Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

yaqui delgado

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Tenth grader Piddy Sanchez doesn’t think is can get much worse.  She’s been moved out of her childhood house in Queens New York to a “better” apartment, losing her best friend Mitzi, her familiar surroundings, and the high school she had settled into with friends and activities.  Until today.  “Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass,” she’s told by a girl she hardly knows. Huh?  When she investigates with the office student aide she does sort of know, she’s told that Yaqui was suspended twice last year for fighting, and thinks Piddy acts stuck up and shakes her booty too much when she walks.  “Interesting,” she thinks to herself.  “I’ve only had an ass for about six months, and now it seems to have a mind of it’s own.”  Told in the first person perspective, this story of escalating bullying feels urgent and realistic.  Piddy finds out that she’s not safe anywhere when Yaqui and her friends jump her on her walk home and post the fight on the internet.  Her grades start going down and Piddy has to figure out how to survive–become tough just like Yaqui or run away from her problems.

This book is a fast and compelling read that deals with lots of universal teenage issues: having a single parent and wondering about one’s real dad, starting a new school, being harassed by a bully, and knowing how to reach out for help without being a “snitch.”  I think readers will be caught up in Piddy’s life immediately, and will identify with the problems the teen faces.  I recommend this title to all teen readers, especially fans of Sharon Draper.


This Girl Is Different by J J Johnson


This Girl Is Different by J J Johnson

Evie (born Evensong Sparkling Morningdew) lives with her”hippie” mom in a geodesic dome in the woods near their small town.  After being homeschooled since forever, she’s finally convinced her mom to let her finish high school at the local public school, claiming she would be like a gonzo journalist studying the ethnography of the public school system.  The question isn’t the obvious one of Evie being ready for public school after so many years with just her mom, but is the school ready for Evie.  She is strong-minded, confident,not afraid to share her opinion on anything and everything, and a budding activist.  Whenever Evie is about to do something unexpected, she tells herself, “This girl is different,” and she certainly is.  When she is faced with the inherent lack of student rights at her new school, she feels compelled to take on the system, getting herself into all kinds of trouble.

I found this book to be absolutely delightful.  It’s awesome to see a teenager so empowered  such that she follows her own conscious, even when she knows it will lead to trouble.  The book has some interesting minor characters: Evie’s mom Martha, a love interest named Raj, and a smarter than average administrator named Dr. Folger.  I would recommend this title to students looking for humorous books, titles about challenging authority, and  “green” lifestyles.


Raina Telgemeier Book Talk & Signing

Raina T.jpg.
Raina Telgemeier will be at North Berkeley Library, Sunday, February 7, 1:00! There will be books to buy and get signed. You can also check out her books at the BHS Library.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon


Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Seventeen-year-old Maddie is allergic to absolutely everything, and in forced to stay in her home 24/7, seeing only her mother and her nurse Carla.  This has always been her life, and she’s used to the solitude, but when the hottie Oliver moves in next door, she can’t get him off her mind.  Dressed all in black, tee-shirt, jeans and knit hat, he makes her stomach flutter and she can’t help but want to give him her email when he asks, despite all the rules and regulations that keep her safe.  An illicit relationship begins when Carla lets him start secretly visiting in the afternoons when her mom is at work.

This book refuses to fall neatly into one genre.  It’s part mystery, romance, comedy and a novel about growing up.  Fans of John Green and Gayle Foreman will be hooked by its realistic portrayal of  young adults’ need to become independent and create their own identities.  I highly recommend it to all teens.


Nicola (left) with a fan on Twitter.

Here’s in interview with her from MTV: http://www.mtv.com/news/2261250/nicola-yoon-interview/

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

i was here

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Regular blog readers know that I’m a huge Gayle Forman fan.  I love that she writes realistic characters and gives them enough personality so they come alive in the reader’s mind.  I love that she puts them in difficult situations without easy answers.  This latest title is another winner.  Cody is a college freshman at the local community college (imagine BCC) and her best friend Meg is at local Washington university on a full scholarship.  Naturally, they’ve grown apart but Cody is shocked and devastated when Meg takes her own life by drinking a poisonous cleaning fluid in a motel room.  She can’t imagine that Meg could have been that sad and when she goes to the college at Meg’s parents’ request, she begins her own investigation in to what really might have happened.  She meets up with a punk musician named Ben, who recently dumped Meg, but he doesn’t seem to be the reason behind Meg’s suicide.  Long-buried secrets begin to surface as Cody and Ben start going through Meg’s computer and finding hidden files and and new friends who may have been involved with Meg.

So, this mystery will grip readers from the first page, on which is printed Meg’s suicide email to Cody. I finished this book in two day because I could not put it down.  I highly recommend to to readers who like Gayle Forman, Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) and Ellen Hopkins (Crank).

just one year          if i stay          where she went

Click book covers to see our reviews.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

two boys kissing

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Levithan (Boy Meets Boy) explores the gay community’s history with AIDS, while at the same time telling the story of a number of gay and transgendered teens.  Craig and Harry are trying to break the Guinness World Record for the longest kiss, shocking some of the local community while drawing out crowds of supporters for their 32 hour marathon kiss.  They used to be a couple, but this event is how Craig comes out to his family.  The book also follows the newly dating Avery and Ryan, the longtime couple Peter and Neil, and the self-loathing Cooper, who trolls internet site looking for anonymous hook-ups.  Behind the individual stories is a sort of group narration of gay men from the earlier days, when AIDS was a death sentence and everyone knew someone who had died or was dying from the disease.  They are similar to a Greek chorus, commenting on the stories while giving them some historical background.

I have been a huge David Levithan fan since I read and fell in love with Boy Meets Boy many years ago.  I find these characters engaging and honest, and think readers will, too.  The teen boys grapple with some important issues that are found in the LGBT community as well as with straight teens: honesty, self-esteem, overbearing parents, relationships and more.  The narration may be a bit much for some readers, and does begin to feel a bit “sermony” after awhile.  The book is just wonderful, though, and I recommend it to all teen readers, especially fans of Levithan.

boy meets boy          every day          will grayson


Click on the book titles to see our reviews of his other books.



Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

glory o'brien

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

This unique story shows off King’s skills as a writer of unusual protagonists who find themselves in ever more bizarre life circumstances.  Glory is about to graduate from high school, but has no real plan since she’s been shut off from most of life since her mother’s suicide 12 years ago.  Her dad is a painter who is likewise depressed and has refused to paint or do much of anything since his wife’s death.  Ellie, Glory’s only friend, lives across the road in a hippie commune which may be a cult led by Ellie’s mom.  Add to the the fact that Glory isn’t sure she even like’s Ellie anymore, and is beginning to wonder if their relationship has just become something that is convenient.  One night at Ellie’s insistence the girls drink a gruesome cocktail of beer with powdered mummified bat in it, and both begin to see glimpses of the future of people they look at.  Let’s just say that the future in NOT bright and includes a second civil war, internment camps and an abrupt erosion of the rights of women that may bring Margaret Atwater’s Handmaid’s Tale to mind.

If this sounds like there’s a lot going on in this book, you’re right, there is.  But King deftly handles her plot twists as seen from Glory’s perspective in a manner that will keep readers enthralled and needing to read on.  I loved the originality  of this story and appreciated the uniqueness of the main character.  I think dystopian readers, science fiction fans, and readers who have liked A. S. Kings other books will relish this new title.

see ants;jpg          reality boy         ask the passengers

Click on the book covers to see our reviews of her other titles.