Buried Beneath The Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

buriedKidnapped in the middle of the night by the Boko Haram, a Nigerian terrorist group, young men and young women are ripped from the safety of their homes to be catapulted into a horrifying nightmare. While the boys are whisked away to begin life anew as soldiers, the girls are forced to become wives, religiously convert, and submit-comply or be killed. A courageous look at this tragic scenario, collected from countless interviews with the surviving victims.

KC

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

poet xXiomara appears to be a tough as nails high school student but this Afro-Latino young lady has a much softer side to her. She loves poetry and in a school where drugs, crime, and sex happens all too frequently, X (as known by friends) keeps her passion close to her heart. Xiomara’s beloved teacher helps her to free herself by encouraging her to join a poetry club. For the first time and not under the thumb of her mother, school, or God, she becomes The Poet X. I loved how the author read this audiobook.

-KC

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

harbor meWhen a group of young Brooklyn students are given the opportunity to gather together in a safe, adult free classroom, they begin an explorative journey through dialogue, poetry, revelation, and storytelling. Jacqueline Woodson taps into the most current challenges that many our youth face today with such unbridled courage and sheer eloquence.

-KC

The Miseducation of Cameron Post- A Teen Reader Review

Cover image for The miseducation of Cameron Post

Title:  The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Author: Emily Danworth

Summary:  It’s Montana in the 1990’s.  Cameron Post is 12 years old, spending the day with her best friend.  She’s the classic protagonist, a little too quirky and a little too special for her own good, having an amazing afternoon.  That very day, her parents die, and all she can feel is relief.  Relief that the news wasn’t what she feared, and relieved that her parents would never know that she was kissing a girl hours before their untimely death.

Cameron Post is, to be completely candid, not the particularly special character.  She’s the carbon copy of every girl in a lesbian romance.  How many girls could she honestly get with in Montana at age 14?  This doesn’t make her bad per say, but it just means she’s not the new and exciting character you may have wanted.  I found much more realism and excitement in her love interest for the first half of the book, Coley Taylor; the cowgirl with a kind heart and a confused soul, whose motivations and mystery made her one of the most incredible love interests in a f/f book in a long time.  If only the book had more of her, and less drama with Cameron’s aunt.

Of course, since this is a book about young lesbians there has to be the drama of everyone finding out, and the second half of the book is set at a de-gaying camp.  We spend a bit too long here, but I still applaud the slightly different approach Emily Danworth took going here.  Again, the characters Cameron interacts with are far more interesting then Cameron herself, particularly her roommate, a girl with a interesting new personality and mysterious motivations.  The novel checks out every trope of a f/f novel, and while it is beautifully written and a very enjoyable ride, this book isn’t anything too special.  I still recommend this to anyone who wants a exciting journey through the life of Cameron Post, and whose already checked out every other f/f book in the library.

If you like this, try readingAnnie on my Mind by Nancy Garden, Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli , and Keeping you a Secret by Julie Anne Peters

Reviewer Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Pequot Library

Recommended by: Josie, a teen reader

When Dimple Met Rishi

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi

Author: Sandhya Menon

Summary:  Meet Dimple Shah.  She just graduated high school and is ready to start proving to her tradition loving Indian parents that her future lies in coding and college- not marriage and tradition.  Above all, she wants her parents to understand that an arranged marriage has no place in her life…ever.   Considering her parent’s-particularly her mother’s- view on the necessity of a good Indian marriage, Dimple is shocked when they readily agree to her request to attend a prestigious summer program for aspiring web developers.   The program will give Dimple a chance to get a leg up on developing her own app and put her in the running to win a chance to meet and collaborate with her idol app developer Jenny Lindt.

Now meet Rishi Patel.  He also just graduated high school and comes from an Indian family deeply seated in tradition.  However, Rishi embraces those traditions and looks forward to the day he is matched with a traditional Indian bride.  With that in mind, despite almost no interest in web development, he accepts his parent’s proposal to participate in a summer coding camp that will allow him to meet the girl his parent’s hope to match him with, Dimple Shah.

When one person thinks they are meeting a potential partner for life and the other person thinks she is there to get a head start on an education and career opportunity- but instead finds out she is being manipulated by matrimony-obsessed mother- how can you expect anything but disaster?    It may sound like it, but sometimes love works in unexpected ways.

Who will like this book?:  There’s family, tradition, friendship and love all wrapped up in a tidy package in this book.  So, high school and older readers who are looking for a fun summer beach read-for the fall or winter will certainly enjoy it.

If you like this, try readingBorn Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, and Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library, Digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library, and audio copy downloadable from Hoopla through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

 

All We Have Left

Cover image for All we have left

Title: All We Have Left

Author: Wendy Mills

Summary: Alia and Jesse both have trouble understanding their parents and why they act the way they do. Alia wants to be a comic book artist, but her parents insist that she study for a more ‘respectable’ profession. Jesse knows why her parents are heartbroken: Her brother Travis died inside the World Trade center on 9/11, and they have never gotten over it. Both girls break the rules and have to face the consequences of their actions: Alia loses her chance to study at a prestigious art camp after being caught with someone smoking in the school bathroom and Jesse is ordered to volunteer at a local community center after she and her friends are caught vandalizing a local business. These young women have never met, but they are connected to each other, though neither of them knows it: One of them is living in the past, and the other in the future. Alia will be a firsthand witness to devastation, and Jesse will live through the long wake of its aftermath.

This book is thought-provoking and gut-wrenching. As the stories of Alia, Jesse and Travis  weave together, you will find yourself turning the pages faster and faster to see how it works out, hoping things will be different than you already know are in the end. Serious, surprising and deeply moving, this is a fantastic book to share with the adults in your life: You’ll want to understand more about what they experienced on that terrible and tragic day.

Who will like this book: People who like to cry. Anyone interested in what life was like before and during the attacks on September 11, 2001. Readers who like stories where characters are strangers who are secretly somehow connected to each other.

If you like this, try this: The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan.  For mature readers: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Some Kind of Happiness

some-kind-of-happiness-9781442466012_hr

Title: Some Kind of Happiness

Author: Claire Legrand

Summary: Finley can hardly believe that her parents are sending her to stay with her dad’s family – whom she has never even met – for the summer so they can work out their issues with each other. After all, it’s hard enough for her to recover from her crushing bouts of sadness which leave her unable to leave her bed sometimes. At least Finley has the Everwood: a fantastic world she has been crafting and refining her whole life about an enchanted forest filled with secrets and adventure. Carrying her notebook of stories with her, she has no idea what to expect. What she finds is a family brightly bursting with life – sweet-natured cousins, loving aunts and perfectly poised grandparents – and more: a house built on the edge of a wild forest that Finley knows in her heart is the true Everwood she’s been dreaming about. As the summer goes on, it is in this place that she discovers that it’s not just the characters in her stories hiding a devastating secret.

This gorgeous and dramatic book is a must-read for anyone who likes realistic fiction. Finley’s struggle with the reality of her parent’s difficult relationship, the new realization that big families come with expectations, and the unpredictable feelings that threaten to destroy her might break your heart, but you won’t want to put this down until you know how it all turns out. Lyrical and unrelenting, this is a book to share with friends and the adult readers in your life so you can all talk about it together. Finley and her family are unforgettable.

Who will like this book: People who like stories about big families, especially families with secrets. Readers who like books about storytelling and characters with wild imaginations. Aspiring writers. Fans of books featuring mysteries from the past.

If you like this, try this: See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian