One Small Thing by Erin Watt

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While everyone is gearing up for the best of 2019, I thought I’d do a little “throwback” to 2018 with the book I just listened to.  How it escaped my reading in 2018, I don’t know, but I really enjoyed it!  Great for school libraries who carry YA fiction!! Here’s the link to the booktalk If you can’t watch the embedded video 🙂  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Charged up Narrative Non-Fiction 90 Second Book Review! The Electric War by Mike Winchell

29540346Sometimes, it never occurs to me until after I’ve read a really good narrative non-fiction how impactful our history is to our present day.  I’m sure many kids and teens have heard about Thomas Edison, but do they know anything about George Westinghouse and Nicola Tesla?  This novel allows the reader to peek into their lives and how different in personalities each were.  And while many revere Thomas Edison for his inventiveness, he had a dark side too, which is revealed in this novel.  I loved it from beginning to end!  Watch my 90 second book review to learn more, including tie-ins to curriculum!

 

90 Second Book Review: A Creepy Thriller!

37506333._sy475_I just uploaded my first (of hopefully more!) 90 second book review for this creepy thrillfest of a book!  Set in 1982, it’ll bring some feels from books you may have read in the past and definitely teens who like horror will want to read this one.  Here’s my 90 second review!

Hope you enjoy it (and if you visit my Youtube channel, I have some other interesting things for libraries/librarians on it)

Books, books, books! Get your TBR ready!

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present at a conference in the Houston area, Setting the Trend. This conference has doubled in size in three years with about 700 showing up, both attendees and presenters. I did two sessions (which I’ll share here!) and one of those was a booktalk. I was overzealous and had a list WAY over what I could talk, so I thought I’d share the presentation with you. Each book has a recommended grade level (including mature readers) and if it was a diverse title, it is also listed.

And since I’m still reading, I also did a quick vlog on two great middle school/junior high books that should be a in MS/JH collection. You can find the link to this review here.

So, if you’ve read these, I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did! If not, I hope you will enjoy them when you read them!! You can find some individual book reviews on the blog, but there are some I hadn’t reviewed but still really enjoyed.

Here is the breakdown of the titles I booktalked. Enjoy!

Add these to your TBR list NOW!

First of all, I remember the first time I saw those three letters in email conversations and always wondered, “What does TBR mean?”  So I asked 🙂  And if you, like me, don’t know what it is, here’s the answer –  “To Be Read.”  We ALL have that list, be it by our bedside, our coffee table, or our desk (hey, even the dining room table or your device!)  and I wanted to share a few titles I’ve recently read that should be on that list!

grim loveliesGrim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd.  2018, HMH Books for Young Readers

Modern day Paris is filled with witches, goblins, Pretties, and beasties.  But these witches wear Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Prada.  Ruled by the Royal Court, they have been given designated parts of Paris, including the humans (Pretties) living in them.  Mada Vittora is the most powerful and influential of the witches and she has made beasties to serve her, including Anouk her servant, Cricket the thief, Luc the apothecary, Beau the chauffeur and  Hunter Black, the mercenary.

But after one evening spent with the royals, Mada Vittora is found dead, and the beasties only have 48 hours until they turn back to their original forms.  But news of the death gets out through scryboards, crows, and the Haute (magical community), and Viggo, Mada Vittora’s boy, is set on revenge.  The only thing left for the beasties to do is seek asylum and help from Vittora’s enemy, Mada Zola.  But can she be trusted?  She is a witch…

This is a beautiful, dark, and fantastical book that creates a Paris that is dangerous, alluring, and grim.  The main character, Anouk, juxtaposes the setting with her purity and naivete, which the reader sees slowly dissolves as reality sets in.  The author left nothing and everything to the imagination from the spells cast to the tongues the witches use to cast the spells, to the history of the Haute and more.  Read this NOW, or at least put it at the top of your TBR pile!  Highly recommended for JH/HS


new kid

New Kid by Jerry Craft. 2019, Harper Collins

There is nothing Jordan loves more than drawing.  What he wants is to go to an art school, but his parents decide he needs to go to an Riverdale Academy Day School, which is a far cry from his Washington Heights neighborhood.  His first day there as a sixth grader, Jordan sees that he’s one of very few students of color and feels more out of place that ever.  He wants out.

But his parents tell him that time and patience can change things and so he must stick out the bus rides that have five stops before he gets to school, the bully who won’t stop bothering him, the teacher who seems biased, and trying to understand why pink shorts are so cool.

Eventually,  Jordan finds himself enjoying his new school and friends, but now doesn’t know where he fits in – is he Washington Heights Jordan or Riverdale Day School Jordan?

Jerry Craft does an amazing job presenting, in graphic novel format, a struggle that many kids find themselves in.  This is such a perfect book for junior high (and high school!) not only for its content and graphic novel popularity, but also in the characters, which are highly relatable.  Highly recommended for JH/HS.

