Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal a #Cybils YA Fiction Finalist

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight

im not dying with you tonight

I’m not Dying with You Tonight was a finalist in the Cybils YA Fiction category and WOW! what a fast ride! I love books that start up on the action immediately and this book did not disappoint. It’s a fast read and had my stomach in knots the whole time.

Lena and Campbell aren’t friends.

Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.

When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.

They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.

You get a glimpse into the mindset of each person and it’s so interesting, especially if you recognize yourself in the situation. So many options for teaching with this book. I’m glad I read it.

Also qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

 

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

Me, Myself & Him by Chris Tebbetts. LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE.

Me, Myself and Him

 

Here’s a book that you need but don’t know you need. Why is that? Because #1 if you’re looking for books containing an LGBTQ hero, here’s your book. But not because it’s your typical Coming Out. Story. While those are important, we’re past that. We need books where the kids are out and they’re living their lives (not everyone is Tiny Dancer, even though we love him too).

The problem with LGBTQ kids living their lives in Me, Myself, and Him is that there are alternating realities in this book. Whaaaaaaaaaat?

Yep. So if you don’t like the first timeline, hang around til the next chapter and you’ll get to the OTHER reality. Or vice versa. Or maybe you’ll like both timelines? So, yeah. That’s not REALLY a problem is it?

When Chris Schweitzer takes a hit of whippets and passes out face first on the cement, his nose isn’t the only thing that changes forever. Instead of staying home with his friends for the last summer after high school, he’s shipped off to live with his famous physicist but royal jerk of a father to prove he can “play by the rules” before Dad will pay for college.

Or . . . not.

So. Much. Fun.

I don’t need to tell you that this qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge, right?

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays Day 12

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays

Our last book of Diversity is A Blind Guide to Normal by Beth Vrabel. It’s the companion book to A Blind Guide to Stinkville, yesterday’s book.

A Bling Guide to Normal by Beth Vrabel

Richie “Ryder” Raymond has a gift. He can find the punchline in any situation, even in his limited vision and prosthetic eye. During the past year at Addison School for the Blind, Ryder’s quick wit earned the respect and friendship of his classmates. Heading to mainstream, or “normal,” school for eighth grade is going to be awesome.

After all, what’s not to like? At Addison, Ryder was everyone’s favorite person. He could make anyone laugh, especially his best friend Alice. So long as he can be first to make all of the one-eyed jokes, Ryder is sure he’ll fit in just as quick at Papuaville Middle School, home of the Fighting Guinea Pigs. But Alice warns him fitting in might not be as easy as he thinks.

Turns out, Alice was right. In just the first hour of “normal” school, Ryder is attacked by General MacCathur II (aka, Gramps’s cat), causes his bio teacher to pass out cold, makes an enemy out town hero Max, and falls for Jocelyn, the fierce girl next door who happens to be Max’s girlfriend. On top of that, Ryder struggles to hold onto his dignity in the face of students’ pity and Gramps’s non-stop practical jokes.

Ryder quickly sees the only thing worse than explaining a joke is being the punchline. But with help from his stuck-in-the-70s Gramps and encouragement from Alice, Ryder finds the strength to not only fight back, but to make peace.

If you’re like me, you love companion books so you can follow how your old friends are doing and make new friends too.

Here’s hoping I gave you some ideas about diverse books to pick up for next year. And speaking of next year, be on the lookout in a few days for the announcement for the 2017 Diversity Reading Challenge!

Wishing you a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and a good Kwanzaa.

Categories
Books Reviews Young Adult

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

 

Unconventional Librarian Geography Club

Are you looking for a YA book that discusses issues important to LGBT teens?  You can thank my new bestie Brent Hartinger for bringing it to you!  The Geography Club series contains LGBT teens who aren’t stereotypically gay and the book is about so much more than that!

I had a chance to chat with Brent and ask him to provide some insight into what’s going on in Geography Club, page 99.  Here’s what he said:

So page 99 of Geography Club. It’s a scene of Russel and Gunnar riding their bikes home from school. Gunnar has pressured Russel (who is gay) into going out with Kimberly’s friend Trish because that’s the only way Kimberly will go out with him. Got all that? Yeah. High school drama much?

