Post-it Note Reviews of Recent YA Releases
I do my best to get a LOT of reading done, but can’t even begin to attempt to read all the books that show up here. Even if I quit my library job, I still couldn’t read them all. I read just about every free second I have—sitting in the car while waiting for my kid, on my lunch breaks at work, sometimes even while I’m walking in the hall at work. A lot of that kind of reading isn’t super conducive to really deep reading or taking many notes. Or maybe I’m reading in my own house, but while covered in sleeping dachshunds, or while trying to block out the noise of kids playing. I might not get around to being able to write a full review, but I still want to share these books with you, so here are my tiny Post-it Note reviews of a few titles. I also do these posts focusing on books for younger readers. It’s a great way to display books in your library or classroom, a way to let kids recommend their favorite titles without having to get up in front of everyone and do a book talk, and an easy way to offer a more personal recommendation than just the flap copy offers.
All summaries are from the publishers. Transcription of Post-it note review under the summary.
From award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes a new young adult novel, Meet the Sky, a story of love, letting go, and the unstoppable power of nature.
It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie’s dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie’s older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all.
With nothing but pain in her past, all Sophie wants is to plan for the future—keep the family business running, get accepted to veterinary school, and protect her mom and sister from another disaster. But when a hurricane forms off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and heads right toward their island, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control.
After she gets separated from her family during the evacuation, Sophie finds herself trapped on the island with the last person she’d have chosen—the reckless and wild Finn Sanders, who broke her heart freshman year. As they struggle to find safety, Sophie learns that Finn has suffered his own heartbreak; but instead of playing it safe, Finn’s become the kind of guy who goes surfing in the eye of the hurricane. He may be the perfect person to remind Sophie how to embrace life again, but only if their newfound friendship can survive the storm.
(POST-IT SAYS: The far-fetched plot will appeal to readers who like their main characters in peril. Survival, self-discovery, romance, and letting go of control combine for an enjoyable , well-paced read.)
Girl CEO by Katherine Ellison, Ronnie Cohen
Rebel girls, young entrepreneurs, and other trailblazing tweens and teens will find inspiring success stories and practical advice for launching their own illustrious careers—right now!
Mini-biographies of leading women entrepreneurs—from Katrina Lake to Oprah, Tavi Gevinson to Sheryl Sandberg, and Ursula Burns to Diane von Furstenberg—offer windows into what it takes to succeed, with a particular focus on the challenges faced (and overcome) by girls and women. Each success story provides different lessons in life and leadership—such as how to:
*identify a lucrative niche
*build and maintain a brand
*grow a loyal customer base
*raise money for research and development
*turn an interest (or a passion) into a career
*build a strong network
Fascinating figures from the words of media, technology, fashion, food, and more share their secrets with tomorrow’s leaders. Some of the women whose stories will be included in the book are:
Madam CJ Walker
Diane von Furstenberg
(POST-IT SAYS: Full color makes this book very visually appealing. Great profiles of and advice from diverse women entrepreneurs, inventors, CEOs, media stars, and other leaders. Inspiring and educational.)
Carol Anderson’s White Rage took the world by storm, landing on the New York Times bestseller list and best book of the year lists from New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Chicago Review of Books. It launched her as an in-demand commentator on contemporary race issues for national print and television media and garnered her an invitation to speak to the Democratic Congressional Caucus. This compelling young adult adaptation brings her ideas to a new audience.
When America achieves milestones of progress toward full and equal black participation in democracy, the systemic response is a consistent racist backlash that rolls back those wins. We Are Not Yet Equal examines five of these moments: The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with Jim Crow laws; the promise of new opportunities in the North during the Great Migration was limited when blacks were physically blocked from moving away from the South; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 led to laws that disenfranchised millions of African American voters and a War on Drugs that disproportionally targeted blacks; and the election of President Obama led to an outburst of violence including the death of black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri as well as the election of Donald Trump.
This YA adaptation will be written in an approachable narrative style that provides teen readers with additional context to these historic moments, photographs and archival images, and additional backmatter and resources for teens.
(POST-IT SAYS: Required reading. A powerful look at how white supremacy has been maintained and equality suppressed and undermined. An accessible exploration of systemic racism and injustice. Ages 12-18)
Seventeen-year-old Annabeth prefers the fantasy of her books and paintings to reality—because in reality, her mom is dead, and it was all her fault. She vows to make her dad’s life easier in return. But upon accompanying him to his friends’ secluded manor, he goes missing in the woods.
Annabeth suspects the manor’s heir Griffin knows more about the disappearance than he’s letting on. He’s irritable, removed, and he’s under police investigation for the mysterious “accidents” happening at his family’s estate.
Annabeth fears her father isn’t lost, but rather a victim of something sinister. She launches her own investigation, tracing clues that whisper of myth and legend and death, until she stumbles upon a secret. One that some would die to protect, others would kill to expose—and which twists Annabeth’s fantasy and reality together in deadly new ways.
