Best known for "Big Little Lies," as with most Liane Moriarty's books, there is an ensemble cast of characters, each unique and interesting, whose lives are intertwined. This one is about inhabitants of an island off of Sydney, Australia and its unusual tourist attraction. There is a mystery and another bonus mystery, which is revealed at the very end. Very entertaining and satisfying, written for adults, but could be appealing for young adult audiences, loved it.
Week 24: 31 January 2021
A dystopian novel set in a time where water is the most precious commodity. The main protagonist, Lynn, lives with her mother, out in the country, where their water source is a pond that they spend a lot of their time defending by lying on the roof of their house, armed with rifles. They also spend time cutting wood and hunting and pillaging the surrounding abandoned homes for provisions. Lynn's mother makes sure they have no contact with others, but when she is gone, Lynn makes connections with other humans and starts caring about them and doing things for them which she finds out she kind of likes. First book in a two-books series. The follow-up is "In a Handful of Dust."
Week 25: 7 February 2021
From the author of "One Of Us Is Lying," "One Of Us Is Next" and "Two Can Keep A Secret" comes another intriguing mystery driven by layered characters, realistic dialogue and engaging storytelling for a thrilling reveal at the end--and in bits along the way. Impossible to get on with your life until you read it to the end.
Week 26: 14 February 2021
The story takes place at a time when you get a call on the day you will die letting you know it will happen. Two boys, Mateo and Rufus, who have never met both get the call. They connect with each other on Last Friend, an app made for people like them who need a friend on their last day. In their hours together, they go all around New York City, try out a wide range of things and get to know each other and unleash the best parts of each other in the process. The title already tell you how the book ends so don't expect anything different.
Week 27: 21 February 2021
A multi-generational story about light-skinned African American twins who grow up in a town where the goal is to become lighter and lighter. the two run away as teenagers and eventually split up, one chooses live as a White person while the other goes the other direction, coming home with a very dark child. The twins' daughters meet, each of them dealing with their mothers' choices and how those choices affected their lives.
Week 28: 10 March 2021
A fantasy story told in the tradition of classic fairy tales complete with a horrifying premise where the people of the town are expected to give up the youngest child as a sacrifice to appease a witch, a magic girl, many evil entities, including one who feeds off the sorrow of the townspeople who have lost their babies, a dragon and a swamp creature. Winner of the Newberry Award in 2017.
Week 29: 15 March 2021
From the same author as "The Poet X" and "Clap When You Land," Emoni is a teen mother, and aspiring executive chef, in her senior year in high school facing all the decisions and milestones of that year compounded with the responsibilities of being a mother and putting her daughter first--sometimes at the risk of her own happiness, opportunities and future.
Week 30: 21 March 2021
Nora is feeling very pointless in her life and decides to take her life and ends up at the stroke of midnight at a library where she can choose from any number of lives she could have had by changing one of the decisions she regrets. She picks life after life after life, quickly changing her mind after each one and returning back to the library to make a difference choice.
Week 31: 28 March 2021
The first book of the extremely popular dystopian fantasy series. Published in 2011, Shatter Me borrows heavily from George Orwell's 1984 where the world is a decimated place and the Reestablishment wants to erase humanity's history. Our main protagonist, Juliette is isolated both physically and mentally as her touch can kill anyone she comes in contact with. She is pursued by numerous men, all with different agendas. Her romantic relationship with one of them, Adam, is very sexualized while her being is highly objectified throughout the novel. The book ends with her in a place very similar to Dr. Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters from the X-Men where she find many other people with various powers, much like Rogue did in X-Men. There are 12 other books that follow this first one so there's a lot more story to go. And there are a lot better dystopian series to get stuck into.
Week 32: 4 April 2021
For fans of Karen M. McManus' One Of Us Is Lying and Mary McCoy's I, Claudia, They Wish They Were Us is a story about an elite group of students in a prep school who rule their domain with an iron fist, with cheating, with hazing and with general terror. The death of one of their own looms over the main protagonist, Jill, who becomes stronger and more determined as she gets closer to discovering who the real killer is. Coming soon as a series and very addicting.
