Tag Archives: Calvin Slater

New Releases – February 2015

The Many Faces of Josephine Baker: Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy by Peggy Caravantes (Chicago Review Press)

“An honest, revealing portrait of the famed entertainer and activist who was born into extreme poverty and became an international iconic star of the Jazz Age. … This warts-and-all portrait reveals that Baker was a complex, enigmatic personality who could be as selfish as she was generous, as mean-spirited as she was compassionate, and as inconsiderate as she was thoughtful. A fascinating, compelling story of a remarkably resilient woman who overcame poverty and racial prejudice to become an international celebrity.” — Kirkus

The Oathbreaker’s Shadow by Amy McCulloch (Flux)

“In a fantasy world with the flavor of the Central Asian steppes, Raim is a 15-year-old nomad determined to join the elite forces of the Khanate. Since he was a child, he’s been best friends with the Khan’s heir, and if he passes his tests he’ll be young Khareh’s most trusted fighter. He need only make an Absolute Vow, an oath sworn on a knot. If the maker of a knotted promise is forsworn, the knot burns a hideous scar on the oathbreaker’s body, and a grotesque shadow appears, haunting the breaker of the promise and causing his countrymen to drive him into the wilderness.” — Kirkus

Soulprint by Megan Miranda (Bloomsbury)

“Miranda (Vengeance) introduces a heroine with a strong voice and a thirst for freedom, thrust among a vividly delineated supporting cast with competing agendas. In a future where reincarnation can be scientifically tracked, 17-year-old half-Hispanic Alina Chase has spent her life isolated, allegedly for her own protection. She carries within her the soul of a charismatic and destructive whistleblower turned blackmailer, June Calahan. … The beauty of Miranda’s latest novel is in watching Alina, unused to human relationships, fall in love, earn trust, and form fast friendships in a high-adrenaline atmosphere, as she and her companions fight to stay ahead of the authorities while following the trail left by June.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Third Twin by CJ Omololu (Delacorte)

“Twins Lexi and Ava have been playing a game since they were little girls: they have created an imaginary third twin, Alicia. … Now as teenagers, the sisters vicariously imagine the free-spirited Alicia indulging in the wilder side of life. … Then the game begins to have dangerous consequences. … This compelling story filled with serpentine twists and turns will leave readers guessing at every step, and breathless at the climactic conclusion. Hand to readers who crave suspenseful, plot-driven thrillers.” — School Library Journal

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez (Bloomsbury)

“This realistic novel invites readers into the lives of two high schoolers, Elizabeth Davis and Emily Delgado, as they struggle with unrelated painful events, reacting in ways as different as their personalities. … Latino culture, and bicultural and gay family relationships are woven easily into the story; popular culture references and some romance will also resonate with adolescents. Overall, this text provides important insights into the various stressors that can lead to depression and suicide, as well as the type of support required to move toward potential healing.” — School Library Journal

Hold Me Down by Calvin Slater (Dafina)

Book Description: Xavier Hunter’s dreams of graduation and college are even more crazy-impossible this sophomore year. Flipping on his former BFF has put more than one target on his back. And thanks to vicious baby-daddy lies, his dream girl Samantha Fox has quit him for good. The only person who seems to understand what he’s going through is Nancy Simpson. She’s a gorgeous chance to make things right—but she’s more dangerous drama than Xavier has ever seen.

Samantha isn’t going to let heartbreak break her. Maybe Xavier wasn’t the down-deep-decent guy she thought. And maybe what they had wasn’t as true as she hoped. But there’s something about his new boo, Nancy, that’s screaming bad news. And exposing what’s real means she and Xavier must face some hard truths—and survive.

Feral Pride by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick)

“A battle pitting a group of werepeople and their vampire compatriot against demons in disguise concludes this trilogy that began with Feral Nights (2013). … As in previous volumes, the wickedly funny, quickly paced style is anchored by the novel’s underlying theme of the marginalization of people and its effects, both those obvious (”Our legal rights are slippery,“ explains Kayla) and more insidiously subtle. … A final episode that is witty, smart and moving—sure to satisfy those who’ve been following the series.” — Kirkus

This Side of Home by Renée Watson (Bloomsbury)

“The summer before Maya and Nikki’s senior year of high school brings new challenges as their previously all-black neighborhood becomes attractive to other ethnic groups. The twins, while still close, have been changing in recent years and now find they have very different views about the changes. … Maya’s straightforward narration offers an intriguing look at how families and young people cope with community and personal change. Maya and her friends are well-drawn, successful characters surrounded by a realistic adult supporting cast.” — Kirkus

