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New Releases – July 2013

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (Arthur A. Levine)

Book description: Seventh grader Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975. What he’s not used to is white kids being nice to him–especially white kids like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys become friends, Lewis finds he has to lie more and more to hide the real circumstances of his life from George; and together they confront the bully Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan’s side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis’s home–will he still be his friend?

Since You Asked… by Maurene Goo (Scholastic)

“Goo debuts with a drily funny account of a teenager who feels like an outsider in her high school, family, and society in general. … Goo capably demonstrates the pressures and expectations Holly is under, and that a sense of humor is valuable for dealing with both.”
Publishers Weekly

Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes (Berkley Trade)

Book description: Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin (Egmont)

“It’s a rare treat to find a teen novel with both heart and humor in such great and equal quantities.” — Booklist

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu (Simon Pulse)

“Debut novelist Haydu doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties of OCD or reduce her characters to a symptom list…to build a relationship with someone who’s seen them as they really are, to move past shame into intimacy, makes the story that much more touching.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong by L. Tam Holland (Simon & Schuster)

“While characters with mixed heritages are increasingly visible in teen literature, their experience in a rapidly shifting cultural landscape is seldom explored in depth. This first-rate debut does exactly that.” — Kirkus

Star Power by Kelli London (KTeen Dafina)

Book description: Charly St. James is on top, and she’s determined to keep it that way. That’s why she and the producers have come up with a plan to take The Extreme Dream Team to the next level–by turning loners into VIPs. After all, how can you enjoy your new digs if your life is jacked up?

But when Charly meets her first makeover, Nia, she knows she’ll have to do more than dress her up and boost her self-esteem. Nia is living in the shade of her twin sister, who is luxuriating in a major case of pretty girl syndrome. And the more Charly tries to get Nia to shine, the more her twin sabotages her mission. Good thing Charly loves a challenge, ‘cause these twins’ troubles are more than skin deep…


New Releases – June 2013

The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton (Random House)

Book description: Seventeen-year-old Soren Bearskin is trying to escape the past. His father, a famed warrior, lost himself to the battle-frenzy and killed thirteen innocent people. Soren cannot deny that berserking is in his blood–the fevers, insomnia, and occasional feelings of uncontrollable rage haunt him. So he tries to remain calm and detached from everyone at Sanctus Sigurd’s Academy. But that’s hard to do when a popular, beautiful girl like Astrid Glyn tells Soren she dreams of him. That’s not all Astrid dreams of–the daughter of a renowned prophetess, Astrid is coming into her own inherited abilities.

When Baldur, son of Odin and one of the most popular gods in the country, goes missing, Astrid sees where he is and convinces Soren to join her on a road trip that will take them to find not only a lost god, but also who they are beyond the legacy of their parents and everything they’ve been told they have to be.

Paradox by A. J. Paquette (Random House)

Book description: Ana only knows her name because of the tag she finds pinned to her jumpsuit. Waking in the featureless compartment of a rocket ship, she opens the hatch to discover that she has landed on a barren alien world. Instructions in her pocket tell her to observe and to survive, no doubt with help from the wicked-looking knives she carries on her belt. But to what purpose?

Meeting up with three other teens–one boy seems strangely familiar–Ana treks across the inhospitable landscape, occasionally encountering odd twists of light that carry glimpses of people back on Earth. They’re working on some sort of problem, and the situation is critical. What is the connection between Ana’s mission on this planet and the crisis back on Earth, and how is she supposed to figure out the answer when she can’t remember anything?

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan (Putnam)

“Some call Habo a zeruzeru—a zero-zero—nothing. Others willingly pursue the riches his albino body parts will bring on the black market in Sullivan’s intense debut. With his white skin, shaky, blue, unfocused eyes and yellow hair, 13-year-old Habo fits nowhere in his chocolate-brown Tanzanian family—not with his brothers who shun him, nor even with his mother, who avoids his touch. … A riveting fictional snapshot of one Tanzanian boy who makes himself matter.” — Kirkus

The Girl of His Dreams by Amir Abrams (KTeen Dafina)

Book Description: The rules are simple: Play or get played. And never, ever, catch feelings. That’s the motto 17-year-old heartthrob Antonio Lopez lives by. Since his mother walked out, Antonio’s father has taught him everything he needs to know about women: they can’t be trusted, and a real man has more than one. So once Antonio gets what he wants from a girl, he moves on. But McPherson High’s hot new beauty is turning out to be Antonio’s first real challenge.