Week 33: 7 April 2021
A novel in verse about sexual abuse from one of my favorite author poets whose books "What My Mother Doesn't Know" and "What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know" are always checked out of our library at Lincoln. Sones very neatly and clearly tells a story of how a young girl's crush can turn into a sexual predator situation, how quickly infatuation can because molestation, how it can feel that you have no way out of this situation, and finally, a way to get out of it.
Week 34: 18 April 2021
Debut English language historical fiction novel and family saga steeped in magical realism taking place in Iran, mainly Tehran, over the course of the 20th century. Overlapping stories and fantastical, quite extreme exhibitions of magic that are far from realistic.
Book 35: 22 April 2021
Impactful novel in verse on the topical issue of homelessness in Los Angeles County. Very insightful from the perspective of the unhoused person and the perspective of the person trying to help them, particularly as they are both teenagers.
Week 36: 28 April 2021
A historical fiction novel set in 1920s Chicago during the time of the Prohibition, which means speakeasies, jazz and mobsters. Lots of colorful settings and drama surrounding the main protagonist, Honoree Dalcour, who is a dancer and a firecracker and absolutely resilient.
Week 37: 3 May 2021
A contemporary YA novel from the author known for her hugely popular fantasy Shatter Me series. Taking place soon after 9/11, Shirin is a Muslim high school girl who chooses to wear a hijab and deals with ongoing racism, bigotry and aggression from both her peers and adults. At the same time Shirin loves writing, fashion, music and breakdancing. She attracts the attention of the high school basketball star who falls deeply in love with her making this novel one of the most intense teenage romances of recent memory.
Week 38: 10 May 2021
A novel in verse from the author of National Book Award finalist "American Street," based on Dr. Salaam's real-life experience being wrongfully incarcerated as part of the Central Park Five, who were renamed the Exonerated Five after their conviction was overturned. Emotional, painful and beautiful.
Week 39: 17 May 2021
The in-between novella of book one and book two of Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me series. This story starts where Shatter Me ended and is from the perspective of Warner, essentially the bad guy in Shatter Me. In the first book, his beliefs and attitudes toward the main protagonist, Juliet, clearly came from a different perspective than hers and it's interesting to read how he sees things. Much better than Shatter Me.
Week 40: 24 May 2021
Debut novel about a community of doomsday preppers and the main protagonist, Becca, who is plotting to escape by getting a full ride to college. Intricate planning and scheming are involved in getting Becca's plan to work, with help from expected, and unexpected, sources. Besides the action aspect, there is also a deep emotional and psychological element to "Prepped" related to Becca's relationships with the members of her immediate family. Breakout debut.
Week 41: 1 June 2021
Tahereh Mafi "An Emotion of Great Delight"
Second realistic fiction novel from the author of the "Shatter Me" series. Similar to Tahereh Mafi's first realistic fiction novel, "A Very Large Expanse of Sea," this book takes place post 9/11 from the perspective of a Muslim, hijab-wearing Iranian-American high school girl. Unlike the previous novel, this one is steeped in pain, grief, isolation and guilt. Although I say week 39 in the talk, this is actually week 41.
My extensive review of "An Emotion of Great Delight" for Book and Film Globe here
Week 42: 6 June 2021
Tami Charles "Muted"
A novel in verse based on the author's personal experience in the music industry. Three girls in a singing group are wooed away from their families by a big musical artist who traps them in his world, from which they realize they can't escape. Dark and very realistic story about the dark side of the music industry.
My write-up of "Muted" for my listicle: "An Exciting Year For Black Young Adult Authors" for Book and Film Globe here
Week 43: 11 June 2021
Angie Thomas "Concrete Rose"
The prequel to Angie Thomas' smash, "The Hate U Give," this is the story of Starr's father, Big Mav, when he was a teenager, fathering two children by two different women, being a single father, trying to pay his way and help his mother while avoiding falling back into drug dealing. This is an exceptionally engaging story as so much of Big Mav's story was discussed in "The Hate U Give," and now you can hear it in firsthand and in detail.