Jessica Khoury’s science fiction novel Last of Her Name features sixteen-year-old Stacia Androva and Clio Markova, two girls who are like sisters.  Possessing an instinctual urge to keep Clio safe, Stacia trusts Clio even when she can’t trust herself.  Their existence is mostly idyllic until the threat of rebellion comes knocking. A vintner’s daughter on the planet Amethyne, Stacia lives in Afka, a valley town huddled between the hills.  Stacia is a tenacious young woman with a muscular build and mechanics certification.  Appollo Androthenes, aka Pol, is Afkan’s wrestling champion and Stacia’s protector.  The three friends share multiple memories, a trio against the universe.  ButRead More →

Fluent in the language of vectors and the laws of physics, Rukhsana Ali dreams of one day working at NASA and plans to attend Caltech when she graduates from high school.  She also can’t wait to escape her home in Seattle where her Muslim parents believe that daughters and sons are not the same. In her mother’s mind, Rukshana’s worth in the marriage market is directly proportionate to her culinary prowess.  Therefore, she has to know how to prepare chai, goat vindaloo, and roti  in order to impress a potential mother-in-law.  But Rukshana isn’t a traditional Muslim, and she’s more interested in Ariana’s sweet-nothings whisperedRead More →

Set in Kyrria, where fairies, elves, ogres, unicorns, and giants live among nobles and commoners, Newbery honor author Gail Carson Levine’s newest book, Ogre Enchanted, tells the story of fifteen-year-old Evie.  Gifted in the arts of healing, Evie is the kind of healer that “knows when to just mention a remedy and when to pry open a jaw” (3).  She has also been accused by her best friend, Warwick—aka Wormy—as seeing people as patients and nothing more. When the sensitive, sweet, and trustworthy Wormy proposes marriage to Evie and the lively, intelligent, single-minded healer with a sense of humor declines, the fairy Lucinda promptly turnsRead More →

Sometimes a story can take us to a place of understanding and awareness.  Cultural identity literature at its best, The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller transports readers to a place so familiar we wonder whether we haven’t been here before, where we know the people and can relate to their challenges, where we share their hunger for fulfillment, their starvation for affection, attention, and validation, and their hunger for justice. This book will appeal to readers who enjoyed Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron or Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.  Although it is a book for all readers,Read More →

If you’re looking for a novel this summer that will inspire thought about all of life’s big topics, like love, sex, kissing, loss, and death, Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue is that book.  Although a simple-looking book on the surface, Words in Deep Blue packs a philosophically powerful punch by asking some tough questions, inviting the reader to wrestle with a variety of options about topics that matter, questions like: Are all worthwhile things—like love and the ocean’s depths—also terrifying?  It poses some theories, too—about how people are like secondhand books, full of mysteries, or how science attracts us because it is rich withRead More →

According to seventeen-year- old Louna Barrett, “You can’t measure love by time put in, but by the weight of those moments” (115).  She had only loved Ethan Caruso for a short time, but he was her “once and for all,” until he wasn’t. Since losing Ethan, Louna is prickly, antisocial, and somewhat cynical about love.  Ethan, whose mother had been married multiple times, had been cynical about marriage, but Louna knows a lot about weddings, after having worked summers at her mother’s wedding planning business.   She sees a wedding as a series of special moments, strung together like beads on a chain.  A Natalie BarrettRead More →