At the beginning of September I challenged myself to read through my big and beautiful, ever-growing pile of ARC's from Little, Brown and Company. I aimed for ten and finished seven. Here I bring you the top 4 realistic fiction titles to look for.
Ask the Passengers by A.S. King: This was my absolute favorite story. I'm now a huge fan of A.S. King and her coming-of-age, coming-to-grips tale of Astrid Jones. She's unusual and knows it yet longs for the shelter of a loving family and honest friends. She struggles with her own identity, familial disfunction, her sexuality, and what it means to be a good and true friend. This story is a marvel and Astrid is a character that I think about often. Buy this for your library or a teenager in need. Booklist Online has a very creative interview with A.S. King - read it, it will make you laugh. (ARC provided by Little, Brown, and Company, release date October, 2012)
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher; The Matthews family is broken in every way. Jaime, the youngest, narrates the story of this family's critical loss. Rose, Jaime's sister and twin to Jasmine, dies from a terrorist bomb in a local park. Jaime's mother, trying to heal herself, attends a local grief group, meets someone else and leaves the family. In order to douse the overwhelming pain Jaime's father drinks. Eventually Jaime, his sister, Jas, and father move to the country to get out of London and away from the Muslim's. Jaime's father blames all Muslim's for the death of his daughter and he emotionally abandons his two living children while grieving for Rose. This book brings out the blanket racism that clouds good judgement as Jaime, in his little country school, befriends a local Muslim girl. This book by debut author Annabel Pitcher is beautifully written with rare wit about a topic that will have people talking. (ARC provided by LBC, August, 2012)
DJ Rising by Love Maia; Music is Marley's world. With a scholarship to attend a prestigious school and a job busing tables at a hip restaurant he has his hands full just trying to make it on his own. In the midst of his own teenage life he juggles caring for his drug-addicted mother who never recovered from the death of her husband, Marley's music-loving dad. Marley has two dreams: one is to DJ at a fancy club and the second is that the beautiful Lea Hall will talk to him. When his mother tries to recover, and the DJ world starts to suck Marley in, will he be able to accomplish any of his real goals as he learns to figure out what is most important? This book is well worth reading as you want Marley to triumph over the life he's been handed and Maia's lyrical writing make it a quick read. Soundtrack to come according to her website. (ARC provided by LBC, Feb., 2012)
The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney; At first glance this could appear to be a fluff YA chick read but there is much deeper stuff below the surface. Budget cuts leave Julius P. Heil High without a football coach or a team causing several affluent families to take their young players to private schools. With so many young men gone the girls start looking at the second and third tier of eligible guys. The theatre geeks, the band boys, and the stoner dudes suddenly all have a place at the table. Through this new adventure Kelly begins to see her old band-friend, Hunter, in a new light; he could be truly crush-worthy if the plastic girls (the "Spandexers") can keep their hands off him. I enjoyed this story as it explores high school stereotypes and told through Kelly's and Hunter's alternating chapters. Hunter is a boy I would have loved and you will cheer for him as he finds his true voice. Flynn Meaney is also the author of Bloodthirsty. (ARC provided by LBC, August, 2012)
These four easily captured my attention. I have several others still to review including an elementary fiction title and four picture books and I am happy to share these exciting titles. The common denominator is identity which is something teens struggle with whether gay, straight, male, female, rich, or poor and these titles raise awareness for this angst.
Thank you Zoe!! You make my day with your monthly emails.