 

 

 

shadow stateShadow State by Elyse Brayden.  2018, MacMillan.  

Brynn Caldwell is  an excellent student.  She excels in academics, paticularly science, which isn’t so unusual because her mother is a top science in a major pharmaceutical company and her father sits on the National Symphony Orchestra, a genius in his own right. But all it took was one bad semester….

Brynn suffered from acute depression and her grades, and friends, and her boyfriend abandoned her.  She is also having unusual flashbacks of being tied up in a room, a man’s voice…something she swears she’s never experienced before.

And now, her mother is being feted at a gala for creating a breakthrough medication, Cortexia, that allows soldiers coming back  from war with PTSD, to deal with their symptoms better through altering memories, feelings and emotions in a suggestive state.  But someone is out to sabotage the company and the drug, and it all involves Brynn…

Fast-paced YA action thriller at its best!  The premise for the novel lends itself to a mystery, although readers may be able to piece together the clues, but it still has an explosive ending.  Highly recommended for HS.

 

soul keepersThe Soul Keepers by Devon Taylor.  2018, Swoon Reads.

Rhett just watched himself die.  At first he was in a state of shock and confusion, but then Basil Winthrop shows up and tells him the Harbinger is about to pick them up and not to dawdle.

And what is the Harbinger?  It is a massive sea vessel that contains the souls of the dead that need to be ferried as well as place to protect them.  The crew members, known as syllektors, are VERY aware of psychons, who eat souls to stay alive.  The most dangerous missions are when Rhett and his small group of crewmates must collect souls, and possibly run into these monsters.

But Rhett is different, he was told by Urcena, the most dangerous leader of the psychons, that he is the Twice-Born Son.  And she wants him to find his power.  Once he does, she will come for it and him.  And the battle for the protection of souls begins.

This fantasy relies heavily on good vs. evil, but the best thing about it are that these aren’t angels and demons.  There is no heaven or hell.  There is the Harbinger and there is nothing.  The author did an amazing job of creating a world based on age old theme of good v. evil in such a fantastic, phantasmagoric way.  Recommended for HS.

A YA Fiction and Non-fiction Novel to Read RIGHT NOW

2019 started out with a BANG! I started a TBR list and these two were at the top of the stack. I couldn’t have chosen better. They are STUNNING reads. I included a book trailer (when possible) as well as a book pairing for each. Let’s begin this YA novel joyfest!!

Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Graphix, 2018.  There has to be something said about writing your biography using the talents you possess, which is what this graphic novel is about. It’s also about what the definition of family is and how he learned from them, grew up with them, and loved each and every one of them, including the ones he never knew existed.

Jarrett’s family life has had starts and stops. His mother had him when she was a teenager and trying to balance a baby and life took it’s toll on her. His grandparents tried to help, but could only do so much until she ended up in rehab and Jarrett ended up living with his grandparents. He’d receive an occasional card from his mother (hence the title) but there wasn’t a lot of connection between the two.

His life with his grandparents wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either. He finally found himself with family, something everyone craves, including Jarrett. His grandfather, Joe, worked hard and owned his own business. Sometimes at night he’d come home later than usual and the arguing would ensue. Joe loved his grandson and was a catalyst behind his talent, urging him to use it to find purpose. His grandmother, Shirley, was a woman who had a manage a large family and had a mean streak in her that would rear its ugly head. But it went as quickly as it came and Jarrett knew how much she loved him despite are actions sometimes.

It’s important in today’s society to understand the complexities some kids go through when it comes to family dynamics. This essential graphic novel shows a dysfunctional family dynamic many young adults can identify with. Highly recommended.

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel. 2019, Sourcebooks Fire.  Hannah spent her summer in California, rooming with Agnes while they both worked hard attending courses to get a step up on their college applications. Then Jonah came…he and Agnes became a couple, but that didn’t stop Hannah from letting him know of her affection for him too, which led to a secret relationship to form the perfect toxic relationships.

Now, Hannah finds herself surrounded by four walls, small windows, a narrow bed, and regular visits from a psychiatrist she nickenames “Lightfoot,” which visits her regularly. Before coming here, she tried to see Agnes in the hospital but was told to never come back. It wasn’t her fault what happened to Agnes…it truly was an accident.

Now, all Hannah wants to do is “pass” Lightfoot scrutiny to get back to New York in time for school and finishing her college applications. That’s all she can think about, living by herself in a small room with no interaction with others living there, including eating meals and showering. Hannah scoffs at the label they put on her – A danger to herself and others but she’ll play the game as long as it takes to be able to leave.

What exactly happened and how dangerous is Hannah?

Riveting from the beginning, you’ll wonder if what the main character is saying is true or not, real or not, and how dangerous they think she is. Thrilling throughout, the psychology and psychiatry built into the plot only adds to the thrill.

Book pairs: