Tag Archives: love

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. October 16, 2018. HarperTeen, 320 p. ISBN: 9780062866561.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild sexual themes, Racism, Strong language, Racist slurs, Islamophobia

 

Book Trailer

Reviews

Booklist starred (September 15, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 2))
Grades 9-12. Mafi (Whichwood​, 2017) tackles the life of an American Muslim teenager in the wake of 9/11 in this visceral, honest novel. Jaded and cynical in the face of humanity’s repeated cruelty at the sight of her hijab, Shirin only plans to get through high school as quickly as she can and let no one past her guarded exterior. It works until she meets Ocean James, who sees more than just her headscarf and is charmingly persistent about learning who she is, from her love of music to her burgeoning skills on the break dancing team her brother starts. But while Ocean’s presence is a breath of fresh air, it also terrifies her: What happens when he gets past her walls? What happens when they shatter and she’s left more vulnerable than ever before? Sympathetic Shirin’s sharp, raw voice narrates the novel, and her captivating story opens a window onto a different narrative from the one typically dominating the airwaves after 9/11. As usual, Mafi excels at highlighting the relationships between her characters, whether it’s the warm, supportive teasing between Shirin and her brother or the bittersweet agony of the deep connection between her and Ocean. Rich characters, incisive writing, and a powerful story will thrill readers beyond Mafi’s already stalwart fans.

Publishers Weekly (August 20, 2018)
Hijabi Shirin, 16, starts at a new school in small-town America shortly after 9/11. She rages at those who assume that her religion and headscarf make her a terrorist, but instead of letting her anger “grip both sides of my mouth open and rip me in half,” she uses indifference as armor against the hostile stares of her peers. That is, until she meets Ocean James in her biology class. Against her better judgment, Shirin lets Ocean in and slowly begins to fall for him. But the new couple soon becomes targets of racism, xenophobia, and bigotry. Meanwhile, Shirin finds solace by starting a breakdancing crew with her brother and his friends. Mafi (the Shatter Me series) infuses a contemporary love story with a heartbreakingly realistic portrait of one post-9/11 Muslim life in the United States. Mafi openly addresses many common misconceptions about Islam and what it means to be a woman of color in the face of racism, showing how differences can be applauded, not feared. Ages 13-up.

About the Author

Tahereh Mafi is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Shatter Me series. She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Santa Monica, California with her husband, fellow author Ransom Riggs. She can usually be found over-caffeinated and stuck in a book.

Her website is www.taherehbooks.com

Teacher Resources

A Very Large Expanse of Sea Reading Guide

A Very Large Expanse of Sea review on Common Sense Media

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Snow in Love by Various

Snow in Love by Various Authors. October 30, 2018. Point, 253 p. ISBN: 9781338310184.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

What’s better than one deliciously cozy, swoon-worthy holiday story? Four of them, from some of today’s bestselling authors.

From KASIE WEST, a snowy road trip takes an unexpected detour when secrets and crushes are revealed.

From AIMEE FRIEDMAN, a Hanukkah miracle may just happen when a Jewish girl working as a department store elf finds love.

From MELISSA DE LA CRUZ, Christmas Eve gets a plot twist when a high school couple exchange surprising presents.

From NIC STONE, a scavenger hunt amid the holiday crowds at an airport turns totally romantic.

So grab a mug of hot cocoa, snuggle up, and get ready to fall in love…

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

About the Authors

Melissa de la Cruz grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.  Her website is www.melissa-delacruz.com/

 

Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.

Stone lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons. Her website is www.nicstone.info

 

Aimee Friedman was born and raised in Queens, New York, in an apartment filled with books and different languages. She wrote her first story at the age of five, and was off and running from there. Aimee wrote all through her years as a student at the Bronx High School of Science and then Vassar College. After graduating from college in 2001, she became a children’s book editor, a job she still does, and loves, to this day!

Aimee lives in New York City, where she can usually be found writing in cafes, window-shopping, or searching for the perfect iced latte. Her website is www.aimeefriedmanbooks.com

 

I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, and BY YOUR SIDE.

Kasie’s website is www.kasiewest.blogspot.com

 

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Someday by David Levithan

Someday by David Levithan. October 2, 2018. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 336 p. ISBN: 9780399553066.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: 4.1; Lexile: 720.

Teenage witch Cam isn’t crazy about the idea of learning magic. She’d rather be no witch than a bad one. But when a trio of her mother’s wicked witch friends decide to wreak havoc in her high school, Cam has no choice but to try to stop them.

Esmerelda is the mean girl of the witches. Valda likes to drop anvils on people’s heads. And Malkin—well, Malkin is just plain terrifying. Their idea of fun is a little game—they each pick a student from Cam’s high school and compete to see who can make their teen the most miserable. But Cam suspects one of the witches may have an ulterior motive…which means someone at school could be in worse danger yet.

