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The Inexplicable Logic of My Life - Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

While not exactly similar to Aristotle and Dante in terms of the storyline, Inexplicable Logic contains the same strong character development, elegant prose, and compelling dialogue.
Perhaps the most significant and memorable part of this novel in particular is the relationship dynamics. There's Sal, Sam, and Fito, three friends with exceptional rapport. There's Sal's father and his relationship with Sal, Sam, and Fito, as a role-model and father. And there's Mima and Sal's relationship; …

Get It Together, Delilah! - Erin Gough

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Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn’t have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it’s working fine. Her dad is on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, so Del’s managing the family café in his absence. Easy, she thinks. But what about:
homework and the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hellor how one of Del’s best friends won’t stop guilt-tripping herand her other best friend is so in love with his tutor he might go to jail for her if Del doesn’t do something But who cares about any of that really, because above all else, she can’t stop thinking about beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street until one day Rosa comes in the café door . . . . And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?
Explores harsh realities, but the ending still allows the queer character(s) to be happy. Delilah is a hard-working young woman whose mother h…

Of Fire and Stars - Audrey Coulthurst

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Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

Fantasy lovers take note! This boo…

Goodbye Days - Jeff Zentner

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Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

Jeff Zentner has now officially made me cry at least once during each of his books. The Serpent King was gorgeous, and sad, and just... well, amazing. Goodbye Days is gorgeous, and sad, and just... well, amazing, too! 
Where Zentner excels is in developing characters. I can't help but…

Piecing Me Together - Renée Watson

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Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.


This is a gorgeous novel about a young black girl living in a poorer neighbourhood, going to a private school populated by mostly white students, and dealing with the assumptions and stereotypes placed on her by the world around her. The Women to Women mentorship program is chosen for her by a well-me…

Dreadnought: Nemesis - Book One (April Daniels)

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Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in…

The Upside of Unrequited - Becky Albertalli

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What does a sixteen-year-old girl have to do to kiss a boy? Molly Peskin-Suso wishes she knew. She’s crushed on twenty-six guys…but has kissed exactly none. Her twin sister Cassie’s advice to “just go for it” and “take a risk” isn’t that helpful. It’s easy for her to say: she’s had flings with lots of girls. She’s fearless and effortlessly svelte, while Molly is introverted and what their grandma calls zaftig.

Then Cassie meets Mina, and for the first time ever, Cassie is falling in love. While Molly is happy for her twin, she can’t help but feel lonelier than ever. But Cassie and Mina are determined to end Molly’s string of unrequited crushes once and for all. They decide to set her up with Mina’s friend Will, who is ridiculously good-looking, flirty, and seems to be into Molly. Perfect, right? But as Molly spends more time with Reid, her cute, nerdy co-worker, her feelings get all kinds of complicated. Now she has to decide whether to follow everyone’s advice…or follow her own heart.

Honestly Ben - Bill Konigsberg

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Ben Carver is back to normal. He's working steadily in his classes at the Natick School. He just got elected captain of the baseball team. He's even won a full scholarship to college, if he can keep up his grades. All that foolishness with Rafe Goldberg the past semester is in the past.

Except . . .

There's Hannah, the gorgeous girl from the neighboring school, who attracts him and distracts him. There's his mother, whose quiet unhappiness Ben is noticing for the first time. School is harder, the pressure higher, the scholarship almost slipping away. And there's Rafe, funny, kind, dating someone else . . . and maybe the real normal that Ben needs.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! I love that this book deals with sexuality in a fluid state, whether you see Ben as bisexual, gay, straight, or something else, how he sees himself is in love with the person he is in love with! He loves Rafe. He loves Hannah. He doesn't want to be categorized as gay. He prefers straight, but sti…

Bang - Barry Lyga

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Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

This book is hard to read. Seriously! But it's worth it! Barry Lyga is the master of uncomfortable subjects, from Boy Toy (about relations between a teacher and student) to I Hunt Killers (a sort of Dexter for the young adult crowd), and now Bang! Sebastian accidentally killed his sister when he was just a toddler, and it's been following him around for years. Hi…

California Dreamin: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas - Pénélope Bagieu

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Before she became the legendary Mama Cass—one quarter of the mega-huge folk group The Mamas and the Papas—Cass Eliot was a girl from Baltimore trying to make it in the big city. After losing parts to stars like Barbra Streisand on the Broadway circuit, Cass found her place in the music world with an unlikely group of cohorts.

The Mamas and the Papas released five studio albums in their three years of existence. It was at once one of the most productive (and profitable) three years any band has ever had, and also one of the most bizarre and dysfunctional groups of people to ever come together to make music. Through it all, Cass struggled to keep sight of her dreams—and her very identity.

This graphic novel is so refreshing. It discusses a real-life, incredible talent, and is also entirely body positive! How amazing is that?! It shouldn't be such an amazing thing in this day and age, but I think California Dreamin' is a book with a lot of potential to discuss body image, weight, a…

Tetris: The Games People Play - Box Brown

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It is, perhaps, the perfect video game. Simple yet addictive, Tetris delivers an irresistible, unending puzzle that has players hooked. Play it long enough and you’ll see those brightly colored geometric shapes everywhere. You’ll see them in your dreams.

Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega―game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications, and outright theft.

In this graphic novel, Box Brown untangles the complex history and delves deep into the role games play in art, culture, and commerce. 
This is a very thorough and intriguing history of the game of Tetris, told in graphic novel format, and made accessible to audiences of varying ages and levels of interest. Though some may co…

The Education of Margot Sanchez - Lilliam Rivera

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THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES: Mami, for destroying my social life; Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal; Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal; This supermarket; Everyone else.

After “borrowing” her father's credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts. With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…. Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

THIS BOOK IS OUT TOMORROW!!!

Margot lives a relatively privileged life. She goes to a prestigious private sc…

A Boy Called Bat - Elana K. Arnold

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For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

Elana K. Arnold is amazing. I have known her mostly from her much more, shall we say, edgy young adult novels, but what is even more incredible is that she so seamlessly switches from a YA voice to the voice of a small child! I can barely believe it's the same person who has written A Boy Called Bat and What Girls are Made Of! Wow! Okay, now that that's out of the way...

I really hope to see this book rising up next year during Schneider Family award discussions, considering how subtly and expertly Arnold explores a brief time in t…

The Beast is an Animal - Peternelle van Arsdale

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Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village. These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from t…

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

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Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice.

"I've seen it happen over and over again: a black person gets killed just for being black, and all hell breaks loose. I've Tweeted RIP hashtags, reblogged pictures on Tumblr, and signed every petition out there. I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down.
Now I am that person, and I'm too afraid to speak."
This book is not on hard to read in some ways, but it's a necessary book to read! Tho…