Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Book Review: Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Publisher’s description

Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teen’s first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships.

Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.

When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.

In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.

Amanda’s thoughts

If you like drama, this book is for you! And I don’t say that in any sort of condescending tone. I can’t even begin to count how many times readers have said to me something along the lines of, “I like books with relationship and friend drama/where dramatic things are happening.” It’s exciting. It’s interesting. You can live vicariously through someone else’s drama if you feel like your life is boring, or you can relate and feel a little better to see someone else navigating alllll the drama that can come with growing up.

Noah, who is trans and white, Japanese, and Afro-Caribbean, is in Denver for the summer, spending it with his older brother while their parents navigate the logistics of a cross-country move. Noah runs Meet Cute Diary, a blog that shares stories of trans meet cutes. He thinks of it as “reality-inspired,” making the stories up to help give other trans people uplifting stories of swoon-worthy relationships. But there’s some talk online that Noah makes up all the stories (which, yeah, he does, but he’s presenting them as they he isn’t making them up) and people are starting to turn against Noah and the popular blog. Enter Drew, a cute bookstore boy who suggests he and Noah fake date to provide some fodder for the blog and show a true story. Well, true-ish. True but still fake. Yeah—drama.

Noah and Drew go on all kinds of cute dates and suddenly the line between fake-dating and real-dating has blurred. Enter Devin, who is nonbinary and trying out various pronouns to find the right one. At first Noah and Devin are just friendly, but then it starts to seem like there may be potential for something more. Now what? The blog’s reputation sort of hinges on Noah and Drew currently living out an ideal romantic relationship spawned from their meet cute. What’s a boy to do?!

In addition to all the ups and downs of Noah’s dating life, he’s also experiencing friend drama, with his BFF Becca (at home in Florida) seeming distant and exasperated with Noah. And people continue to attack Noah online and question the veracity of the blog. And his brother’s girlfriend kind of seems like a jerk. And, to top it all off, Noah is only in Denver for this short summer—soon he’ll be moving to his new home in CA leaving behind Devin, Drew, and Becca. What will happen? With everything!

I suspect readers will have FEELINGS about Noah’s various relationships, which are not necessarily the best or the healthiest or the happiest. Lots of self-discovery, exploration, ups and downs, and DRAMA. The story is filled with questionable choices and motivations, lots of self-centeredness, and many missteps—you know, all the stuff that real life is so often filled with. Realistically messy and ultimately happy.

Review copy (ARC) courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9780063038837
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/04/2021
Age Range: 14 – 17 Years

Book Review: Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Publisher’s description

ra6An engaging and relatable novel for the digital age that perfectly captures the complicated interaction between what goes on in our real lives and what we say online.

Internet sensation Madison Nakama has it all! Her pop-culture rewatch site has a massive following, and fans across the world wait on her every post and tweet. And now Laurent, a fellow geek (and unfairly HOT French exchange student!), has started flirting with her in the comments section of her blog. But Laurent’s not the only one watching for Madi’s replies…

Internet fame has a price, and their online romance sparks the unwanted attention of a troll. When Madi’s “real life” hits a rough patch, she feels her whole world crumbling. With Laurent’s support, can Madi rally her friends across the globe to beat the troll, or will he succeed in driving her away from everything—and everyone—she loves?

Internet Famous is a fresh, contemporary young adult romance for the iGeneration from Danika Stone, author of All the Feels.

 

Amanda’s thoughts

internet famousA great display idea would be YA books with stories that revolve around blogging/vlogging/fanfiction/social media. The list of them is growing and there’s something about them feeling so very *now* that makes them enjoyable.

 

Madi’s blog, MadLibs, is all about her love of pop culture. She watches movies and liveblogs them. She has an enormous following but manages to stay anonymous in her real life. Her full name hasn’t ever leaked and she’s glad—her dad is a newspaper columnist with a rather conservative readership and, while it’s not like Madi’s blog is anything controversial, she worries about anyone connecting her to him. While her internet life is pretty cool, her real life is less interesting. She’s in the final weeks of her senior year (she attends online school) when her mother breaks the news that she’s leaving for a few months for a fellowship at Oxford. Madi’s worried what her mother’s absence will do to Sarah, her younger sister who has autism and does well with predictability and routines. While we’re on the topic of the parents: her mother is terrible. She’s selfish and doesn’t appear to do much parenting at all. Madi and Sarah’s dad is also almost entirely checked out, leaving Madi many of the adult responsibilities, though he becomes a better parent as the book goes on. Anyway. Madi becomes friends with Laurent, one of the readers of MadLibs, and pretty quickly realizes she’s totally crushing on him. At the same time, an unpleasant thing begins to happen, too: an online troll starts harassing Madi. He leaves nasty comments on her blog, sends her horrible emails, and eventually reveals he knows where she lives. She also begins having an issue with school that might keep her from graduating on time. Though her online life is thriving, everything in Madi’s real life suddenly feels like it’s falling apart.

