The Astonishing Color of After – Emily X.R. Pan

35604686The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Family History, Romance, Culture


BLURB:

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. Continue reading

Aru Shah and the End of Time – Roshani Chokshi

36222611Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: March 27th, 2018
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal/Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Quest, Adventure, Mythology


BLURB:

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur? One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that? Continue reading

The Female of the Species – Mindy McGinnis

25812109The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: September 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal/Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Rape Culture, High School, Romance, Drama


BLURB:

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone. As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. Continue reading

13 Minutes – Sarah Pinborough

3276851913 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: October 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, High School, Mean Girls, Teenage Drama


BLURB:

Natasha is the most popular girl in school. So why was she pulled out of a freezing river after being dead for thirteen minutes? She doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal. Now Natasha’s two closest friends, who are usually her loyal sidekicks, are acting strangely. Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before, to help her figure out the mystery. At first Becca isn’t sure that she even wants to help Natasha. But as she is drawn back into Natasha’s orbit, Becca starts putting the pieces together. As an outsider, Becca believes she may be the only one who can uncover the truth…which is far more twisted than she ever imagined. Continue reading

The Boy and the Blue Moon

See the source imageThe Boy and the Blue Moon by Sara O’Leary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: February 13th, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt
Genres & Themes: Picture Book, Imagination, Whimsical, Exploration


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On the night of a blue moon, a boy and his cat set out for a walk and find themselves on a magical adventure. Together they travel through fields of flowers, forests of towering trees, and lakes of deep dark blue. Flying through starry blue skies, they reach the blue moon. But the blue planet, Earth, calls the explorers home. Safely back in bed, the boy wonders―was it only a dream? Continue reading

Legendary – Stephanie Garber

36329818Legendary by Stephanie Garber

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: May 29th, 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Super Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Siblings, Romance, Mystery


BLURB:

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name. The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever. Continue reading

The Pomegranate Witch – Denise Doyen

17027871The Pomegranate Witch by Denise Doyen

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Genres & Themes: Picture Book, Halloween, Witches, Poetry


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Each year, local kids scheme to pick ripe pomegranates off a haunted tree and are thwarted by The Pomegranate Witch in a friendly challenge of wits. However, on Halloween, while the witch is away, a Kindly Lady has a surprise for every child. Continue reading

Big Bunny – Rowboat Watkins

See the source imageBig Bunny by Rowboat Watkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Genres & Themes: Picture Book, Animals, Storytelling, Creativity


BLURB:

From the curious mind of Rowboat Watkins comes a ginormously imaginative story that is as funny as it is philosophical. How big is Big Bunny? And how will this story end? Delightfully meta and humorously subversive, Big Bunny will take its place as the next go-to story about stories. Continue reading

Amal Unbound – Aisha Saeed

36086513Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 8th, 2018
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Education, Family, Justice, Work, Culture


BLURB:

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when–as the eldest daughter–she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens–after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt. Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal–especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams. Continue reading

Speak: The Graphic Novel

34495927Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson & Emily Carroll

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: February 6th, 2018
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow/Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Abuse, High School, Depression


BLURB:

From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless–an outcast–because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Continue reading