 One of my favorite things about the Russel Middlebrook Series — one of the things I’m most proud of — is the relationship between the three best friends, Russel, Gunnar, and Min. I probably don’t always achieve what I’m trying to do when I write a book, but so many people have commented to me on how that three-way friendship rings interesting and true that I do sort of feel like I achieved what I had set out to do there. And I think this is one of those scenes where we see why the relationship between Russel and Gunnar ends up such a close one. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? That’s true of friendships too.
Here Russel is slowly realizing: Kimberly is only using Gunnar to get him to get Russel to go out with her friend Trish. And Russel’s starting to realize this isn’t going anywhere good: Trish will eventually learn that Russel’s not into her, and Gunnar will eventually realize that Kimberly’s not into him. But Russel can’t quite say of this because it would mean revealing uncomfortable truths — truths that he’s really not ready to deal with yet. He hasn’t yet learned that NOT revealing those truths only makes things much worse in the long run.
That’s one of the big themes of the whole book: basically, that secrets have power only as long as they ARE secrets. Turn on the lights and lets look at the monster in the closet. Whatever it is, it can’t possibly be as scary in the light as it is in the dark.
I guess the other thing I’d say about this page that, well, in general, I get annoyed when adults dismiss or belittle teenage concerns. If you really want to, you can always find a reason to feel superior to other people, but what’s the point of that? What good does that do? All of us who are adults were teenagers once. Did your own feelings not matter then? Because that’s what you’re saying when you dismiss teenager feelings now.
The point is, I wrote this book more than twelve years ago, and I took the feelings of teenagers seriously. I think that’s pretty evident on this page. Anyway, I’m happy to see it on page 99 and elsewhere in the book. I think it explains a lot of this book’s success.
A lot has changed in the world over the last twelve years, but I’d like to think a lot of the emotions in this book still hold up.

Doncha love getting inside an author’s head?  I do!

 

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays DAY 12 – A Blind Guide to Normal by Beth Vrabel

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays DAY 12

Welcome to day 12! Our last book of Diversity is A Blind Guide to Normal by Beth Vrabel. It’s the companion book to A Blind Guide to Stinkville, yesterday’s book.

A Bling Guide to Normal by Beth Vrabel

Richie “Ryder” Raymond has a gift. He can find the punchline in any situation, even in his limited vision and prosthetic eye. During the past year at Addison School for the Blind, Ryder’s quick wit earned the respect and friendship of his classmates. Heading to mainstream, or “normal,” school for eighth grade is going to be awesome.

After all, what’s not to like? At Addison, Ryder was everyone’s favorite person. He could make anyone laugh, especially his best friend Alice. So long as he can be first to make all of the one-eyed jokes, Ryder is sure he’ll fit in just as quick at Papuaville Middle School, home of the Fighting Guinea Pigs. But Alice warns him fitting in might not be as easy as he thinks.

Turns out, Alice was right. In just the first hour of “normal” school, Ryder is attacked by General MacCathur II (aka, Gramps’s cat), causes his bio teacher to pass out cold, makes an enemy out town hero Max, and falls for Jocelyn, the fierce girl next door who happens to be Max’s girlfriend. On top of that, Ryder struggles to hold onto his dignity in the face of students’ pity and Gramps’s non-stop practical jokes.

Ryder quickly sees the only thing worse than explaining a joke is being the punchline. But with help from his stuck-in-the-70s Gramps and encouragement from Alice, Ryder finds the strength to not only fight back, but to make peace.

If you’re like me, you love companion books so you can follow how your old friends are doing and make new friends too.

Here’s hoping I gave you some ideas about diverse books to pick up for next year. And speaking of next year, be on the lookout in a few days for the announcement for the 2017 Diversity Reading Challenge!

Wishing you a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and a good Kwanzaa.

Categories
Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Bad Girls Book Club: Liars and Losers Like Us #atozchallenge

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Today’s letter is

L

The Book

Liars and Losers Like Us

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I’m going out on a limb with this title because #1 of the tiara and #2 because there might be something surprising within the book. It’s on my TBR list.  This seems like a typical teen romp: high school, prom, girl fights, parties, boys, tears, etc. But a girl commits suicide because of bullying and her friend Bree, who was left behind must decide how to best avenge the death of her friend.
While I don’t condone revenge, I think choosing to stand alone against the popular crowd at school shows us that Bree is a Bad Girl: doing what’s right no matter the cost.

Bad Girls in tiaras?

Rock

Hard

Liars losers like us

Letter M is up next, yo!

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2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Banned Books

Banned Books Week-Day 2

 

BBW13_Profile

8.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

 Click the link for My review . Why this book is on the banned book list every year is beyond mystifying.

