Pride by Ibi Zoboi

4.5 STARS!

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Review:

I loved this story. While there were multiple elements of Pride and Prejudice, I enjoyed the modern twist that brought up very important issues. Our experiences and circumstances shape us in a way, whether we are trying to fit into our environment or trying to purposely stand apart from it. While we may share parts of our cultural identity with others, that doesn’t always make us the same. This book took on thoughts around cultural identity, socioeconomic status, and what we think it means to be black, rich, etc. How we judge whether someone is enough, or whether they meet our standard of a cultural identity. There is also this underlying idea of accepting and being proud of who you are, but also not being afraid of change that is inevitable.

Another topic I thought was beautifully handdled was the many facets of gentrification. This is a real and relevant issue, because many of us disregard what is different, or  history that may not include us, yet is still so important. We tend to just want to improve things the way we think they should be improved (which is not always the best for everyone else).

Which leads me to one of my favorite parts of this book, the family dynamics of the Benitez’s. They celebrate their culture identity, and the history of their neighborhood. They treat neighbors as family, and truly care about others. They support each other in such a beautiful way. Honestly, the connection is just inspiring. I would definitely recommend this book!

 

Publication Date: September 18, 2018

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Synopsis: 

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

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Counselor Considerations contain SPOILERS.

Do not read further if you don’t want PLOT SPOILERS!

 

Counselor Considerations:

Social/Emotional: Family: Multicultural Family, Black Families, Low Income Family, Rich Family, Friends as family, Neighbors as family, Strong sister bonds, Celebration of Cultural Identity Social: Socioeconomic status differences, Social expectations, Mending Friendships, Empathy, Change, Judgement

College/Career: College Bound, Fulfilling College Requirements, College Application/Essay, Scholarships

Academic: N/A

Happy Ever After (HEA)

Fresh Ink by Multiple Authors of Color

4.5 STARS!!

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Publish Date: August 14, 2018

Publisher: Crown Book for Young Readers

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Synopsis: Careful–you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written–whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play about topics like gentrification, acceptance, untimely death, coming out, and poverty and ranging in genre from contemporary realistic fiction to adventure and romance. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.

AUTHORS INCLUDE: Schuyler Bailar, Melissa de la Cruz, Sara Farizan, Sharon G. Flake, Eric Gansworth, Malindo Lo, Walter Dean Myers, Daniel José Older, Thien Pham, Jason Reynolds, Aminah Mae Safi, Gene Luen Yang, Nicola Yoon

Review: This book is like the introduction to all the diverse YA books we need. I love that authors of color write the experiences of POC that we have rarely received. I love the use of religions and cultural norms other than the white American and Christian ones we so often see. I love the heart and the perspectives that I as a reader am able to see that are outside my own. I’m so excited to see more from these authors! While short stories are always lacking for me, each one of these gave me a new perspective of situations that I very much appreciated. I think if you go in with the expectation of being entertained and expanding your perspective, you will thoroughly enjoy this book.

 

Freshmen by Lucy Ivison & Tom Ellen (ARC Review)

4.5 Stars!!

I read this book in one sitting, that is how much I enjoyed it. I’ve also been in a horrific reading slump where I’ve started 5 different books, so this is saying something. I was completely invested in Phoebe and Luke, as well as their friends.

CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE STRONG FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS!?!?!

This is what I hope for my students, friends that have your back and accept all your quirky differences. I loved the scenes with Phoebe, Negin, and Frankie! Not to mention D Dorm just rocked. I wish I had experienced college like this group. I just really enjoyed the exploration of starting college/university, and trying to meet new friends that you actually wanted to be around.The exploration of the character’s identity was just so realistic–especially the element of trying to fit in, which can cost you and not really lead you where you want to go.

The ending. I did not see that coming, which made me enjoy it that much more. It left me wanting to know where the lives of these characters are going (Psssst. Please do a sequel). Anyway, I really enjoyed this burst of college freshmen life, and I’d definitely recommend this to YA readers!

Synopsis:

Getting in is just the beginning.

