I am loving all the middle grade/YA reading I have been doing lately. Part of that is because I am now in a middle school library, and I feel like I need to do that for work, but a lot of it is simply because I have had a lot of new books make their way to me and they all look so darn good.
Here are two I'm sharing this week:
This Is Really Happening: True Stories by Erin Chack - I struggle to find great memoirs and biographies for the teen set. There are lots of picture book biographies out there, but not a lot that would appeal to older readers. This book is set up like a collection of essays, all about Chack's own life. They all have a good dose of humor in them, but some are also pretty serious. Chack was diagnosed with cancer during her first year of college, so she doesn't shy away from tough topics and is open and honest about what she went through. I'd love to see a follow-up collection that covers more of Chack's own life- whether she decides to write more about her childhood or her adult life- I'm not picky. I'd read anything she wrote.
The Last To Let Go by Amber Smith - Smith covers the tough topic (and does it well) of domestic abuse in this novel. Brooke has a lot going for her and is anxious to make a fresh start at a new school. However, when she arrives home one day she is greeted by emergency vehicles and her mom being arrested for killing her father. Brooke and her siblings try to move forward, while still clinging to the past. It's hard to let go of your home and the memories that were made there- even if some of them weren't very happy. Each child has their own way of dealing with things, although Brooke is the focus of this novel. There is the topic of domestic abuse, friendships, moving on, letting go, acceptance, and even a little romance to keep readers turning the pages. Readers who love realistic fiction will fall in love with this novel.
You won't go wrong with either of these books. Both are fantastic YA reads that would be appealing to adults as well.