Now Cam’s learning invisibility spells, dodging exploding cars, and pondering the ethics of love potions. All while trying to keep her grades up and go on a first date with her crush. If the witches don’t get him first, that is.

Can’t a good witch ever catch a break?

Sequel to: Another Day

Part of Series: Every Day (Book #3)

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild sexual themes, Strong language, Discussion of domestic abuse

 

Reviews

Booklist starred (August 2018 (Vol. 114, No. 22))
Grades 9-12. Here is the third thought-provoking novel about Levithan’s intriguing character A, the 16-year-old boy (or is he a boy?) who wakes up each day in a different body. As before, he is in love with a girl named Rhiannon, but, given his here-today-gone-tomorrow condition, he wonders how anything could come of his love for her. Accordingly, he has cut off contact and she misses him terribly so she—in concert with Nathan, whose body A had once occupied—begins to search for him. Unfortunately, someone else is also searching for him: X, a psychopath who had previously occupied the body of the evil Reverend Poole, who is now dead. Happily, Rhiannon and Nathan find A first and he and Rhiannon reconnect. But there is much to think about in their reunion. What does the word relationship mean for them? Can they maintain their connection? A also questions his condition of being, the ethics of occupying someone else’s body, and whether or not there are others like him (there are, and Levithan takes readers inside their lives). Things become even more complicated when X, whose condition is identical to A’s, finally tracks him down. Like the other two books about A, this is a novel of ideas that challenges readers to wonder if someday there will be another novel about these wonderful characters. One hopes so.

Horn Book Magazine (September/October, 2018)
In Every Day (rev. 11/12) and Another Day (rev. 7/15), we learned that A wakes up each morning in a different person’s body. Someday alternates between A’s point of view and the perspectives of those affected by A (love interest Rhiannon; former “host” Nathan) as well as other “body travelers”—including X, who inhabited Reverend Poole in the earlier books. X has learned to game the system, controlling how long he stays in each new body and treating the bodies’ original inhabitants with disregard, at best. (Though A is gender-neutral, X identifies as male even on days he presents as female.) X’s creepy quest for power adds tension without sacrificing the series’ emphasis on character; the more-considerate A offers insights into each day’s host. The presence of multiple body travelers also brings perspective on how the traveling works and how it intersects with personal identity. Some preachiness combined with an “Equality March” on Washington make the continued themes of people’s commonalities and the need for understanding of differences easy to spot, but at the same time, suspense makes it easy to keep turning pages.

About the Author

David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children’s book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

His website is www.davidlevithan.com/

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Rookie on Love by Tavi Gevinson

Rookie on Love edited by Tavi Gevinson. January 2, 2018. Razorbill, 288 p. ISBN: 9780448493992.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 1010.

A single-subject anthology about the heart’s most powerful emotion, edited by Tavi Gevinson. Featuring exclusive, never-before-seen essays, poems, comics, and interviews from contributors like Jenny Zhang, Emma Straub, Hilton Als, Janet Mock, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Gabourey Sidibe, Mitski, Alessia Cara, Etgar Keret, Margo Jefferson, Sarah Manguso, Durga Chew-Bose, and many more!

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Strong sexual themes, Underage drinking, Smoking

 

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2018 (Vol. 114, No. 9))
Grades 9-12. Seeking to expand their presence, the online magazine Rookie has devoted all-new content to this print edition. Wanting a subject that would be “totes chill, v. simple, and easy to understand,” they, tongue in cheek, went with love. The result of the open-ended prompt is this anthology of short stories, essays, poetry, interviews, comics, and more by “teens of all ages.” The contributors, diverse in race and sexual orientation, range from current teens to adults who vividly remember their teen years, including a few celebrities such as Gabourey Sidibe and Rainbow Rowell. As one would expect on the topic of love, there are pieces on first love, romance, unrequited love, and breaking up, while other pieces address intimacy, sisterly love, friendship, and even our love of dogs. The overarching and most powerful theme, however, is self-love. The writers aren’t talking narcissism, but the self-respect that goes into a healthy relationship. Each voice lends itself to universal truths about love, sometimes in no-holds-barred language, making this a good choice for YA and new adult collections.

