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Category Archives: Young Adult/Teen

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

f043712f-4655-4c8a-b60f-fca1e4c6ca9fSixteen-year-old Starr Carter has two selves: one who attends an upscale prep school in suburbia, and the other who lives in a poor neighborhood in gang territory. One night while she’s at a neighborhood party, Starr escapes from gang-related gunfire with Khalil, an old childhood friend. As they are driving home, Khalil is pulled over by the police for a broken tail-light, and a horrified Starr is the only witness to his murder. He was unarmed.

As protests and riots begin and the media frames Khalil as a drug dealer and thug, Starr realizes she is the only one who can speak out for the truth and justice for Khalil’s murder. However, if she speaks, it will change her life and endanger her and her family…

 

This has been THE YA BOOK to read for 2017, so I’ve been waiting a few months to finally be able to get my hands on it.  I was SO not disappointed. This book was so real to me. It’s likely to be one I will never forget and must become a classic for YA, a touchstone for this point in history we’re experiencing. It was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and shows an example of why this movement has happened. Even if you’re against BLM, I challenge you to read this book, to see a different perspective, and then make up your mind on the movement.

It brings to life real people, true emotions, and gives a raw, heartwrenching glimpse into events that have been happening in places all over the country. It forces you to confront your own views or stereotypes of different ideas, such as Khalil’s being framed as a drug dealer and therefore his murder “negated” by him selling drugs.

Tempted to write him off?

Starr wrestles with the idea, because his own mother is a drug addict, and why would Khalil ever sell something he hated that deprived him of a mother? In short, *SPOILER* it was either do this and save his mother’s life or let her be killed for her debts. Mightn’t you do something desperate to save a parent? A sibling? A child?

Readers, be aware that this book pulls no punches. There’s violence, language, drug references…it’s for a more mature audience than middle schoolers. However, this book is full of so much empathy that I was crying and laughing in various points. There were some awesome quotes that I have to share, some are just ones I loved or laughed at (see quotes below slideshow), but others speak to a deeper meaning.

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Note: Some image quotes I created myself on my phone. That is small, so forgive me for not adding quotation marks or the book title. 🙂

* * *

“Problem is it would’ve taken Black Jesus to convince my parents to let me come [to a Garden party]. Now Black Jesus will have to save me if they find out I’m here.”

* * *

“But after Khalil I’m more like a Taylor Swift song. (No shade, I fucks with Tay-Tay, but she doesn’t serve like nineties R&B on the angry-girlfriend scale.)”

* * *

“‘She hasn’t acted like a mom to him! Now all of a sudden, he’s her baby? It’s bullshit!’

Momma smacks the counter, and I jump. ‘Shut up!’ she screams. She turns around, tears streaking her face. ‘That wasn’t some li’l friend of hers. That was her son, you hear me? Her son!’ Her voice cracks. ‘She carried that boy, birthed that boy. And you have no right to judge her.'”

* * *

“Daddy claims the Hogwarts houses are really gangs. They have their own colors, their own hideouts, and they are always riding for each other, like gangs. Harry, Ron, and Hermione never snitch on one another, just like gangbangers. Death Eaters even have matching tattoos. And look at Voldemort. They’re scared to say his name. Really, that ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’ stuff is like giving him a street name. That’s some gangbanging shit right there.”

* * *

“Maverick, I don’t give a flying monkey’s ass what your problem is, just be there for your daughter. Please?”

* * *

“A lump forms in my throat as the truth hits me. Hard. ‘That’s why people are speaking out, huh? Because it won’t change if we don’t say something.’

‘Exactly. We can’t be silent.’

‘So can’t be silent.’

. . .

This is bigger than me and Khalil though. This is about Us, with a capital U; everybody who looks like us, feels like us, and is experiencing this pain with us despite not knowing me or Khalil. My silence isn’t helping Us.”

* * *

“Others are fighting too, even in the Garden, where sometimes it feels like there’s not a lot worth fighting for. People are realizing and shouting and marching and demanding. They’re not forgetting. I think that’s the most important part.

Khalil, I’ll never forget.

I’ll never give up.

I’ll never be quiet.

I promise.”

* * *

Acknowledgements by Angie Thomas: “And to every kid in Georgetown and in all ‘the Gardens’ of the world: your voices matter, your dreams matter, your lives matter. Be roses that grow in the concrete.”

 

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Today I’m covering 2008 Alex Award winner The Name of the Wind over at Tynga’s Reviews. It’s an awesome adult fantasy that I can’t wait to keep on my personal shelves.

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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in adult, Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

 

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Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

10015384._SY540_In this 2016 YALSA Morris Award winner, theater kid Simon has an online pen pal, known only as Blue, who attends the same school and is also secretly gay. When Simon forgets to logout of a library computer, the boy using it after him, Martin, blackmails Simon into helping him pursue a relationship with Abby, one of Simon’s best friends. As Simon panics about everyone finding out his secret, he also is beyond terrified of the ramifications for the mysterious Blue whom he has grown to love. It’s a beautiful story of fragile identities and strong relationships that will speak to the inner souls of similar teens.

 

This book has been among my must-read-soon books ever since it won awards the year I was helping in YALSA, but usually, it’s heavily checked out, so it’s been some time to be able to get my hands on it! It was everything I’ve expected, especially hearing how much a few librarian friends truly loved this story. While finally LGBTQ teens have a main character who has similar struggles and feelings as themselves and thus will love this brave book, other teens will also find this speaks to them through the similarities of keeping secrets (and secret online relationships), being afraid of rejection from friends for their true selves, and those tender feelings of first love that can make or break you. I enjoyed Simon and Blue’s correspondence and descriptions of daily life, which rang very true to any teen keeping a journal (me! 🙋🏻) though Simon’s frequent apologizing drove me bonkers. (This is a personal hypocrisy as I thoroughly admit I probably would have done the same.) Much of the references to technology are modernly accurate but without being too closely defined, which hopefully will lead to a more timeless quality of a classic YA book of its age. I also quite relished how Simon is so caught up in his own whirlwind that he fails to connect some obvious differences in his friends and the final ending was satisfying for these many revelations. I was horrified by Creek Secrets, Martin’s blackmail, and poor Simon’s spot backed into a corner. There are bullying incidences but a courageous teacher and sympathetic friends make you believe in the power of good.

I had two favorite moments in this book that I can recall:

*context: Halloween and Simon’s talking to his younger sister, Nora*

Nora looks up from her book. “Simon. Eww.”

“It’s a dementor robe over my clothes. I think you’ll survive.”

“What’s a dementor?”

I mean, I can’t even. “Nora, you are no longer my sister.”

“So it’s some Harry Potter thing,” she says.

Ms. Albright, Simon’s teacher, in response to a bullying incident:

“Okay, well,” she says quietly. “Just know that those assholes are getting suspended. I’m not even kidding. I will make it my hill to die on.”

Look out, because we’re sure to see a trailer for this movie soon, possibly by this Christmas, since it’s set to release in March 2018!

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Frostblood by Elly Blake

I’ve been reading a lot of fantasies lately! This week, I’m once again over at Tynga’s Reviews with Frostblood.

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Posted by on September 28, 2017 in Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

 

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

 

Reviewing Truthwitch by Susan Dennard over at Tynga’s Reviews today! Take a look!21414439

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2017 in Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

 

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