Review: Solo by Kwame Alexander

Solo by Kwame AlexanderSolo
Kwame Alexander
Blink – Zondervan
Published August 1, 2017

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About Solo
Solo, a YA novel in poetic verse, tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, whose life is bombarded with scathing tabloids and a father struggling with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate desire to make a comeback. Haunted by memories of his mother and his family’s ruin, Blade’s only hope is in the forbidden love of his girlfriend. But when he discovers a deeply protected family secret, Blade sets out on a journey across the globe that will change everything he thought to be true.

My Review
Even though it’s told … Continue reading

Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian ConaghanWe Come Apart
Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published June 13, 2017

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About We Come Apart
Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?

For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with … Continue reading

Review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline WoodsonBrown Girl Dreaming
Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books
Published August 28, 2014

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From Goodreads
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite … Continue reading

Review: When You Never Said Goodbye by Meg Kearney

When You Never Said Goodbye
Meg Kearney
Persea
Available March 21, 2017

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Through poetry and journal entries, Liz relates the story of her first year at NYU and her search for her birth mother. As she forms a circle of friends, she gradually shares with them the truth about her adoption and her search. She finds support and love from these friends and from her family, though each member of her family struggles with the search for different reasons. Liz won’t give up looking, even as one obstacle after another rises to meet her.

One of my favorite things about this story were all the references to literature and poetry contained … Continue reading

Review: Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell

Loving vs. Virginia
Patricia Hruby Powell
Illustrations by Shadra Strickland
Chronicle Books
Available January 31, 2017

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Summary from Goodreads
From acclaimed author Patricia Hruby Powell comes the story of a landmark civil rights case, told in spare and gorgeous verse. In 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, two teenagers fell in love. Their life together broke the law, but their determination would change it. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races, and a story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won.

My Thoughts
Somehow I missed the fact that this novel is told … Continue reading

Review and Giveaway: One by Sarah Crossan

One by Sarah CrossanOne by Sarah Crossan
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishing
Published: September 15, 2015

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Grace and Tippy, Tippy and Grace.

It’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, even for Grace and her sister. One pair of legs carries them, their arms looped around on another for support. Born as conjoined twins, they’ve never been apart, and they never wish to be separated. When they’re forced to attend school for the first time after being homeschooled all their lives, Grace and Tippy predict the same ruthless gawking and cruelty from their classmates. Two friends open a doorway to a life far more normal than they ever expected possible. Then their health takes … Continue reading

A Brilliant Novel In Poetry: Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Locomotion by Jacqueline WoodsonLocomotion
Jacqueline Woodson
Speak, Penguin Group

Lonnie Collins Motion learns to pour out memories and feelings in a poetry journal. He writes about the night his parents died. About his little sister, Lili. About his foster mom. About the teacher he admires who doesn’t understand what his life is really like. His story unfolds, poem by poem, packed with emotion and insight.

One of the most powerful things about a novel-in-poetry is the power of each line. The narrative has been distilled down to just a few words, yet it’s enough to paint a complete picture of what Lonnie sees and experiences. There are simply not enough stories like this one, both in its approach to storytelling and in the story itself. Lonnie is easy to love – his … Continue reading

Review: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Crank
Ellen Hopkins
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published October 1, 2004

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Crank is the story of Kristina Snow and the summer that changes her life, when she goes to visit her father and meets the “monster”, Crystal Meth. Based on the experiences of her own daughter, Ellen Hopkins captures the turmoil and grip of addiction in a raw, authentic manner.

The entire story is told in verse. The poems capture the scenes of the story in vivid detail. They flow from scene to scene very smoothly, capturing the raw emotion of the heroine– her desperation, heartache– and the downward spiral of her addiction to Meth. A powerful read.

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