– Alice Boyle –
Published 30 August 2022
Dancing Barefoot is an utterly delightful YA novel about friendship, love, self discovery and fitting in. Authentic, richly detailed and genuinely just good fun, I loved every page of this novel and can’t wait to add it to my school library shelf.
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.
– Monica Roe –
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published 15 March 2022
Air is a powerful and impressive middle grade novel about finding your voice and following your dream, while managing the transition to high school, friendship, adults who think they know best and the ways society limits the potential of all.
Air is a book I’m going to force upon a lot of people. Staff and teachers at my school, my principal, students. It’s a book I think everyone should read. The author so perfectly captures Emmie’s voice. That of a young girl who has just started seventh grade. She loves racing and jumping on ramps in her wheelchair. Chair skating. She’s an athlete and entrepreneur. She and her best friend run a small business selling plants and wheelchair bags. Emmie is saving up for a new wheelchair, one that is made for skating. But when she takes a fall at school – totally not her fault! – her new principal demands that she has a full time aide. Emmie is horrified. When the principal announces that the school plans to raise money to buy Emmie her new chair, she’s super excited, but it seems it might come at a cost and she has to decide what she wants and how to speak up for herself.
All That’s Left in the World
– Erik J. Brown –
Balzer + Bray
Published 8 March 2022
I’ve been meaning to write and share this review for a while now but I just haven’t been able to put into words just how incredible and amazing and jaw-dropping and additive this book is. It’s also slightly terrifying. And amazing.
Okay, here goes.
Dystopian, queer romance, illness that is wiping out the population. That completely undersells everything that this book is. It is heart and grief and fight and sacrifice. It is love and family and loss. It’s discovery and it’s a book I just loved. So much.
From Dust, A Flame
– Rebecca Podos –
Balzer + Bray
Published 8 February 2022
From Dust, A Flame is a Jewish-legend inspired paranormal, historical, mystery YA fiction genre-mash-up that is as entrancing as it is unique.
A slow and confusing beginning had me questioning why I had picked this book up and checking the synopsis to make sure I had the right book. But by a quarter of the way in I was hooked. It’s a great book, strong characters, a strong sense of identity and unique. It’s also rooted in legends and mythology that is not often brought to the page – and it’s about time it was.
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.
– A.L. Graziadei –
Henry, Holt and Co.
Published 18 January 2022
Icebreaker is an addictive sports fiction novel, about LGBT+ identity in sports, mental health, family and romance.
I think I start every sports book review with a statement about how much I love sport fiction. And I stand by that statement. I love sports novels. Icebreaker is a mix of YA and new adult, with our main characters in their first year of college but with less sexually explicit content that what one might expect from a new adult novel.
Mickey James the Third is ice hockey royalty. Ever since he was born, it’s been ordained that he will follow in his father and grandfather’s skates. He just has to survive his first year of college before he is drafted as the top pick and then he will have fulfilled that destiny. But when his draft ranking rival is placed on the same team, Mickey knows he will have to work harder than ever to prove he is worth all the hype. And when he starts to fall for that rival, despite also arguing and fighting non stop with him, Mickey will have to chose – destiny or a chance at a future he might finally, actually care about.
The Heart of a Cowboy
– Jody Hedlund –
Colorado Cowboys #2
Bethany House Publishers
Published 5 October 2021
I read the first book in this series at the start of a holiday break and once again I found myself at the end of a big and exhausting term and I picked up the second book in the series. Perfect timing indeed, because once again, slipping into a Jody Hedlund historical romance was exactly the way I needed to start my school holidays.
The second book in the Colorado Cowboys series can be read as a standalone novel, so if you haven’t read the first book don’t hesitate to read this one.
I love when historical romances give me the taste of the past with all the comfort of today’s views and opinions. The Heart of a Cowboy does just that. Linnea is a botanist and an excellent scientist. She is travelling with her grandfather and a group of scientists on a botanical expedition to Colorado. Despite her excellent scientific discoveries and abilities, she had to twist her grandfather’s arm to allow her to accompany the expedition and he worries greatly about her safety – and not just because she’s a woman. Linnea can become so distracted by her work she wanders off and finds herself in all sorts of danger. Like when she falls off the wagon during a river crossing and needs to be rescued by Flynn McQuaid. Continue reading