A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury (Atheneum)

“India, 1947: As Britain prepares to divide the country before leaving, three lives unexpectedly intersect. … Historical fiction that brings its history to bloody, poignant life: rare and notable.” — Kirkus

Ink by Amanda Sun (Harlequin Teen)

“Sun’s debut picks up on themes popularized in manga, like the minor deities of Shinto folklore, as the basis for her planned Paper Gods series. … an enjoyable peek at a world very different from America, yet inhabited by people whose hearts are utterly familiar.” — Publishers Weekly

How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle (The RoadRunner Press)

Book Description: Told in the words of Isaac, a Choctaw boy who does not survive the Trail of Tears, How I Became a Ghost is a tale of innocence and resilience in the face of tragedy.

Proxy by Alex London (Penguin)

“A smart, stylish science-fiction thriller that deftly weaves big issues like guilt, accidents of birth, redemption and commerce into a page-turning read.” — Kirkus

Burning by Elana K. Arnold (Delacorte)

“A white boy afraid to leave his family meets a Romani girl who wants a brief romantic encounter in the Nevada desert. … Lyrical and inspirational.” — Kirkus

The Secret Ingredient by Stewart Lewis (Delacorte)

“Olivia and her ne’er-do-well singer/songwriter older brother Jeremy adore their two dads, Enrique and Bell. … Nuanced characters, including the talented protagonist and her loving but realistically flawed family, are the stars of this introspective and poignant coming-of-age tale.” — Kirkus

Underneath by Sarah Jamila Stevenson (Flux)

“Like her name, Sunshine Pryce-Shah is a cultural hybrid with Pakistani and American hippie roots. … takes readers on a profound journey.”
— Kirkus

The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Crushed by Sara Shepard (HarperCollins)

DiYA Author Spotlight: Alex Sanchez

Alex Sanchez is the author of numerous young adult novels about gay teens, including the Lambda Award-winning So Hard to Say and the Rainbow Boys trilogy. Sanchez has a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and worked for many years as a youth and family counselor.

“[Rainbow Boys] came about when I was dealing with some of my own coming-out issues, and writing, and I kept coming across, either in the news or in my work as a counselor, young people who were coming out. I was just so inspired by their courage and their stories that as I was writing the book it sort of took form in terms of teenagers. And then the more I worked on it, my vision, or goal, I guess you could say, was to write the book I wanted to read when I was a teenager.”
— Alex Sanchez in an interview with Publishers Weekly

“What makes covert prejudice so hard to confront is its very subtlety. One way writers can address subtle biases is to do what we do best: WRITE stories that reveal how covert prejudices work. Such themes will be particularly valuable in YA stories, as it becomes less acceptable to openly bash LGBT young people. Many kids who in the past may have been openly harassed, bullied, and ostracized will undoubtedly experience more covert prejudice as our society incrementally moves toward true equality. We need to tell those stories.”
— Alex Sanchez on the subtle homophobia that writers of LGBT stories sometimes encounter, in an interview with Malinda Lo

Visit Alex Sanchez’s website.

