Saturday, September 23, 2017

What's new? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.


We Now Return to Regular Life by Martin Wilson. Unabridged audiobook on one MP3 CD. 10 hours; 9 minutes. Read by Will Ropp and Whitney Dykhouse. Brilliance Audio, August, 2017. 9781543619768.

Publisher synopsis: The Face on the Milk Carton meets The Impossible Knife of Memory in this ripped-from-the-headlines novel that explores the power of being an ally—and a friend—when a kidnapped boy returns to his hometown.

Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive.

Until now. Because Sam has been found, and he’s coming home. Beth desperately wants to understand what happened to her brother, but her family refuses to talk about it—even though Sam is clearly still affected by the abuse he faced at the hands of his captor.

And as Sam starts to confide in Josh about his past, Josh can’t admit the truths he’s hidden deep within himself: that he’s gay, and developing feelings for Sam. And, even bigger: that he never told the police everything he saw the day Sam disappeared.

As Beth and Josh struggle with their own issues, their friends and neighbors slowly turn on Sam, until one night when everything explodes. Beth can’t live in silence. Josh can’t live with his secrets. And Sam can’t continue on until the whole truth of what happened to him is out in the open.

For fans of thought-provoking stories like The Face on the Milk Carton, this is a book about learning to be an ally—even when the community around you doesn’t want you to be.

I was nearly halfway through reading this with my eyes in late August when I left it on the kitchen table instead of bringing it with me on vacation. Then it was time to get ready to teach. Then school started and other books needed to be read for review. Each time I tried to pick up where I left off, something derailed my reconnecting. I recalled that it was available as an audio and will hopefully finish what was a fascinating story.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fact Friday: ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z!: Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Olinguito, from A to Z!: Unveiling the Cloud Forest

¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z!: Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Olinguito, from A to Z!: Unveiling the Cloud Forest by Lulu Delacre. unpgd. Lee & Low Books, Inc., February, 2016. 9780892393275. (Purchased copy.)

Fact Friday features ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z!: Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Olinguito, from A to Z!: Unveiling the Cloud Forest. This colorful, bilingual, alphabet picture book invites readers to explore the Ecuadoran Andes searching for the elusive Olinguito. The Cloud Forest ecosystem is perfect for these racoon-like mammals. The language is simple and playful and the mixed-media illustrations are vibrant. Backmatter, which is also bilingual, includes more details about the plants and other animals that inhabit the Cloud Forest.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

#tbt: Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

Before We were Free by Julia Alvarez is our #tbt feature. it was published in 2002 and won the Pura Bel Pré Award. It is 1960 and Anita de la Torre is about to turn twelve. She lives in a compound with her extended family in the Dominican Republic. Her life changes when a dictator comes to power. The Secret Police visit the compound. People start disappearing. Anita and her mother have to hide in a closet. Eventually, she and most of her family flee to the United States leaving her beloved uncle behind. This story has a bit of a slow start, but suspense builds as danger nears. 

Before We were Free by Julia Alvarez. 176 p. Random House Children's Books, August, 2002. 9780375915444.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Arc review: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. 304 p. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/ Atheneum Books for Young Readers, October 17, 2017. 9781481438254. (Review from arc courtesy of publisher.)

Will lives on the seventh floor of an apartment building where he shares a bedroom with his brother, Shawn. Make that shared a bedroom. Shawn has been murdered. Gunned down in the street while he was running an errand for his mother. Shawn has been killed as revenge for his killing of another and now it's Will's turn to step up. His turn to avenge Shawn's killing. Because there are just three rules in Will's world: 1. No crying. 2. No Snitching and 3. Take revenge.

Will knows where Shawn's gun is. He knows what he has to do. It should be a short elevator ride down from the seventh floor, but it stops at every floor. This would be annoying except that Will simply cannot believe who gets on at each floor. 

First, let me rave about that cover. THAT COVER! It's brilliant! I love it. Next, the design! The spattered pages, the elevator gates bookending the book, the chapter breaks. All ingenious! 

Now, the story. Intense. Gripping. Gritty. The language? The imagery? Gorgeous. 
   How do you small-talk your father
     when "dad" is a language so foreign
     that whenever yo try to say it,
     it feels like you got a third lip
     and a second tongue? (p. 205)

Reynolds' many fans will be tripping over each other to grab this title. Give it to your readers who want an intense, emotional read, readers who enjoy verse novels and readers who want to think. It is small wonder that Long Way Down was chosen for the NBA longlist. Expect to see it on all the year-end "Best" lists. Long Way Down is not to be missed. 

Waiting on Wednesday: by The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. 369 p. HarperCollins Publishers, March 6, 2018. 978006266804.

Publisher synopsis: Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing #ownvoices novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

I enjoy verse novels. I am also highlighting #ownvoices for Hispanic Heritage Month and found this. I am very excited to read this debut. I also adore this cover! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cover Coincidence - Girl in Profile

Cover coincidence is the occasional post that is prompted by the question, "Now, where have I seen that before?" The screen shot of the NBA Long List prompted not one but two cover coincidences!

Teen Tuesday: The Cipher series by Daniel José Older

Teen Tuesday features The Cipher series by Daniel José Older. Older made his YA debut in 2015 with Shadowshaper, the first book in this urban fantasy series. Shadowhouse Fall, the second, recently release. Sierra Santiago's summer plans include painting a mural on a wall of an abandoned building in her Bed-Stuy neighborhood and hanging with friends, but the a corpse crashes a party and another mural in the neighborhood appears to be shedding tears, Sierra realizes that she and a newfound friend might hold the key to protecting everyone. Shadowshaper is a pulse-pounding page-turner for fantasy fans. I cannot wait to read Shadowhouse Fall!