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  • fairrosa 1:56 pm on April 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Reading The Impossible Knife of Memory. I have not posted for more than a month — traveling back to Taiwan, re-reading stuff for a Quiz Show at school (Golden Compass, Wizard of Oz, Hobbit,) and recovering from jetlag and dealing with many special events at work — ALL great stuff, but preventing me from reading new YA’s which I really should have been doing. Definitely getting back on track now — And probably will not post too much 2015 BFYA here since there is an internal discussion board that’s wonderful and with intelligent and heated debate from my committee members and I’ll most likely be working THERE instead.

    For those of you who are interested in seeing the current BFYA Nominated List, go here: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/bfya-nominations. Some really great reads.

     
  • fairrosa 11:44 pm on March 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Reading David Almond’s newest offering: The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean: telt by hisself.

     
  • fairrosa 12:59 pm on March 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Don’t Even Think About It 

    Imageby Sarah Mlynowski 

    Genre(s): Sci-Fi (faux), Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Teen Romance

    Basic Content Information: New York City/Tribeca high end public school sophomores in one specific class all were accidentally infected by a “vaccine gone bad” and developed ESPs — they can hear other people’s thoughts and have internal dialogs with each other.  Social awkwardness ensue, romances broken up and formed, the discrepancies between the exterior and the hidden layers of expressions and thoughts are explored, and the sordid lives of the grown-ups are exposed: the school nurse who used to be a stripper, a father who has an affair, parents who use Viagara and go at it all night long, etc. Once or twice, we see a trustworthy adult.  The ending may or may not lead to a sequel.

    One of the 22 affected teens might be of Japanese descent.  The rest are all upper-middle or upper class whites — not entirely sure if it is in keeping with the neighborhood portrayed: Tribeca.  (I searched the NYC demographics data by zipcode, but since 10013 includes Chinatown – so almost half of the residents show up as Asian, and 10014 reaches into West Village and thus more than 90% European White.)  According to my husband who works in Tribeca, it is likely that this particular made-up public high school simply has more than 90% of white students. My experience in an upper east side intentionally diversified k-12 school with about half of the student body from families that are not exclusively European White is definitely different from what presented in this book.   

    Edition: NetGalley

    Pub Date: March 11, 2014

    Publisher: Delacorte/Random House

    (I’m only recording the bare bone facts about the Young Adult Fiction titles I read in 2014 without expressing personal opinions — as an experiment and a different discipline.  You can always follow the link to Goodreads to see other readers’ reviews.)

    Click here for: Goodreads summary and other people’s reviews.

     
    • DaNae 10:16 pm on March 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, but did any of the 22 have an olive complexion? :)

      • fairrosa 11:36 pm on March 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Haha… no… here are some of the physical descriptions: “She had curly blond hair, big green eyes, a button nose, and a gymnast’s body.” – “Tess had wavy brown hair and brown eyes.” — “She had straight dark brown hair and pale skin.” — another boy has gray hair (early gray) and is the only openly gay kid in the school. George Marson is hot and has “Dark hair, dark skin.”- “He had light brown hair, almost blond, and big brown eyes.” — “Sadie had straight blood hair, a big smile, a waiflike body, and huge pale blue eyes.” — …”extremely pretty. She had shiny brown hair and big green eyes.” Pi Iamaura who might not be white is not physically described.

        • DaNae 10:57 am on March 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply

          So more waifs, gymnasts, and hot boys over actual diversity. Also maybe it should be acknowledged that if you happen to have green eyes it is a given they are big. And by big and we talking giant squid or Betty Davis?

  • fairrosa 8:41 pm on February 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Reading “Don’t Even Think About It” by Sarah Mlynowski and finally spelled her last name right.

     
  • fairrosa 5:39 pm on February 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Grasshopper Jungle 

    grasshopperjungleby Andrew Smith

    Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Horror

    Basic Content Information: 17-year-old Austin from Iowa, our time, records the “history” of The End of the World when he and his best buddy Robbie Bree set off a chain of events that lead to the invasion of 6-foot-tall, hungry and horny, indestructible genetically engineered praying mantises that ravage and take over the human world.  The narrative is full of crude words and thoughts.  Austin is continuously horny, many of the characters are presented through the lens of their sexual behaviors, the descriptions of events are blunt and without the sense of bashfulness.  Austin is also in love with both his girlfriend Shannon and his best friend Robbie, who is openly gay.  There is much tenderness between Robbie and Austin.  There is much confusion and resentment but also acceptance and understanding amongst the main teen characters.  There is a lot of outlandish sci-fi elements that harken to the 50s horror B-Movies and the tone and Smith’s stylistic choices might remind readers of Kurt Vonnegut’s writing.   Most used words in the book: horny, semen, blood, fuck, eat, hungry, penis, and history — much discussion about how history gets to the truth and how it does not.

