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Post-it Note Reviews of Recent YA Releases

IMG_3631Ah, summer. Three months off of work is great. It’s so nice to have all this extra time to write, read, blog, clean, run errands, parent, sometimes socialize, pet my dogs, and so on. I’m getting a lot of reading done, but not all of my reading spots/times are conducive to really thoughtful analysis or even casual note-taking. Maybe I’m at the waterpark, reading in the shade, but half keeping an eye on my kid (he’s 12—I can get away with only half keeping one eye on him most days), being interrupted a ton. Or maybe I’m reading in my own house, but while covered in sleeping dachshunds, or while trying to block out the noise of kids playing. I still want to share these books with you, so here are my tiny Post-it Note reviews of a few titles. I do these posts monthly during the school year, focusing on books for younger readers. It’s a great way to display books in your library or classroom, a way to let kids recommend their favorite titles without having to get up in front of everyone and do a book talk, and an easy way to offer a more personal recommendation than just the flap copy offers. (To see my June version of this post, hop on over here, and the July version can be found here.)

All summaries are from the publishers. Transcription of Post-it note review under the summary. 

 

 

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Storm-Wake by Lucy Christopher

Moss has grown up on the strangest and most magical of islands. Her father has a plan to control the tempestuous weather that wracks the shores. But the island seems to have a plan of its own once Callan — a wild boy her age — appears on its beaches. Her complex feelings for Callan shift with every tide, while her love for the island, and her father, are thrown into doubt…

And when one fateful day, a young man from the outside world washes up on the beach, speaking of the Old World, nothing will ever be the same.

A dark reflection of Shakespeare’s The TempestStorm-wake is one girl’s voyage of discovery — a mesmerizing tale of magic, faith, and love.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Ooh. I’ve always loved  The Tempest. A magical island, a father with powers, and a journey into the unknown propel this post-apocalyptic tale. This dark and magical tale is sometimes very slow and dense. Give this to readers who enjoy a challenge.)

 

 

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Mary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein’s Creator by Catherine Reef

On the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, comes a riveting biography of its author, Mary Shelley, whose life reads like a dark gothic novel, filled with scandal, death, drama, and one of the strangest love stories in literary history.

The story of Frankenstein’s creator is a strange, romantic, and tragic one, as deeply compelling as the novel itself. Mary ran away to Lake Geneva with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley when she was just sixteen. It was there, during a cold and wet summer, that she first imagined her story about a mad scientist who brought a corpse back to life. Success soon followed for Mary, but also great tragedy and misfortune.

Catherine Reef brings this passionate woman, brilliant writer, and forgotten feminist into crisp focus, detailing a life that was remarkable both before and after the publication of her iconic masterpiece. Includes index.

(POST-IT SAYS: A deeply engaging biography. Older readers with English degrees will really love this look at Mary Shelley’s life and her writings. The detailed story of her life is as dark and dramatic as you’d expect. Comes out 9/18/2018)

 

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Steal This Country: A Handbook for Resistance, Persistence, and Fixing Almost Everything by Alexandra Styron

A walk-the-walk, talk-the-talk, hands-on, say-it-loud handbook for activist kids who want to change the world!

Inspired by Abbie Hoffman’s radical classic, Steal This Book, author Alexandra Styron’s stirring call for resistance and citizen activism will be clearly heard by young people who don’t accept “it is what it is,” who want to make sure everybody gets an equal piece of the American pie, and who know that the future of the planet is now.

Styron’s irreverent and informative primer on how to make a difference is organized into three sections: The Why, The What, and The How. The book opens with a personal essay and a historic look at civil disobedience and teenage activism in America. That’s followed by a deep dive into several key issues: climate change, racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, immigration, religious understanding, and intersectionality. Each chapter is introduced by an original full page comic and includes a summary of key questions, interviews with movers and shakers—from celebrities to youth activists—and spotlights on progressive organizations. The book’s final section is packed with how-to advice on ways to engage, from group activities such as organizing, marching, rallying, and petitioning to individual actions like voting with your wallet, volunteering, talking with relatives with different viewpoints, and using social activism to get out a progressive message.

This is a perfect book for older middle-schoolers and teens who care about the planet, the people with whom they share it, and the future for us all.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: Intersectional and impressively thorough, this book is filled with essays, interviews, photos, comics, and plenty of tips on how to take action and be an ally. Includes a glossary. A great and accessible guidebook to social justice. Comes out 9/4/2018)

 

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Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

Debut author Aminah Mae Safi’s honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if —especially if—you love them.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: For readers who like complicated friendships, “unlikable” characters, and little real plot. Lulu is Muslim and Iraqi-American. An honest look at how messy the teenage years can be. Slow to start but picks up in second half.)

 

 

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Paper Girls, Volumes 1-4 by Brian K. Vaughan

From Brian K. Vaughan, #1 New York Times bestselling writer of SAGA, and Cliff Chiang, legendary artist of WONDER WOMAN, comes the first volume of an all-new ongoing adventure.

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

 

(POST-IT SAYS: For nearly 30 years, my friend Seth has been recommending comics to me. He was right to think I’d love this. 80s setting, badass girls, wormholes, monsters, mind-bending plot, plenty of action, and great art. Ages 15-18)

 

 

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