edited 13 Apr
I’m getting behind! My pile of BFYA books is growing! Still, it’s a pleasure to look at that pile because they all stand a chance of being a really good read. The books in that pile have been nominated by BFYA committee members or by the general public as titles that should be on the annual list. The titles nominated are announced each month and the committee members get busy locating copies of the books so that they can be read before each of the ALA conventions.
What don’t I like about the process? The very few titles by authors of color – or featuring characters of color – that we receive. The number is even smaller than the number of the books that are published.
What do I like? I like broadening my reading selections. I avoid monsters, paranormals, werewolves… at all costs, but I cannot avoid them this year! I don’t like reading about
murder as entertainment the darker side of humanity and hate to see that trickle into YA but, I’m reading these books and developing new perspectives. Closing one’s self off from situations isn’t a way to grow. My latest read, Scarlet by Marissa Meyers lacks ethnic diversity but explores the issues of prejudice and immigration, questioning what we do if these space aliens threaten our lives.
I also like being able to help get teens reading with the books. I’m getting LOTS of them and am looking for good ways to get them where they’re needed. Please email me if you have suggestions. I’ve been thinking about shipping them down to Henryville, getting them to some of the high schools around here or even taking them to ALA to give them to high schools there. One thing I’ve learned is that schools in small communities are quite conservative, so not all will appreciate some of these books.
I put off posting the new April releases, thinking I might still find a few more titles and maybe I still will. Looking for new books is really getting interesting. I usually go to Amazon to look and every month, struggle with search terms to find new books that have been released by authors of color for teens. I had seen Walter Dean Myer’s latest book, but in searching for it using his name, the title did not come up for me. I had to use the title of the book to find it. I’ve had this happen with other authors as well. Have you?
Last month, I found the following after posting March releases.
Fat Angie e.E. Charlton-Trujillo; Candlewick, March: Angie is broken — by her can’t-be-bothered mother, by her high-school tormenters, and by being the only one who thinks her varsity-athlete-turned-war-hero sister is still alive. Hiding under a mountain of junk food hasn’t kept the pain (or the shouts of “crazy mad cow!”) away. Having failed to kill herself — in front of a gym full of kids — she’s back at high school just trying to make it through each day. That is, until the arrival of KC Romance, the kind of girl who doesn’t exist in Dryfalls, Ohio. A girl who is one hundred and ninety-nine percent wow! A girl who never sees her as Fat Angie, and who knows too well that the package doesn’t always match what’s inside. With an offbeat sensibility, mean girls to rival a horror classic, and characters both outrageous and touching, this darkly comic anti-romantic romance will appeal to anyone who likes entertaining and meaningful fiction.
Lightning Dreamer by Margarita Engle; Harcourt, March: “I find it so easy to forget / that I’m just a girl who is expected / to live / without thoughts.” Opposing slavery in Cuba in the nineteenth century was dangerous. The most daring abolitionists were poets who veiled their work in metaphor. Of these, the boldest was Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, nicknamed Tula. In passionate, accessible verses of her own, Engle evokes the voice of this book-loving feminist and abolitionist who bravely resisted an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and was ultimately courageous enough to fight against injustice. Historical notes, excerpts, and source notes round out this exceptional tribute.
And, I missed this February release.
Drifting by Lisa R. Nelson; Tiny Satchel Press Fourteen- year-old Jasmine Hinton is leaving home—but not because she wants to. Bags piled high in the rear of their car, she and her father, Darryl, abruptly left their apartment in Richmond, Virginia heading for Raleigh, North Carolina. Jasmine has left her best friend, Rachel, the school she loves, and everything familiar behind. Bewildered, Jasmine doesn’t understand the sudden move and her father will only say that it’s best for them to move on.
A series of confusing events and strange behavior by her father leads Jasmine to question what’s really going on. Is her father in trouble? She starts to ask questions, but they never seem to be answered, leaving Jasmine baffled and even hurt. Father and daughter have gone from a pleasant suburban existence to living a strangely isolated life in a dilapidated residential hotel.
Disobeying her father’s inexplicable rule that she spend all her days in their hotel room while he searches for work, a bored and lonely Jasmine becomes friends with the daughter of the hotel’s owner, 19-year-old Felicia. Jasmine and Felicia find they have something in common—both their mothers are dead, both of them are only children, both of them are drifting. Soon they discover they have even more in common—a plethora of secrets, lies, and betrayals.