Phoebe can’t wait to get to college. On her own, discovering new things, no curfew . . . she’ll be free. And she’ll be totally different: cooler, prettier, smarter . . . the perfect potential girlfriend. Convenient: the only person from her high school also going to York is her longtime crush, Luke.

Luke didn’t set out to redefine himself, but as soon as he arrives on campus, he finds himself dumping his long-term long-distance girlfriend. And the changes don’t stop there. In fact, being on a soccer team is the only thing that stays the same.

Just when things start looking up (and Phoebe and Luke start hooking up), drama looms on the horizon. Rumors swirl about the Wall of Shame, a secret text chain run by Luke’s soccer team, filled with compromising photos of girls. As the women on campus determine to expose the team and shut down the account, Luke and Phoebe find themselves grappling with confusing feelings and wondering how they’ll ever make it through freshman year.

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Counselor Considerations contain SPOILERS.

Do not read further if you don’t want to PLOT SPOILERS!

School Counselor Considerations:

Social/Emotional: Family: Long distance/Away at college, Social: Meeting new people, searching for new friends, dorms, social identity, navigating social circles, peer pressure, strong female friendships, strong friendships, heavy drinking, sex, partying, marijuana,  adapting to college life, romantic relationships, casual relationships, standing up for what is right, feminism

College/Career: Responsibility, College Life, working while in college, joining on-campus clubs/sports

Academic: Studying, group projects

A Quick & Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson (ARC Review)

5 STARS!!!

I LOVE THE ACCESSIBILITY OF THIS BOOK! Gender neutrality is the future, and we all need to get onboard–this book is a great first step in the right direction. The authors work together to explain They/Them pronouns in a way that is so easy to understand, and with some perfectly timed comedic relief. They also acknowledge that this is a not a simple change, it will take time, but it is so very important to the people that are being misgendered.

I really appreciated that they thought of possible scenarios that may happen, and gave examples of possible responses. Overall, I think they really accomplished the goal they were shooting for when creating this book. I can’t wait to buy it and share it!

As a School Counselor, I sincerely appreciate the simplistic and accessible format of this book. I will be able to share it with students and co-workers alike.

Thank you to NetGalley, Limerence Press, & Oni Press, Inc. for the ARC to review!

The History of Jane Doe by Michael Belanger (ARC Review)

4.5 STARS!

I usually read to escape, but this is BEAUTIFUL, WITTY book deals with real issues that are so very important. I enjoyed the alternating time perspectives, and the author really did a good job at making me invested in the characters. I love that Ray and Simon are unapologetically themselves, and I love their obsessions–Simon with milk and Ray with history. As a school counselor, I believe these books are so very important. Representation matters, and we need to normalize mental health conditions to fight the stigma and raise awareness with the goal of preventing fatal outcomes. I will definitely add this book to my collection.

I received an ARC from First To Read through Penguin Random House LLC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

A poignant, deeply funny coming-of-age story about first love, first loss, and the power of history to give life meaning.

History buff Ray knows everything about the peculiar legends and lore of his rural Connecticut hometown. Burgerville’s past is riddled with green cow sightings and human groundhogs, but the most interesting thing about the present is the new girl–we’ll call her Jane Doe.

Inscrutable, cool, and above all mysterious, Jane seems as determined to hide her past as Ray is to uncover it. As fascination turns to friendship and then to something more, Ray is certain he knows Jane’s darkest, most painful secrets and Jane herself–from past to present. But when the unthinkable happens, Ray is forced to acknowledge that perhaps history can only tell us so much.

Mixing humor with heartache, this is an unmissable coming-of-age story from an exciting new voice in YA.

Release Date: June 5, 2018

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Counselor Considerations contain SPOILERS.

Do not read further if you don’t want to PLOT SPOILERS!

School Counselor Considerations:

Social/Emotional: Family:  Supportive, Involved Social: Bullied, Navigating Social Expectations, Strong Friendship, Emotional: Depression, Suicide, Coping Mechanisms

College/Career: N/A

Academic: N/A