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 civilly, and even though they want to be as far apart as possible, they both end up trying out for the school play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The many characters are all incredibly real and complex. This is a great book if you happen to love theatre, or gaming, or have ever been in true love with a band, all which are discussed in detail. Gone are the paranormal, outer space and the zombies. This is a real people story. And it’s exceptional.
Silvera A. (2017). They Both Die at the End. NY: HarperTeen.
It’s the near future and in this future, the government knows when everyone dies. At around midnight two teens Rufus and Mateo receive the dreaded phone call from Death-Cast Organization claiming that they are both going to die today. They aren’t told how or exactly when they will die, only that there is no stopping it. Both have decided that they don’t want to spend their last day alone and as fate would have it, they find each other on the Last Friend App. Once total strangers, the two meet up for one last great adventure before they die. They Both Die at the End makes you wonder, what would you do on your last day?
Walton, J. (2017). Words on Bathroom Walls. NY: Random House Books for Young Readers.
Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia, a disorder where he hears and sees people who aren’t there. There is the beautiful Rebecca who understands him, the Mob boss who harasses him, and Jason the polite, naked guy. At the moment, Adam is unable to determine visions from reality, but when he begins an experimental miracle drug, he starts to think that normal is possible. And then he meets the beautiful, perfect Maya, and begins to think that even love is possible. But when his miracle drug stops working, Adam will do whatever it takes to hide his illness from Maya.
Jackson, T. (2017). Allegedly. NY: Katherine Tegen Books.
Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official.
Step back, because you may have an idea of how this story could unfold, but there is a lot waiting under the surface. In a heart-wrenching, emotional break out novel, Tiffany Jackson delivers true grit on the page. Mary has been in Baby Jail and group “homes” ever since being convicted at age 9 for the death of a baby her momma was babysitting. Mary hasn’t believed it mattered much if she covered for her momma, who could have been given the death penalty, but now she has a reason to tell the truth.
This is a horrific look at the American juvenile justice system and the blind racism intertwined within it. As intelligent as she is, the abuse Mary suffers throughout her life shaped who she is as a person.
Be on the lookout for Tiffany D. Jackson’s next book. Powerful writing!
Bauxbaum, J. (2016). Tell Me Three Things. NY: Delacorte Press .
With the perfect mix of comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and joy, the characters in Julie Bauxbaum’s Tell Me Three Things come to feel like old friends who make any day better. This young adult novel is sure to appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer Niven, and E. Lockhart.
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son, and to start at a new school where she knows no one.
Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?
Levithan D. (2012). Every Day. NY: Knopf Books for Young Readers.
Now a movie, the sci-fi concept behind this young adult love story is that there is a spirit who wakes up in a different body each day. One day the spirit wakes in the body of someone with a girlfriend. Upon meeting her and spending the most beautiful day together, he falls in love. Unfortunately she attributes his romantic nature to her boyfriend, not the spirit. He spends awhile waking up in different bodies, always going to her, finding her and attempting to convince her of what’s going on. You can imagine some of the funny conversations and disbelief on her part!
Every Day integrates interesting topics throughout as we see the spirit enter different bodies. This “what if” science fiction novel explores what it means to be genderless, without a body, and without a family.
Stone, N. (2017). Dear Martin. NY: Crown Books.
Powerful and poignant, this story is written about one young man’s struggle with race in Atlanta, Georgia. Following closely on the heels of the publication of The Hate You Give, by Angie Thomas, Dear Martin also tackles contemporary confrontations between young, black man and white policemen.
Justyce Allistar is a competitive student and athlete, looking toward university next fall. Still, he struggles with the kids at his old school, plus the kids at his new prep school. So he starts a journal to Martin Luther King Jr. But are his teachings still relevant? Will Martin’s teachings or Justyce’s writings be enough to survive today?
An intense, quick read.