Coles, J. (2018). Tyler Johnson Was Here. NY: Little, Brown and Company.
Jay Coles writes from the heart, he writes well (every sentence is handsomely and seductively infused with Black culture), and he has produced 2018’s fast-paced picture of American police brutality, of the systematic corruption rampant in its justice system, and of how racism impacts and traps people.
What a compelling cover!
Trevor Johnson is shot by a white policeman simply for the colour of his skin – all of this caught on videotape – leaving a grieving mother and twin brother, who together make their way through each day even though their grief is overwhelmingly painful and raw. Continue reading
Takano, I. (2008). Dreamin’ Sun Vol 1. LA: Seven Seas.
Shōjo manga is manga targeted at the teenage female demographic. I gravitated toward this cute cover with a pink background and read from right to left about how Shimana Kameko feels out of place in her own home now that her mother has passed away and her father remarried. She runs away to a park and begins speaking to a strange man in a kimono. Old Fujiwara Taiga offers to help her on three conditions: Kameko must tell him why she ran away from home, she must go find his lost apartment key, and she must have a dream. Kameko fulfills the three Continue reading
Sundquist, J. (2014). We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story. NY: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
When author, YouTuber, and Paralympic Skier Josh Sundquist was in his early 20s he realized he only ever had a girlfriend once, for 23 hours, in grade 8. And now as an adult, Continue reading
Snyder, L. (2017). Orphan Island. MA: Walden Pond Press.
On a special island, only orphaned children live, dropped off one by one, once a year A green boat arrives on the shores, always through thick mist, and drops off the youngest islander and takes away the oldest. The island itself is a safe paradise where no one ever gets hurt by an animal or anything else. The kids may squabble, but nothing major ever happens
The eldest of the nine children living there has the responsibility of teaching the newest arrival. Throughout the story, Jinny, the eldest, is guiding little Ess. When it is Jinny’s turn to board the green boat that arrives as sure as the sun Continue reading
Pfeffer, S. (2006). Life As We Knew It. FL: Harcourt.
Told through Miranda’s journal entries, we follow her life as it changes from a regular, suburban experience to a dystopian tale once a meteor collides into the moon, altering its course and pushing it closer to earth. Volcanic ash hangs in the air blocking the sun, tsunamis are blanketing the coasts, and families are hoarding supplies. Miranda’s modern blended family is surviving in their sun room, huddled around a heater.
Pfeffer’s storytelling style is emotional. This isn’t an adventure packed ride, but an even more terrifyingly psychological one that touches on the human condition.
”I don’t even know why I’m writing this down, except that I feel fine and maybe tomorrow I’ll be dead. And if that happens, and someone should find my journal, I want them to know what happened.
We are a family. We love each other. We’ve been scared together and brave together. If this is how it ends, so be it.
Only, please, don’t let me be the last one to die.”
Crowley, C. (2017). Words in Deep Blue. NY: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers .
Heartbreaking but beautiful, . Two best friends, Henry and Rachel were inseparable childhood friends. Now as teens, Rachel is in love with Henry even when Henry becomes obsessed with Amy, the pretty, new girl at their school. Rachel’s life is in an up swirl because her family is moving away, and she decides to confess her love to Henry, so she writes Henry a love letter and leaves it in his favourite book. The letter asks Henry to meet her, only Henry never shows up. Wrecked, Rachel decides to push it all behind her. Three years later, Rachel returns to her home town after her younger brother whom she Continue reading
Mills E. (2017). Foolish Hearts. NY: Henry Holt and Co.
During the last party of the summer, Claudia gets caught eavesdropping — purely by mistake — on an extremely private conversation. Once school starts up again in the fall, she and Iris, one the girls from that painful conversation, are paired up for a school project. Contemptuous, disdainful, and scornful Iris is a handful to try to work with Continue reading