Drifting is an uncommon coming-of-age story about a young girl and her journey to uncover the truth about her life.
Darius and Twig by Walter Dean Myer; Harper 23 Apr
Darius and Twig are an unlikely pair: Darius is a writer whose only escape is his alter ego, a peregrine falcon named Fury, and Twig is a middle-distance runner striving for athletic success. But they are drawn together in the struggle to overcome the obstacles that Harlem life throws at them.
The two friends must face down bullies, an abusive uncle, and the idea that they’ll be stuck in the same place forever in this touching and raw new teen novel from Walter Dean Myers, award-winning author of Monster, Kick, We Are America, Bad Boy, and many other celebrated literary works for children and teens.
The witches of Ruidoso by John Sandoval; Arte Publica April
Young Elijah was sitting on the porch of the Ruidoso Store when fourteen-year-old Beth Delilah and her father climbed down from the stage coach. Blond with lovely pale skin, big blue eyes and “dressed from boot to bonnet in black” in mourning for her mother, she was the prettiest, most exotic thing he had ever seen. And when she bent over to pick up a horned toad, which she then held right up to her face in complete fascination, Elijah learned that it’s possible to feel jealous of an amphibian.
In the last years of the nineteenth century, in the western territory that would become New Mexico, the two young people become constant companions. They roam the ancient country of mysterious terrain, where the mountain looms and reminds them of their insignificance, and observe the eccentric characters in the village: Mr. Blackwater, known as “No Leg Dancer” by the Apaches because of the leg he lost in the War Between the States and his penchant for blowing reveille on his bugle each morning; their friend, Two Feather, the Mescalero Apache boy who takes Beth Delilah to meet his wise old grandfather who sees mysterious things; and Senora Roja, who everyone believes is a bruja, or witch, and who they know to be vile and evil.
Elijah has horrible nightmares involving Senora Roja, death and torture. And when the witch enslaves a girl named Rosa, the pair must try to rescue her from her grim fate. Together, Elijah and Beth Delilah come of age in a land of mountains and ravens, where good and evil vie for the souls of white men and Indians alike.
Garden Of My Imaan by Farhana Zia; Peachtree Publishers 1 Apr
Aliya already struggles with trying to fit in, feeling confident enough to talk to the cute boy or stand up to mean kids the fact that she s Muslim is just another thing to deal with. When Marwa, a Moroccan girl who shares her faith if not her culture, comes to Aliya s school, Aliya wonders even more about who she is, what she believes, and where she fits in. Should she fast for Ramadan? Should she wear the hijab? She s old enough for both, but does she really want to call attention to herself?
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa; Harlequin Teen 30 Apr
Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet mRay become her wary ally.
Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike. This synopsis is from GoodReads, which really is Amazon…
Rumor Central by Reshondal Tate Billingsley; Kensington 30 Apr
What is the true price of fame?
The teen reality show Miami Divas made media sensations out of Miami’s richest in-crowd — and Maya Morgan is one of them. Now Maya’s been offered her very own show, and she’ll do whatever it takes to step up the fame – and that includes spilling some secrets her friends wish were left buried. But as Maya gives up the goods, someone will do anything to shut her up. Between backstabbing lies and hard truths, this gossip girl has only one chance to make things right – before it’s too late.
Revenge of a not so pretty girl by Carolita Blythe; Delacorte, 9 April
Faye doesn’t mean to hit the old lady she and her friends are mugging. But she does. The old lady isn’t moving, but Faye has no reason to feel guilty for leaving her there. The old lady might be ancient and wrinkly now. But back in the day, she was as beautiful as they come—a famous movie star. And everyone knows that pretty and mean always go together. But Faye does feel guilty. So she comes back. Slowly, Faye and the old lady form an unlikely friendship, one that pulls Faye out of her life with her abusive mother and destructive “friends” and allows the old lady relief from her loneliness. But in an unfair world in which the pretty girls, no matter how mean, always seem to get everything, while Faye gets nothing, will Faye be able to keep from slipping back to her old ways? Will her mother ever be happy? Will her father ever come home to stay? And what if Faye goes her whole life without Michael Jackson ever loving her back? Faye is an honest, straightforward narrator who is likable even in her most flawed moments and will be cheered on by readers of every age and from every walk of life.
All book descriptions were shamelessly lifted from Amazon who probably would appreciate your consideration when purchasing your books. I do not work for Amazon. I don’t always shop at Amazon!