(POST-IT SAYS: Easy recommendation for fans of thrillers, mysteries, and legends/mythology. Plenty of suspense keeps the story interesting and moving along even when the pacing feels off.)
Bijan Majidi is:
- Shy around girls
- Really into comics
- Decent at basketball
Bijan Majidi is not:
- A terrorist
What happens when a kid who’s flown under the radar for most of high school gets pulled off the bench to make the winning basket in a varsity playoff game?
If his name is Bijan Majidi, life is suddenly high fives in the hallways and invitations to exclusive parties—along with an anonymous photo sent by a school cyberbully that makes Bijan look like a terrorist.
The administration says they’ll find and punish the culprit. Bijan wants to pretend it never happened. He’s not ashamed of his Middle Eastern heritage; he just doesn’t want to be a poster child for Islamophobia. Lots of classmates rally around Bijan. Others make it clear they don’t want him oranybody who looks like him at their school. But it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends.
Here to Stay is a painfully honest, funny, authentic story about growing up, speaking out, and fighting prejudice.
(POST-IT SAYS: Sports, Persian culture, prep school, racism, and bullying are at the heart of this thoughtful and, at times, quite funny book. Great characters, smart writing, and full of heart. An excellent read.)
Disaffected teen historian Claudia McCarthy never expected to be in charge of Imperial Day Academy, but by accident, design, or scheme, she is pulled into the tumultuous and high-profile world of the Senate and Honor Council. Suddenly, Claudia is wielding power over her fellow students that she never expected to have and isn’t sure she wants.
Claudia vows to use her power to help the school. But there are forces aligned against her: shocking scandals, tyrants waiting in the wings, and political dilemmas with no easy answers. As Claudia struggles to be a force for good in the universe, she wrestles with the question: does power inevitably corrupt?
(POST-IT SAYS: This gender-bent modern take on I, Claudius is very long but super compelling. Power, scandal, plot twists, politics, and popularity collide in the student senate. Give this to readers who like drama and scheming.)
Sixteen-year-old Luli has just aged out of the orphanage where she grew up, and her childhood friend Yun helps her get a job at the factory where Yun works. Both girls enjoy the freedom of making their own decisions and earning their own money—until Yun gets pregnant by her boyfriend, who’s rumored to be a human trafficker. China’s restrictive family planning laws put Yun in a difficult position: she’ll either have to have an expensive abortion or face crippling fines for having a child out of wedlock. When she disappears, it’s up to Luli to track her down and find a way to help her.
(POST-IT SAYS: Such an intense read. An excellent addition to all collections because it is both well-written and gives voice to a story I don’t think we’ve seen in YA. This complex and serious story will appeal to readers looking for a challenging and thoughtful book.)
Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.
Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.
In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.
(POST-IT SAYS: An immediately engaging and extremely well-written Pride and Prejudice remix that’s highly enjoyable whether readers know the source material or not. A smart look at dating, culture, identity, gentrification, and family.)
Glimmer of Hope is the official, definitive book from The March for Our Lives founders.
Glimmer of Hope tells the story of how a group of teenagers raced to channel their rage and sorrow into action, and went on to create one of the largest youth-led movements in global history.
100% of the authors’ proceeds will benefit the March for Our Lives Foundation and the ongoing fight for gun violence prevention in the United States.
The full list of contributors, in alphabetical order, are: Adam Alhanti, Dylan Baierlein, John Barnitt, Alfonso Calderon, Sarah Chadwick, Jaclyn Corin, Matt Deitsch, Ryan Deitsch, Sam Deitsch, Brendan Duff, Emma González, Chris Grady, David Hogg, Lauren Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Jammal Lemy, Charlie Mirsky, Kyrah Simon, Delaney Tarr, Bradley Thornton, Kevin Trejos, Naomi Wadler, Sofie Whitney, Daniel Williams, and Alex Wind.
(POST-IT SAYS: A powerful collection of essays about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the aftermath, rally, social media movement, and the march. Includes info on mobilizing and endorsed reforms. Finished copy will include many photos. An important book.)
Martin and Bobby follows the lives, words, and final days of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Initially wary of one another, their relationship evolved from challenging and testing each other to finally “arriving in the same place” as allies fighting poverty and racism. The stories of King and Kennedy reveal how life experiences affect a leader’s ability to show empathy for all people and how great political figures don’t work in a vacuum but are influenced by events and people around them.
Martin’s courage showed Bobby how to act on one’s moral principles, and Bobby’s growing awareness of the country’s racial and economic divide gave Martin hope that the nation’s leaders could truly support justice. Fifty years later, their lives and words still stir people young and old and offer inspiration and insight on how our country can face the historic challenges of economic and racial inequality.
(POST-IT SAYS: Really powerful look at the differences and similarities of these two great men. A deep dive into the racism, activism, poverty, and other issues of their era. Lots of pictures and info from a lot of primary sources. A unique presentation of their lives. Very compelling. Ages 14-18)
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About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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