Home Field Advantage
– Dahlia Adler –
Published 7 June 2022
Home Field Advantage is a jovial sports novel with queer romance and a powerful message about coming out and standing up for what’s right, wrapped in a bright, bubbly story.
I think I start every sport novel review with a statement about how much I l sports novels, so I’ve put this a bit further down in my review just for a change. My stance remains, though. I love sports novels. I can never find enough to satisfy my own cravings or that of my readers, so this is an automatic buy for my school library. It’s a great sports novel. Romance – check. Game suspense – check. Team drama – check. Strong, determined athletes – check, check. We have two athletes who take centre field in this story. Jack, female quarterback on the boys team, hated by her team mates and determined to prove herself. And Amber, cheerleader, firmly in the closet and totally crushing on the new quarterback.
TJ Powar Has Something to Prove
– Jesmeen Kaur Deo –
Viking Books for Young Readers
Published 7 June 2022
Brilliant, just brilliant. This book has the perfect mix of super cute romance, powerful societal issues commentary, friendship, family and self identity discovery that makes it the sort of YA realistic fiction I just adore. Add a touch of sport and I was all in on this fantastic story.
Gideon Green in Black and White
– Katie Henry –
Katherine Tegen Books
Published 17 May 2022
When you laugh at the dedication and then snort laugh and fist pump at the end of the first chapter you know you are going to love the book and laugh a lot. Which is exactly how it went down reading Gideon Green in Black and White. Looking at the author, who is the author of some of my all time favourite and go-to humour novels, it’s no surprise that this book is funny. Like really, unexpectedly, dry-humour funny. But what was surprising was the mystery (very cool), sleuthing, totally platonic male-female best friend relationship (finally, yes!!) and cute but not attention demanding, just perfect romance.
– Kelly Yang –
Katherine Tegan Books
Published 31 May 2022
Faced with the utter upheaval of her world, Serene must support her mother during a terminal diagnosis and continue to steer and fight for the fashion design company her mother built. Serene faces racism, sexism and must fight against men who think they know better as they try to silence her and her mother. But Serene is smart and determined and won’t go down without a fight.
Café Con Lychee
– Emery Lee –
Quill Tree Books
Published 10 May 2022
I fully expected to love Café Con Lychee. LGBT+ romance, enemies to lovers relationship, food, food and more food.
Theo and Gabi are enemies. Despite playing on the same soccer team, they know to keep their distance (except when Gabi is accidentally crashing into Theo on the soccer field). Their parents both run restaurants in town that compete for business. When a new café in town opens, Theo and Gabi unexpectedly and kind of against both their wishes, team up to fight to protect their families’ restaurants. What ensues is carefully timed, almost a disaster plan to get their classmates on board and brings Gabi and Theo together in way they just didn’t expect.
What Matters Most
– Courtney Walsh –
Nantucket Love Story #3
Tyndale House Publishers
Published 5 April 2022
In What Matters Most, author Courtney Walsh returns readers to the shores of Nantucket for a story about grief, secrets, and forgiving yourself.
Emma has moved herself and her young son to Nantucket in the hopes it will give them both a fresh start. Five years after her husband’s death, she’s still reeling from grief and guilt. Jameson too carries much guilt over the death of Emma’s husband and in a bid to move on with his life, he arrives in Nantucket to tell Emma the truth about her husband’s death. When Jamie arrives on Emma’s doorstep, she thinks he’s there to answer her ad for someone to clean out and renovate the guesthouse on her property. Jamie agrees but fails to tell Emma the real reason he’s there. Maybe he can help her in other ways. As Jamie works on the house, he and Emma grow closer, sharing their love of art and even rekindling that creative spark. But they both have secrets that could destroy any future they might have.
– Denise Hunter –
Published 19 April 2022
Mulberry Hollow is the second book in Denise Hunter’s Riverbend Romance. As is the way with most of her series, you can read the books as stand alone titles, but reading the series in order gives you a lovely overview of a this family group. We met Avery in the first book in the series and now get a better insight into her life, career and decisions in this second book.
Avery is a doctor and owner of the only clinic in town. It’s a career she followed after watching her mother die. Now the genetic disease that stole her mother’s life hangs over Avery’s. It’s one of the reasons she is so desperate to entice another doctor to the clinic. When a hiker finds his way to Avery’s clinic doorstep and needs medical care, it might also be an answer to prayer. With limited funds, Wes offers to renovate the small carriage house on Avery’s property in exchange for his medical care. It’s easy for Avery to enjoy Wes’s company, despite her vow to avoid a relationship, marriage and a family. But Wes is committed elsewhere, anyway, so it can’t hurt to spend time with him, right?
– Jenn Bennett –
Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published 29 March 2022
It took me about 40 seconds to figure who was our narrator and which brother was which when I started reading Always Jane. And then it took me about .02 seconds to fall in love with Fen. Completely and for always. But, by the end of the book it was the author Jenn Bennett to whom I felt the need to confess my undying love, for writing such a beautiful and powerful novel.
In true Jenn Bennett fashion, Always Jane is a compelling and addictive contemporary YA novel, a find-your-voice-and-own-way coming of age novel, with steamy romance, and delightful and complicated family dynamics.
This Golden State
– Marit Weisenberg –
Published 1 March 2022
This Golden State is a delicious book that features mystery in a very realistic fiction style, sweet summer romance with a more serious side of family secrets.
The synopsis is vague. Poppy’s whole life is a little vague. She knows only what her parents have told her and lives by the rules they have set. Never use your name, don’t get close to anyone. Poppy, her sister and their parents have spent their life living off the grid and moving from town to town. Never staying long, always being ready to leave at a moment’s notice, taking nothing with them. For Poppy, it means never having friends, never getting far with her school work, never growing roots. But they must live that way if they are to stay together. Poppy doesn’t know what they are running and hiding from or who, just that her parents are scared and that it would be bad if they were ever caught. Really bad. So she follows the rules. But this latest move is different. Her mother is acting strange. There are mysteries surrounding the house they are staying in and her father seems even more on edge. But he does allow Poppy one luxury she’s never had before – access to a summer school. Finally, Poppy gets to see how well she can really do at something, to test herself and fall in love with the wonders of the world of mathematics. Then there is the mysterious boy who sits next to her in class who everyone seems to know but no one talks to. And then Poppy breaks the rules. It will have far reaching consequences and reveals truths she didn’t even know to look for.
No Filter and Other Lies
– Crystal Maldonado –
Published 8 February 2022
Social media is such a massive part of our young readers’ lives and yet its reach and impact is so often left out of YA fiction. No Filter and Other Lies addresses the addiction of social media, it’s dangers and its benefits head on. It also addresses the inherent racism and sizeism of social media and the challenges teens face in navigating this online world.
Kat is a photographer, friend, granddaughter and dog lover. She’s also pretty good at lying. For years, she’s been lying to everyone but her best friends about where she lives. Most people think she lives with her parents, as evidenced by the perfect family photos her mother shares on Facebook. But Kat actually lives with her grandparents. So, when the opportunity arises to share her work as a photographer on Instagram to a much wider audience, Kat takes it. It’s only a small lie and what’s that in the scheme of her life? Yes, she has to borrow her friend’s (perfectly gorgeous, white, thin) face after she expressly said she didn’t want to go back on social media. But, Kat will also use the account to share about the dogs at the shelter she works at, so there will be some good come from the whole thing. But when Kat starts to fall for a girl she chats with online, things get complicated. Especially when that girl thinks Kat is a 21-year-old college girl called Max.