19 Love Songs by David Levithan Publisher: Penguin Random House Publication Date: January 7th, 2020
19 Love Songs, written by David Levithan, delivers a beautiful experience full of some good laughs, a few good cries, and a lot of love. Like most short story anthologies, 19 Love Songs is a short read with a lot of great diversity. Every story is unique and filled with fresh perspectives on what love is. Unlike a lot of love stories, 19 Love Songs focuses on all types of deep, emotional relationships; ranging from romantic to family love. For anyone who is a fan of David Levithan, who likes unconventional love stories, or who just wants a short read that involves a lot of fun, 19 Love Songs is an essential read.
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication Date: February 18th, 2020
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon centers around the star-crossed romance between uptight and responsible Princess Jaya Rao, and the brooding, reserved, and introverted son of aristocrats, Grey Emerson. Jaya and Grey are both really interesting and realistic characters, and there are lots of relatable and funny moments in this book where I actually found myself laughing out loud. There’s also a lot of internal character monologues, but it ends up adding a hefty portion of depth to the characters. It’s super sappy, but as long as you’re ready for that, it’s a really fun read!
The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid by Kate Hattemer Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Publication Date: February 18th, 2020
The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid by Kate Hattemer is a funny, witty, and an all-around great read. The book centers around Jemima Kincaid, a high school senior completely centered around feminism. Following Jemima’s friends, sexist school traditions, and romances, this is a funny, eye-opening, and socially aware book. Hattemer excellently incorporates and challenges the biases that we have in our own minds and the misogyny that is perpetrated in our everyday lives. While this is a young adult novel, there is use of profanity and several sexual scenes and in light of that, I recommend this book to people 15 and older. A short and quick read, I really enjoyed The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid and recommend it.
When You Know What I Know by Sonja K. Solter Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers Publication Date: March 24th, 2020
After school, on the couch in the basement, Tori’s uncle does something bad. Tori tells her mother, but she doesn't believe Tori. The aftermath of sexual abuse is filled with so many emotions; fear, anger, shame. Solter captures these emotions in her book When You Know What I Know. When You Know What I Know is written from the point of view of the main character, “10-almost-11” year old Tori. The book follows her in the wake of violation. Written in verse, Solter’s book is beautifully articulated. Tori’s character is perfectly evolved throughout the novel and her conflicting sentiments are composed accurately. This book covers important but mature subject matter, I recommend it for ages 11+
Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn and Nicole Goux Publisher: DC Comics Publication Date: February 4th, 2020
Shadow of the Batgirl: A Cassandra Cain Graphic Novel by Sarah Kuhn and Nicole Goux is a fun, quick read, great for people new to superhero comics. If you’re someone like me, and superhero comics feel intimidating (so many volumes, so little time!), Shadow of the Batgirl is a great, no-strings-attached read that is less about fighting crime, and more about a girl finding out who she is. The authors felt it was important to represent this often overlooked hero, Cassandra, and give her her own canon. It’s exciting and heartwarming, but most notably, the art is amazing. Goux draws with a singular vision. It is graphic novels like these that demonstrate the relationship between illustration and words and how they come together to create something new. I’m excited to see what comes next for Cassandra Cain and would recommend this book to lovers of graphic novels.
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
In the year 2380, Tyler Jones, star cadet of Aurora Academy, is ready to graduate and take command of his own squad. Right before the ceremony, he rescues a teen girl from an abandoned ship in space and misses the entire thing. As a result, he gets stuck with the cadets no one else wanted: a snarky diplomat, an tough-but-kind ace pilot, a quiet scientist with no qualms about shooting her squadmates with a stun gun, a alien fighter with anger issues, and a smart aleck mechanic. Then there’s Aurora, who's been stuck in suspended animation for two centuries and is the key to uncovering a deadly conspiracy. Aurora Rising, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, is a whirlwind of a book. It alternates between the perspectives of each squad member, and really gives each one their moment to shine. There’s plenty of action, balanced with sweet scenes that build the relationships between characters, and of course, lots of sarcasm and banter. A lot of backstory is left unknown by the end, and the cliffhanger absolutely killed me. Still, I loved reading this book and recommend it for fans of sci-fi, motley crews, and epic quests.
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed Publisher: Balzer + Bray Publication Date: February 4th, 2020
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed brings together cultures and traditions through love and political activism in a moving story that follows a local election in Georgia. Maya and Jamie are canvassing together, fighting to turn a solidly red district blue. From their shared love of donuts and The Office, the two become extremely close. The book is a great representation of how people’s everyday lives are affected because of the political views of people in power. I loved this book because it shows young people that our voice does matter, and we can make a difference. Albertalli and Saeed weave together words and cultures in a way that perfectly expresses what it feels like to be a teenager in today’s political climate.