Review: The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen

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The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen
Series:
 n/a
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication: March 27th 2018 by Philomel Books
Format: ARC (thank you, Penguin!)

Virtual twins Linc and Holly were once extremely close. But while artistic, creative Linc is her parents’ daughter biologically, it’s smart, popular Holly, adopted from Ghana as a baby, who exemplifies the family’s high-achieving model of academic success.

Linc is desperate to pursue photography, to find a place of belonging, and for her family to accept her for who she is, despite her surgeon mother’s constant disapproval and her growing distance from Holly. So when she comes up with a plan to use her photography interests and skills to do better in school–via a project based on Seneca Village, a long-gone village in the space that now holds Central Park, where all inhabitants, regardless of race, lived together harmoniously–Linc is excited and determined to prove that her differences are assets, that she has what it takes to make her mother proud. But when a long-buried family secret comes to light, Linc must decide whether her mother’s love is worth obtaining.

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Review: Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
Genre: YA Contemporary, Coming of Age, Social Issues: Police Brutality, Racism
Publication: March 20th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: No. Standalone.
Length: 304 pages
Format: Finished Hardcover Copy from Hachette Book Group US
Rating: ★★★★.5

Amazon || Book Depository

When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

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The Way the Light Bends Blog Tour (Guest Post!)

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The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen
Series:
 n/a
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication: March 27th 2018 by Philomel Books
Format: ARC (thank you, Penguin!)

Virtual twins Linc and Holly were once extremely close. But while artistic, creative Linc is her parents’ daughter biologically, it’s smart, popular Holly, adopted from Ghana as a baby, who exemplifies the family’s high-achieving model of academic success.

Linc is desperate to pursue photography, to find a place of belonging, and for her family to accept her for who she is, despite her surgeon mother’s constant disapproval and her growing distance from Holly. So when she comes up with a plan to use her photography interests and skills to do better in school–via a project based on Seneca Village, a long-gone village in the space that now holds Central Park, where all inhabitants, regardless of race, lived together harmoniously–Linc is excited and determined to prove that her differences are assets, that she has what it takes to make her mother proud. But when a long-buried family secret comes to light, Linc must decide whether her mother’s love is worth obtaining.

Read More »

Review: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

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The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Series:
 n/a
Genre: YA Contemporary, Magical Realism
Publication: March 20th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: ARC (thank you, the Novl!)

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.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

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Review + INT’L Giveaway: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: YA Contemporary, Poetry, Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age
Publication: March 6th 2018 by HarperTeen
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 368 pages
Format: ARC from HarperCollins International
Rating: ★★★.5

Amazon || Book Depository

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

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Review: The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection edited by Colby Sharp

The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection edited by Colby Sharp
Genre: Middle Grade Short Story Collection, Writing, Contemporary, Fiction
Publication: March 13th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: No. Standalone.
Length: 304 pages
Format: ARC from Hachette Book Group US
Rating: ★★★★★

Amazon || Book Depository

Book advocate Colby Sharp presents more than forty beloved, award-winning, diverse and bestselling authors and illustrators in a creative challenge!

Colby Sharp invited more than forty authors and illustrators to provide story starters for each other; photos, drawings, poems, prose, or anything they could dream up. When they received their prompts, they responded by transforming these seeds into any form of creative work they wanted to share.

The result is a stunning collection of words, art, poetry, and stories by some of our most celebrated children book creators. A section of extra story starters by every contributor provides fresh inspiration for readers to create works of their own. Here is an innovative book that offers something for every kind of reader and creator!

With contributions by Sherman Alexie, Tom Angleberger, Jessixa Bagley, Tracey Baptiste, Sophie Blackall, Lisa Brown, Peter Brown, Lauren Castillo, Kate DiCamillo, Margarita Engle, Deborah Freedman, Adam Gidwitz, Chris Grabenstein, Jennifer L. Holm, Victoria Jamieson, Travis Jonker, Jess Keating, Laurie Keller, Jarret J. Krosoczka, Kirby Larson, Minh Lê, Grace Lin, Kate Messner, Daniel Nayeri, Naomi Shihab Nye, Debbie Ohi, R.J. Palacio, Linda Sue Park, Dav Pilkey, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Dan Santat, Gary Schmidt, John Schu, Colby Sharp, Bob Shea, Liesl Shurtliff, Lemony Snicket, Laurel Snyder, Javaka Steptoe, Mariko Tamaki, Linda Urban, Frank Viva, and Kat Yeh.

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Review: The Radical Element by Various

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The Radical Element by Jessica Spotswood (editor), Anna-Marie McLemore, Sarvenaz Tash, Sara Farizan, Marieke Nijkamp, Meg Medina, Erin Bowman, Stacey Lee, Mackenzi Lee, Dhonielle Clayton, Dahlia Adler
Series:
 A Tyranny of Petticoats #2
Genre: YA Historical
Publication: March 13th 2018 by Candlewick Press
Format: ARC (thank you, Candlewick!)

In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced whether you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they’re asking you to join them.

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