New Releases – August 2014

The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan (Wendy Lamb Books)

“After 16-year-old, half-Hawaiian Leilani and her father travel from the Big Island to Oahu so she can take part in a trial for a new epilepsy drug, tsunamis sweep across the eastern shores of the Hawaiian islands; additional chaos descends as people realize that other disasters have struck all across the world. … Debut author Aslan shows off his promise as a writer, delivering a fresh, of-the-moment take on apocalyptic fiction.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Island of Excess Love by Francesca Lia Block (Henry Holt)

Book Description: In The Island of Excess Love, Pen has lost her parents. She’s lost her eye. But she has fought Kronen; she has won back her fragile friends and her beloved brother. Now Pen, Hex, Ash, Ez, and Venice are living in the pink house by the sea, getting by on hard work, companionship, and dreams. Until the day a foreboding ship appears in the harbor across from their home. As soon as the ship arrives, they all start having strange visions of destruction and violence. Trance-like, they head for the ship and their new battles begin.

This companion to Love in the Time of Global Warming follows Pen as she searches for love among the ruins, this time using Virgil’s epic Aeneid as her guide. A powerful and stunning book filled with Francesca Lia Block’s beautiful language and inspiring characters.

A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen (Little, Brown)

“After a painful breakup, Shana Wilde has issued a ”Boy Moratorium“ when it comes to dating and relationships, despite her own flirtatious personality. In search of the perfect photograph to bolster her portfolio for college, Shana meets Quattro, and his wit and sweetness make her question her new mantra. Life throws another curveball Shana’s way when her father announces he is going blind. … A book that will appeal to readers who enjoy a side of adventure with their heartache.” — School Library Journal

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco (Sourcebooks Fire)

“Chupeco makes a powerful debut with this unsettling ghost story, drawing from the same ancient Japanese legend that inspired The Ring and other horror pieces. Okiku is a vengeful spirit who wanders the world. … Told in a marvelously disjointed fashion from Okiku’s numbers-obsessed point of view, this story unfolds with creepy imagery and an intimate appreciation for Japanese horror, myth, and legend.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner (Point)

Book Description: Torrey Grey is famous. At least, on the internet. Thousands of people watch her popular videos on fashion and beauty. But when Torrey’s sister is killed in an accident – maybe because of Torrey and her videos – Torrey’s perfect world implodes.

Now, strangers online are bashing Torrey. And at her new school, she doesn’t know who to trust. Is queen bee Blair only being sweet because of Torrey’s internet infamy? What about Raylene, who is decidedly unpopular, but seems accepts Torrey for who she is? And then there’s Luis, with his brooding dark eyes, whose family runs the local funeral home. Torrey finds herself drawn to Luis, and his fascinating stories about El dio de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

As the Day of the Dead draws near, Torrey will have to really look at her own feelings about death, and life, and everything in between. Can she learn to mourn her sister out of the public eye?

Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson (Simon Pulse)

“One year ago, Hurricane Josephine killed 16-year-old Dovey’s best friend Carly. But after spotting Carly at Savannah’s Paper Moon Coffee Shop, Dovey sets out on a quixotic quest to find her. … Along with Isaac and her loyal friend Baker, biracial Dovey must free Carly from an afterlife of servitude without becoming enslaved herself. This genuinely frightening horror novel is also a character-driven paean to friendship, as Dovey and Baker’s devotion to Carly inspires them to courage and sacrifice.” — Publishers Weekly

Blind by Rachel DeWoskin (Viking)

“With traces of John Green’s Looking for Alaska (2005), DeWoskin’s first teen novel explores death and darkness. Blinded in a fireworks accident, Emma Silver has finally learned to find “shorelines” with her white cane and identify her six wildly different siblings by their breathing. Her rehabilitation is meticulously described, from learning to decipher braille to containing her panic. … A vivid, sensory tour of the shifting landscapes of blindness and teen relationships.” — Kirkus, starred review

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

“In contrast to dystopian novels with world-shaking stakes, Fine (the Guards of the Shadowlands series) focuses on a detailed microcosm within an unjust society. She centers her tale of forbidden love and social awakening on a single industrial complex, where brutal bosses control workers by keeping them permanently in debt. … Fine creates a memorable atmosphere of desperation, deftly weaving together numerous subplots that intersect in a grisly and satisfying climax.” — Publishers Weekly

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank (Schwartz & Wade)

