Category Archives: young adult fiction

#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!

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#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

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (3 & 4)

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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 throwing back to an older favorite series of mine – The President’s Daughter by Ellen Emerson White. I was introduced to these books a decade ago by Jennifer Laughran who was so enthusiastic about them that I didn’t hesitate to buy them. And I LOVED these stories about Meg Powers, the reluctant daughter of the President of the U.S. – her mom. Meg is intelligent with strong convictions, loves her family but hates the spotlight – and suffers some pretty major things due to being First Daughter. And there are boys in the picture, too, and I particularly love the relationship in book 4, when Meg goes away to college (along with her cadre of Secret Service protection). I, for one, would vote for Meg Powers for president! I don’t often re-read books, but I have re-read this series twice. And I think I want to re-read them again this year.

Book 1: The President’s Daughter Book 2: White House Autumn Book 3: Long Live the Queen Book 4: Long May She Reign

You can buy the whole series on Kindle right here.

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Today’s guest link: Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli  by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julie Morstad. Jill Davis says this book is “a beautiful supportive spirit about Schiaparelli–the Italian designer, a woman who redefined beauty on her own terms.”