Category Archives: young adult fiction

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Book Love (8)

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For the month of May, in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I’m sharing some of my favorite reads by/about Asians/Asian Americans. Side note: I am going to try not to repeat books I mentioned already in my #kidlitwomen posts, so for more on Asian American books I loved, make sure to peek at that list, too!

Today’s featured book is:

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo.

16yo Clara Shin is not your stereotypical model minority Asian American. She gets into trouble at school, plays pranks, and takes very little seriously. But when a junior prom prank goes wrong, Clara sees her way-chill young dad act parental for the very first time, and now she’s being punished by working his food truck all summer to pay for the school damages. Not only that, but her nemesis, goody-good Rose Carver is working with her. On the plus side, there’s that really hot but earnestly nice Asian guy….! A story about learning to open your heart and trust love.

Can I say how much I LOVE seeing Asians on book covers? Love it so much!

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Book Love (5)

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For the month of May, in honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, I’m sharing some of my favorite reads by/about Asians/Asian Americans.

Today’s featured book is Warcross by Marie Lu.

Page-turning action! When poverty-stricken bounty hunter, Emika Chin, “glitches” into a championship game of Warcross, she is whisked to Tokyo to meet genius founder of Warcross, Hideo Tanaka. He hires her to bounty hunt someone who is trying to hack the championships – and gets her onto a team. Emika has long idolized Hideo and is in awe when he seems to fall for her (and she for him). In the meantime, she is hunting the mysterious and dangerous Zero, and finally enlists her teammates for help, she who is used to working alone. What she ends up discovering will rock her world (and yours). Super fast read! I loved the accuracy of Tokyo descriptions and Japanese cultural quirks, despite this being an alternate universe/futuristic story.

And, bonus! Here’s a link to the cover and first chapter except from Marie’s upcoming sequel to Warcross, Wildcard!

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Book Love (4)

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For the month of May, in honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, I’m sharing some of my favorite reads by/about Asians/Asian Americans. Side note: I am going to try not to repeat books I mentioned already in my #kidlitwomen posts, so for more on Asian American books I loved, make sure to peek at that list, too!

Today’s featured book is Want by Cindy Pon.

Jason Zhou is a mei (without) in this futuristic Taipei, as are his friends. The yous (haves) are protected by their wealth and special suits that keep them from breathing the polluted air. When he and his friends decide to infiltrate and sabotage Jin Corp, Jason must become a you. As part of the plan, he kidnaps a you and it turns out she is Jin’s only child and daughter, Daiyu. She and Jason are drawn together and it might put the entire mission in jeopardy. Fast-paced and thrilling, I totally enjoyed reading this book starring a hot Asian male lead!

 

 

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Book Love (3)

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For the month of May, in honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, I’m sharing some of my favorite reads by/about Asians/Asian Americans.

The YA graphic novel, The Prince and the Dressmaker, is a recent read and firmly in my “favorite books” category! This graphic novel by Jen Wang is completely swoon-worthy, taking me back to some of my favorite manga reads when I was a teen.

Prince Sebastian’s parents are pressuring him, at age 16, to find a bride, but he is instead thrilled to have discovered a talented dressmaker. At night he becomes Lady Crystallia, a fashion icon. Frances, who dreams of a career in fashion design is at first happy to design dresses for the prince, and easily keeps his secret. But when it becomes apparent that in order to keep his secret, she must give up her dreams, she has to make a difficult decision, protect her friend or leave him to strike out on her own. A romantic tale of loyalty and being true to oneself.

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (29)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Today’s book is the YA novel It’s Not Like It’s A Secret by Misa Sugiura. I was so pleased to read a teen novel with an authentic Japanese American main character in a contemporary setting – and in San Jose, no less, near where I lived for awhile.

Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has many secrets from feeling like she never fits in with her friends in Wisconsin to her suspicion that her father may be having an affair. When they move to San Jose, CA for her father’s new job, Sana is at first resistant, but when she meets a very cute girl who ends up going to her new high school, Sana is intrigued. Better yet, she immediately falls in with a group of Asian girls and suddenly she feels seen and heard, understood – as they compare their parents’ strict rules and traditions. But breaking into her crush Jamie’s crowd is difficult and poses many challenges. A story about learning to trust sharing truths with friends and family. Buy the book!

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (28)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Today’s featured book is YA novel, Love, Hate, & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. Love this quote from this book: We must build bridges, conquer hate with love, and meet intolerance with a renewed commitment to education and open-mindedness. From many, we are one.

