Spotswood J. (2016). Wild Swans. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks.
Wild Swans is a story a summer and about Ivy, a girl about to enter her senior year. After summers and summers of trying to live to her grandfather’s expectations through hours of clubs, Ivy has had enough. She has her summer all set up: no clubs that her grandad made her join, no extra credit, no nothing. Just pure fun. Bonfire parties, hanging out with friends, and the occasional volunteering. But when her mom comes back with two daughters, the whole summer turns into a downwards spiral. From dealing with flaring arguments with her irresponsible mom, to trying to get to know her new sisters, to her best friend, Alex, starting to take an unwanted interest in her, the summer’s shaping out badly. Ivy at first tries to deal with everything from far away but soon enough realizes that if she wants to enjoy her summer, she’s going to have to face her fears and try her hardest to accept her mom for who she is. This book is about a family just trying to come to grips with who they are and how to let go of tradition. It’s a book about a girl wondering who she really is and what she really wants to do.
LaCour N. (2017). We Are Okay. New York: Dutton Books for Young Readers.
We Are Okay‘s entrancing cover with a girl standing on her bed looking out into the ocean is perfect for this psychological mystery told through flashbacks. Marin is at university in upper state New York, having fled from California and the very people who love and want to support her following her Gramps’ death. Truly an orphan now, it’s turns out to be the secrets Marin encountered, slowly revealed to us, that made her abruptly leave home and cut off all ties.
When the story begins Marin is staying on an isolated college campus over winter break. Her roommate, Hannah, just left for Christmas, and now she is expecting a visit from her best friend, Mabel. As you may imagine, the December New York setting is stark, cold, and isolated, ready to match Marin’s depression. We aren’t privy to the background of Marin and Mabel’s relationship, yet like the rest of the story it Continue reading
Reynolds, J. (2016). As Brave As You. NY: Atheneum Books.
Coretta Scott King Honor for Author 2017
Though Jason Reynolds is known for his young adult books set in gritty, urban settings, As Brave As You is a departure from that template, following two young brothers who leave behind their Brooklyn neighbourhood for the country to spend the summer with grandparents they barely know.
As Brave As You is a slow unfolding of characters with a large focus on relationships. This is the summer Genie, faced with new experiences, does a lot of growing up. His journal of questions is a nice way to read his thoughts and see him work through issues. Most surprisingly is that Grandpop is blind! The two bond once they begin a late-night ritual of Continue reading