Where the Rhythm Takes You is Sarah Dass’ debut novel, and it joins the ranks of romance novels while being set in Tobago with scenes at Pigeon Point—the stuff postcards and dreams are made of. Through her protagonist Reyna, Dass shares her knowledge of Caribbean culture, cuisine, geography, and music as she explores the loss of a parent and the fear of following one’s dreams. A gifted painter, Reyna has grown up surrounded by nature’s constant growing, dying, and changing while immersed in the family business of owning and operating a seaside resort hotel, the Plumeria.  Her mummy is a perfectionist and a taskmaster, butRead More →

When “quiet, nerdy Ada Bloom finally has a verifiable love interest” (2), several people are surprised—including Ada. After five months, dating affable, athletic Leo Robinson, who is captain of the swim team, the two teens decide their relationship has reached the threshold of “the next step.” After Leo pops the question, Ada realizes she is not ready, and her relationship unravels from there. Cynthia Hand spends the rest of her novel With You All the Way exploring what makes someone believe he or she is ready for sex. She also addresses various motivations for the sexual act: curiosity, revenge, being sixteen, doing something risky andRead More →

To cope with the stresses of middle school and the complications of life, Theo Goodwin escapes into his drawings where he can become Theo-Dare.  As his comic book alter ego, he conquers demons with his superpowers and the help of his sidekick, Super G. Super G is Georgia Rosenbloom, another sixth grader whose biggest passion, aside from art, is astronomy. She and Theo have been inseparable friends since forever, and their mothers are colleagues at Columbia University. When Georgia’s dad—the renowned and accomplished artist Hank Rosenbloom—dies suddenly, the loss throws Georgia out of her orbit. Unlike others who see the value of his art andRead More →

Nervy but not nuts, Buck Anderson craves adventure.  Most comfortable surrounded by rock and roots and earth, Buck’s passion is caving.  And living in southwest Virginia in the Appalachian foothills, this stubborn, risk-taker has many opportunities for discovering, exploring, and hoping to make history.  When his best friend David Weinstein moves away, thirteen-year-old Buck loses his cautious cave-exploring partner, and “the first rule of caving is never—not ever—do it alone” (2). Although Buck disobeys this rule more than once, his fascination with caves and their potential danger is only one strand of the plot in Going Where It’s Dark by Newbery Award-winning author Phyllis ReynoldsRead More →

Seven Reasons to Read The Seventh Most Important Thing Set in Washington, D.C. in 1963, The Seventh Most Important Thing recalls a time when Looney Tunes, Bazooka bubble gum, and Mad magazines were popular and when diner tables were often cloaked with red and white checkered table cloths and it took a dime to use the pay phone. It features characters like thirteen year old Arthur Owens who struggles to stop remembering his dad who died instantly when he hit a tree while riding his motorcycle and about whom his mother often said, “Tom Owens’s biggest problem was that he never grew up” (79); like probation officerRead More →