Senior in high school Maya Aziz has a dream of pursuing a career in film, including going to college in New York – far from her small town of Batavia, IL. Her parents have other ideas, wanting her to be a good Indian Muslim daughter and staying near home (and marrying a Muslim). Maya struggles against her parents’ expectations while nursing an enormous crush on (non-parental approved) Phil. As their friendship/relationship blooms, a terrorist attack in nearby Springfield triggers anti-Muslim hate against Maya’s parents’ dental practice and then suddenly her parents are against her not only leaving to go to college in New York but almost against her leaving the house at all. A story about finding your way when you’re afraid – a story about love and family and growing up, and taking a stand for your dreams. Buy the book!

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (23)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Today’s feature book was a favorite of mine from 2014, after I met this author at a weekend workshop at VCFA – Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland. Her name should be familiar to you as she is the author of the highly anticipated Dread Nation releasing on 4/3. I can’t wait to read it!

The story opens on Zephyr who is stuck in Tartarus’ worst section, the Pits, as punishment for killing one of Hera’s guards. Zeph is a Harpy but a failed one, and is scared when she knows she shouldn’t be. Fortunately she has found a protector in Cass. When her childhood friend (and crush) Tallon comes to the rescue to release her from the Underworld, she and Cass join Tallon, his dragon brother Blue, and Zeph’s childhood nemisis Alora in a quest to keep Hera from taking over the mortal world. Exciting and original and full of adventure and tension! I so loved this book that I still recommend it to readers. Buy the book!

And definitely pre-order Dread Nation!

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (20)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

I just recently read the graphic novel The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang and love love loved it!

Prince Sebastian’s parents are pressuring him, at age 16, to find a bride, but he is instead thrilled to have discovered a talented dressmaker. At night he becomes Lady Crystallia, a fashion icon. Frances, who dreams of a career in fashion design is at first happy to design dresses for the prince, and easily keeps his secret. But when it becomes apparent that in order to keep his secret, she must give up her dreams, she must make a difficult decision, protect her friend or leave him to strike out on her own. A romantic tale of loyalty and being true to oneself – I swooned. Loved this story! I was completely swept away! Buy the book!

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (19)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Doing something a little different today, all because I want to feature I book I haven’t read yet but am greatly anticipating. Full disclosure here, when I started out wanting to write for children 15+ years ago, author Cynthia Leitich Smith was my guide and mentor. She was patient and generous with her time and knowledge and I am forever grateful to her.

I fell in love with her work, first with Jingle Dancer, a picture book about a contemporary Native American girl excitedly preparing for an upcoming powwow where she will participate in a jingle dance for the first time. (Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright) And then with Indian Shoes, a book with six interconnected short stories. But my favorite of her books was a YA novel, Rain is Not My Indian Name.

It’s been many years since I’ve read the book, but I recall feeling so much sympathy for the main character, Rain, who had recently lost her best friend, and used photography to help her cope with grief. She also struggles with deciding how involved she wants to become in a controversy that has come up around her aunt’s Indian Camp. (Ah this makes me want to re-read this book!)

And now I recently learned that the author, who has had success with a series of paranormal novels, will be publishing a contemporary YA novel this fall! I’m beside myself with excitement!

Hearts Unbroken is due out on November 6. This from the publisher’s site: When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

AHHHH! I can’t wait! But I will! Pre-order here.

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (17 & 18)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

This weekend I’m happy to share two books I unexpectedly loved. Unexpectedly only because I thought the subject of the book,  the competitive world of ballet, wasn’t my thing. How wrong I was! I was immediately pulled into this world and devoured both books!

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

At an exclusive competitive ballet school, the top three ballerinas, Bette, June, and Gigi vie for the top spot, as well as the top guy. Bullying and harassing are not beyond what these girls are capable of in getting what they want – at least everyone but Gigi, who is the new girl from the West Coast, talented, naively friendly, and attracted to Bette’s on-and-off again boyfriend who is the top male ballerina. Told in multiple POVs, the girls reveal their vulnerabilities, their deepest desires, and their fears – and in the end, only one girl can hold the top spot. Buy the book!

Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

In this follow up to TINY PRETTY THINGS – Spoiler Alert……., Bette has been suspended and Gigi is back for level 8 and her last year, and June is determined to get one of two coveted spots in the American Ballet Company. Tension mounts as Bette tries to clear her name but finds she has burned all her bridges even with her former best friend. Gigi, goaded on by Cassie, exacts revenge by becoming the bully. And June despite her relationship with Jayhe is torn between her growing feelings for him and her desperation for ballet. Outstanding sequel! Buy the book!

If the name Dhonielle Clayton sounds familiar, yes, she is the author of the blockbuster YA The Belles! You’re going to definitely want to read that one, too!

#kidlitwomen