Books Young Adult

What’s on My Radar: Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

I love it when I find a book about the Hispanic culture.  Having lived in Texas for 10 years, I’m keenly aware of the lack of diversity in books containing Hispanic characters.  I’m glad to see more of them are getting noticed.  Cinco Punto press has published a book called

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces

Gabi a Girl in Pieces

written by Isabel Quintero, who is a librarian in California.  Gotta love those librarians! Here’s a blurb about the book;

July 24

My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn’t want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it’s important to wait until you’re married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, “Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas.” Eyes open, legs closed. That’s as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don’t mind it. I don’t necessarily agree with that whole wait until you’re married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can’t tell my mom that because she will think I’m bad. Or worse: trying to be White.

Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: Cindy’s pregnancy, Sebastian’s coming out, the cute boys, her father’s meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.

If you’re a fan of epistolary books, which is a fancy word for letters, then you might like this book.  Also, it kinda has a Crank by Ellen Hopkins feel to it too.  I just cracked the book open; I can’t wait to get started on it. I’m sure I’m going to like it.

Did I mention that we need more diverse books?



Five Reasons Why You Should Read Press Play by @eric_devine

Press Play


In the spirit of full disclosure I want to say that I agreed to read and review this book because even though the main character is a white male and there’s been a lot of white male protagonist dissing going on in the diversity community I feel this story is important to tell.  And here’s why this story is important;

  1. Overweight hero
  2. Hazing (need I say more?)
  3. Bullying
  4. Sexual harassment
  5. Suicide

Now if those topics don’t merit attention then I don’t know what book should! Devine is a high school teacher, so he knows the minutiae of a high schooler’s day. Having high schoolers of my own, I know that high school is more difficult today than it was when I went.  Our “hero, Dun the Tun, is an overweight kid who documents his weight loss through film. He inadvertently captures some pretty violent hazing on the boys’ lacrosse team.  As Greg is a frequent target of bullying from this group of kids, he struggles with what to do with this new information.

I must warn you that the book is graphic. There is graphic language and violence. It’s difficult to imagine that kids can be so cruel, but left unchecked by equally cruel adults, this is what kind of world we would live in.  I must also warn you that Greg is an unreliable hero. He makes mistakes and he lies and that’s all part of what makes this story so gripping. It’s not always easy to do the right thing when you’re angry and you’ve got a debt to repay.

I stayed up late to finish this book and then I couldn’t turn my brain off. There were so many thoughts running around in my head. So many thoughts.

So many.

Good read for anyone who likes gritty realistic fiction. Think Fight Club for teens.

And we all know what the first rule of Fight Club is, right?


Books Young Adult

Just in Time for Baseball Season: #Tanker10 @JCurelop @SamiJoLien

Just in Time for Baseball Season: Tanker 10 by Jonathan Curelop




Put me in Coach! If there’s anything you know about me, you know that I love to champion the underdog. That’s why I was happy to discover Tanker 10 by Jonathan Curelop! Here’s a book for the fellas although, really it’s a coming of age story that will appeal to anyone who’s ever been excluded, left out, bullied, or felt inadequate.

So, just about anyone really.

Tanker 10 (published by Book Case Engine) opens in Brockton, Mass., in 1976, where bashful and overweight 10-year-old Jimmy just wants to read his books and toss the ball with his best friend, Ben. Unfortunately, Jimmy is an entertaining victim for his older brother, Cliff, and his buddies. When Jimmy tries to stand up to Cliff, the verbal abuse turns physical and an accident sends Jimmy to the hospital with an injury that changes the trajectory of his life.

Tanker 10” depicts the story of Jimmy during his pre-teen and teenage years as he struggles to mend his physical and psychological injuries. Finding salvation through baseball, he dedicates himself to a strict regimen, taking him from intramurals baseball to Little League. By the time he reaches high school, Jimmy is no longer the fat kid throwing a ball against a wall but an up-and-coming right fielder on the freshman baseball team. Yet despite his successful recovery, Jimmy remains ill at ease with himself. He longs for emotional and physical intimacy and grapples with finding his place in his family, among his friends, and with his brother, Cliff.


I know, sounds great right?  You don’t have to like sports or baseball to understand how much it hurts to be a teenager. Especially one with an abusive older sibling.

Grab this book today for the sporty guy in your life!

Is it mere coincidence that the author has a wife named Pamela? Hmmmmm. Is it me?  I don’t know…But I do know that bullying is not nice and I’m glad that Curelop was able to overcome these very crappy circumstances.  I hope our Jimmy does too.

Check it out and follow Curelop on Twitter: @JCurelop  and tell him PammyPam sent you!



Books Reviews Young Adult

Skinny by Donna Cooner

I’m thrilled to have been approached to read Skinny by Donna Cooner and then participate in a roundtable discussion afterwards.

Skinny by Donna Cooner

Here’s what they’re saying about Skinny:

You’re fat. HUGE even.  You’re ugly.  No one likes you.  everyone is making fun of you.  You are stupid.  That is all Ever hears from her dark side, the relentless voice in her head who she names “Skinny”.  Ever decides toe shake off this evil little sprite by facing her fears and head on and undergoing weight loss surgery, but will she be able to find the real Ever hiding inside?  This book is truthful and heartfelt, exposing teen’s deepest, darkest fears and pulling them into the light.  Even those who haven’t had Ever’s issues have other real issues of their own–issues that will make them identify with Ever and root for her all the way.

Wow.  Pretty amazing, huh?  I can’t wait to finish it.

I feel a giveaway coming on…!