Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee Simon & Schuster Publication Date: June 6, 2017 ISBN: 9781481489331
Tash Zelenka is head-over-heels in love with Leo Tolstoy. She channels her passion and her prodigious snark into the Web series she creates with her best friend Jack, a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina called Unhappy Families, which boasts a modest following. When a famous Internet personality gives their series a shoutout online, Unhappy Families experiences sudden overnight fame, resulting in overwhelming helpings of accolades, inevitable trolls, and pressure to deliver like they’ve never experienced before. Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees Round Up
Today’s Quick Picks nominees are filled with thrills and chills.
Breaking by Danielle Rollins Bloomsbury USA Children’s Publication Date: June 6, 2017 ISBN: 9781619637405
Charlotte has never been a top student at her prestigious, expensive, academically rigorous boarding school. Her best friends Ariel and Devon, however, are true Weston Prep material – freakishly smart and incredibly talented at a multitude of things. Understandably, Charlotte is reeling after they both commit suicide within weeks of each other – they were pretty much her only real family. Then she discovers a clue… and realizes that Ariel has left her a trail of breadcrumbs right to the answer to all her questions. If she’s brave enough and clever enough to figure out the puzzle, what she learns will change everything. Breaking is a companion novel to Rollins’s first book, Burning, and reading them in order may provide more details and context about situations mentioned in Breaking, but it is not strictly necessary. Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees Round Up
This edition of Amazing Audiobooks nominees features two funny stories!
Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn, narrated by Lauren Ezzo Audio Published by Dreamscape Media, LLC Publication Date: May 16, 2017 ISBN: 9781520072210
Kill All Happies is Cohn’s newest solo title. Cohn is well-known for her collaborative titles with YA author David Levithan, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, the Twelves Days of Dash and Lily and Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List. In Kill All Happies, Victoria “Vic” Navarro or “General Navarro,” as she is called by peers, is determined to give the seniors of Rancho Soldado one last party they won’t forget. Like most of the townspeople of Rancho Soldado, Vic is devastated that the local restaurant Happies has closed and is being sold to developers. Vic gets permission to host the party in the Happies restaurant, with the understanding that the party will in no way overflow into the abandoned Happies theme park behind the restaurant, and that Annette Thrope, a.k.a. “Miss Ann Thrope,” Vic’s arch-nemesis, teacher, and real estate agent for the Happies property, will not find out. Vic is assisted in this endeavor by her two best friends, Genesis “Fletch” Fletcher and Mercedes “Slick” Zavala-Kim. But Vic also has another goal for the evening, to hook up with her number one crush, Slick’s older brother Jake. At first, the party seems to be going on without a hitch, but soon Happies from all over arrive to celebrate the “last night at Happies.” The night begins to veer off course and Vic has to decide to try and fix the problems the party is causing or give up and join in the fun. Continue reading #AA2018: Amazing Audiobooks Nominees, Volume 8
Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios Henry Holt and Co. Publication Date: June 13, 2017 ISBN: 9781627797726
Grace’s life is already pretty difficult, honestly. Between her extremely controlling stepfather, her cleanliness-obsessed mother, caring for her young brother, school, work, and theater she barely has time to breathe. Grace has had a crush on a senior from her drama club named Gavin for a while, and when brooding, tortured Gavin seems interested in her, at first she thinks it may be a turning point. Finally – she’ll have someone other than her two best friends who support and encourages her, and she’ll be the girlfriend of THE Gavin Davis. From the very beginning, though, Grace lets the reader know that this fairy tale love does not have a happily-ever-after ending. Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees Round Up
This round of Amazing Audiobooks nominees are great stories told in unusual formats.
Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess, narrated by Kwame Alexander and Randy Preston (original music) Audio Published by Zondervan Publication Date: August 1, 2017 ISBN: 9780310761891
Solo tells the story of seventeen year old Blade Morrison. Blade, like his father, is a talented musician; but unlike his father, he’s steadier, sober and less haunted by his mother’s death. Blade has a comfortable yet difficult life. His dad is wealthy, so he never needs to worry about money or how to pay for his future. He has a girlfriend, Chapel, with whom he plans to attend college. Yet Blade is constantly in the public eye, because his father is not only famous, but infamous for the stunts he pulls when he’s under the influence. Blade, who is more self-possessed that most teenage kids with famous substance abusing fathers and self-involved sisters, is learning truths about himself that are throwing his world into a tailspin. Continue reading #AA2018: Amazing Audiobooks Nominees, Volume 7
Today’s Amazing Audiobooks nominees feature charming and engaging coming of age narratives.
