Although The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz by Jeremy Dronfield is “another Holocaust book,” this nonfiction account retold for young readers reminds us all how vitally important it is to remember what happened “in those terrible years” (301). So as to brand their minds and inspire young readers to do whatever they can to ensure that nothing like the Holocaust ever occurs again, Dronfield captures the story of the Kleinmann family with a focus on Fritz, who is fourteen years old when the novel opens, and on Kurt, who is eight. By personalizing the tale so that readers can form connections, Dronfield buildsRead More →

Just in time for summer, Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute will serve as a great beach book. Although Talia Hibbert’s debut young adult novel is light reading, it does occasionally rise above the cotton-candy fluff of a romance novel with its insight about human nature. Hibbert’s protagonists are a pair of seventeen-year-olds in their final year at Rosewood Academy in England. For any readers requiring introduction to this discourse community, Hibbert provides a glossary. As the story unfolds, Celine Bagura is an excessively sarcastic conspiracy theorist with the goal of attending Cambridge to earn a law degree. Focused, serious, and prone to being pedantic, sheRead More →

Lydia Chass is not averse to pulling strings or to cracking the patina of politeness. But such behavior is frowned upon in Henley, Ohio, where kindness is a social contract. On the path to getting out of small-town Henley and into a prestigious journalism school, Lydia has always aimed high and never made a secret of it. However, that ambition gets derailed when she learns that she doesn’t have the history credits required to graduate, an oversight that Mr. Benson, Henley High School’s Guidance Counsellor, didn’t realize because he’s overly fond of Jim Beam and pill-popping. Now, Lydia has an independent study project “of appropriateRead More →

Prickly, unhappy, and bruised by the tragic deaths of her parents, Maria Latif is bustled off from Pakistan to Long Island, New York. After being bounced from relative to unfortunate relative, she is now going to stay with family friends. Still, the orphaned Maria knows this is just another temporary landing place. When she arrives, Maria is prepared to hate New York, but there is a secret about the Clayborne House on Long Island that she doesn’t understand. Something about the way an unloved, untouched, and unclaimed garden hums and thrums makes Maria think that this bit of earth can be hers. With a gardenRead More →

Set in the early eighties, Parachute Kids by Betty C. Tang is a graphic novel that shares the challenges faced by Chinese children who were “dropped off” with friends or relatives in foreign countries while their parents stayed behind. Hoping to provide a better life for their children, these parents often missed out on the trials endured by their offspring. Without the supportive nurturing and guidance of their parents, these youth faced the challenges of a new country, culture, and language. Arriving in California from Taiwan, Ke-Gāng, Feng-Li, and Jia-X are soon “abandoned” by their parents, whose Visas require them to return to their homeRead More →

Charlene Allen’s debut novel, Play the Game is one rich with riddles and layered with mystery. It tells the story of Ed Hennessey, a fifteen-year-old game designer with a brain that works like that of a scientist. A Black teenager, Ed is a lover of rebus puzzles, fart jokes, and imagined worlds. In the Ed-i-verse, Ed has created mutants and monsters to make-up for what isn’t working in his life. Sadly, he is tragically shot in the parking lot of Yard restaurant by Phillip Singer, a White huckster of stolen goods. Now, a year later, Singer has been shot, and Victor (aka VZ) Gleason’s friendRead More →