Monday, August 31, 2020

Monday Mini-Reviews: Three Recent YA Reads

 Although I've been reading YA, I rarely seem to post about it.  Over the past few weeks I've managed to read three great titles I want to share.

1.  The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed - this book is set during the Rodney King race riots and trial. It was a blast from the past for me and I loved the nostalgia I felt with the various references to life in the 90s.  However, I also loved the story, which is timely and important.  Ashley is realizing for the first time that her color sets her apart from her friends who are white.  Her sister has become involved in the riots, and Ashley finds herself struggling with some serious ideas as the riots become central in her family's life.  I couldn't help but think how much this book would resonate with kids right now.

2.  Parachutes by Kelly Yang - this is Yang's sophomore novel, and every bit as good as Front Desk. Parachutes is definitely more YA, as it covers some more adult issues: the inappropriate conduct of a teacher as well as one character being sexually abused.   I had never heard the term Parachutes prior to reading this, but I was interested to know that there are many Chinese teens sent to the US without chaperones or assistance in order to finish their schooling.  While some are fine, others have horrible experiences in our country.  This story explores what it feels like to be on your own before you are ready and the fact that institutions that should be providing safety are at times part of the problem.

3.  This Is My America by Kim Johnson - Tracy's father has been on death row for years, and she's been writing letters to Innocence X every week for that entire time trying to get their attention so they will help her father fight his wongful conviction.  When her track star brother is accused (wrongly) of murdering the white girl he was secretly dating, Tracy becomes even more intent on fighting for her family.  If you liked Dear Martin or The Hate U Give, this new novel will be one you want to pick up.  

The second week of school is underway.  It has been very busy, but it feels good to see some familiar faces (identifying anyone with a mask on is hard - especially since some students have grown and changed in the six months since I've seen them).  My girls are also back to in-person school and Big Sister is at college. It has been stressful to hear of various friends and neighbors who now have Covid, and I am praying that we continue to remain healthy.  

1 comment:

Kay said...

Good to hear an update on your family and the beginning of school for all of you. I hope that all goes well and everyone stays healthy and happy. Take care!