This is a fantastic YA novel about Matt, a teen whose beloved older brother T.J. was killed in Iraq. Left alone with his controlling and abusive father, Matt is struggling in school, starting fistfights with kids in the halls. When T.J.’s personal effects are delivered to Matt’s house, Matt goes through them all, searching for something meaningful he can … More Review: Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie
With All American Boys, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely have written a moving, timely story about police brutality toward young Black men in America. I listened to this book as an audiobook, and it was outstanding.
Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is an autobiographical YA book in verse about her experience growing up first in North Carolina, and then New York City, in the 1960s. Brown Girl Dreaming is a Newbery Honor book, a Loretta Scott King Award winner, and a National Book Award winner. Jacqueline begins by painting a picture of her extended … More Review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Ruta Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray is a beautiful, emotionally draining book about the genocide of the Baltic people by the Soviet Union during World War II. I had never before read any books addressing this horrific aspect of the war; in fact, I’m not sure I even knew that this genocide had taken place. After being … More Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One has been wildly popular as crossover science fiction–that is, science fiction that is enjoyed by both adults and young adults alike. Gamers and “nerds” who lived through the 1980s will appreciate the many (many) ’80s pop culture and gaming references, and young adults will love the tech-savvy teenage protagonists and the novel’s kids-against-the-establishment mentality. … More Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Seeing as I recently moved to Wisconsin, Amy Timberlake’s One Came Home, set in the fictional Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, appealed to me. It follows Georgie Burkhardt, a tough, thirteen-year-old girl whose older sister, Agatha, has just turned up dead after running away a few days prior. Or has she?
Sigh. I wanted to love this book. I expected to love it. I’ve done my fair share of fangirling. Or at least, for a while I considered myself “active” in the Glee fandom. I wrote fanfic (and read tons of it), had a Tumblr, talked to other fans online, etc. It was fun. (It was also terrible, because Glee is terrible, but … More Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell