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
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 →
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
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 →
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
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 →
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
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 →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Hachette Book Group Canada Publication Date: January 17th, 2017 Publisher:Lee Bourdeaux Books Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative Recommended Age: 14+ Pacing: Slow Genres & Themes: Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Coming of Age, Life
Julia and Evan falls in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a Canadian logging town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia—blonde, beautiful and rich—fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan takes a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, who has only known a life of privilege, feels unmoored and increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.
With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in an increasingly high-stakes deal at work—a deal that, despite the assurance of his Machiavellian boss, begins to feel more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of life. As Evan and Julia spin apart into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more—good and bad—that they’d ever dreamed, and that betrayal is easier than they ever imagined. Continue reading →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Publisher Publication Date: September 6th, 2016 Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine Recommended Age: 12+ Pacing: Slow Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Private Schools, Mean Girls, Coming-of-Age
Laurinda is an exclusive school for girls. At its hidden centre of power is The Cabinet, a triangle of girls who wield power over their classmates – and some of their teachers.
Entering this world of wealth and secrets is Lucy Lam, a scholarship girl with sharp eyes and a shaky sense of self. As she watches The Cabinet in action, and is courted by them – as she learns about power and repression – Lucy finds herself in a battle for her identity and integrity.
Few genres are more enthralling than the school story. In Laurinda, the acclaimed Alice Pung tells an involving, original story that captures the drama and pain of school life today, as well as revealing much about the choices of young women. Continue reading →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Hachette Book Group Canada Publication Date: October 18th, 2016 Publisher: Poppy Point of View: 3rd Person & Feminine Recommended Age: 13+ Pacing: Fast Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Diversity, Family, Coming-of-Age
For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn’t even know she’s alive? Pointless.
So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality–keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother’s PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably–possibly magically–comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, Vân Uoc can’t help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end? Continue reading →