Showing posts from May, 2016

Frannie and Tru - Karen Hattrup

When Frannie Little eavesdrops on her parents fighting she discovers that her cousin Truman is gay, and his parents are so upset they are sending him to live with her family for the summer. At least, that’s what she thinks the story is. . . When he arrives, shy Frannie befriends this older boy, who is everything that she’s not–rich, confident, cynical, sophisticated. Together, they embark on a magical summer marked by slowly unraveling secrets.

There was much to this book that I enjoyed. There was relatively strong character development and there was a solid plot, exploring religion, sexuality, rebellion, acceptance, and other subjects along these lines. Though Frannie is the main subject of the book, the one whose eyes through whom readers see the world, Truman (or Tru) seems to be more the subject of the novel overall, as Frannie is seemingly obsessed with him and his reasons for becoming part of her family.
Frannie provides a relatively understandable narrative (at least emotionally)…

You Know Me Well - Nina LaCour & David Levithan

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

I love a good love story, and I love a good love story that has straight people and gay people and all sorts of friendships. This book covers those bases, and very wonderfully. Mark's relationship with…

True Letters from a Fictional Life - Kenneth Logan

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.
But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world--letters he never intends to send--he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

Kenneth Logan's True Letters from a Fictional Life is both fulfilling, frustrating, and heartbreaking. James and Theresa's fragile relationship isn't really fooling anyone, except maybe Theresa... and James. James, however, has a crush on one of his friends, and as he realizes what this might mean, he starts to worry about how each of his f…

Oh No, Astro! - Matt Roeser and Brad Woodard

Asteroids! Planets! Astronauts!
In this charming debut picture book, a grumpy asteroid named Astro is thrown out of orbit and takes an unexpected journey through space!

Astro is a cranky asteroid who just wants everyone to respect his personal boundaries. But when a satellite knocks Astro out of orbit, he is forced to embark on an epic adventure through space…whether he wants to or not!

So, a few years ago I started to notice some amazing covers being produced by Candlewick Press, then I noticed that most of my favourite covers were being designed by a guy named Matt Roeser. So when I found out that there was a new picturebook coming out from Simon & Schuster authored by Matt Roeser, I got SUPER EXCITED!!
I managed to snag a copy the other day from a bookstore down the road, and did a happy dance, waving the book excitedly in the air until I was quietly escorted to the front to either pay or leave. But I still got the book! Yay! And now I have the book, so I can sleep at night. Oh No,…

Crenshaw - Katherine Applegate

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

This is a very solid book. I very much appreciate the direction the book too, and I enjoyed the characterization of the protagonist, Jackson. Considering the title of the book, however, I was expecting more on the Crenshaw front. I still enjoyed the novel, and felt that Applegate did a very good job of confronting issues around homelessness, the working class, and the magic of imaginary friends (and real friends, for that ma…

Drag Teen - Jeffrey Self

A fantastic, fabulous, funny YA debut from Jeffery Self, one of the gay icons of the YouTube generation, that follows one high school student on a drag race to his future.

Debut YA author Jeffery Self takes us on a road trip with an insecure high school senior who has one goal: to be the first in his family to leave Clearwater, Florida, and go to college. The problem is, he has zero means of paying for school -- until his friends convince him to compete in a drag teen competition for a college scholarship.

Giiiiiiiiiiirl!!! This book is A-MAZE-ING!
Equal parts anxiety-inducing and hilarious, Self's book will entertain you and make you think about what it means to love yourself, be yourself, and by golly, live the life you want to live. There's cliche and camp, heartbreak and hilarity, and the antics of the cast of characters will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The book tackles some pretty interesting and necessary topics, including misogyny and fat shaming in the gay community…

The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy - Beatrice Alemagna

Eddie is five and a half, and thinks she is the only one in her family who isn’t really good at something. So when she hears her little sister say “birthday—Mommy—fluffy—little—squishy,” it’s extra important for her to find this amazing present before anyone else does. So, gregarious, charming, clever little Eddie goes all around the neighborhood to all her fabulous friends—the florist, the chic boutique owner, the antiques dealer, and even the intimidating butcher—to find one. It’s a magical adventure that draws on Eddie’s special gifts, ones that she herself learns to appreciate.

Originally published in French as Le merveilleux Dodu-Velu-Petit, Alemagna's sweet and enticing tale recently won the Batchelder award for translation from the American Library Association in January of 2016. The plot is high energy, and little Eddie is totally sympathetic, adorably desperate to find her mother a perfect gift for her birthday. The cast of secondary characters are a mixture of blunder…

The Art of Being Normal - Lisa Williamson

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he's gay. The school bully thinks he's a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth: David wants to be a girl.

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long , and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl.

As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means.

Williamson's novel is rather im…

Beware That Girl - Teresa Toten

Kate O'Brien's whole life has been a series of setbacks--some more sinister than others. But she's determined to change that. She's book smart. She's street-smart. And she's also a masterful liar. As the scholarship student at the elite Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ranks and land a spot at Yale. She's already found her "people" among the senior class "it" girls--specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she's always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration as head of fundraising, he immediately charms his way into the faculty and students' lives--especially Olivia's, although she doesn't share what's going on. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can't …