Fierce – Aly Raisman

35523654Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything by Aly Raisman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: November 14th, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Nonfiction, Memoir, Gymnastics, Coming of Age


BLURB:

Aly Raisman first stepped onto a gymnastics mat as a toddler in a “mommy & me” gymnastics class. No one could have predicted then that sixteen years later, she’d be standing on an Olympic podium, having achieved her dreams. Aly’s road to success was full of hard work, perseverance, and victories, but not without its hardships. Aly faced many obstacles, from naysayers who said she’d never make it in gymnastics to classmates who shamed her for her athletic body to a devastating betrayal of trust. Through it all, Aly surrounded herself with supportive family, friends, and teammates and found the inner strength to remain positive and believe in herself. Now, in her own words, Aly shows what it takes to be a champion on and off the floor, and takes readers on a behind-the-scenes journey before, during, and after her remarkable achievements in two Olympic Games–through her highest highs, lowest lows, and all the moments in between. Continue reading

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Living with a SEAL – Jesse Itzler

26849614Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: November 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Center Street
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, Fitness, Self Help, Family Life, Modern Life


BLURB:

Living with a SEAL is like a buddy movie if it starred the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air… and Rambo. Jesse is about as easy-going as you can get. SEAL is…not. He even shows up at Jesse’s apartment with an inflatable raft just in case the Itzler family ever has to escape Manhattan by crossing the Hudson River. Jesse and SEAL’s escapades soon produce a great friendship, and by the time SEAL leaves, Jesse is in the best shape of his life, but he gains much more than muscle. At turns hilarious and inspiring, Living with a SEAL ultimately shows you the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone.

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El Deafo – Cece Bell

20701984El Deafo by Cece Bell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
First Published: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Friendship, School, Deafness


BLURB:

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school–in the hallway…in the teacher’s lounge…in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

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A Year Without Mom

24694116A Year Without Mom by Dasha Tolstikova

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: October 1st, 2015
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Family, Growing Up


BLURB:

It is the early 1990s in Moscow, and political change is in the air. But Dasha is more worried about her own challenges as she negotiates family, friendships and school without her mother. Just as she begins to find her own feet, she gets word that she is to join her mother in America — a place that seems impossibly far from everything and everyone she loves. Continue reading

Love, Retold – Tikva Wolf

32280028Love, Retold by Tikva Wolf

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
First Published: June 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Thorntree Press
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Memoir, Nonfiction, Poliamory, Relationships


BLURB:

Tikva Wolf has witnessed love transcend and evolve beyond the rigid, traditionalist trappings of the fairy-tale romance. Love, Retold is a meditation on love and companionship for people who don’t remember feudalism. Each chapter explores Wolf’s experiences with loved ones—Wolf’s lovers and their lovers. The stories capture key moments in these relationships, and they reflect on the murkier, tenebrous aspects of love, especially—but not exclusively—the non-monogamous kind. These stories illuminate and revere uncertainty, confronting the realities of mismatched needs and desires with compassion and self-reflection. In a world obsessed with beginnings and endings, this is a book about middles.  Continue reading

Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey

23310679Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey by Ozge Samanci

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
First Published: November 17th, 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Memoir, Nonfiction, Education, Coming of Age


BLURB:

Growing up on the Aegean Coast, Ozge loved the sea and imagined a life of adventure while her parents and society demanded predictability. Her dad expected Ozge, like her sister, to become an engineer. She tried to hear her own voice over his and the religious and militaristic tensions of Turkey and the conflicts between secularism and fundamentalism. Could she be a scuba diver like Jacques Cousteau? A stage actress? Would it be possible to please everyone including herself?
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Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir

honor girlHonor Girl: A Graphic Memoir by Maggie Thrash

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: September 8th, 2015
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Graphic Memoir, Young Adult, LGBT, Summer Camps, Friendship


BLURB:

All-girl camp. First love. First heartbreak. At once romantic and devastating, brutally honest and full of humor, this graphic-novel memoir is a debut of the rarest sort. Continue reading