    Edition: Paper Galley

    Pub Date: February, 2014

    Publisher: Dutton/Penguin

    (I’m only recording the bare bone facts about the Young Adult Fiction titles I read in 2014 — Serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults committee means that I need to be quite cautious in expressing opinions on social media. The safest way is to not express specific reactions publicly. But I’d like to keep reporting the titles I encounter throughout the year. You can always follow the link to Goodreads to see other readers’ reviews.)

    Click here for: Goodreads summary and other people’s reviews.

     
  • fairrosa 12:34 pm on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: awards, ,   

    The CYBILS Awards results are out! http://www.cybils.com/2014/02/the-2013-cybils-awards.html I served on the panel for the Graphic Novels (both MG and YA) short lists and am SO pleased to see that Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite Barry Deutsch and Templar by Jordan Mechner won in their respective categories. The other titles in the graphic novels shortlists are also really strong. 2013 was a great year for GNs and it felt like the Children’s and Young Adults’ GN field has finally matured!

     
  • fairrosa 11:55 am on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Dangerous 

    dangerouscover by Shannon Hale

    Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Romance, Thriller

    Basic Content Information: We follow two main teen characters with a supporting cast of adults (from trustworthy, to uncertain to purely evil) into a futuristic world that does not seem too different from our own except that some scientific discoveries and advancements have led the humans to encounter alien materials and finally aliens themselves.  The story is narrated from Maisie’s (mixed-race White/Latina) first person point of view, mostly in past tense.  Maisie is the brain and eventually also the brawn behind most of the operations and actions.  Her off and on, slightly torturous romance with Wilder (Jonathan) is what I came to expect from a Shannon Hale novel – whether Fantasy, Graphic Novel, or now, a SciFi.  The book is divided into 3 parts and could have easily been expanded and milked into a trilogy – but we got the whole story in one shot instead.

    Edition: Paper Galley

    Pub Date: March 4, 2014

    Publisher: Bloomsbury, USA

    (I’m only recording the bare bone facts about the Young Adult Fiction titles I read in 2014 — Serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults committee means that I need to be quite cautious in expressing opinions on social media. The safest way is to not express specific reactions publicly. But I’d like to keep reporting the titles I encounter throughout the year. You can always follow the link to Goodreads to see other readers’ reviews.)

    Click here for: Goodreads summary and other people’s reviews.

     
  • fairrosa 11:18 am on February 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Continue interesting discussion over on ccbc-net re character ethnicities in children’s / YA books. And here’s a little rant I just posted there:

    Also re Hunger Games — There’s always the discussion over Katniss’s ethnicity — she’s described as having “olive skin” and dark hair, eyes, etc. while her mother and Prim are fair haired and blue eyed. Does that indicate that she’s mix-raced? Does anyone know how Suzanne Collins envisioned her? What is Olive skin, anyway? Light or dark brown cured in a barrell? Green on the tree? Black in a can? Can we all just agree that this is a useless descriptor and toss it out of the window as of Feb. 2014?

     
  • fairrosa 9:43 pm on February 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), of the 3200 children’s books they received/categorized in the year 2013, the multicultural “picture” looks like this:

    (I added the %’s)
    BUT — this is presuming that all children’s books are somewhat “ethnicity” based — which, I imagine, is FAR from the truth — there must have been plenty of story books with spiders, frogs, pigs, chickens, etc. as “characters” or “topics” and nonfiction books on neurosciences, soccer techniques, buildings, chemistry 101, etc.

    So, I’m going to wait for more detailed numbers from CCBC (if they keep count…to update my percentages and analysis.) — SECOND VERSION of this post.

    • 93 books had significant African or African American content <– less than 3%
    • 67 books were by Black authors and/or illustrators <– 2%
    (While the population of African Americans were around 12.6 % in the 2010 Census — fcl.)
    (More books ABOUT African American topics or people than BY African American authors)
    (If to reflect the population closely, there should have been about 500 books either about or by…)

    • 33 books had American Indian themes, topics, or characters <– 1%
    • 18 books were by American Indian authors and/or illustrators <– 0.5%
    (While the population of Native Americans were around 0.9% in the 2010 Census — fcl.)
    (More books ABOUT American Indian topics or people than BY Native American authors)
    (percentage-wise, there are more books about Native American topics than the percentage of the population.)
    (If to reflect the population closely, there should have been about 32 books either about or by…)

