Thursday, February 13, 2020

Great Middle Grade and YA Reading

I'm never going to catch up on all the middle grade and YA books out there that are on my TBR list, but in the past few weeks, I have read four from my own shelves -three that just arrived, and one I was spurred to pick up after it won an award from ALA.  And none of them disappointed.





Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams so deftly covers a tough topic - that of skin tone in the African American community. Genesis hates herself for many reasons - one of them being the fact that her skin is dark, like her father's.  Her mother is light skinned, and Genesis does everything she can think of to lighten her skin to be more like her.  When her own grandmother admits that her family purposely "married up" by finding someone with a lighter shade of skin to marry in each generation, Genesis' belief about her own appearance are just reaffirmed. Luckily there are a few people in Genesis' life who understand her and care about her, even when she doesn't know how to care about herself.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks- when Zoe discovers a letter addressed to her from her father in prison - who she has never met- she hides the letter from everyone and begins secretly corresponding with him.  There are other things Zoe has going on in her life - like auditioning for a cooking show, but finally getting to know her dad is definitely taking priority. She knows how her mom would feel about that, though, and has to keep their new relationship a secret.  Of course, nothing can stay a secret for forever, and eventually Zoe must be honest with her parents about what is going on.

The Perfect Star by Rob Buyea is the third in this trilogy.  Buyea does school stories so well, and as the third installment, I enjoyed reacquainting myself with the characters I've met and grown to love from the previous installments.  This is the friends' eighth grade year, and there is some focus on football, a weekly show that Natalie hosts, and some tough topics she tries to tackle.  This isn't my favorite of the series, but Buyea wraps things up nicely and left me feeling satisfied.  I am hoping he has another school series already in the works.

Wink by Rob Harrell - I'm pretty critical when it comes to cancer books because as a cancer mom, I feel like I have lived this experience and watched my own child go through treatment.  Some books romanticize the whole thing. Harrell's book was a pretty honest, real depiction of one kid being diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer.  I liked this book a lot although there are a few things that I wondered about (like the fact that Ross never had to be hospitalized for random fevers, or really was even aware of that as a concern).  I hope this book makes other kids aware of this as a real issue that some kids are dealing with.


There are so many books still left on my pile - and ones I've ordered that I'm excited for, too. Have you read any new MG/YA I shouldn't miss?

1 comment:

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