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#WeNeedDiverseBooks Panel at Irving Public Library 5/13/15

Last night I attended the We Need Diverse Books panel at the Irving Public Library. It featured I. W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above, Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton, authors of Tiny Pretty Things, Marieke Nijkamp, author of This is Where it Ends, and Natalie C. Parker, author of Beware the Wild. I live tweeted the event and have Storified it here for you.

About the Books:

None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Karen’s Note: In her earlier review Amanda MacGregor said, “This is an essential purchase for all libraries. Gregorio’s book is a very welcome addition to the small field of books depicting intersex teens.”

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

Karen’s Note: Coming May 26th from HarperTeen. I read an EArc on Edelweiss and I really liked this book. In addition to the diversity, it includes a number of important elements that you see in the dance world including eating disorders, drug use, intense rivalries, romance, and more. I thought it was an authentic portrait of the world of competitive anything, even though its focus is dance anyone involved in a competitive activity will be able to identify. Plus it captures those moments of who am I, parental relationships and pressure to succeed, friendships, and more. It has a lot of appeal factors and should be popular with teen readers.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Karen’s Note: This book will be released in January 2016 from Sourcebooks Fire and I wants it bad.

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp—the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Karen’s Note: I read half of this last night and it was fantastically creepy. Ally Watkins says, “Beware the Wild is more unsettling than scary, in that it plays with the rules and fears that you’ve carried with you since childhood. What if things you knew to be true suddenly weren’t?”

All book descriptions are the publisher’s descriptions.

 

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