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I'm a sucker for a beautifully written sentence, romance, novels in verse, and food. Food writing is always a good thing. I love picture books, contemporary teen fiction, literary fiction, and anything Tana French. My biggest passions are books, cheese, and my dog, Chandler.
Little Mouse and Big Bear live on opposite ends of the same road. Little Mouse works at the bakery, and Big Bear works in the forest. They both long for a friend, but they constantly miss each other juuust so, until one day they finally meet. With soft, intricate illustrations for fans of all things TINY and CUTE, this warm tale of friendship will set up camp in your heart forever. Like a tiny mouse house nestled inside a big ole tree.
Saeed Jones is supremely talented, so I expected his memoir to be great. I did NOT expect, however, to be left immobile in my chair after reading that final paragraph, processing the beauty of Saeed's words and those indelible sentences he's generous enough to share with us. HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES is a moving and intimate portrait of the writer growing up as a young, gay Black man and trying to understand the complex realities of his identity. We also gain insight to Jones's relationship with his mother, which left me in pieces by the end. HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES is raw and difficult and truthful, and completely stuffed with love.
TV viewers-- scratch that. Hardcore TV obsessives know Emily Nussbaum well. The New Yorker writer has developed a loyal following over the years through her smart, often hilarious, and always relatable pieces on the value and impact of television, tracing its evolution from waste-of-time trash box to high-brow art form (don’t worry, she’s rolling her eyes too). Whether it’s via Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Jane the Virgin, or The Sopranos, Nussbaum dives deep into the medium and its history, as well as our role in it. You will laugh alongside Emily, most likely find your next binge-watch, and probably end up following her on Twitter (if you don’t already), rejoicing in your newfound friendship with a total stranger just because you love the same TV shows. She really is that good, and this is a great collection to own if you’re a trash box obsessive like myself.
Freddy is head over heels for Laura Dean, her effortlessly cool sorta-girlfriend who keeps blowing her off, taking advantage of Freddy's loyalty. I feel like at some point or another, we've all had a Laura Dean, where we become so obsessed with this person, this IDEA of a person, that we forget about everything else that matters: our family, our friends, our OWN goals and dreams, and... basic human decency. This all happens to Freddy, and through Mariko Tamaki's storytelling and Valero-O'Connell's mesmerizing artwork, we get to take this journey with her as she meets new people, revisits old friends, and finds her own self worth outside of her relationship with Laura Dean. The characters are beautiful and flawed, and there are spreads in this book that are going to haunt my dreams forever-- in a good way. Valero-O'Connell is an incredible talent! LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME is a moving, masterful portrayal of heartbreak, friendship, and self-discovery. I am in love with this book and I really hope teens respond to it the same way.
I cried, I cheered, I raged for LA FURIAAA! This book is a masterful celebration of chasing dreams, tearing down stereotypes, and showing up for YOURSELF. I loved Camila's strong, distinct voice, the action-packed fútbol scenes, and yes... the swoon-worthy romance with the dreamy Diego, El Titán. Yamile Saied Méndez is a welcome, necessary voice in YA fiction.
Inspired by the oldest person to ever run a marathon, Dr. Simran Jeet Singh began running himself and quickly fell in love with the sport. He eventually met his hero, the wonderful and inspiring Fauja Singh, who ran his first marathon at 89 years old– and at 109, is still alive and running! Dr. Singh knew he had to share his story! From the time he was a young boy who couldn’t walk, to his incredible record-breaking marathons, Fauja’s tale of resilience, determination, and light will inspire readers of all ages! I personally learned so much from Fauja Singh– to be kind, persevere, take care of your mind, body and spirit– and don’t let anybody tell you what you can’t do. A remarkable story that needs to be widely shared and celebrated.
"Slowly, slowly, and then all at once." That is how MEMORIAL pulled me in and stomped on my goddamn heart. By the end, I was clutching my chest and sighing, in hopes of more pages, more time with Benson, Mike, and Mitsuko (officially one of my favorite literary moms-- is that a thing?). Bryan Washington writes like no one else, and I want so badly to live inside his sentences. There are these moments he creates where there is so much life happening between the lines, in the smallest gestures of his characters. MEMORIAL is about love and family, grief and desire, intimacy and loneliness; about the way we build and destroy memory, and life itself. (Oh, and of course there's food. There's so much food.)
In YOLK, two estranged sisters come together in a time of need. Sounds simple, but family is NEVER SIMPLE, and Mary H.K. Choi knows it. So she tears it apart and breaks it down, pulling readers into the messy, complicated, uncomfortable, ugly, and yes, the beautiful core of family relationships. Choi's writing is smart and captivating as ever, a master of the character-driven story who breathes life into people, time, and place. Jayne and June's tale tells of jealousy and anger, forgiveness and hope, weaved and layered with issues of body image, mental health, depression, and loss. There is so much to unpack here-- take your time.
