17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is spending her August sulking around Paris. Her essay to her dream school, The Art Institute of Chicago, wasn’t received well by the committee, derailing her chances of getting in. On top of that, her maybe ex-boyfriend, Zaid, is ghosting her. Just when everything feels exceptionally crappy, and Khayyam literally steps in crap, she meets Alexander, the descendant of the famous French writer Alexander Dumas.
Full Disclosure is an intersectional young adult novel that fosters sex-positivity and works to break the stigma surrounding HIV—a prime example of how diversity and inclusion are becoming more pervasive within the YA genre. Written by New York University film student, Camryn Garrett, the novel details the story of Simone Garcia-Hampton who hopes to keep her HIV positive diagnosis under-wraps upon transferring to a new high school. However, she soon develops feelings for a charming boy named Miles, which means if she wishes to pursue a relationship with him, she’ll have to tell him about her diagnosis eventually. To make matters worse, one day she receives a note in her locker, threatening that she either tell Miles about her diagnosis, or the note-writer will tell the whole school. Her first reaction is to hide the truth, but “as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on.”
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.
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.
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.
I didn’t realize until I read Nnedi Okorafor’s young adult fantasy book Akata Witch that my experience reading fantasy didn’t just trend toward the western world – it existed solely inside that world. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →