three after-school jobs to pay his own tuition. And Noah Czerney is… around, usually, if you don’t think about him too hard.
They are the Raven Boys, high school students at prestigious Aglionby Academy, and local girl Blue Sergeant–a passionate activist growing up in a house full of psychic women–hates them all on principle. Until she meets them, anyway. Until she gets to know them. Until she is drawn with them into an impossibly high-stakes mythic quest that will transform them from five teenagers into an unbreakable brotherhood, wielding ancient and unimaginable powers, facing down curses and demons and kings.
I read the first book in the series, The Raven Boys, a little more than a year ago. While I did find the characterization exceptionally well done, I was ultimately neither disappointed nor inspired. But I’m so glad that I picked the series up again when the fourth and final book arrived in April (Book 2: The Dream Thieves; Book 3: Blue Lily, Lily Blue; Book 4: The Raven King), because book two hits the ground running and doesn’t let go. By its later chapters, The Raven Cycle became a reminder for me of what really good fiction feels like: its magical ability to transform the world and make the reader genuinely believe and care about its characters and plot, its potential to be fresh and original and at the same time seem like a story you’ve always known. I devoured the last book in a day, and feel both bereft and energized now that it’s done.
TL;DR: If you like fantasy fiction even a little, read these books. And if you like audiobooks even a little, try them that way, because we offer the whole series through both Overdrive and Hoopla, and narrator Will Patton knocks it out of the park.
Book–Mare Barrow lives in a world in which your status in life is determined by the color of blood that flows through your veins. If you have Red blood then you are poor and you are forced to fight the Silver’s battles. If you have Silver blood, it means you were born with different gifts (aka super powers) like telepathy and fire. Mare and her family are Reds and struggle everyday to survive. As all of Mare’s older brothers are sent off to fight, Mare supports her family by stealing from the wealthy.
Everything changes after she accepts a job working at the royal palace. During a major dinner, a freak accident causes Mare to revel powers she did not know she even had, after all Reds do not have powers. The royal court, in order to safe face, take her, claim her as the lost princess, and betroth her to Prince Maven. Mare is unable to do anything if she wishes to keep her family and herself safe. So she does what they ask while learning to master her powers and secretly work with the Scarlet Guard, who are preparing to take down the Silvers.
Red Queen is an amazing ride. There is romance, mystery, adventure, action, powers, and more. The sequel, Glass Sword, just came out and the last book in the series will be out next year! It is a must-read for any lover of young adult literature. You will not regret it.
Book — Cassie is seventeen years old and is a natural at reading people. In just a few minutes she can figure out your job, your income, and other personal details about your life. With skills like that, it should be no surprise that the FBI asked her to join, The Naturals, special program for teens like her. A program for teens with abilities the FBI can use to solve cold cases. Cassie sees this as an opportunity to solver her mother’s murder case. So she leaves her family behind and moves in with the other members: Lia who can spot lies; Sloane who remembers everything; Dean another profiler; and Michael who can read emotions. For the Naturals, solving cold cases quickly becomes dangerous when a current case hits closer to home for Cassie and her new friends and they must learn to trust each other to survive. Of course a love triangle appears between Cassie, Dean, and Michael because what YA book does not have a love triangle?
What has been described as Criminal Mindsfor the YA world, The Naturals is perfect for those who love crime, mystery, with some romance tossed into the mix. Jennifer Lynn Barnes creates a great story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Plus, its the first of a series of books!Killer Instinct and All Inwill pull you into a great story line as Cassie and her friends work with the FBI to solve more crimes.