Thursday, September 13, 2018

Summer Wrap-Up + Reading Challenge Check-In (July + August)

I meant for this to go up a little earlier, but then I got sick. So it's going up now, because that's how things go. Oh, well! (That's also why we've been a little light on reviews. Your Laina has not been feeling great.)

This year I am doing Playpire's 2018 Diversity Challenge, and July's theme was again "LGBT Pride Summer", and August's theme was "Mental Health Awareness", and I just kind of rolled those into my QSR books because that's what I read! So I'll just talk about what I read for QSR and mention which books also fit the other monthly themes.

Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz

Published: March 19th, 2013 by Roaring Brook Press
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 247 plus acknowledgements
Part of a series? No.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Best friends Stephen and Marco know a thing or two about impossible missions. It's thanks to them that cell phone thieves at school are apprehended, lost puppies are returned, and gym uniforms are lent out to the forgetful thirteen-year-old masses.

When Marco finds out that Benji - the dream exchange student on whom he has a crush - and his band are playing at the high school prom, he enlists Stephen's help to crash prom and get Marco onstage to profess his love. But as most veteran operatives know, not all heists run smoothly. Stephen is sick of Marco calling the shots 99.97 percent of the time, and he's especially sick of being the sidekick.

On top of it all, Marco and Stephen need to act fast - before Benji goes back to England at the end of the school year. Even though these boys are experts in espionage, it's going to take a mission impossible to pull this maneuver off.

The part where I talk: I liked this a lot, and reviewed it here. Basically any of these could be my July book, but I'm going to go with this one, because why not.

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

Published: March 6th, 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 307 plus acknowledgments
Part of a series? I don't believe so.
Got via: The library
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen's house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm--and what's worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.

Mysteriously, Ivy's drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks--and hopes--that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings?

The part where I talk: This is one of my new favourites. I'm a huge fan of this, honestly. Also reviewed here.

One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock

Published: February 27th, 2018 by Scholasic
Genre: Historical MG
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 205 plus author's note and acknowledgements and such.
Part of a series? No.
Got via: The library
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Welcome to Daniel Boone Middle School in the 1970s, where teachers and coaches must hide who they are, and girls who like girls are forced to question their own choices. Presented in the voice of a premier storyteller, One True Way sheds exquisite light on what it means to be different, while at the same time being wholly true to oneself.

Through the lives and influences of two girls, readers come to see that love is love is love. Set against the backdrop of history and politics that surrounded gay rights in the 1970s South, this novel is a thoughtful, eye-opening, look at tolerance, acceptance, and change, and will widen the hearts of all readers.

The part where I talk: Not as big of a fan of this one, unfortunately. Reviewed this one here.

P.S. I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy

Published: March 6th, 2018 by Feiwel and Friends
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 310 plus acknowledgements
Part of a series? No.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Eleven-year-old Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister away to stay with a distant great-aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. But when her parents forbid her to even speak to Cilla, she starts sending letters. Evie writes letters about her family, torn apart and hurting. She writes about her life, empty without Cilla. And she writes about the new girl in school, June, who becomes her friend, and then maybe more than a friend.

As she becomes better friends with June, Evie begins to question her sexual orientation. She can only imagine what might happen if her parents found out who she really is. She could really use some advice from Cilla. But Cilla isn't writing back.

The part where I talk: This made me cry so much and I really fell in love with it. Very much worth checking out. Reviewed here, as I realize this post is me linking to the same post multiple times in a row, lol.

No More Heroes by Michelle Kan

Published: February 2017 by Fish and Swallow Publications
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 278 and I'm not getting up to check
Part of a series? Yes, it's the first of a series.
Got via: Luci bought it for me, lol.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound / Author's Website

Summary (from goodreads): The peaceful nights are kept under the clandestine and watchful eye of young, gifted vigilantes the world over. But a sudden rash of vigilante deaths heralds the arrival of a new and unfamiliar enemy – one whose motive is as unclear as their identity. Someone or something seems determined to disturb the peace, and they're going straight for the watchmen to do it. In a city where those who are gifted make up their own rules, who will step forward when the threat of a swift end is real and there stands so little to gain?

No More Heroes is an urban fantasy action/adventure novel about young, would-be heroes who get more than they bargained for when they delve deeper into a world they never knew they were a part of. Featuring a diverse cast of players, discord, a mystery to be solved, plenty of literary action and high-stakes battles, No More Heroes is a story about self-belief and camaraderie, persistence in the face of trials, and what it means to be the best version of yourself.

