Friday, September 28, 2018

YA Books You Might Have Missed

Presenting a short list of YA books from 2018 that you might have overlooked, or should look for in the next month.  Holiday gifts?

Forgiving Moses                              
Gloria L. Velásquez
Piñata - May, 2018

Gloria Velásquez
is one of the pioneers of Latinx Lit.  She's been at it for a while -- the first Latina to create a YA series, her excellent Roosevelt High School Series that debuted in 1994 -- and she's produced a great list of essential books. Here's the review of Forgiving Moses from the School Library Journal.

"Gr 9 Up –The latest installment of the long-running series that explores social injustices in Latinx and Black communities in short novel format is a narrated by two newcomers to the school: Chicano teenager Moses, angry at his incarcerated father, and a counselor, Ray, who is Native American and Chicano and innovative in his use of circle practices to build community. The inclusion of each narrator’s inner thoughts makes this novel readable, culturally responsive, and compassionate, and the central role of weekend prison visits makes it timely. The pitfalls and anxieties around those visits are not widely discussed in YA lit, yet Velásquez covers them all, including the extreme predicament of relocation for families of the incarcerated when spouses are moved to another facility, precipitating a new migration pattern. Despite the hard work and devotion given by his mother, Moses feels that she always put his father first by moving the family and sacrificing herself for a “lifer.” Luckily, another classmate, Dalana, also visits her father every weekend and, after Moses overcomes his initial resistance, offers her perspective. Ray has troubles of his own with his son, but once the voluntary, all-male circles begin, trust and healing emerge as they face the fears of repeating their fathers’ mistakes. VERDICT Buy this and the entire series."
Sara Lissa Paulson, City-As-School High School, New York City

Elizabeth Acevedo
Harper Teen - March, 2018

This much-anticipated debut novel has received impressive recognition, but maybe you passed on reading it because you're not a fan of poetry or novels-in-verse or maybe you don't appreciate YA Lit.  This book will change your mind about all that, maybe change your life.

From the publisher:

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. 

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Lee & Low Books - October, 2018

From the publisher:

In the heart of the Great Depression, Rancho Las Moras, like everywhere else in Texas, is gripped by the drought of the Dust Bowl, and resentment is building among white farmers against Mexican Americans. All around town, signs go up proclaiming "No Dogs or Mexicans" and "No Mexicans Allowed."

When Estrella organizes a protest against the treatment of tejanos in their town of Monteseco, Texas, her whole family becomes a target of "repatriation" efforts to send Mexicans "back to Mexico" --whether they were ever Mexican citizens or not. Dumped across the border and separated from half her family, Estrella must figure out a way to survive and care for her mother and baby brother. How can she reunite with her father and grandparents and convince her country of birth that she deserves to return home?

There are no easy answers in the first YA book to tackle this hidden history.

In a companion novel to her critically acclaimed Shame the Stars, Guadalupe Garcia McCall tackles the hidden history of the United States and its first mass deportation event that swept up hundreds of thousands of Mexican American citizens during the Great Depression.
Zoraida Cordóva
Sourcebooks Fire - June, 2018

The second book in the highly regarded Brooklyn Bruja series; number three due next year.

From the publisher:

Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister's newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula's bruja healing powers can't fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula's world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn't the only one who's been brought back...



Manuel Ramos writes crime fiction.  His newest book is The Golden Havana Night.  Launch party:  Tattered Cover (Colfax), October 22 at 7:00 p.m.  

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