 

Without reading the flap copy, the cover and the title make this look much lighter than it is. Yes, it’s still a romance at its heart, but it’s also a really suspenseful story about the downsides of internet fame. Readers may guess who the troll is, but Stone makes it seem like there are multiple possibilities. Text conversations, blog posts, emails, and photos are interspersed, which, combined with the suspenseful plot, make this a quick read that will appeal to fans of romances, those invested in fandoms, and teens who like books with nontraditional formats. 

 

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9781250114372

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication date: 06/06/2017

12 Blogs of 2014: YA Highway

Welcome to blog number 11 of our 12 Blogs of 2014! If you missed some of the series, make sure you go back and check them all out. Lots of great blogs to read and smart people to follow on Twitter. Be sure to check out the end of this post for a list of just a few more blogs I love. Want to share your favorites with me? I’m on Twitter @CiteSomething. 

 

Today’s featured blog

YA Highway

From the blog:

We’re writers from different corners of the globe, united by our affinity for travel, costume parties, and writing and reading young adult fiction.

Find them on Twitter  @yahighway and tumblr.

 

Who runs YA Highway

7 full-time and 6 contributing members

Full-timers

Kirsten Hubbard (Twitter @kirstenhubbard), Kristin Halbrook (Twitter @KristinHalbrookWebsite), Kaitlin Ward (Twitter @Kaitlin_WardWebsite), Kate Hart (Twitter @Kate_Hart, Website), Stephanie Kuehn (Twitter @stephkuehnWebsite), Sarah Enni (Twitter @SarahEnniWebsite), Amy Lukavics (Twitter @amylukavicsTumblr)

 

Contributors

Lee Bross (Twitter @Lee_BrossWebsite), Leila Austin (Twitter @thatleilaWebsite), Sumayyah Daud (Twitter @sumayyahdaud, Tumblr), Debra Driza (Twitter @DebraDrizaWebsite), Emilia Plater (Twitter @emiliaplaterWebsite), Kristin Briana Otts (Twitter @kbotts,Tumblr)

 

Why I like YA Highway

Such a wide range of awesome posts! Information, discussions, and advice from writers, editors, agents, and publishers (including a query series), author interviews, recommended reads, writing tips, cover reveals, and more. I love that they include ways to join in on their fun: “submit a collection of music for a mix tape/playlist, ask them YA-related questions, guest posts, Road Trip Wednesday (Answer the weekly prompt on your blog and link it in the comments, or use hashtag #roadtripwednesday on Twitter or Tumblr. (It’s helpful if you tag @yahighway in those as well!) We’ll do our best to share your answers and help you find other people playing along!) and Field Trip Friday (Use the form on their site to submit your links and giveaways below for inclusion in the weekly industry round up.)”

 

Some posts to check out

The Landscape of YA Lit: A State of the Union

Five Ways to Stay in Touch with Your WIP During Busy Times

 YA Before YA: What My Parents Read

Guest post: I Love You and I Want to Kill You; Let’s Make Out by Catherine Egan

Guest post: Memorable Food in YA Literature by Elissa Sussman

 

Other great blogs you need to be reading: Kristin Cashore’s blog, Stacked, Forever Young Adult, Carrie Mesrobian’s blog, A Chair, a Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy, Bookshelves of Doom, GayYA, Kelly Barnhill’s blog, Screwy Decimal, The Dead Have Issues, The Diary Project.

You can find me also blogging at Cite Something

 

12 Blogs of 2014: Rich in Color

Did I mention that choosing just three blogs to share has been agonizing? There are just so many awesome blogs out there and I want to tell you about all of them! I hope you’re adding all of the blogs we’re featuring to whatever blog reader you use and following the blogs and their creators on Twitter. I’m always looking for more blogs to read, so make sure you share your favorites with us, too! You can find me on Twitter @CiteSomething. 