“Using innovative page design, Frank crafts an unflinching look at illness. … Frank’s portrayal of chronic, mostly invisible sickness is spot-on. Illness isn’t metaphor, it isn’t a consequence, it isn’t a literary vehicle—it’s a precarious and uprooting fact of life, inconvenient and enraging, but not the end of the world.Riveting, humanizing and real.” — Kirkus, starred review

Bombay Blues by Tanuja Desai Hidier

“Long awaited, anticipated, likely to be debated: Dimple Lala is back. Hidier quietly revolutionized YA literature with Born Confused (2002), and this sequel indicates she’s intent on a repeat. Dimple, now in college and still with beat-dropping Karsh, heads to Bombay ostensibly for a wedding but really for so much more; still, perhaps, born confused, she is in search of home. Dense, lyrical, full of neologic portmanteaus and wordplay (“magnifishence”; “candlecadabra”): This is a prose-poem meditation on love, family and homecoming (or not) posing as a novel.” — Kirkus, starred review

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Twelfth Planet Press)

Book Description: What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgendered animal shifter have in common? They’re all stars of Kaleidoscope stories!

Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage life.

Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo (Random House Books for Young Readers)

“Instead of returning home at the end of a summer spent with their grandparents, Leigh and her older sister Kai receive two one-way bus tickets to Hangtown, CA. Their father has bought a graveyard and the family is moving. For the past three years, Leigh has been a stalwart support system for Kia while she battled cancer. … Leigh’s worst fears are confirmed when Dario, the 20-year-old Mexican immigrant who works at the cemetery (and Leigh’s crush), tells her that her birthday, November 1st, is the Day of the Dead in Mexico. … An impressive debut novel—simultaneously hilarious, clever, and poignant.” — School Library Journal

Taken by David Massey (Chicken House)

Book Description: The trip of a lifetime turns into a fight to the death when six extreme athletes are TAKEN hostage by pirates off the coast of Africa. By the author of TORN.

Six crew members are toughing it out, trying to come together as a team to sail around the world on a grueling challenge for charity. Four are teen military veterans disabled in combat: They’re used to being pushed to the limit. But nothing could have prepared them for being kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Suddenly, the trip of a lifetime turns into a dark journey into the African jungle. Taken hostage by a notorious warlord and his band of child soldiers, how will Rio, Ash, Marcus, Jen, Charis, and Izzy survive?

Knockout Games by G. Neri (Carolrhoda Lab)

“New girl Erica falls in with the wrong crowd in an exploration of racial tension in St. Louis. … Neri’s main concern is the ”post-racial“ urban landscape, raising many talking points while letting readers come to their own conclusions.Harsh and relentless, a tough but worthy read.” — Kirkus, starred review

Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin (HarperCollins)

“This realistic and honest biography of a young woman living with HIV will draw readers in, shedding light on this difficult topic. … The book beautifully conveys what it’s like to grow up with HIV, dispelling myths about the virus and imparting useful knowledge.” — School Library Journal

Frida and Diego by Catherine Reef (Clarion Books)

“The intertwined creative and personal lives of two trailblazing artists whose lifestyles were as avant-garde as their work. … Reef offers a balanced and cleareyed examination of this powerful relationship, contextualizing it against the backdrop of national politics in Mexico and international change ushered in by the Great Depression and World War II. … Compelling reading for art lovers.” — Kirkus, starred review

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn (Delacorte)

“In short anguished chapters, 18-year-old Sohane narrates scenes from the weeks before and months after the brutal murder of her younger sister, Djelila. Raised in an Algerian Muslim family living in Paris, the two girls seek to establish their identity in different ways. … French author Sarn includes a glossary of Arabic words and terms related to Islam, as well as a note about the real-life event that inspired this moving story, which provides rich material for conversation about family relations, religious identity, and civil liberties.” — Publishers Weekly

Lovers & Haters by Calvin Slater (K-Teen)

Book Description: Fifteen-year-old Xavier Hunter is trying to get good grades and get the hottest girl in school. But with his father and brother both locked up in jail, Xavier’s mom is left to provide for the family, and there’s never enough money to go around. If Xavier wants to be with the hottest girl, he has to look the part, so he does what he has to—even if it costs him his grades, good standing with teachers, and leads him to deal with the neighborhood thugs he’s vowed to avoid so he won’t end up like his brother or father. But Xavier will risk it all for Samantha, because for the first time Xavier feels like he has someone on his side— and he wouldn’t give that up for anything…

I Am Malala (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick (Little, Brown)

Book Description: Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren’t allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn’t go to school.

Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for the cause: She was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school.

No one expected her to survive.