Book review: We Fought Back: Teen Resisters of the Holocaust

After this weekend’s horrific events in Charlottesville, I thought I’d share a nonfiction YA book about Jewish teenagers who escaped death marches, labor camps, and ghettos to fight Nazis. This collection of seven individual stories, based on author Allan Zullo’s interviews with each participant, highlights eastern European partisans who “wreaked havoc on the Nazis through […]

Book review: Saints and Misfits

There are three kinds of people in 15-year-old Janna Yusuf’s life: saints, misfits, and monsters. Saints make the world a better place, like Janna’s elder-care charge, Mr. Ram, and her too-good-to-be-true prospective sister-in-law Sarah Mahmoud. They can be a little intimidating. Misfits are people like Janna. Whether she wears her burkini at the beach with […]

Book review: YA fantasy books with strong girls

Welcome to Part 3 of my book review series featuring speculative literature books with strong girl protagonists. In previous installments, I listed books for younger middle grade readers (ages 8-10) and middle grade readers (10-12). This post emphasizes readers 12-16, moving into the young adult category. (By the way, my age recommendations are based on […]

On meeting Angie Thomas

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, at our local SCBWI LA/MS JambaLAya conference. As you can see, I was fangirling a little bit, and I hadn’t even read her book yet! I still regret not making intelligent conversation at the signing or later, […]

Book Review: The Hate U Give

Believe the hype. This book is as good as everybody says it is. From its elegant front cover to its subtly devastating back cover (of a barely visible, faceless, brown-skinned young man) this book had me riveted. Sixteen-year-old Starr attends a party she shouldn’t (her parents would freak) with a friend she barely knows anymore. […]