Today’s featured blog

Rich in Color

From the blog:

Rich in Color is dedicated to reading, reviewing, talking about, and otherwise promoting young adult fiction starring people of color or written by people of color. We believe that teens (and adults!) should be able to find themselves in the kinds of books they love to read. At Rich in Color, we want to showcase a wide variety of multicultural books so that kids will be able to see themselves as more than just the sassy best friend, the very special lesson, or the extra in the background.

The discrepancy between books that feature people of color or are written by people of color and the actual composition of the U.S. population is a concern for us. We think it’s important to support these books/authors, and one way we can do that is to talk about them.

Find the blog on Twitter @Rich_in_Color and check out their tumblr.

 

Who runs it

Audrey, an editor and copywriter (Twitter @audrey_gonzalezMy Writing Life); Crystal, an elementary school teacher and librarian (Twitter @librarygrl2Reading Through Life ); Jessica, a bookworm to the core (These Mortals Be); K. Imani Tennyson, a teacher and writer (Twitter @K_ImaniImani Scribbles); Jon, a writer and the site’s webmaster (Twitter @jayang, Website)

 

Why I like Rich in Color

Extensive information on YA books featuring characters of color and authors of color. A handy reference with their release calendar. Reviews, booklists, topical posts, roundups of new releases, links to diverse resources, and so much more.

 

Some posts to check out

 Finding Diverse Lit

Shorter Days Equal Shorter Stories

 The Thorny Issue of Race

Getting Graphic

Five YA Books Featuring American Indians

#BlackLivesMatter

 

 

12 Blogs of 2014: DiversifYA

Choosing just three blogs to feature for our 12 Blogs of 2014 was hard. I may have sent Karen, Robin, and Heather about 15 emails constantly changing which blogs I was calling dibs on. I hope you’re adding all of the blogs we’re featuring to whatever blog reader you use and following the blogs and their creators on Twitter. I’m always looking for more blogs to read, so make sure you share your favorites with us, too! You can find me on Twitter @CiteSomething. 

 

Today’s featured blog

DiversifYA

The focus of DiversifYA is on being inclusive in every possible way.

From the blog:

DiversifYA is a collection of interviews that allows us to share our stories, all of us. All sorts of diversity and all marginalized experiences. We are not Other.

DiversifYA is a tool, an introduction. Allow us to convince you that the world is so much richer than the world we often read about, and that every reader deserves to find themselves in books.

DiversifYA is our way to show you: diversity is all of us. Diversity is reality. We all have shared experiences, no matter how different we may be, and the countless combinations of sameness and difference is what makes this world amazing. It’s about time more stories reflected that.

Follow the blog on Twitter  @_DiversifYA

(Note: this blog is on a hiatus until January rolls around.)

 

Who runs DiversifYA

The DiversifYA team currently consists of Marieke and Sarah, with former co-moderator Alex as honorary team member!

Marieke is VP of We Need Diverse Books™. You can follow Marieke on Twitter @mariekeyn and visit her website.

Sarah’s debut, THE LAST LEAVES FALLING, releases from Random House UK and Simon and Schuster US in Spring 2015. On Twitter she’s @SWritesBooks.

 

Why I like this blog

DiversifYA features interviews, guest posts, cover reveals, in-depth looks at books, issues, and themes. With their DiversiTheme category, they examine various issues with writing diversity. From their blog: “For example, over the next couple of months we’ll have topics as writing/publishing diverse lit and living in different cultures. We’re talking about body imagine and fat culture, which is an integral part of diversity as well.” The blog also features roundtable discussions. The discussion they had last year was a 6-part series about diversity and sexuality. I hope they do more, because that one was great! When you hop on over to their blog, check out the bevvy of tags they have for their posts (in the column on the right). Some examples: Neurodiversity, asexual, hearing loss, QUILTBAG, Eskimo, OCD, bulimia, and so lots more topics. The posts are smart and touch on so many topics that more people need to be thinking about and writing about. As they say on the blog, “[DivesifYA is not] an alternative to research. DiversifYA is an introduction to diversity, it’s not a collection of premade character bios you can use. It is not a substitute for research. But don’t mind us if we want to nudge you in the right direction.”

 

Some posts to check out

Interview with Sabaa Tahir

 Ami Allen-Vath’s guest post about bulimia

 Julie Sondra Decker’s post about asexuality

DivYAQnA: disability edition

 Interview with Sumayyah Daud