    • 58 books had significant Asian/Pacific or Asian/Pacific American content <– 2%
    • 85 books were by authors and/or illustrators of Asian/Pacific heritage <– 2.5%
    (While the population of Asian/Pacific Island Americans were around 4.8 %)
    (More books BY Asian American authors than ABOUT Asian American topics or people.)
    (If to reflect the population closely, there should have been about 150 books either about or by…)

    • 57 books had significant Latino content <– 1.8 %
    • 48 books were by Latino authors and/or illustrators <– 1.5%
    (While the population of Latino Americans were around 16.4 % in the 2010 Census — fcl.)
    (More books ABOUT Latino American topics or people than BY Latino American authors.)
    (If to reflect the population closely, there should have been about 500 books either about or by…)

    Thinking about making an infograph to show the percentages and not just the raw numbers. — FIRST VERSION OF THIS POST

     
  • fairrosa 6:19 pm on February 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    So… and 8th grade boy just came to me with URGENT matters to discuss:

    The ending of Amberspy Glass.

    I could tell that he was highly affected by the trilogy and we parsed out the religious messages and the sorrow of the bench scene… and he is going on with my recent recommendation of the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix now… Ah…. this is WHY I LOVE MY JOB!!!

     
  • fairrosa 5:56 pm on January 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Far From You 

    farfromyouby Tess Sharpe

    Genre(s): Mystery, Romance, Realistic Fiction

    Basic Content Information: 17 year-old girl, former prescription drug addict, recovering from two traumatic events in life: surviving a car crash at age 14, leaving her crippled and scared (does not hinder her attractiveness from others); her best friend, a girl who is a faithful Christian withholding her dark secret of being a lesbian, was murdered in front of her — now will have to face distrust from parents, police, her best friend’s brother, and at the same time piece together the evidences that will lead her to the identity (and hopefully arrest) of the murderer.  The book is told in present tense, first person perspective, chapters alter from present to a moment in the past (still told in present tense) that reflects, affects, or triggers events in the next present day chapter.  It is a murder thriller and a love song in a very leisure pace.

    Edition: Netgalley

    Pub Date: April 8, 2014

    Publisher: Hyperion/Disney

    (I’m only recording the bare bone facts about the Young Adult Fiction titles I read in 2014 — Serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults committee means that I need to be quite cautious in expressing opinions on social media. The safest way is to not express specific reactions publicly. But I’d like to keep reporting the titles I encounter throughout the year. You can always follow the link to Goodreads to see other readers’ reviews.)

    Click here for: Goodreads summary and other people’s reviews.

     
  • fairrosa 2:55 pm on January 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ala, conference notes,   

    Quick ALA 2014 Midwinter Recaps 

    • Really impressed by many of the teen readers who talked about and analyzed the Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) list on Saturday.
    • Trying to not bring too many books home but am definitely still carrying two big bags of (mostly) 2014 Young Adult fiction — this is not just for fun any more, it’s WORK!  (It’s always WORK but this one lies heavier on my heart due to my inability to read fast… but I will brave this challenge and come out a richer person at the other end.)
    • Can’t quite believe that 3M Cloud Library is not offering a School Library Module.  Oh, well!
    • Really happy for Kathy Dawson’s new imprint with Penguin!
    • And really happy to have met a new author for Random House: Jaleigh Johnson, girl gamer tax prep accountant author of fantasy novels.
    • ALSC Membership Committee is filled with smart, funny, and intelligent people.  I’m honored to serve with them.  And the Children’s Librarian Meet-Up initiative should prove quite fun and exciting.
    • BFYA members delivered cogent analyses and I definitely felt their passion for this literature.  Bravo!
    • The Battle of the Kids’ Books meetup went well and I, as always, made a fool of myself by being too excitable and silly, as always!  There will be a group photo posted on BoB site, soon.  We are going to reveal judges starting tomorrow or Wednesday.
    • The Youth Media Awards press conference went smoothly and I quite agreed with many of the award choices.  A little sad to not see True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp or The Thing About Luck on the lists.  Extremely pleased with Newbery: Flora and Ulysses; Caldecott: Locomotive; Sibert: Parrots Over Puerto Rico; CSK: P.S. Be Eleven; Schneider: Rose Under Fire; Printz: Midwinterblood.  And many other deserving titles!  Special shout out to my friend,  co-Newbery-member from 2002, Ken Setterington for winning a Stonewall honor for his Branded by the Pink Triangle.
    • Excited to get back home and continue reading Far From You. 
     
    • Brandy 4:57 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You did not make a fool of yourself. Your excitement was contagious and helped me feel more at ease. It was nice to meet you!