Congratulations to the young adult category winners of the International Latino Book Awards, now in its 15th year:

Best Young Adult Fiction Book

First Place: When The Guns Fell Silent by Edna Iturralde (WPR Publishing; Ecuador)

Second Place: A Thunderous Whisper by Christina Diaz Gonzales (Random House Children’s Books; USA)

Honorable Mention:

Best Young Adult Nonfiction Book

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; USA)

Most Inspirational Young Adult Book

First Place: The Day of Yesterday by Edna Iturralde (WPR Publishing; Ecuador)

Second Place: El Sendero Hacia el Exito!, Daniel Ramirez

Honorable Mention: Micaela: Despertar en PoesíaWaking Up to Poetry by Adalucía (Cholita Prints and Publishing Company; Perú)

DiYA Author Spotlight: Julie Anne Peters

Julie Anne Peters is the critically acclaimed author of numerous children’s and young adult novels, including the National Book Award finalist Luna, the Lambda Book Award winner Between Mom and Jo, and the Stonewall Honor Book Keeping You a Secret. According to her official bio, “She lives in Lakewood, Colorado, with her partner, Sherri, and far too many cats. The cats are under the impression that they’re creative geniuses, since they spend a majority of their day walking back and forth across her computer keyboard. They probably generate more words per day than she does, but who can read cat gibberish?”

From a 2005 interview with Malinda Lo at AfterEllen:

Malinda Lo: What made you decide to write about gay teens?

Julie Anne Peters: I did not choose to write a young adult lesbian love story. It was really my editor who came to me and said, “Why don’t you write a young adult lesbian love story?”

ML: Was this just in conversation? 

JAP: It was just in casual conversation….We were just having lunch, and we were talking about our families. She was going to marry her longtime boyfriend finally, after they had lived together for ten years, and Sherri and I…had just celebrated…our 25th anniversary. And Megan said, “Well, why don’t you write me a young adult lesbian love story?” And I said, “Are you crazy? Are you insane?” I said, “Would you publish that?” She said, “Absolutely. I would publish that if it was good.”

ML: How was Keeping You a Secret received?

JAP: Even before it was released I started getting hundreds and hundreds of emails. I just never realized what a hunger there was for the literature.

ML: You’ve said that in Far From Xanadu [which has since been republished as Pretend You Love Me] you wanted to dispel the myth that small towns were homophobic. Do you feel that way about the town that you live in? 

JAP: I think that when you grow up in a community, any kind of community, and you grow up there, you go to school there, and everybody in that neighborhood knows you, whether it’s in a small town or in a neighborhood, that they don’t look on you so much as being gay…they look on you more as being a human being. So in this book I wanted to tell a story where being gay was not so much central to who this person was but incidental to her character…. I hope there’s always room for coming-out stories, for love stories, because I just think that’s where teens are in their developmental process….

They’re so unique, our coming-out stories, that we have to kind of learn to love and accept ourselves at the same time that we’re falling in love with somebody else. I just think that is an interesting phenomenon. I hear a lot of librarians and editors say, “Oh it’s just another coming-out story.” But those are important stories for teens. I think we have to acknowledge that that’s where they are in life. And you know, how many straight love stories are there? Come on, we can afford to have four or five.

Visit Julie Anne Peters at her website or follow her on Twitter.

“I don’t think we’ve gone far enough with it in terms of making sure children know about different cultures. If you want people to feel they are part of society, it’s about making it more inclusive.

“We need more books that are specifically about the British BME [black and minority ethnic] experience and that’s why I bang the drum for more diversity and not having this idea that if a book has got pictures of a black or Asian child then it’s going to have a limited market.”

Malorie Blackman, the UK’s first black children’s laureate (The Guardian)

Your favorite YA books about Asian Americans!

Thanks to everyone who answered our call for your favorite YA books about Asian Americans in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Some of them weren’t YA, but we’re including them anyway. Here are the books you love:

Fiffy recommends: Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston

This is the first Asian American book I read. I learned about something I didn’t know much about. It made me more aware of America and my standing. I should appreciate that I live in this time instead of back then.

lightspeedsound recommends: Child of the Owl and Ribbons, both by Laurence Yep

sdiaz101 recommends: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

The three interlocking stories come together to depict the immigrant story in such a powerful way. I love this Printz-winning title. It turned me on to graphic novels, and it was one of the first that I’ve read in which a POC was the main character.

pyroclast recommends: Good Enough by Paula Yoo

inventthisplease recommends: Bone by Fae Myenne Ng

This is not YA but it is so good. SF Chinatown, secrets, immigration, a “paper father,” (a little sex). Bone is still at the top of my list for all-time favorite books. 