 

7.  The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is one of those books you need to read more than once to appreciate
the many facets of this beautiful story of two young friends.

This book is always on the list, it seems, for these reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
I dunno.  This book is real world. Again, what age group are you giving this to?

Have you read either of these books? What are your thoughts?  If you’re just now getting around to either, they qualify for the Diversity Challenge also.

 

 

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Books

Sudden Secrets by C. Lee McKenzie

I love reading kids mystery books for several reasons:

  • the tragedy isn’t usually too gruesome
  • I’m a scaredy cat so they aren’t usually psychological thrillers (Gone Girl, anyone?), and
  • I feel smart when I figure the plot out before the main characters

That’s why I was so stoked to read Sudden Secrets by C. Lee McKenzie. The first thing I hafta tell you about this book is that the main character’s name is Cleopatra Brown. I”m sure you can figure out who she’s named after, right?  Well, C.Lee is a friend of mine and I have a cat named Cleo (Cleopatra Jones) so maybe MY Cleo was the inspiration for this heroine?

Sudden Secrets by C. Lee McKenzie

So Cleo moves into  a new house in a new neighborhood after a mysterious family accident.  Cleo’s family is estranged and there’s something spooky going on in the abandoned house across the cul de sac from her house.  I love the premise for this story, it reminds me of Nightmares by Jason Segal, which is written for tweens.  Sudden Secrets is for teens, however, due to a few underage drinking situations. I’d say, 13 is a good starting age for this book.

Anyway, Cleo the girl, not Cleo my cat, decides to uncover the mystery surrounding the old Victorian across the street.  Meanwhile, there’s typical teen drama, love triangles and homework and a mysterious pizza guy who figure into the equation.  Cleo’s parents are estranged.  The father is on an archeological dig in Afghanistan and mom hides away at the museum curating Egyptian artifacts.  The parental jobs feel alot like Rick Riordan’s The Kane Chronicles, because those heroes are descendants of  Egyptian gods.

Another bit I love about Sudden Secrets is that there is a mention of Boo Radley.  You gotta love it when a book is mentioned in a book! Just the right length of book for a lazy summer afternoon read.  While this title doesn’t qualify for the Diversity Challenge families dealing with grief certainly get my attention.  I’m not loving the cover but it does evoke a dark mood but the book isn’t really as dark as the cover would have you think.

Anyway, you be the judge and let me know!

I’ll be interviewing her soon so check back often, mkay?

Categories
Books resources

Graduation, Photographers, and Cookies. A Memoir. Sorta.

You might not know this, but my youngest graduated from high school in June!!! YAY!!!

How can someone so small grow up to be a high school graduate? It seems like just yesterday she was throwing a tantrum in her sweet little church dress or bonking her brother on the head with her plastic guitar.

Because we’re readers, it seemed fitting to incorporate cookies into her party. Books, I mean we incorporated books into the party theme: She’s One Smart Cookie! That allowed me to go through her collection and lay out books that she’s enjoyed over the years.

Would you like to take a look?

OnesmartcookieCollage

I think the photos turned out beautiful! Having a photographer at the house captured memories that I’ll cherish forever. The photographer was Sheri Luckey of Moments by Sheri.  Contact her on Twitter, email (moments[email protected]) or phone ( 267-277-3407).

I got to have all of my fave things on one day: sweets, family, and books!

 

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books Young Adult

What’s In My Ear: Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper

There are lots of good and bad slave narratives out there. Lucky for you I stumbled across a good one:

Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper

Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper

 

Here’s a bit about the book:

Amari’s life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and living in a beautiful village, she could not have imagined everything could be taken away from her in an instant. But when slave traders invade her village and brutally murder her entire family, Amari finds herself dragged away to a slave ship headed to the Carolinas, where she is bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a birthday present.

Survival seems all that Amari can hope for. But then an act of unimaginable cruelty provides her with an opportunity to escape, and with an indentured servant named Polly she flees to Fort Mose, Florida, in search of sanctuary at the Spanish colony. Can the elusive dream of freedom sustain Amari and Polly on their arduous journey, fraught with hardship and danger?

Don’t be fooled by the sweet cover: there are mature topics like rape and murder that might not be suitable for younger readers. I would say 14 maybe? But oh what a great story. I loved hearing about the journey from the two different character’s points of view.  More people need to read this book and it would be a great addition to any study on the South and slavery.

Get this sleeper today!