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
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
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 Continue reading
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.
Walters, E. (2017). 90 Days of Different: Orca Publishers.
Cute and lighthearted, Eric Walters’ new one, 90 Days of Different, chronicles the summer Sophie has turned eighteen, is waiting to go to university, and her boyfriend has recently dumped her because she’s too predictable and boring. While the book itself can be a little predictable, it is not boring. In fact once Sophie’s best friend, Ella, who agrees with the ex-boyfriend, challenges Sophie to do one new and different thing each day of the summer, it’s then very quick and charming. Sophie imagines this challenge will transform her from boring into fun, so she agrees to let Ella set and and schedule the entire summer of challenges.
The chapters swing quickly through hilarious situations where Sophie is far out of her comfort zone. As far as character development goes, Sophie does grow, but there are so many various things going on with a new addition each day, that we don’t get an in depth look at who Sophie is becoming.
Reynolds, J. (2017). Long Way Down. NY: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books.
Masterfully told in verse, the new Jason Reynolds book has arrived. Fifteen-year old Will’s older brother was shot last night, yet he never cries. That’s one of the rules. No crying, no snitching, and get revenge. As Will gets on the elevator in his apartment building with a gun awkwardly stuck in the back of his pants, he begins the descent down, but at different floors different people from Will’s past – all dead now – hop on the elevator and proceed to unravel the patterns and complications of this ruinous cycle of violence.
Very suspenseful! You’ll fly through Long Way Down.