Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)

jack of heartsJack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L.C. Rosen
Little, Brown, October 2018
Reviewed from ARC

Plot Summary: Jack is a very sexual young man. He’s certainly not afraid to “get it on” and try new things. But when school gossip about his sex life starts to get out of hand, Jack’s friend Jenna suggests he try to use his experiences to educate his classmates through a new sex advice column in the school newspaper. Though a bit hesitant at first, Jack eventually embraces the opportunity, and in the process manages to catch the attention of a secret admirer and get the administration after him for disrupting the status quo.

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Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World

ivy aberdeenIvy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
Little, Brown BFYR, March 2018
Reviewed from hardcover

Plot Summary: A tornado interrupts twelve-year-old Ivy’s world, destroying her family’s home. Displaced by the disaster and disconnected from her family, Ivy begins to feel isolated. Meanwhile, Ivy also loses her secret journal—her “portable, papery hope chest” (2)—in which she has drawn pictures that no one else has seen. Pictures of herself and another girl holding hands. Along with notes urging Ivy to talk to someone, Ivy’s treasured drawings begin to resurface page-by-page in her locker.  Ivy writes back, wondering if (read: hoping that) this pen-pal is the girl from her drawings.
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Leah on the Offbeat

leahLeah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Balzer + Bray, April 2018
Reviewed from hardcover

Plot Summary: As the follow-up to Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Leah has enjoyed a lot of automatic YA limelight from the get-go. Fat, bi, Jewish, and from a lower-income, single-mom family, Leah has always felt like the odd one out in her friend group. Her insecurities aren’t helped by shifting dynamics and rising tensions as the end of senior year looms large. In the months leading up to prom, relationships change, especially Leah’s with Abby. The prospect of attending college together and Abby’s recent break-up bring the former friends closer, and Leah is reminded of the attraction that caused her to keep her distance in the first place.

[Heads up, this discussion is spoilery.]

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Black Wings Beating

Black wings beatingBlack Wings Beating by Alex London
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, September 2018
Reviewed from ARC

Plot Summary: Uztar is a land full of people who revere birds of prey, holding those with the skill for falconry in high esteem. Brysen wants nothing more than to become one of these highly respected falconers, and it frustrates him that his sister has a gift for it that she doesn’t want to embrace. The twins also need money, and their abusive father is certainly not paying the bills. Kylee can’t wait to get out of town, out of the whole business and away from her home, but Brysen puts the two in a precarious position just as the shadows of war are descending. The two end up embarking on an epic quest to find the elusive ghost eagle and hopefully turn the tide of the impending battle.
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A Winter’s Promise

winters_promise A Winter’s Promise (Mirror Visitor Quartet, Book1)
by Christelle Dabos
Europa Editions, Sept. 2018
Reviewed from ARC

Plot Summary: Plain-spoken, headstrong Ophelia cares little about appearances. Her ability to read the past of objects is unmatched in all of Anima and, what’s more, she possesses the ability to travel through mirrors, a skill passed down to her from previous generations. Her idyllic life is disrupted, however, when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, a taciturn and influential member of a distant clan. Ophelia must leave all she knows behind and follow her fiancé to Citaceleste, the capital of a cold, icy ark known as the Pole, where danger lurks around every corner and nobody can be trusted. There, in the presence of her inscrutable future husband, Ophelia slowly realizes that she is a pawn in a political game that will have far-reaching ramifications not only for her but for her entire world. (from jacket copy) Continue reading

Pride / Sewing the Rainbow


Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders, illus. Steven Salerno
Random House, April 2018
Reviewed from hardcover

Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag
by Gayle E. Pitman, illus. Holly Clifton-Brown

Magination Press, June 2018
Reviewed from hardcover

Plot Summary: On this 40th anniversary of the rainbow flag’s creation we get not one but TWO delightful, groundbreaking picture books about the symbol. In Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, the story focuses on the rise and death of activist Harvey Milk. Direct quotes from Milk are interspersed throughout a historical survey of events that ranges from the flag’s 1978 debut to 2015’s rainbow-lit White House celebrating marriage equality. In Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag, the artist Gilbert Baker gets his due as the flag’s mastermind. Readers learn less about the LGBTQIA+ movement and more about the artist himself—in “colorful, sparkly, glittery” detail no less!

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All Out

alloutAll Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages, edited by Saundra Mitchell
Harlequin Teen, Feb 2018
Reviewed from hardcover

Summary: As the subtitle suggests, All Out is a YA anthology of historical LGBTQ+ short fiction. The stories span from the late fourteenth century up to Y2K and vary widely in locale and subject matter. Most are realistic, some are folkloric, and some have a strong dash of magic in the mix. All feature young people coming into their queer selves and navigating how to live in a way that’s true to who they are, whatever the period or place.

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