YA Titles Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) celebrates the heritage and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans. September 15th is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this month.The term Hispanic or Latino refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

To commemorate this month, I am highlighting some of the recent and forthcoming YA books either written by, or about, Hispanic and Latino fictional or real characters.

Soulprint-199x300Megan Miranda’s Soulprint, published this past February, is about Alina, a half-Hispanic 17-year-old, who has been confined on a secluded island for most of her life. She’s not confined for a crime that she committed in her present life, but for the past incursions of her soul. In this novel set in the not too distant world, scientists have discovered a way to create a fingerprint called a  “Soulprint” of a particular soul that allows them trace its passage from individual to individual. Alina happens to possess the soul of the late June Calahan, a Soul Database hacker who blackmailed public figures with nefarious past lives. Broken out of prison by three strangers, Alina hopes to finally escape from June’s shadow and begin to live her own life, but her rescuers have ulterior motives.

huntedlivingMatt De La Peña’s The Hunted (published in May) is the sequel to the 2014 Pura Belpre Honor winner The Living (2014 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults). A tsunami has sunk the cruise ship Mexican-American teen Shy Espinoza was working on for the summer. He and teens Marcus and Carmen and their adult guide Shoeshine have survived the sinking ship; escaped an island harboring a deadly secret and survived over a month at sea. They have discovered that some of the passengers were working for an evil biotech company responsible for a deadly contagion ravaging Southern California. In an area of California patrolled by rival gangs, the dead and dying, and those desperate to survive, they struggle to make it to the nearest operating laboratory in Arizona. By bringing the chemical formula and samples of the vaccine there, they hope scientists will be able to duplicate the vaccine samples and save the population.

shadowshaperShadowshaper (June) by Daniel José Older is an inventive tale that combines contemporary and magical realism in a stunning way. Sierra Santiago, a graffiti artist, is stunned when she notices the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears. Her ill grandfather gives her a strange warning and old men from her Brooklyn community begin mysteriously disappearing. After a zombielike corpse crashes a party one night and chases her, she and a cute guy from her neighborhood try to find out what’s going on and discover her family’s magical abilities. Sierra’s forced to do battle with a crazy anthropologist who wants that magical power for himself. What’s not to love about a kickass Latino heroine?

Photo Sep 12, 3 22 24 PMIn Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not (June), it’s been very hard for Puerto Rican Aaron Soto, 16, to find happiness since his father’s suicide and Aaron’s attempted coming out and subsequent rejection by the boy he likes and by his friends. The grief and the scar on his wrist prevent him from ever completely forgetting. Maybe the solution is to have The Leteo Institute erase parts of the memory, even if he risks severe amnesia and possibly death.

 

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What Would They Read?: Norrie from Under the Dome

I read Stephen King’s Under the Dome several years ago, so I was understandably excited when I found p9621445_b_v9_aeout it was going to be made into a television show.  This show is in its third summer season, and I’ve wondered about the teen characters. If they actually had access to books, what would they want to read? Norrie, in particular, strikes me as a tough customer. She and her moms were on their way to a camp for rebellious teens when they became trapped under the dome. Norrie’s moms see her as rebellious, and her caustic attitude does little to win her any admirers in town, at least among the adult population. If Norrie were to walk in today, what would I recommend that she read?

Backlash by Sarah Littman

In Backlash, Lara’s family and friends soon realize the impact of small things that became bigger, more complicated problems. This book would be a good one to give Norrie to help her understand why her moms were so bothered by her sexting and why they wanted to send her to a camp for troubled teens. Norrie would probably also be drawn to the drama in this story and the way few of the characters are sympathetic.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

More and more books about LGBTQ+ teens are being published every day, but there are still frighteningly few books about teens with LGBTQ+ parents. Norrie would enjoy Lola’s story for the simple fact that Lola has two dads and has to deal with the consequences of this the same way that Norrie deals with having two moms.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your AssYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (2014 Pura Belpre Award)

Yaqui decides that the new girl, Piddy, is too smart for her own good and isn’t Latina enough. Thus follows a year of Yaqui torturing Piddy, to the point where Piddy is assaulted outside her home and the assault is recorded and posted online. This book might help Norrie to tone down her caustic attitude a bit and to be able to see things from the other person’s point of view, as this story follows Piddy and how she deals with the torture she’s being put through.

Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon (2009 Best Books for Young Adults)

Ben’s father is tired of putting up with Ben’s rebellion, so he and his new boyfriend take Ben and move to the middle of Montana. Ben doesn’t feel like he fits in in this new small town, and he is still very angry at his father. Norrie would relate to Ben’s anger at his father as well as the small-town setting of this book, which is very similar to Chester’s Mill.  Continue reading What Would They Read?: Norrie from Under the Dome

Diversify Your YA Contemporary Reads: A Flowchart

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October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Summer Khaleq from California.

Most of us can attest to the fact that the ever-growing Young Adult genre is one of the most boundless and honest genres in modern-day literature. In terms of innovation, YA wins the gold.

Yet despite the ever-expanding horizons of YA, diversity in general seems to be a taboo topic. There aren’t nearly as many books featuring POC, LGBTQ, and/or disabled characters as there should be, with authors taking the safe route and opting for white heterosexual leads.

I’m certainly not the first to notice this, though. Campaigns supporting and advocating for diversity have been popping up all over the internet (such as the popular #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign), and if you aren’t familiar with any then you’ve either been a) living under a rock or b) hiding under a rock while reading a book. (Really, isn’t it sad the amount of campaigning that must be done in order to implement something that should be expected in this day in age?)

For those who are new to the movement, I’ve created a nifty little flowchart, since it can be cumbersome to look for potential diverse reads (insert expression of disappointment and irritation here). Even for those who have been following the campaigns for years, there are quite a few lesser-known books here that you should definitely give a try. Continue reading Diversify Your YA Contemporary Reads: A Flowchart

Is This the Real Life? Diversity

Diversity in youth literature has been a big topic of late. So, for this month’s contemporary YA lit book list, I am going to highlight some titles with various aspects of diversity in them (including a book that includes financial struggle). I know I will miss some, but these are the titles that popped into my head and I want you all to tell me of more titles!

Tyrant's DaughterThe Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson
Laila’s father was killed in a coup, and her family has been exiled to the United States from the Middle East. While she’s trying to adjust to a new life and culture, her mom is conspiring to get the family throne back.

I’m Just Me by M.G. Higgins
Nasreen and Mia are two very different girls who stand out at their school, making them targets for bullying and racial slurs, both at school and online. So the girls come together and hatch a plan for revenge. Continue reading Is This the Real Life? Diversity

What Would They Read: Glee Edition, Part 2

Since I got so much positive feedback from last month’s Glee edition of Glee-Themed-Karaoke-Revolution-Announced-2“What Would They Read?,” I thought I would continue with a few more characters.  I actually had some recommendations in the comments section which I plan to include in this post.

Last month I tackled reading options for Finn, Rachel, and Quinn.  In order to include as many characters as possible, I’m going to do a quick Reader’s Advisory for several more people.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your AssSantana Lopez – I’m going to start this off with one of the recommendations left in last month’s comments section.  While Santana does not appear to be a very big reader, she would definitely find some common ground in Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (2014 Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers).  In Medina’s book, Piddy discovers that Yaqui, a girl she doesn’t eve know, has decided to target her in an aggressive bullying situation.  Santana would like the book not only because of the strong anti-bullying sentiments she developed while protecting Kurt, but also because of the strong Latina characters with whom she can relate culturally.

Tina Cohen-Chang – As we all know, Principal Figgins has revealed his dislike for Tina’s wardrobe, stating that it makes Vampire_Kissesher look like a vampire.  I assume Tina would appreciate a few vampire novels once in a while.  In particular, I would give her Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber.  While this is a bit of an oldie in the YA perspective (it came out in 2003), I believe that Tina would breathe new life into the title.  In Vampire Kisses, Raven is an outcast who dresses in all black and dreams of someday becoming a vampire.  When new neighbors move in next door, Raven can’t help but notice that they do not venture out during the daytime and Alexander, the teenaged son, hangs out in the cemetery quite frequently.  This could be Raven’s chance to embrace the afterlife of a vampire.

Continue reading What Would They Read: Glee Edition, Part 2