Genre: Contemporary or Realistic Fiction

Book Review: The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Posted January 18, 2017 // 1 Comment
Book Review: The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

It’s a rare thing to reach the final page of a book and simply think: “This is perfect.” Neither is it typical that every single scene of a book is exactly what the story needs, every line of dialogue perfectly attuned to the mood and personality of the speaking character, and ever image perfectly aligned to add to the text’s overall message. More, it’s unusual that a book gives me, […]

Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Posted January 14, 2017 // 0 Comments
Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Young adult fiction is an audience category that encompasses many genres. However, one thing that’s somewhat rare to find is literary fiction for young adults, which is undoubtedly what The Miseducation of Cameron Post is. And considering the years the author has spent in academia—both an MFA and PhD in creative writing—it isn’t surprising that Danforth’s novel fits into this designator. This is a slow-moving, character-driven coming of age story, […]

Book Review: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Posted September 10, 2015 // 1 Comment
Book Review: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

This is a book about high school bullying, and that’s honestly about it. It’s not that I don’t think it’s an important topic, and Meg Medina did a great job—but Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass is a book that only deals with one thing, and does it in a way that makes you wonder if you’re not watching one of those “educational” TV movies you were forced to […]

Book Review: Re Jane by Patricia Park

Posted August 29, 2015 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Re Jane by Patricia Park

I love the promise of this book: a retelling of Jane Eyre with a modern Korean-American woman cast in the titular role. Literary retellings are often hit-or-miss with me, but I loved the way Patricia Park spun this particular novel. But, unfortunately, I feel that like many retellings, Re Jane just could not compare to Brontë’s original novel. When I was able to forget the derivative nature of the book, […]

Book Review: A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

Posted August 28, 2015 // 1 Comment
Book Review: A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

Padma Venkatraman’s verse novel, A Time to Dance, is an exploration of art and spirituality and determination, told by Veda, a classically trained dancer who loses her leg in an car accident. This is a beautiful, uncomplicated story of recovery and passion, told in simple free verse that captures the narrator’s emotions very well. Themes of music and God (not the Judeo-Christian one) run throughout the book, and the author […]

Book Review: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Posted August 17, 2015 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Eleven years old, Kimberly moves with her mother to New York from Hong Kong. In spite of a language barrier, she quickly becomes the best student in her class, but struggles to balance her life at a fancy prep school with her life as an illegal worker in a Chinatown sweatshop. In a coming of age tale that’s something like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for the 21st century reader, […]

Book Review: The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

Posted August 13, 2015 // 3 Comments
Book Review: The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

This book has all the things I love: complex female relationships, family dysfunction, a protagonist who works her way through her mistakes, and also real-life preteen issues. The Truth About Twinkie Pie is a story that’s both adorable and serious, the kind of book that really just makes me happy to be a reader. Kat Yeh’s debut novel about a girl and her new school and the mother-shaped hole in […]

Book Review: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez

Posted August 12, 2015 // 2 Comments
Book Review: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez

The Book of Unknown Americans is a tragedy from the mouths of immigrants. It’s a book about the American Dream and the various ways that dream can fall apart and die. At the center of the novel are two teenagers from Latin American families, but Cristina Henríquez includes other voices as well, and while there are absolutely high points and moments of happiness, the pervading tone I felt while reading […]

Book Reviews: Gabi, a Girl in Pieces & Under the Mesquite

Posted August 8, 2015 // 5 Comments
Book Reviews: Gabi, a Girl in Pieces & Under the Mesquite

Through heartfelt, energetic journal entries and raw poetry, Isabel Quintero tells the story of Mexican-American teen, Gabi Hernandez, her senior year, and how she learns the truth about being “a good girl”. Okay, so. This book made me want to be a poet. It made me want to change the world. It made me want to go back in time and give teenage Renae a book she could really identify with. It […]

Book Review: This Side of Home by Renée Watson

Posted August 3, 2015 // 0 Comments
Book Review: This Side of Home by Renée Watson

This book is legitimately the young adult novel I’ve been waiting for ever since I first started reading YA three years ago. This Side of Home is beautifully written and is complex in its discussion of race relations, ethnicity, and identity. The author, writing as high school senior Maya Younger, offers a narrative that is intimate and honest, with a level of insight that is mature and entirely in character. […]

Book Review: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

Posted July 26, 2015 // 1 Comment
Book Review: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

When I was in middle school, I was absolutely in love with Jennifer L. Holm’s Boston Jane trilogy—it probably would have made all sorts of Favorite Books lists back in the day. A recent re-read has shown me how very excellent that series is even after several years, and I immediately knew I had to try Holm’s more recent novels (the Boston Jane books being over a decade old at […]

Book Reviews: Nimona & Serafina’s Promise

Posted July 23, 2015 // 1 Comment
Book Reviews: Nimona & Serafina’s Promise

I’M A SHARK! No, but seriously. You start Nimona thinking it’s going to be all hilarious and nefarious, and then it comes up and punches you in the gut. Stevenson’s artwork was cute and just weird enough to grasp the nature of the characters and the pseudo-medieval setting that the story takes place in. It’s a quick read, but touched unexpectedly on some areas regarding humanity and truth that were far from […]