Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Sway With Me by Syed M. Masood

Sway with Me Cover Art

Sway With Me by Syed M. Masood
Hatchette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 2, 2021
ISBN: 978-0316492416 

Being homeschooled by his nearly 100-year-old great grandfather (Nana) has left seventeen-year-old Indian American Arsalan with an impressive vocabulary and not an ounce of cool. Considering that Nana doesn’t likely have many years left on this earth, Arsalan comes to the conclusion he needs to get engaged. Not married, just engaged. He just wants a guarantee that he won’t be left alone when Nana dies. So he makes a deal with Beenish, whose stepmother is the “premier matchmaking aunty of the Greater Sacramento Area” and so presumably knows something about the matchmaking process. Beenish agrees to set him up with someone if he will be her dance partner for her sister’s upcoming wedding. A wedding — Arsalan soon discovers — that Beenish wants to end before it happens, primarily through choreographing an outrageously inappropriate dance that will be sure to offend her sister’s in-laws-to-be.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 30 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

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Raybearer by  Jordan Ifueko; Narrated by  Joniece Abbott-Pratt
Blackstone Publishing
Publication Date: August 18, 2020
ISBN: 978-1094149189

Tarisai has grown up living a privileged life surrounded by tutors, luxury, and protection in her realm, but she has never received love and closeness from anyone around her. She especially longs for attention from her mother, called The Lady. At 11 years old, Tarisai is sent to Oluwan City to compete for inclusion on Crown Prince Ekundayo’s governing Council of Eleven. If chosen, she will bond eternally with Prince Dayo and her Council siblings via a mystical Ray, and gain the human closeness she so craves. But Tarisai learns that before she was born, The Lady commanded a djinn to impregnate her with a child who must someday grant her third wish. Tarisai is that child. And The Lady’s third wish is to kill the prince Tarisai is now sworn to protect. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2020) Nominees Round Up, October 11 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
ISBN: 978-1534416789 

Ashish has just had his heart broken by his first love. Since it happened, he hasn’t been the same, in his basketball game or his love life game. At the suggestion of his sometimes friend, Ashish turns to his parents to set him up with an Indian girl. Sweetie is a fierce track superstar, but is constantly under the scrutiny of her mother over her weight. When Ashish’s parents want him to date Sweetie, Sweetie’s mother immediately turns down the offer, again citing Sweetie’s weight as the reason why. Furious, and ready to do something rebellious for once, Sweetie proposes to Ashish a date in secret, and the rom com fireworks begin.

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#BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, August 24 Edition

From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon
Simon & Schuster / Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
ISBN: 978-1481495400 

By writing to female directors in her journal, an aspiring filmmaker herself, Twinkle navigates friend, boy, and family drama all while directing her first short film with Sahil Roy, a fellow film lover who also harbors an unrequited crush on her. To complicate matters further Twinkle has a secret admirer who she suspects might be Neil Roy, Sahil’s twin brother and Twinkle’s own unrequited crush.

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#QP2019 Nominees Round Up, July 10 Edition

Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter by Joe Flood
Roaring Brook Press / First Second
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
ISBN: 9781626727885 

The popularity of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is testament to the fascination we hold for this remarkable predator.  That curiosity is further fostered by this graphic novel that beautifully blends art and science.

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Booklist: Romantic Comedies

There is nothing like escaping into a fun-filled romantic comedy, especially when the pressures of real life loom large, and one could use a little levity, love, and fun. Diving into a romantic escapade can be incredibly satisfying, especially if it is one that can provide “all the feels.”

Rom-coms are often predictable in the best sort of way. If the story is true to the genre, you know the most likely ending…the romantic interests will end up together, but it is the journey to that end that brings us in. There are also other key elements that every rom-com has:

  • Two Main Protagonists – one, if not both, is adorkable and charming. They will be easy to root for in love and in life.
  • Side Characters – the tapestry of people that surround our hopeful lovers. They can be supportive, offer comic guffaws, or are the ones helping create obstacles and/or distractions that keep our lovers apart or push hem together.
  • Location – often as much as a character as our side characters. Our lovers are often traipsing over an area creating memories in key spots.
  • The “Meet-Cute” or the person next door – how our characters come into contact with each. The meet-cute will often be awkward or filled with tension where the characters do not like each other at first, or it can be charming. Sometimes, often in YA fiction, our soon-to-be lovers have been friends since childhood, and it is just seeing them each other in a new light.
  • The Challenge – often a false start where there is a misunderstanding, other potential love interest, or obstacle that seems to big to surmount comes into play separating our would be lovers.
  • The Grand Epiphany – what brings them together in the end. One or both will have a revelation that they can not be without the other, and usually a grand gesture will be involved in declaring love.

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