Garvin, J. (2006). Symptoms of Being Human. NY: Balzer + Bray.
Symptoms of Being Human is a heartfelt book that is also very relevant to many issues that people face today. It’s about a non-binary gender-fluid teenager named Riley who also deals with anxiety. Riley is struggling at their new school, trying to remain unseen and nondescript; however, people soon enough notice Riley’s clothing choices and start bullying Riley. Riley’s dad is also the mayor of the city and with the re-election coming up soon and schoolwork and bullying, the pressure slowly builds on Riley. Riley’s therapist suggest for Riley to start an online anonymous blog to talk to other people about the day to day problems that Riley faces. So Riley, trying to deal with the anxiety writes a post and publishes it. The post goes semi-viral and with each new post that Riley publishes, Riley’s follower base grows and grows. But Riley’s blog doesn’t solve all the problems that Riley has and soon enough Riley will have to muster the courage and strength to face it.
Saènz B. (2012). Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Ari doesn’t have many friends, he’s kept to himself, angry and unfriendly to most of his classmates at school; however, when he runs into Dante at the local swimming pool, a unique friendship forms there. Ari and Dante find out that they have a lot in common, and over a long summer, spending time together, their friendship grows stronger. Over the years through high-school, Ari and Dante must stick together to work through this tough time in their life. They have intellectual ponderings about the world, throw their tennis shows down the road and walk home in a downpour instead of running. Their friendship keeps them moving forward. This is a novel that encapsulates a small period of time in two boy’s life and tells a tale from it. Ari and Dante grow as the story progresses and mature as the plot develops.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a beautiful book with well written dialogue. It is simply a must read.
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
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
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
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 Continue reading
Perkins, S. (2017). There’s Someone in Your House. NY: Dutton Books for Young Readers.
Stephanie Perkins takes a departure from her sweet teen romances (Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After) to delve into the world of teen slashers. There’s Someone in Your House is as spooky as it sounds. When Makani Young leaves behind her dark past in Hawaii to come live with her grandmother in Nebraska for the final year of high school, she tries to stop hating herself and make a new start. Her friends, Darby, Alex, and Ollie are diverse and each have a perspective to contribute to the plot.
I needed to suspend my disbelief throughout the book in order to derive the most pleasure possible and just enjoy it for what it is. The killer is actually revealed halfway through the book – the biggest bummer to me – and it wasn’t even a huge reveal or shock. Also, their motive felt like something an adult would feel after years of reflection. But again, no big deal if you’re willing to go with it. It’s mostly a love story after all.
The creepy crawly things that happened were fun, and even though I wouldn’t give this book particularly high marks, I would still recommend it if the title peaks your interest and you need to fall into a tumultuous teen drama.
Slater, CD. (2017). The 57 Bus. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
The 57 Bus reads along like a fictional story. You meet characters, learn about their lives, and begin to root for these teens because they’re all good kids. But one wrong, spur of the moment decision, and now this story has become tragedy of sorts. The setting is Oakland, California, where there is a huge disparity of wealth, but it’s also one of the more progressively-minded cities in the States. As the city bus criss-crossed different pockets of Oakland, two teen-agers overlapped paths on their ride home from school everyday for a short eight minutes. Robert and his buddies are black and are from a crime-ridden neighbourhood; Sasha is white, attends a private school, and identifies as agender – neither male nor female. Fooling around, the teens egg on Robert to light the edge of Sasha’s skirt on fire as he sleeps. The material catches on the fourth try. Robert and his friends jump off the bus and turn around to the see the doors closing and Sacha’s skirt erupting in a ball of flames. They ended up with second and third degree burns.
The 57 Bus is a true story. The author elaborates on her 2015 New York Times Magazine article, compiling a book full of interviews, social media posts, Continue reading
Hennessey, M.G. (2016). The Other Boy. NY: Harper Collins.
Los Angeles has been good to Shane Woods, a twelve year old who likes baseball, comics, and who has lived as a boy since moving there years ago. Everything is going swell. He and his best friend, Josh, even have a spot on the baseball team. But it all comes crashing down when a bully discovers Shane’s secret, one he has not even revealed to Josh yet (he always planned to!) because well, it never seemed to be the right time.
The Other Boy highlights emotional pressures some transgender kids endure in elementary Continue reading