Kirkus Reviews starred (January 1, 2018)
Curated from Rookie, an online magazine dedicated to teens and founded in 2011 by a then-15-year-old Gevinson, this anthology offers tales of love from 45 different, diverse voices.Janet Mock professes unrequited love as a transgender girl of color who has an intense crush on the boy who lives two doors down from her. White writer Emma Straub describes the love affair she has with stories and how literature has been the soundtrack to her life, influencing her personal choices as well as her approach to writing. A delightful chapter, “Binary Planets Writing,” chronicles the relationship of black sisters Ogechi and Ugochi Egonu, growing together and then apart, showing that the love that exists within twinship doesn’t always mean sameness. Queer artist Sunny Betz offers a three-page comic about finally meeting an online friend in person when they decide to hit the road to see their favorite band. In “Karma,” African-American actress Gabourey Sidibe crafts a confessional of how, when true love escaped her at a young age, she chose to use her partners to get the attention and affection she felt she needed with a boomerang effect that she feels has led to her current lonely, single status. Containing poetry, essays, interviews, graphic short stories, and fiction, covering doggie love, Arthurian love, and grandmother love, the book offers a niche of love that all women can connect to. A thoughtful, light read celebrating a universal emotion. (Anthology. 12-18)

About the Editor

Tavi Gevinson is an American writer, magazine editor, actress and singer. Raised in Oak Park, Illinois, Gevinson came to public attention at the age of twelve because of her fashion blog Style Rookie. By the age of fifteen, she had shifted her focus to pop culture and feminist discussion. Gevinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of the online Rookie Magazine, aimed primarily at teenage girls. In both 2011 and 2012, she appeared on the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media list.

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Rookie Magazine

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10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac

10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac. February 28, 2017. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 320 p. ISBN: 9780399556258.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 560.

Think positive.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Strong sexual themes, Alcohol, Name-calling, Homophobia, Drug addiction

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews starred (November 15, 2016)
A white teen with severe anxiety struggles to manage her mental health and finds joy in a budding relationship with a new girlfriend. Most people worry, but Maeve has always done so to the extreme. With her severe anxiety and panic disorder, she is constantly working to balance her spiraling, catastrophizing thoughts—without the help of any medication. When her mom decides to spend six months in Haiti, Maeve is forced to move to live with her father and his family in Vancouver, disrupting her otherwise relatively stable life. In Vancouver, Maeve feels she has plenty to be anxious about: from her pregnant stepmother’s home-birth plan to the possibility her father might start drinking and using again. But when already-out Maeve meets Salix, a violin-busking “friend of Dorothy,” and their mutual attraction grows, she begins to find unexpected happiness in Vancouver. Mac crafts a beautifully awkward and affecting budding relationship between Maeve and Salix—one that neither miraculously cures Maeve nor leaves her entirely unchanged. With Maeve, Mac provides a realistic portrayal of the ways that anxiety can affect all relationships and permeate every aspect of life—demonstrated at times with humor through sardonic obituaries regularly composed by Maeve throughout the first-person narrative. With Maeve, Mac delivers a character who’s heartwarmingly real and sympathetic, and her story provides a much needed mirror for anxious queer girls everywhere. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Publishers Weekly (December 12, 2016)
Everyone tells Maeve that things will be fine, but they don’t know what it’s like to have an anxiety disorder, to visualize possible disasters constantly. Spending six months in Vancouver with her father and stepfamily is terrifying for nearly 17-year-old Maeve-she could die on the way, for one thing. Even after arriving safely, she finds cause for worry. Her father may be drinking again, the home birth her pregnant stepmother is planning is risky, and being around Salix-the girl she likes-is nerve-racking. But to Maeve’s surprise, Salix likes her. Even more surprising: when some of Maeve’s fears come to pass, she’s upset, but not helpless. Mac (The Way Back) is good at showing how a dread-filled mind works and how Salix, whom Maeve sees as wholly confident, also has to fight nerves. Mac’s not interested in villains: there is no evil stepmother, no homophobia. Instead, the struggles are internal, like Maeve’s anxiety and her father’s relapse, and relational, as people try to forgive and be honest with each other. The result is a low-key but affecting story. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)

About the Author

I live with my partner and two children in East Van, overlooking the shipyards and with a great view of the crows flying home to roost.

Or:

When Carrie Mac was born, her right eye gawked off in one direction while her left eye looked the other way. Well meaning adults thought she was a changeling and so they wrapped her up and put her on the porch for the fairies to take back, please and thank you. It was snowing. It was dark. No fairies came. The same well meaning adults decided she’d catch her death out there. So they brought her in and kept her after all.

She’s read millions of books, and has sat happily at the feat of a legion of storytellers. She is equally fascinated by disaster and grace. car wrecks, hurricanes, plagues, and genocides on the one hand, small and stunning everyday miracles on the other. She sometimes wishes she were a pirate. She’d often wished she’d run away and joined the circus when she had the chance. She spends a great deal of time in the company of her imagination, and when she isn’t, she’s wide eyed and awed by this planet and the people running amok all over it. Her website is www.carriemac.com.

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