Posted in Realistic Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

The Hate U Give

Title: The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas

ISBN: 978-0062498533

Publisher:  Balzer + Bray

Age Range: 15 and up


Staar Carter’s life changes forever when her best friend is murdered in front of her when she is ten. Fast forward a few years, and Staar tragically witnesses the murder of her friend Kahlil by a police officer during a routine traffic stop. The media quickly gets wind of the fact that Kahlil was unarmed, and the case gains national attention. Staar struggles with her desire to hide from the spotlight, and the need to speak out for justice. Ultimately, she must decide which is more important- her life returning to normal, or fighting for equality in an age of social injustice.

My Impressions:

I could not put this novel down. I even bought the audio book to supplement my print copy so that I could listen in the car. Staar Carter is a character that all teenagers can relate to, regardless of race. Her story compels the reader to stop and think about the world today, and the overflowing evidence of the social injustices surrounding minorities, especially African Americans, in the United States today. The plot is beyond engaging. and heartbreakingly real. Every reader (15 and up) should give this one a read. It will jump start your brain, and make you dream of a better future. Note: There is some content that may not be appropriate for all readers. Though it is all handled tastefully, there is a considerable amount of violence and gang/drug references throughout this novel. Consider reading it with your child, as there are many excellent discussion points along the way.


“Angie Thomas has written a stunning, brilliant, gut-wrenching novel that will be remembered as a classic of our time.” (John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars)

“Though Thomas’s story is heartbreakingly topical, its greatest strength is in its authentic depiction of a teenage girl, her loving family, and her attempts to reconcile what she knows to be true about their lives with the way those lives are depicted—and completely undervalued—by society at large.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Pair this powerful debut with Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s ALL AMERICAN BOYS to start a conversation on racism, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

Posted in Module 4, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Module 4: Fangirl

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

ISBN: 978-1-250-03095-5

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press



This story follows Cath, a slightly nerdy fan fiction writer just starting her freshman year of college. She is a twin, but her counterpart seems to not want anything to do with her, and requests to live in separate dorm rooms on the opposites sides of campus. Cath finds herself awkwardly trying to survive her first semester, all while losing herself in writing fan fiction. Her room mate seems to hate her, and Levi, who Cath thinks is her room mate’s boyfriend, spends more time than her room mate does in their dorm room. reagan and Levi take pity on Cath, and demand that she let them get her out of the room once in a while. Cath slowly adapts, and becomes friends with the couple, not knowing that the boy is not her room mate’s boyfriend at all. He spends so much time in her dorm room because he like her, and is doing all that he can to show her. Meanwhile, Cath’s twin is out of control and her dad is struggling at home without them. In the end, Cath realizes that Levi is interested in her and she opens up enough to begin a relationship with him. She reconciles with her sister, and helps her father find strength and peace within himself.

Rowell, R. (2013). Fangirl. United States: St. Martin’s Press.



I liked almost everything about this book. For one, I was able to utterly lose myself in the story. I related to the main character extremely well, and was able to escape to her world completely. Secondly, the story had such an engaging and believable plot. Cath goes through what all of us go through as a freshman. And deals with her problems in the only way she can, by writing fan fiction. I found myself cheering Cath on, and even yelling at my book when she fails to connect with Levi. This story gives the reader a delicious taste of what it means to be a fangirl trying to figure out how to grow up and still stay true to herself. I did get a little frustrated with the length of the “fan fiction” sections. I felt like Rowell could have made the same impression with shorter sections. I cared more about Cath’s personal story than I did about the characters she wrote in her fan fiction. I was emotionally invested in her story, not theirs. I found myself wanting to skim through those sections to get to another juicy advancement in the plot. Overall, this is a delightful read. I recommend it to readers 15-adult (gr. 9 and up).

For Use in the Library:

This is a great title to display prominently on your “must reads” shelf. The cover is eye catching and well designed. It will catch any reader’s attention and cause them to ask more about it. This book is fantastic, and easy to talk up once the display has caught a reader’s interest.