The part where I talk: Not a huge fan of this, but I think a lot of other people would be.

Okay, the next four books are going to be reviewed all in the same post, which wasn't actually on purpose, so I'm just going to link to it once right here, instead of posting the same link four time.

The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Published: Originally released in 1997, the edition I have is from 2003, and there was a 2010 printing. I'm honestly shocked the copy I have has "2004" written in it because it's practically brand new.
Genre: Historical YA - I'll talk more about this in the review.
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 114
Part of a series? No.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Staggerlee is used to being alone. As the granddaughter of celebrities and the daughter of an interracial couple in an all-black town, she has become adept at isolating herself from curious neighbors.

But then her cousin, Trout, comes to visit. Trout is exactly like Staggerlee wishes she could be: outspoken, sure of herself, beautiful. Finally, Staggerlee has a friend, someone she can share her deepest, most private thoughts with. Someone who will teach her how to be the strong girl she longs to be. But is Trout really the girl Staggerlee thinks she is?

The part where I talk: This is super interesting as a historical part of queer YA lit, but also just on its own as a book.

The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island

Published: May 10th, 2016 by Delacourte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 255 plus acknowledgements and whatnot
Part of a series? This is the second book in the Family Fletcher series.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): The Fletchers are back on Rock Island, home of all their best summer memories. But from their first day on vacation, it’s clear that this year, things have changed. Their favorite lighthouse is all boarded up‘ and the Fletcher boys can’t figure out why or how to save it. Add a dose of Shakespeare, a very tippy kayak, a video camera, (maybe, possibly, or not) a swimming cat, and some new neighbors, and the recipe for a crazy vacation is complete.

Over the course of the summer, the Fletchers will learn that sometimes, even in a place where time stands still, the wildest, weirdest, and most wonderful surprises await.

The part where I talk: I liked the first of this series, and I liked this one, too.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Published: March 14, 2017 by Swoon Reads
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 262 plus extras like acknowledgements and an interview and stuff.
Part of a series? No, standalone.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.

The part where I talk: This surprised me so much! Loved it. And I am also counting this one as my August book, as it talks a lot about anxiety.

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Published: March 27th, 2018
Genre: MG Magical Realism
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 211, plus acknowledgements and an about the author that uses "they/them" pronouns for the author and made me realize I've never seen that in... basically any trad book, let alone a MG book, and was super cool to see.
Part of a series? No, standalone.
Got via: The library
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Twelve-year-old Caroline is a Hurricane Child, born on Water Island during a storm. Coming into this world during a hurricane is unlucky, and Caroline has had her share of bad luck already. She's hated by everyone in her small school, she can see things that no one else can see, and -- worst of all -- her mother left home one day and never came back.

With no friends and days filled with heartache, Caroline is determined to find her mother. When a new student, Kalinda, arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, seems to see the things Caroline sees, too. Joined by their common gift, Kalinda agrees to help Caroline look for her mother, starting with a mysterious lady dressed in black. Soon, they discover the healing power of a close friendship between girls.

The part where I talk: I also loved this one. It was beautiful.

So here's the bingo card I went with, for fun.

And I also have some updates for my Beat the Backlist Challenge:

1. Angels Fall by Nora Roberts
2. You by Charles Benoit
3. Ruined by Paula Morris
4. The Haunting of Cassie Palmer by Vivian Alcock
5. The Gifting by Ann Gabhart
6. Below the Root by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
7. The Dark Garden by Margaret Buffie
8. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
9. Abel's Island by William Steig
10. The Summer of the Falcon by Jean Craighead George
11. Sarah and Katie by Dori White
12. Cheater, Cheater by Elizabeth Levy
13. Sisters Red by Jason Pearce
14. The Clearing by Heather Davis
15. Remembering Raquel by Vivian Vande Velde
16. The Callender Papers by Cynthia Voigt
17. The Vandemark Mummy by Cynthia Voigt
18. The Weekend Was Murder by Joan Lowery Nixon
19. The Specter by Joan Lowery Nixon
20. Choker by Elizabeth Woods
21. No More Heroes by Michelle Kan (IT COUNTS. I owned a copy and have for like a year! That makes it count.)

Alright, that's what I read this summer!

How have you all been doing? Hopefully no stomach bugs for you!

Peace and cookies,

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