Author Archive

On The Come Up

April 23, 2019


Angie Thomas (author of The Hate U Give) has a new YA book out called On The Come Up that takes place in the same neighborhood as THUG.

The story follows Bri, a teenager living in the Gardens with her mother and older brother who is trying to become the next big rap star like her idols Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

Just like in THUG, Thomas takes on the very real issues of poverty, police brutality, and racial stereotypes while maintaining extremely likable characters. I enjoyed this one just as much as THUG and as a bonus there are some awesome raps in there!

What I Leave Behind

April 16, 2019


What I Leave Behind by Alison Mcghee is a great book for reluctant readers (especially boys!). After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome his own misery by secretly helping the people around him in this story made up of one hundred chapters of one hundred words each. He lives with his mother and walks every day to his job at the local dollar store where he gets little gifts for the people in his life as an attempt to fix the wrongs in their lives.

This book was emotional but beautiful. The short format makes each word more important. I really enjoyed reading this book!

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc

April 9, 2019


In honor of National Poetry month I thought I’d to my usual reviews of novels-in-verse. This one, Voices : The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott (author of Bull), fulfills all one would want in a book (if they want poetry, wit, humor, and history).

Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc’s life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood). Along the way it explores issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired (or was she mad?). This book explores the possibilities in the most clever of ways.


March 31, 2019


Shout, the new memoir-in-verse by Speak author Laurie Halse Anderson brings to life some familiar stories that may ring a bell from the characters in Anderson’s books. Anderson tells her tale from childhood until the present beautifully – especially focusing on the sexual assault she experienced as a teenager. She is honest on the topic and her rage and unapologetic ferocity to the issue of sexual abuse, rape, and the unforgivable way society treats women (and men) who find the courage to come forward and speak the truth is a reality check we all need.

Train I Ride

March 26, 2019


It’s hard to talk about this book without giving away too much. The Train I Ride by Paul Mosier  reveals information about the protagonist (Ryder) slowly and deliberately. Each drop of new information tugs on the heart strings. This book made me cry a lot, which very rarely happens. Ryder’s mother is an addict. Mosier doesn’t share anything graphic from Ryder’s life, only the hurt she comes to terms with as she rides the train to Chicago to stay with her new guardian following her Grandmother’s death. It is clear that Ryder has had a hard life filled with trauma – but she refuses to be a victim so she often lies to strangers about her life. The relationships that she forms with other passengers and transit workers on her journey are unique and heartfelt.

Ryder is 12 going on 13, so this is a good crossover book. I would HIGHLY recommend this book even for adults, and it is a short read!

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