Horn Book Magazine
( November 08, 2013; )
College freshman Cather Avery is resistant to big life changes such as moving away from home and leaving her childhood behind. With identical twin sister Wren eager for more independence, Cath holes up in her dorm room, writing on her own the fanfiction they used to create together about the Harry Potteresque Simon Snow books: It felt goodto get lost in the World of Mages and stay lostThis was why Cath wrote fic. For these hours when their world supplanted the real world. But as Caths first year progresses, she is continually pushed outside her comfort zone: by her snarky roommate, Reagan; by Levi, Reagans ex-boyfriend with the smiles and floppy hair (and eventually Caths first love interest); by her fiction-writing professor; by her manic but well-meaning father; and even by her estranged mother. While the fanfiction and first-love story lines are important, this is first and foremost Caths coming-of-age story. She is a teenager overcoming numerous insecurities and learning to balance family and school responsibilities with her writing and romantic interests in order to discover what truly matters in her life. As she did in Eleanor Park (rev. 5/13), Rowell creates a refined narrative style that transitions seamlessly between Caths strong interior voice and clever dialogue to fully develop Caths complex personality. Between chapters, Rowell incorporates scenes from both the Simon Snow series and Caths fanfiction, further connecting readers to Caths literature-centric world. This sophisticated novel from a talented writer will captivate nerds, romantics, and book lovers alike. cynthia k. ritter (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Ritter, C. K. (2013). [Review of the book Fangirl by, R. Rowell]. Horn Book Magazine, 89(6), 105-106. Retrieved from

Posted in Module 3, Pura Belpre Award Winner, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Module 3: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Title: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Author: Meg Medina

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5859-5

Publisher: Candlewick Press



Piddy Sanchez is in trouble. Her mother recently moved them out of their old crumbling apartment, which means Piddy has to change schools mid-year. Worse, she soon finds out that the wrong girl hates her- Yaqui Delgado. The problem is, Piddy doesn’t even know what Yaqui looks like. Not that it matters to Yaqui. Piddy soon finds herself the victim of a malicious gang of girls, and must do what she can to protect herself. Piddy dons a hard mask, begins skipping school, and becomes a girl her own family doesn’t recognize. She swears she is never going back to school again. When a concerned classmate reports Piddy’s problem to the counselor, she at last gains the confidence to speak up to the adults in her life. In the end, Piddy has to learn what is important, and decide what kind of person she wants to be. She decides to be someone she is proud of, someone not afraid to dance to her own rhythm.

Medina, M. (2013). Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

My Impressions:

I recently went looking for this title at Half Priced Books. I couldn’t find it on the shelf, so I decided to try my luck asking a very knowledgeable looking clerk shelving books. When I told him that I was looking for a young adult book by this title, he asked, “Are you sure this is young adult with THAT in the title?” I assured him that it was, and that it even won the Pura Belpre Award. Needless to say, we were not able to locate this title in the store, but I soon found it at my local library, in the young adult section. Well- I loved it. In fact, it might be my favorite book I have read thus far this summer. Piddy Sanchez’s story was captivating, to say the least. Told in first person point of view, this title follows the thoughts and fears of a Cuban American teenager, who is having trouble with the other girls at her new school. I’m normally not fond of reading young adult titles written in first person, however this one was an exception. Piddy’s conversational style of storytelling added humor to the text, and made the story seem much more realistic than it would have otherwise.  The problems that Piddy faces throughout the story are problems that every teenager will relate to, and connect with. Teenage girls will find it especially powerful, and culturally diverse teenage girls even more so. This is a high-low book, meaning it is of high interest to teenage readers, but has a low enough level of vocabulary that struggling readers can read it independently. There is some content that could be inappropriate for younger readers. I highly recommend this title to readers 14 and up.

For Use in the Library:

This is an excellent high-low title to recommend to a reluctant reader, or a teenager who is struggling socially at school.


School Library Journal
( April 01, 2013; 9780763658595 )
Gr 7 Up-Piedad Sanchez moved at the beginning of her sophomore year, and a few weeks into classes at her new school a girl comes up to say that “Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass.” As a first line, it sets the focus for Piddy, who has always had friends, gotten good grades, and managed quite well in her old school. There’s no real reason for the enmity, but the threat is more than real and begins to permeate Piddy’s life. Gradually readers see that her mother’s best friend, who works at a hair salon and has been her support, is the only adult who even has a clue about what is going on. The Queens, New York, neighborhood is solidly Hispanic and the language reflects the culture. Piddy does a downward spiral as the torment gets increasingly worse. The school reaction and the dilemma she faces are realistically portrayed. Yaqui can get to her in and out of school, and she is vulnerable to being terrorized by a whole group of Yaqui supporters. The way that the abuse and threats impact Piddy to try to become a bad girl herself is logically presented. The plight of a pair of abandoned kittens parallels her own loneliness and loss. The Latino cultural milieu adds a richness and texture that lifts this up above many problem novels. The plot points are dexterously intertwined, and the characters are distinct. A real bonus for those looking for a bullying book for older readers that is not simplistic.-Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Edwards, C. A. (2013). [Review of the book Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass, by M. Medina]. School Library Journal, 59(4), 168. Retrieved from