Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Sun Keep Rising by Kristen R. Lee

  • Sun Keep Rising
  • by Kristen R. Lee
  • Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
  • Imprint: Penguin Random House
  • Release date: January 24, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593309193

Teen mom B’onca has always found a way to survive. Things are harder now with her baby, but she finds a way to stay in school, help pay the rent and raise her daughter. Unfortunately, her Memphis neighborhood is being gentrified and the rent is increasing. Soon B’onca and her mom get an eviction notice. B’onca can’t lose her home or her daughter. The father’s family is threatening to take the baby if she can’t prove she has a stable household. Pushed into a corner, B’onca decides to take a risk to get quick money, putting everything even more in jeopardy. 

The difficult, but real issues in this book are handled with grace and also don’t shy away from the pain and injustices. The realistic way it’s written will appeal to reluctant readers who like true stories with believable characters. In this short book the reader is drawn into B’onca’s life.

Readers who enjoy realistic stories that deal with complex life issues will enjoy this book. This tells a story that isn’t often told and gives a voice to young teen mothers who love their babies and strive to make themselves better for their kids. For more books about young women of color finding their voice while grappling with complicated lives read Vinyl Moon by Mahogany Browne and Me: Moth by Amber McBride.

Other Nominated

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho

The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho

Narrated by Raechel Wong

Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. | Harper Teen

Publication Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN:9780063059375

CW: Suicide

Maybelline Chen is a typical teenager and far from the perfect Chinese-Taiwanese daughter her mother expects. Her smart, kind, athletic, Princeton-bound older brother Danny, however, can do no wrong. Unknown to Danny’s family, he has been struggling with severe depression and when he commits suicide, May’s life is shattered. On top of dealing with her own loss and her grieving parents, a local rich, white venture capitalist claims that Danny committed suicide because his parents put too much “pressure” on him and that these extreme expectations from Asian parents are why so many white students are struggling with mental health and academics. May’s parents tell her to keep her head down and ignore the comments. But how can May stay silent? Who gets to say which experiences get told and which are ignored? Soon, May and her friends begin a school campaign to take back their narratives and find justice for Danny’s memory.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2023) Featured Review of The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho