The Way You Make Me Feel – Maurene Goo

35704397The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 8th, 2018
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Contemporary Romance, Summertime, Friendship


BLURB:

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? Continue reading

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We’re Going to Need More Wine – Gabrielle Union

34884359We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: October 2017
Publisher: Day Street Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Memoir, Essays, Race, Growing Up, Abuse, Celebrity Life, Beauty Standards,  Relationships


BLURB:

In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support. Continue reading

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

33585392Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: March 2017
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Feminism, Gender Stereotypes, Education, Short essays


BLURB:

A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of responseHere are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today. Continue reading

The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: December 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Recommended Age: 16+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Humor, Nonfiction, Abuse, Coming of Age, Celebrity Life, Life Experiences


BLURB:

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend. None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy. Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others. Continue reading

Brightly Burning – Alexa Donne

35721194Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 1st, 2018
Publisher: HMH BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Retelling, Mystery


BLURB:

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere – anywhere – else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind. But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet. Continue reading

Lies We Tell Ourselves – Robin Talley

20579291Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: September 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, LGBT, Integration, Desegregation, High School, Racism


BLURB:

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever. Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily. Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal. Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another. Continue reading

The Poet X – Elizabeth Acevedo

33294200The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Harper Teen
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Poetry, Romance, Family Relationships, Religion, Drama, High School, Feminism


BLURB:

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent. Continue reading