A must-read for now and for always, National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five make a powerful team. When 16-year-old Amal is wrongfully incarcerated, readers dive deep into his story, learning, through a series of flashbacks, what really happened that day. We are haunted by the "what ifs", by the failures of the educators who were supposed to guide, support, and uplift him, and the devastating reality of the school-to-prison pipeline. Zoboi and Salaam remind us of the impact of expression through poetry and art, with writing that absolutely SOARS. Simply unforgettable.
Former best friends Chicky Quintanilla and Lita Perez join forces to take over their small town's beauty pageant in this beautifully written charmer from Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will cheer for these two incredible characters in their journey toward friendship and self-love-- and yes, some adorable romance to boot. The entire cast of characters is funny, smart, pure *magic*! MISS METEOR came at a perfect time for me as a reader. Who knew all I needed was a little bit of stardust?
I guess I missed the big, fat "Volume 1" on the cover, so when I got to the ending, MY HEART STOPPED. This is a beautifully told story for the romantics at heart. You will feel the nerves, the butterflies, and the frustration right alongside Charlie and Nick. I can't wait for volume 2!
I absolutely loved STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG! Take the case of an accidentally stolen identity, set it in comedy camp run by a YouTube star, sprinkle in some delicious Korean barbecue and a SNL-obsessed heroine, and you've got yourself a hit! Laugh-out-loud funny, heartfelt, and inspiring, this middle grade tale about following your dreams will charm its way into your heart.
Queen Samantha Irby returns with another hilarious, almost absurdly relatable collection of essays in WOW, NO THANK YOU! Whether she's sharing recipes for children's undeserving taste palates or destroying a hotel room with heavy period flow (love that Austin played a small part in Sam's story), Irby's latest might just be her best. This is one of those books that folks will tell you not to read in public, but I say DO IT. You'll find yourself cackling shamelessly and end up introducing onlookers to their new favorite writer, the one and only Samantha Irby. WOW, YES THANK YOU, ALWAYS MORE.
BLACK GIRL, CALL HOME is a stunning collection of poetry, of truth and power and vulnerability. Jasmine Mans writes about Black girlhood, motherhood, love and sex, violence against Black and Brown bodies, Kanye, Whitney, Michelle Obama, Serena Williams, intimacy, and innocence lost. Mans pushes and pulls. Her words vibrate off the page as she dives into questions big and small. There are so many incredible pieces in this collection, but a few that I kept reading and rereading include "We Host These Variables", "She Doesn't Look Like Rape", and "Dear Ex Lover." This is one to revisit.
I DREAM OF POPO is the kind of book you hug close to your chest. A gorgeous story of family, language, and love that spans across oceans and continents, across space and time. I love this book.
I dare anyone to read Jason Reynolds and not fall madly, deeply in love with his work. Long Way Down is a powerful, suspenseful novel in verse that narrates a 60-second elevator ride that could change a teenage boy’s life forever. Reynolds writes about the sirens, tears and screams that fill a neighborhood, the grief, violence and loss that haunt a community—and the young men who take it upon themselves to follow The Rules when shots are fired. I can’t wait to put Long Way Down in people’s hands—kids, adults, everyone will benefit from reading this remarkable book.
This book is everything! A glorious, colorful celebration of everyday life in Daisy Ramona’s bustling city, from the local tortillería to Joy’s Market and the gorgeous murals covering the old buildings, to Abuelito and Abuelita’s yellow house, where the food always tastes better. Isabel Quintero’s writing is so detailed and purposeful, and Zeke Peña’s illustrations are full of life-- he beautifully captures the sounds and smells forming in Daisy Ramona’s memories of home. This book made me crave nopales and my mother’s albóndigas, which I can say with confidence give Abuelita's some competition! MY PAPI HAS A MOTORCYCLE is absolutely captivating, a true treasure,
I stayed up past my bedtime reading Jasmine Warga’s words, taking note of countless passages that absolutely STUNNED me. Jude’s voice still echoes in my head, her story so intimate and scary and heartfelt and sad and triumphant and, and-- everything. OTHER WORDS FOR HOME is everything.
Through Jude’s journey from Syria to the United States, we get to experience as readers the complexities of being an immigrant, an outsider. Jude arrives in an unfamiliar city, starts at a new school, takes ESL classes and makes friends, witnessing first hand this country’s strengths as well as its flaws-- all while missing home and everything, everyone, she had to leave behind. I want to thank Jasmine Warga for giving us so much. I know this will be the kind of book I go back to in order to revisit those beautiful lines and hear Jude’s voice again.
Oh my God, this book! I am officially obsessed with this dark tale set in Sawkill, a beautiful island where girls have been disappearing for decades… until three extraordinary girls come together to destroy the creature responsible. Atmospheric, beautifully written feminist YA horror (with queer characters to boot) that will keep you up at night. I am giving this to everyone in October-- the perfect Halloween read.
This was THE perfect book to read on holiday! THE WEDDING DATE is funny, sexy, and smart, starring two well-rounded and realistic characters with just enough fantasy. I'd love to spend a Friday night drinking wine and eating cheese and crackers with my girl Alexa Monroe.