Review: 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939

37 Days at Sea by Barbara Krasner

37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939
Barbara Krasner
Kar-Ben Publishing
Published May 1, 2021

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About 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939

In May 1939, nearly one thousand German-Jewish passengers boarded the M.S. St. Louis luxury liner bound for Cuba. They hoped to escape the dangers of Nazi Germany and find safety in Cuba. In this novel in verse, twelve-year-old Ruthie Arons is one of the refugees, traveling with her parents.

Ruthie misses her grandmother, who had to stay behind in Breslau, and worries when her father … Continue reading

Review: Dark Testament: Blackout Poems by Crystal Simone Smith

Dark Testament by Crystal Simone Smith

Dark Testament: Blackout Poems
Crystal Simone Smith
Henry Holt & Co/MacMillan
Published January 3, 2023

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About Dark Testament: Blackout Poems

In this extraordinary collection, the award-winning poet Crystal Simone Smith gives voice to the mournful dead, their lives unjustly lost to violence, and to the grieving chorus of protestors in today’s Black Lives Matter movement, in search of resilience and hope.

With poems found within the text of George Saunders’s LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, Crystal Simone Smith embarks on an uncompromising exploration of collective mourning and crafts a masterwork that resonates far beyond the page. These poems are visually stark, a gathering of gripping verses that unmasks a dialogue … Continue reading

Review: The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero

The Ghosts of Rose Hill
R. M. Romero
Peachtree Teen
Published May 10, 2022

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About The Ghosts of Rose Hill

Magic will burn you up.

Sent to stay with her aunt in Prague and witness the humble life of an artist, Ilana Lopez—a biracial Jewish girl—finds herself torn between her dream of becoming a violinist and her immigrant parents’ desire for her to pursue a more stable career.

When she discovers a forgotten Jewish cemetery behind her aunt’s cottage, she meets the ghost of a kindhearted boy named Benjamin, who died over a century ago. As Ilana restores Benjamin’s grave, he introduces her to the … Continue reading

Review: Don’t Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan

Don't Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan

Don’t Call Me a Hurricane
Ellen Hagan
Bloomsbury
Published July 19, 2022

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About Don’t Call Me a Hurricane

An affecting and resonant YA novel in verse that explores family, community, the changing ocean tides, and what it means to fall in love with someone who sees the world in a different way.

It’s been five years since a hurricane ravaged Eliza Marino’s life and home in her quiet town on the Jersey shore. Now a senior in high school, Eliza is passionate about fighting climate change-starting with saving Clam Cove Reserve, an area of marshland that is scheduled to be turned into buildable lots. Protecting the island … Continue reading

Review: Everywhere Blue by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz

Everywhere Blue by Joanne Rossmassler-Fritz

Everywhere Blue
Joanne Rossmassler Fritz
Holiday House
Published June 1, 2021

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About Everywhere Blue

After twelve-year-old Maddie’s older brother vanishes from his college campus, her carefully ordered world falls apart. Nothing will fill the void of her beloved oldest sibling. When her parents fly out to Strum’s college to search for answers, Maddie is left in the care of her sixteen-year-old sister, who seeks solace in rebellion and ignores Maddie. Drowning in grief and confusion, the family’s musical household falls silent.

Though Maddie is the youngest, she knows Strum better than anyone. He used to confide in her, sharing his fears about the climate crisis … Continue reading

Review: Reckless, Glorious, Girl by Ellen Hagan

Reckless, Glorious, Girl by Ellen Hagan

Reckless, Glorious, Girl
Ellen Hagan
Bloomsbury Publishing
Published February 23, 2021

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About Reckless, Glorious, Girl

Beatrice Miller may have a granny’s name (her granny’s, to be more specific), but she adores her Mamaw and her mom, who give her every bit of wisdom and love they have. But the summer before seventh grade, Bea wants more than she has, aches for what she can’t have, and wonders what the future will bring.

This novel in verse follows Beatrice through the ups and downs of … Continue reading