Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and YouStamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi & Jason Reynolds

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: HBG Canada
Published: March 10th, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Non-Fiction, History, Racism


REVIEW:

Wait, it’s over already? But it just started… How can that be? This is probably the best not-history history book I have read in my short life. It spans hundreds of years, and yet it feels very linear, no disruptions. It’s a ‘‘story’’ with a beginning and middle, but no end… Continue reading

The Screaming Staircase – Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming StaircaseThe Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: HBG Canada
Published: 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Ghosts, Friendship


REVIEW:

I feel different when I read stories that involve ghosts than when I read stories that involve other supernatural or paranormal beings.

I guess it’s because I actually do believe in ghosts and spirits, whereas I don’t, for example, believe in vampires, werewolves, witches (although I’d love to be able to say that I do) or fairies. Continue reading

Camp – Lev A.C. Rosen

CampCamp by Lev A.C. Rosen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: May 26th, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+. Summer Camps, Inclusivity, Romance, Theatre, Masculinity


REVIEW:

I am jealous. I want to go to this queer camp so badly. I did go to day camp when I was 9, which feels like a lifetime ago, but it was nothing – nothing – like Camp Outland. You know, I do really hope that camps like this one exist, because they seem to provide a much needed safe haven for teens and adolescence is not an easy period. Just knowing that there’s a beautiful environment with incredibly open people waiting for you during summer can be what gets you through your school year. Continue reading

Jacky Ha-Ha – James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein

28096546. sx318 Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Humor, Performance, Siblings, Family


REVIEW:

Jacky is an amazingly funny and hot celebrity, and she’s looking back to her childhood period to show us how she overcame many obstacles and precarious situations to become the insanely talented actor she is today. Continue reading

The Only Black Girls in Town – Brandy Colbert

The Only Black Girls in TownThe Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: March 10th, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 10+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Friendship, Racial Relations, LGBTQIA+


REVIEW:

I love it. I just love it when authors branch out. I have read YA Fiction from Brandy Colbert and now I’ve had the chance to read Middle Grade. Believe it or not, some authors don’t transition from one to the other smoothly. I think that to write a well-told story in any category, one must study the category beforehand very well and understand its audience. Brandy Colbert has managed that quite nicely. Continue reading

When You Get the Chance – Tom Ryan & Robin Stevenson

53005757. sx318 sy475 When You Get the Chance by Tom Ryan & Robin Stevenson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: May 4th, 2021
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Family, Mystery, Romance, Identity, Road Trip


REVIEW:

I am always a little surprised when I enjoy books like this one, the kinds of books that don’t have memorable characters or original plotlines or even incredibly skilful writing styles; the kinds of books that you read and forget, and yet the in-between parts are quite enjoyable. Continue reading

The Phantom Twin – Lisa Brown

44280834The Phantom Twin by Lisa Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: March 3rd, 2020
Publisher: First Second
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Ghosts, Siblings, Historical Fiction, Romance


REVIEW:

This is sad. It has its beautiful moments but there is so much misfortune, more than necessary, I think. It has a melancholy atmosphere from start to finish that, I admit, calmed me quite a bit. Its illustrations are detailed but kid-friendly, and so colourful and soft that I felt no spookiness whatsoever, even if the story should have naturally created some. Continue reading

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones – Daven McQueen

53805921. sy475 The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: June 16th, 2020
Publisher: Wattpad Books
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Racism, Friendship


REVIEW:

This is a beautiful book about a life-changing summer shared between two characters full of heart. After his father leaves him with his aunt and uncle in an unknown place, Ethan thinks he’s going to spend the worst summer ever. No one in Alabama seems to want him there, excluding but sometimes even including his extended family, except this one strange girl named Juniper Jones, who is like no one Ethan has ever met. Continue reading

The Extraordinaries – T.J. Klune

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: July 14th, 2020
Publisher: Tor Teen
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Romance, Superheroes, Family, Death


REVIEW:

I started this book in May and only went back to it a few days ago to finally finish it. Usually, when I put a book aside for months, it takes me some time to remember the characters’ names and how they all connect to the story. But in this case, it felt like I had just left them. That’s how memorable they are. What I like about the cast most is that it isn’t large, and yet it’s enough. Everyone has their place and really claims that place. Continue reading

All Boys Aren’t Blue – George M. Johnson

39834234. sy475 All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: April 28th, 2020
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Memoir, LGBTQIA+, Family, Identity, Sexuality, Assault, Grief


REVIEW:

I feel honoured to have had the chance to read about George M. Johnson’s positive and negative experiences growing up. I also feel humbled by the fact that the author trusted us with his secrets and wanted to make this book a safe space for other people out there who may struggle with the same issues he did or want to become more educated on them. Continue reading