This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare – Gabourey Sidibe

33550374This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humor, Coming of Age, Body Image, Mental Health, Celebrity


BLURB:

Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham. Continue reading

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Hey, Kiddo – Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Published: October 9th, 2018
Publisher: Graphix
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Memoir, Family, Addiction, Coming of Age, Art


BLURB:

In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka’s teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett’s family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett’s life. His father is a mystery — Jarrett doesn’t know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents — two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along. Jarrett goes through his childhood trying to make his non-normal life as normal as possible, finding a way to express himself through drawing even as so little is being said to him about what’s going on. Only as a teenager can Jarrett begin to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father. Continue reading

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

693208The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: September 2007
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, High School, Coming of Age, Humor, Loss, Social Issues


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Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live. Continue reading

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


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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

Annie on My Mind – Nancy Garden

282577Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
First Published: 1982
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Coming of Age, LGBT, High School, First Love, Controversy


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This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. The book has been banned from many school libraries and publicly burned in Kansas City. Continue reading

Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

22752127The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: March 8th, 2016
Publisher: Tundra Books
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing:Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Friendship, Coming of Age, Family

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


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Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending one that will rock his life to the core. Continue reading

Review: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

28186273Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Random House Canada
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


BLURB:

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he’s been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything’s about to change.

Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys’ clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It’s obvious there’s something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn’t your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland’s brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love. Continue reading