Poston A. (2018) Heart of Iron. Balzer + Bray
Ana doesn’t know where she comes from. She was found as a child drifting through space with a metal sentient robot named D09, and was brought in and raised by a group of space pirates. Now years later, seventeen year old Ana is on the hunt for equipment that will fix D09’s terminal glitching, and she will do anything to get it. Ana has a lead, and it’s coordinates to a lost ship that could have the equipment needed. But Ana isn’t the only person looking for these coordinates. An Ironblood royalty, Robb, beats her to it and runs off with the coordinates. In a last ditch effort to save D09, Ana chases him, right into the heart of trouble. As the situation escalates, Ana and her family of space pirates are thrust into an swirling adventure that forces Ironblood and space pirate to Continue reading
Black H. (2018). The Cruel Prince. NY: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Jude has always been bitter about being a mortal. Perhaps it’s because she lives in the High Court of Faerie where everybody else around her has magic and power. Even one of Jude’s sisters, Vivi is a faerie and the reason they were kidnapped at a young age along with Jude’s twin sister, Taryn. Jude has always wanted more, always wanted power and magic, and growing up in a world where everybody else has it only adds more fuel to her ambition. So when somebody offers Jude an opportunity to gain power and immunity from any magic used against her, she dives head first into a forest of trouble. There is one catch however, Continue reading
Toten T. (2013). The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. Doubleday Canada.
“I sweat terror, Robyn! I’m scared every single second about every single goddamned thing. I worry obsessively about being buried under an avalanche of fear. Jesus, Robyn, I’m scared like only the truly crazy can be.”
“But that, is the definition of courage: you go on despite the fear.”
Stress! Not only young adults who manage Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as Adam, our protagonist, does are affected by it but also those who need to live through anything from a parent’s divorce, broken hearts, to blended families, as we see in the rest of the characters. Toten’s The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, winner of the Canadian Children’s Literature Award, is about an almost fifteen year-old boy who falls in love with a girl. Naturally, a few problems arise. Robyn is older and taller, and has OCD herself. Adam’s parents are divorced and have given him an annoying step-brother. Even though Adam struggles with a lot everyday, he still cares and worries about everyone else in his life. And even though Continue reading
Hill W. (2011). Department Nineteen. NY: RazorBill.
Jamie Carpenter is a teenager who lives a terrible life. His father was a terrorist and ever since the day Jamie saw him getting gunned down on their home’s driveway, Jamie and his mother have been moving from house to house around the county alway being shunned and hated by everybody. So when Jamie’s mother gets kidnapped by vampires, Jamie meets Frankenstein, and is told about an incredibly secret government organization that keeps the country safe from vampires, it’s just another horrific day in Jaimie’s life. In order to save his mother, Jamie must join Department 19, a government organization that was founded years ago by the people who found and killed Dracula. Luckily enough for Jamie, Department 19 is stacked with weapons and equipment designed for killing zombies and together with Frankenstein and their only lead being Continue reading
Foody, A. (2018). Ace of Shades. Toronto: Harlequin Teen.
Enne’s mother, Lourdes, told her that if she wasn’t home in two months, then to count her as dead. So naturally, after four months of waiting, Enne leaves her peaceful town of Bellamy and travels to New Reynes, the so called City of Sin, in search of her mother. Her mother told her to visit Mr. Levi Glaisyer if she was ever in New Reynes, so Enne’s first mission is to find Levi. But when she does find Levi, she figures out that he’s an Iron Lord, the leader of a gang in New Reynes, and a con man. Confused as to why her mother told her to see him, but being dragged deeper and further into the trouble surrounding her mother and Levi, Enne is forced to work with Levi to figure out where her mother is. Levi has his own bucket of problems as well, as he has to find 10,000 volts (the currency of New Reynes) in ten days in order to stay alive, and the promise of volts from Enne if they find Lourdes is a last ditch attempt to Continue reading
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
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.
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.
Gervais, A. (2017). In 27 Days. NY: Blink.
Hadley Jamison has grown accustomed to being on her own. Her big time lawyer parents are revered in New York City, their time all too often occupied with work. She has a few good friends at her prep school, but when a student’s suicide is announced, Hadley’s sense of loneliness is heightened and it affects Hadley profoundly. Deciding to go to Archer Morales funeral ends up being a decision that changes her life – and many lives. She meets Death himself and signs a contract to go back in time, 27 days, to the first day Archer considered suicide in hopes of changing history. Of course, there are complications …
The characters feel real, even Death. Devouring the book only made me sad to finish. I’ll definitely be including this one in my book talks at high schools (#librarian life)!
Gratz, A. (2017). Refugee. NY: Scholastic Press.
Following three children from different places and different time periods in history, Refugee is a gripping and suspenseful story that takes the brave spirit of these seemingly unrelated children and swirls them around in the ocean as they all flee their homelands by boat, then follows them as they struggle to survive, fight to belong, and grapple with issues such as invisibility.
Everything is connected. Josef is escaping a budding Nazi Germany, Isabel flees Castro’s Cuba in the 1990’s, and Mahmoud is running from Syria in present day, yet their journeys tie together in the end. An incredibly timely middle school read, may readers question if we have learned from history or if today’s refugees be treated in the same appalling manner.
Historically accurate, thrilling, and heartbreaking, Refugee will bring you another perspective.