New Releases – May 2013

Get Over It by Nikki Carter (KTeen Dafina)

“Wholesome, down-to-earth fun.” — Kirkus

How To Be a Star by M. Doty (Poppy)

Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman (Delacorte)

“A gripping tale with important lessons for any young man.” — New York Times

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (Arthur A. Levine)

“A sometimes painful story of self-discovery, it is also a beautifully written, absolutely captivating romance between two boys, Rafe and Ben, who are both wonderfully sympathetic characters. With its capacity to invite both thought and deeply felt emotion, Openly Straight is altogether one of the best gay-themed novels of the last ten years.” — Michael Cart, Booklist starred review

Mystic (Soul Seekers Book #3) by Alyson Noel (St. Martin’s Press)

Since arriving in the dusty desert town of Enchantment, everything in Daire Santos life has changed…and not always for the better. While she’s come to accept and embrace her new powers as a Soul Seeker, Daire struggles with the responsibility she holds navigating between the worlds of the living and the dead—and her mission to defeat the evil Cade Richter. …

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler (Simon Pulse)

“Narrator Jude’s voice is steady, honest and clear as she faces head-on her responsibility for her father’s care, her desire to step from her sisters’ shadows, her own genetic connection with her father’s disease and forbidden love. At its core, this is a touching father-daughter story made even stronger by realistic family complications and Jude’s need to find her own voice.” — Kirkus

Swans & Klons by Nora Olsen (Bold Strokes Books)

“Philosophical dystopia fans of all orientations will find much to appreciate in this story that tackles big ideas.” — Kirkus

Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez (Running Press Kids)

“Sanchez’ expertly crafted narrative … [pulls] readers into Frenchie’s anger and pain without straying into clichés of teen angst… . An exceptionally well-written journey to make sense of the senseless.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)

“Shen’s plot ably balances drama, humor, angst, and robotic geekery, giving the book an immediate YA appeal, but one that’s broad enough to be enjoyable to older readers, as well. Visually, Hicks’s wide-eyed, inky b&w panels infuse the characters with real emotion and personality, capturing the book’s heartfelt youthfulness.” — Publishers Weekly

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith (HarperCollins)

“Most fascinating in this stirring coming-of-age novel are the blurred lines between perception and reality, genius and madness, peace and turmoil. Debut author Smith embraces the complexities of grief, family dynamics, creativity, mental illness, and love and pens them with a thoughtful, subtle hand.”— The Horn Book

The Language Inside by Holly Thompson (Delacorte)

“A sensitive and compelling read that will inspire teens to contemplate how they can make a difference.” — School Library Journal, starred review

Coda by Emma Trevayne (Running Press)

“Atmospheric and emotionally rich, this intense story practically sings with defiance, swaggering like the rock and punk of old. A strong debut from an author to watch.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

DiYA Author Spotlight: Mitali Perkins

Mitali Perkins was born in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and lived in Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York, and Mexico before moving to California when she was 11. She is the author of many critically acclaimed books for children and young adults, and the editor of the forthcoming anthology Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices, which will be published by Candlewick this fall. She frequently blogs about life between cultures at her website, Mitali’s Fire Escape.

“Living between cultures means that you don’t feel like you fit either in your community of origin or in mainstream Americana. It means that you’d better learn to flex your spirit so that you can eventually feel at home in many places or that you’ll spend a bulk of your formative years feeling disenfranchised. Through stories, immigrant, adopted, and bi-racial kids can achieve the flexibility needed to survive life between cultures, as well as to make themselves feel at home.”
— Mitali Perkins in an interview with Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

“I’m proud to be an Asian American author, and yet hope that many young readers from all different backgrounds will enjoy my stories. I don’t like being automatically shelved in the multicultural section, and feel that being labeled like that sometimes hinders my books from getting into the right hands or more hearts. Some of my books are about race, but in others, like the First Daughter books and Monsoon Summer, ethnicity plays only a small part in the plot.”
— Mitali Perkins in an interview with Cynsations

Find out more about Mitali Perkins and her books at her website, or follow her on Twitter.