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, narrated by Robbie Daymond Audio published by Clarion Books Publication Date: March 7, 2017 ISBN: 978-0544586505
Sal is beginning his senior year of high school. He feels he’s always lived a slow, predictable life with his adoptive gay dad, his dad’s family, and his best friend, Sam. The beginning of this school year, however, brings an identity crisis the likes of which Sal has never experienced. His emotions feel out of control, his family life is rapidly changing, and he’s spiraling. His grandmother, the only woman who’s played the motherly role in his life, is dying while his friend Fito’s mother is at risk of murdering Fito because of the drugs that she’s using. The only outlet for all of this stress that satisfies Sal is physical violence, and this makes him afraid of himself.
Grit, Motivation, Passion, Focus, Teamwork, Resilience, Tenacity. These are the tenets that Newbery Award winner Kwame Alexander outlines in The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life. The characters in the three sports novels recommended here exhibit all that and more.
In Patina, Jason Reynolds continues the story that began with Ghost, of tenacious Patty and the motley group of runners who win on the the track but struggle in their lives. Top Prospect, by veteran sports writer Paul Volponi, tells the story of a resilient boy pressured way too early to be the quarterback his older brother is, partly based on the true stories of young athletes who are promised college scholarships before they even hit high school. Passionate Tessa, in Thatcher Heldring’s The Football Girl, is an exceptional athlete who loves the game too much to let it go, even at the risk of disappointing her friends and family.
These stories, along with Alexander’s sage advice, will be winners with reluctant readers of all shapes, sizes and athletic skills.
The Playbook52 Ways to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander Photographs by Thai Neave Houghton Mifflin Harcourt February 14, 2017 978-0544570979
While traditional playbooks guide athletes in strategies for winning on the scoreboard, Alexander’s release, The Playbook, has 52 rules for enriching the game of life. This uplifting rendition contains anecdotes from some of the world’s most influential athletes, leaders, and poets. LeBron James, Michelle Obama, Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, and many more are included. A diverse selection of thought-provoking, practical narratives includes quotes and photographs that embrace a variety of sports, gender, race, and compelling individuals. Alexander himself shares encouraging stories about overcoming obstacles while struggling in football and basketball as a teen, before his persistence culminated in finding his niche and success in tennis. Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees: Sports Stories
This installment of Amazing Audiobook nominees feature stories of real life and the “not so afterlife” and are perfect for fans of hard-hitting realistic YA fiction, and more humorous stories.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin
Audio published by: Harper Audio
Publication date: 2/28/17
The Hate U Give, titled after a Tupac Shakur song, reaches deep into an ongoing issue in American culture today; that of police violence against the African American community. Starr Carter is torn between two worlds. In one world, she’s the token black girl, smoothing out her personality and demeanor to fit in with the other students at her suburban prep school. In her other world, Starr faces a glaring reality that only comes from living in a drug- and gang-ridden community. But even with its problems, Garden Heights looks after itself, neighbors helping each other; and Starr’s father’s store provides a staple business in the community. One evening Kenya (Starr’s half-brother’s sister), convinces Starr to join her at a local party. During the party, Starr reunites with an old childhood friend, Khalil. Seeing Khalil brings forward some of the reasons the two grew apart; Starr’s attending a prep school in a different town and the death of their childhood friend, who was killed in a drive by shooting while swimming at the public pool. After witnessing the death of their friend, Starr has never been quite the same. Continue reading #AA2018: Amazing Audiobooks Nominees, Volume 5
This round of Amazing Audiobooks nominees feature historical fiction and true tales of teens making history.
The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein, narrated by Maggie Service
Audio published by Brilliance Audiobook
Publication Date: 7/15/17 ISBN: 978-1484717165
Elizabeth Wein’s latest novel is another humdinger of a historical yarn. This little ditty is just drenched in dulcet dialogue and populated by an irresistible array of memorable characters. Featuring a feisty and charmingly spunky female protagonist with a certain derring-do that takes her to the heart of an engrossing murder mystery. Teenage Julie Beaufort-Stuart returns to her ancestral Scottish home for the summer and is quickly steeped in a conundrum involving pilfered pearls, country travelers, and one boggy corpse.
The Pearl Thief is a well-crafted coming-of-age tale that rings authentic and well-researched. It should appeal to young audiences for its vim, variety of characters, and velocity of narrative. It’s equal parts Harriet the Spy, Sherlock Holmes, and Scooby-Doo. Julie carries the plot effortlessly with her verve and sense of adventure but the accompanying characters also bring much to the story. Julie befriends two traveler siblings and together they tackle the case of the missing heirloom pearls that resulted in a dead body on the family estate. It’s very almost nearly a Nancy Drew Mystery Story. Continue reading #AA2018: Amazing Audiobooks Nominees, Volume 4