Review: Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Five Midnights by Ann Davila Cardinal (Tor, 2019)

Reviewed by Maayan D’Antonio

16-year-old Lupe Dávila is a bi-ethnic “Gringa-Rican” from Vermont on her way to spend the summer in Puerto Rico with her father’s family. Only this time she is going alone, as her father has decided to stay behind. Lupe is desperate to experience Puerto Rico without the constraints of her uncle, the police chief, who is in the middle of a very perplexing murder case. And though he and Lupe often discuss his cases, as they both share a love of solving murders, this time he refuses to talk with her about it.

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Review: The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper (bloomsbury 2020)

Reviewed by Madeleine Nowak

If I really wanted to do Phil Stamper’s debut YA novel The Gravity of Us justice, I’d pull out my phone and video myself live walking through the streets of New York City while I shared my thoughts with you. To review the book this way would be the best homage to Cal, the wonderful narrator Stamper has crafted, a social-media-savvy, budding seventeen year-old reporter from Brooklyn who suddenly finds himself transplanted to Clear Lake, Texas when his dad is picked as an astronaut candidate for NASA’s first mission to Mars. In Clear Lake, Cal is pulled away from everything he loves from Brooklyn, but unexpectedly brought closer to Leon, the son of another astronaut and the perfect love match for Cal.

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Review: Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (Little, Brown, and Co., 2019)

Reviewed by Maayan D’Antonio

17-year-old Ari Helix is a refugee who has no impulse control. So when she sets off alarms she shouldn’t have on Heritage, a spaceship that belongs to the tyrannical Mercer Company, she and her brother Kay escape from the ship and hide on Old Earth, now a desolate planet. But when Ari pulls Excalibur from a gnarled tree, she unknowingly sets into motion a new cycle of the King Arthur legend. A cycle she doesn’t know has anything to do with her.

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“All writing is raveling and unraveling:” An Interview with Maryrose Wood

incorrigible children

We began our Droplet series on young adult literature with a review of the first book in Maryrose Wood’s series The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, so it felt appropriate that she kick-off our interview series as well. We caught up with Wood as she finished the draft of the sixth book in the Incorrigibles series (get a sneak preview of Eliza Wheeler’s cover for book 6 at the bottom of the interview!) to ask about her rambunctious cast of characters, the influence theatre has had on her writing, and the books that inspired her as a child. Continue reading

Droplet: Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

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Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press, 2016)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

On Tuesday, I called a friend of mine to tell him something that felt, in that moment, desperately important. “I am reading the perfect book,” I said. “There is just enough and nothing extra. Each line is critical. It is perfect.” The book, of course, was Raymie Nightingale. When I closed the cover this afternoon, after staring for a while at the last page, I was crying the way you cry at simple miracles. Kate DiCamillo called this book “the absolutely true story of [her] heart.” I understand. I texted my friend: “It is about childhood and grief and hopefulness. It reminds me of how I felt as a kid.” Continue reading

Recommended Reading: Diversity in YA

by Rebecca Valley

You may or may not know by now that I work during the day as a middle school librarian. Back in September, I challenged myself to read 20 young adult books before the end of 2016, and as of this morning, I completed my goal — with a comfortable two week cushion, I might add.

I work at a Title I school, and my students were one of the primary inspirations for our Droplet series on young adult and children’s literature. In my school district, about 30% of the students speak Spanish as their first language, and a huge percentage are first generation immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico. Continue reading

Droplet: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

 

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The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (Balzer and Bray, 2010)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

For more on our Droplet series on young adult and children’s literature, click here.

When I am lonely or sad, I often find solace in a strange little book called Horseradish, a collection of quotes gathered from Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events. The quotes are parsed out by category – for example, “Family,” “Travel,” and “An Overall Feeling of Doom that One Cannot Ever Escape No Matter What One Does” – and because Daniel Handler authored them they each contain just the right balance of absurdity and poignancy, so that after skimming the book you don’t feel better about your circumstances, but you do feel like you aren’t the only sad and lonely person in the world. Continue reading