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Showing posts from February, 2016

Burn Baby Burn

Meg Medina's name on a book is a guarantee that I will be reading that book sooner rather than later. I've been highly anticipating the release of Burn Baby Burn  from the moment I heard about it and was so excited to get to read an advanced copy. I have been pondering how to articulate why this book is so special and particularly brilliant and not just gush. Hopefully I will attain more of the latter here. The spring and summer of New York City 1977 was a hard time to be a girl graduating from high school eager to experience life. The city was on the edge of disaster: racial tensions were high, there were a series of arsons, a blackout that resulted in looting, and a serial killer calling himself Son of Sam who shot young women and their dates. Nora Lopez is a senior in high school and her life at home is no safer than she feels on the streets of New York. Her brother is becoming increasingly violent and angry. Her mother just makes excuses for him. Nora takes joy where sh

YA/MG Book Battle Begins Tuesday!

I wanted to get this post up DAYS ago, but there are some stressful and consuming events going on in Painterland right now which resulted in me traveling a lot this week and having minimal time for writing. However, I wanted everyone to know that this was happening again this year. I've been a judge in this battle since it started and will be again this year. I love how there is a mix of newer and older less appreciated than they should be books. I'm excited about the choices we have this year. The Battle Schedule can be found here . The Bracket can be found here .

When I Was The Greatest

Jason Reynolds is one of my favorite authors I discovered in 2015 after reading both his releases from last year. I didn't have time to get to his debut novel, When I Was the Greatest , last year but made it a top priority of this year. It confirmed and enlarged my love for his work. Ali lives in Bed Stuy with his mom and little sister. His mom works two jobs, one as a social worker and one at a department store, to keep up with the ever rising rent on their apartment thanks to all the white people moving in near by. Ali knows his mom has high expectations of him. He is supposed to do well in school. He is supposed to earn money doing honest work for his boxing instructor, Mr. Malloy. He is supposed to look out for his sister. He is supposed to stay out of the trouble that can occur in their neighborhood. When Ali meets a new boy who moves in next door, he finally has a friend in the neighborhood. Ali's sister Jazz gives their new neighbor the nickname Noodles. Noodles as a

Shorter Musings

Shorter Musings are quick reviews of books I've read but don't have a lot to say about. To Catch a Cheat  by Varian Johnson These books are just so much fun. Completely unrealistic in many ways (no middle school like this one exists in the country), but still so much fun. They are exactly the sort of adventures MG kids like-ones where kids their age are smart, capable, and working against the forces that control their lives. It is empowering. There is a really great friendship story in this one as Jackson and Charlie are having some difficulties. I like the way that played out and was resolved (that IS realistic). I really loved the developing relationship between Jackson and Gaby too. Jackson's nervousness over kissing Gaby is incredibly adorable and hilariously entertaining as well. Fans of the first book will definitely want to read this follow-up.  The Girl From Everywhere  by Heidi Heilig I like that this book exists for the teens I know who will eat it up like

TTT: Favorite Love Stories

Top Ten Tuesday  is a Meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish This Week's TTT Topic: This week is a Valentine's Theme of choice. I'm doing my Favorite Love Stories (Book OTPs) because it's been a looooong time since I've discussed this and it needed updating. I love romance.  I freely admit it, there is no shame. I like fluffy ones and serious ones, but my ultimate favorites are the complicated combinations of both. Gen and Irene from The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner These two are the very definition of complicated.  They are also the very definition of wonderful.  Their relationship isn't easy and it is obvious they work hard for it.  These two are expert at flirting under the radar. It is fun to watch as everyone else is oblivious to the conversations they are actually having in reality. (This true of even their very first encounter in the first book. Even though its not flirtatious, they begin honing their double level conver


I was really hoping that 2016 would be different than 2015 when it came to me and super hyped beloved by the kidlit powers that be MG books. If Pax  by Sara Pennypacker is any indication, I'm still going to be one of the minority dissenters. So be it. Honestly, I could write an entire post about the sort of books that get the most attention and promotion from said powers and what that says about the priorities of the kidlit elite, but for today I will stick to my thoughts on this particular book. Pax is a fox who was rescued as a helpless kit whose family was killed by a boy named Peter. His entire life has been knowing Peter and Peter's care for him. Then one day they drive to a distant place, Peter starts a game of fetch, and then drives off with his father. Leaving Pax alone to fend for himself for the first time ever. Pax is in denial and stays close to the road hoping for Peter's return. But soon the events in the forest and the lives of the other foxes draw him in a

TTT: Favorite Historical Fiction

Top Ten Tuesday  is a Meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish This Week's TTT Topic: Historical or Future Settings or Books I don't think I've ever made a list of my favorite historical fiction so that's what I decided to go with. For the purposes of this, I'm counting a book as historical fiction if that was what it was considered when published. (as opposed to books that take place in the past) What are some of your favorite historical fiction novels?

Rebel Bully Geek Pariah

I enjoyed Dead Ends , the only other book by Erin Jade Lange I've read, and I was excited for this book based on its blurb. I think the blurb is a little misleading. If you are going to compare something to The Breakfast Club it better have fun. And hijinks. The funny kind not the terrifying kind. This book is like terror thriller Breakfast Club. That's not to say that I didn't like it. Just that I quickly had to adjust my expectations while reading it. Sam had a plan. Buy her mom's present for her anniversary of sobriety after another boring evening at work. Her plan falls apart when she is fired from her job for being rude to a customer. From there her night descends into mayhem when she follows a classmate into the woods at a party to retrieve a stolen item. When the cops come to break up the party in the woods, Sam finds herself hiding with Andi (the thief who is a former popular girl), York (a former football player who is drunk and has a major chip on his should