  • fairrosa 2:02 pm on January 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Saga Volume 2 

    saga2

    by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples

    Every bit as entertaining and thrilling as the first volume.  This one contains chapter 7 to chapter 12 — with beautifully rendered bloody and sexually explicit scenes.  What I reacted most strongly and favorably to are the cast of characters.  I hesitate to call them endearing (except for perhaps Marko and the Lying Cat) since many of them are so severely flawed and I probably will not want to deal with them in real life, but they definitely have sharply defined forms and the plot moves plausibly in accordance with their individual personalities.

     
  • fairrosa 12:05 pm on January 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Listening to The Goldfinch and started reading Far From You by Tess Sharpe. Also borrowed Saga II from NYPL. A good story Sunday.

     
  • fairrosa 12:34 pm on January 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Tales From My Closet 

    talesfrommyclosetby Jennifer Anne Moses

    Genre(s): Realistic Fiction, Girl Drama

    Basic Content Information: Five girls in their sophomore years in a New Jersey high school tell their interlocked personal stories in alternative narrative first person view points — each has enough drama to fill a whole TV series: secret boy friend in Paris, contemplating “going all the way,” unfaithful father, therapist mother who tells the private life of her daughter, secret crush over the coach, annoying siblings, shopping addictions, hidden talents, social mishaps and embarrassments, etc. etc. — and all tied with constant obsessions over one’s own and others’ outfits and appearances… Plenty of positive messages mixed with illogical actions and thought processes.

    Edition: Netgalley

    Pub Date: January 28, 2014

    Publisher: Scholastic Press

    (I’m only recording the bare bone facts about the Young Adult Fiction titles I read in 2014 — Serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults committee means that I need to be quite cautious in expressing opinions on social media. The safest way is to not express specific reactions publicly. But I’d like to keep reporting the titles I encounter throughout the year. You can always follow the link to Goodreads to see other readers’ reviews.)

    Click here for: Goodreads summary and other people’s reviews.

     
    • DaNae 11:36 pm on January 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I really enjoyed watching the YA fiction discussions last year in Seattle. I was, however, overwhelmed by the number of books on the list. Do you have a limit? Can the committee turn stuff away? Do you think you will be covering more or less titles than for Newbery?
      Love the tag – Girl Drama.

    • fairrosa 1:28 am on January 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll be going to watch the BFYA meetings this coming weekend. My term does not start until this one is over. So all I’m reading now are just random new YAs. I don’t really know how we will be going about gathering titles to read — I know there is an active online nomination process. I think we’re supposed to read as many as we can — but there ARE fifteen people on the committee. I’ll report more on the process as I have better grasp on it.

      • DaNae 8:21 am on January 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I watched it an the notables quiet a bit last year. The biggest difference between the two was that the BFYA encouraged input from the spectators. The friend I was with had read a number of the books and gave some very articulate insights. My sister, who lives in Portland and new a number of the kids which were brought in, witness the youth analysis. I really liked the transparency with how the committee operated. I did wonder if each member was required to read each book.
        Where will Midwinter be next year?

        • fairrosa 8:57 am on January 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

          Midwinter 2015 will be in Chicago.

  • fairrosa 2:59 pm on January 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    The Here and Now 

    hereandnow: Ann Brashares

    Genre(s): Sci-fi, Mystery, Romance

    Basic Content Information: Time Travelers from a devastated and plagued future back to our (Here/Now is May 2014, Tristate area) with the expressed desire to “fix the future” but as the protagonist (17-year-old Prenna) finds out, they are merely hiding in their new safe colony with stringent and suffocating rules. When an opportunity presents itself for Prenna to alter a current situation that will impact on her future, she goes for it with the help of her Time Native boyfriend. Notions of free will, choices, and sacrifices for one’s community are explored. Teen budding romance with physical ramifications are explored. Climate change, dirty and clean energies, and disease control are some scientific topics touched on in the book.

    Edition: Netgalley

    Pub Date: April 8, 2014

    Publisher: Delacorte/Random House

    (I’m only recording the bare bone facts about the Young Adult Fiction titles I read in 2014 — Serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults committee means that I need to be quite cautious in expressing opinions on social media. The safest way is to not express specific reactions publicly. But I’d like to keep reporting the titles I encounter throughout the year. You can always follow the link to Goodreads to see other readers’ reviews.)

    Click here for: Goodreads summary and other people’s reviews.

     
  • fairrosa 10:55 am on January 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    With A Mighty Hand: The Story in the Torah 

    withamightyhandadapted and retold by Amy Ehrlich
    illustrated by Daniel Nevins

    Ehrlich’s talent as a storyteller is evident in the book.  She picked and chose powerful details.  She then tailored them for young readers with simple and easily understandable words and sentences.  The immediacy is almost shocking.  Instead of the tales feeling distanced by archaic language or complex sentence structures as often found in the translated versions of the Bible (or Torah), a young reader can digest these stories quickly and see the pictures clearly (also with the help of the colorful paintings.)

    I think that’s why I had such conflicting reactions to this gorgeously illustrated religious text.  On the one hand, I really admire Ehrlich’s storytelling and distilling skills.  On the other hand, all these immediacies bring to sharp relief the brutal and the morally questionable events and behaviors in these stories.  Being a non-believer of any religion myself, it was really hard for me to understand how anyone could “fall for” this inconsistent, arrogant, vengeful, deceptive, conspiring, and power-hungry GOD.  Some of the lessons that I got from the book are

    • Since GOD is so fickle, but so all powerful, you’d better always do as told.
    • One’s relationship with GOD is and should be completely based on Fear.
    • All human inter-actions are based on Jealousy and sometimes bad deeds are richly rewarded.
    • Women are to be neglected and are of no or little importance except in bearing sons for the chosen people.
    • The chosen ones should endeavor in eliminating the non-believers and those who believe in other Gods.

    So, I am left with a huge question: Why, in the year 2013, we need such a retelling of these brutal and morally antiquated tales to children which do not contain in the text itself explanatory notes or questions that encourage discussions for the family?  Especially since this is a trade book and conceivably could be read and shared with people who are not of the Jewish faith.   (There are indeed back matters with notes and an introduction but I really would have liked to see a more philosophical approach to these tales than the current shape it is in.)

     
  • fairrosa 10:21 am on January 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    The Great Gatsby 

    greatgatsbyby F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Read by Anthony Heald
    Finally read (listened) to this classic and totally understood why its fame and popularity have held up for almost a century. The tragic love story is laid out so well, subtly at first, then with more and more clarity and force until the readers cannot but detest almost all of the players between the covers, and couldn’t help but pitying Gatsby. It is interesting to me how the “glamor” part of the book is so short and so hollow and yet that’s the imagery most associated with the title. And Nick Carraway definitely is not the naive youngster but an observant, empathetic, and gentle soul whose involvement in all the affairs is not due to his infatuation with wealth and power but due to his willingness to treat others with decency. Perhaps that IS a form of naiveté — but there is a nobility to it and you don’t want him to lose it.

    I find it slightly unsettling how Fitzgerald strays from the confine of a first person view point many times to describe in details both factual and emotional events that Carraway (the first person narrator) could have never directly observed. I imagine this shifting of limited first person POV and an omniscient narrative passages is greatly discussed in classrooms around the country. I wonder if anyone writing novels today can get away with this inconsistency?

     
  • fairrosa 3:16 pm on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Saga, Vol. 1 

    saga by Brian K. Vaughan; artwork by Fiona Staples

    The first six installments (chapters) of a supposed Space Opera definitely grabbed my attention and my heart. The world is ingeniously built, with interesting and outlandish “races” — I adore the reddish ghost girl who has only top half her body…. not quite sure how I feel about the computer monitor headed royalties… I hope the story unfolds with a lot of creativity and depth. My strong and enamored reaction to this book came largely from Fiona Staples’ lush artwork. I don’t feel like calling her just “the illustrator” because I feel that she did more than mere illustrating what’s given to her — but expanded and enhanced this fictional world and its inhabitants with grace. I look forward to the next volume!

    Ah.. this is really not meant for children — even though I know quite a few of my younger teens have read this (on their own, not by my recommendation.)

     
  • fairrosa 11:48 pm on January 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    A Matter of Souls 

    matterofsouls

    Author: Denise Patrick Lewis

    Genre(s): Short Stories, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction

    Basic Content Information: Eight short stories, African American experiences from various periods (voting, slavery, owning a business, current conflicts, etc.)  Some are about families and others are romances — showing the struggles and triumphs (and failures) without reservation.

    Edition: Netgalley

    Pub Date: April 1, 2014

    Publisher: Carolrhoda/Lerner

    (I’m only recording the bare bone facts about the Young Adult Fiction titles I read in 2014 — Serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults committee means that I need to be quite cautious in expressing opinions on social media.  The safest way is to not express specific reactions publicly. But I’d like to keep reporting the titles I encounter throughout the year. You can always follow the link to Goodreads to see other readers’ reviews.)

    Click here for: Goodreads summary and other people’s reviews.

     
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