Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Crayons

Wow this was an absolutely fantastic week of books! It more than made up for me not getting any last week :( (although technically I did have some of these, but they were in my P.O. Box which I didn't get a chance to check till Thursday).
New Crayons is all about the new books I got this week.

Bought at Borders with $40 gift card from my Tio (Spanish for uncle)!
Summaries courtesy of Amazon, unless otherwise specified.

Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
Robin "Birdy" Perry, a new army recruit from Harlem, isn't quite sure why he joined the army, but he's sure where he's headed: Iraq. Birdy and the others in the Civilian Affairs Battalion are supposed to help secure and stabilize the country and successfully interact with the Iraqi people. Officially, the code name for their maneuvers is Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the young men and women in the CA unit have a simpler name for it:
-I think this will be one of the first books I've ever read about the Iraq War. And I love Walter Dean Myers so I'm very excited to read something new to me by one of my favorite authors!

I Am Apache by Tonya Landman
After watching helplessly as Mexican raiders brutally murder her little brother, fourteen-year-old Siki is filled with a desire for vengeance and chooses to turn away from a woman's path to become a warrior of her Apache tribe. Though some men, like envious Keste, wish to see Siki fail, she passes test after test, and her skills grow under the guidance of her tribe's greatest warrior, Golahka. But Keste begins to whisper about Siki's father's dishonorable death, and even as Siki earns her place among the warriors, she senses a dark secret in her past — one that will throw into doubt everything she knows. Taking readers on a sweeping and suspenseful journey through the nineteenth-century American Southwest, Tanya Landman draws on historical accounts to imagine the Black Mountain Apache as a tribe in a fight for survival against the devastating progress of nations.
-I had to do my part and buy a book about a Native American female as they are such rare books! And it sounds amazing :)

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkes

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

-I have seen this book on so many blogs getting great reviews (like at the epic rat, where Cecilia gave it a 5 and I totally trust Cecilia's judgement) and it's been recommended to me by so many readers (most recently by Isa) that I finally decided I must get it.

Forged by Fire by Sharon Draper

Will Gerald find the courage to stand up to his stepfather?

When his loving aunt dies, Gerald suddenly is thrust into a new home filled with anger and abuse. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes Gerald miserable, and the only light in his grim life is Angel, his young stepsister. Gerald and Angel grow close as he strives to protect her from Jordan, his abusive stepfather, and from their substance-addicted mother. But Gerald learns, painfully, that his post can't be extinguished, and that he must be strong enough to face Jordan in a final confrontation, once and for all....

-I loved Tears of a Tiger and I love Sharon Draper. The sequel to Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper? A win-win!

Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdal-Fattah

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

Can she handle the taunts of "towel head," the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school?

-Sounds like an interesting, good read. Also I need to expand my reading into more about Middle Eastern culture! *EDIT 10/11/09: I need to expand my reading into more about Muslim culture. thanks for the clarification susan! Hope I didn't offend.

Amor and Summer Secrets by Diana Rodrigeuz Wallach

"For fifteen-year-old Mariana Ruiz, it's not so much an unexpected vacation as a literal "guilt trip"-her father's way of atoning for ignoring his Puerto Rican roots. But freedom from her parents is little compensation for being forced to spend two months with complete strangers rather than with her best friends in Philadelphia.

Once on "vacation," her worst fears come true. The heat is merciless, the food is spicy, and her great aunt and uncle's mountain house teems with relatives, only one of whom-her distant cousin Lilly-speaks English. Bored, and hoping to make up for missing her best friend's star-studded Sweet 16, Mariana offers to help in the planning of Lilly's Quinceañera. Soon, despite herself, Mariana clicks with new friends who open doors to romance and long-hidden secrets. Suddenly the summer she dreaded is ending way too quickly. It might turn out that the last place she ever wanted to go is the one place she truly finds herself.
-I read this book a while ago (before I had my blog) and I recall liking it a lot so I decided to buy it and re-read/review it, especially because Diana is so funny and nice. Also she was kind enough to donate a copy of the 2nd book in this series to be given away (in my HHM giveaway).

Black Angels by Linda Beatrice Brown
from Stacy Barnes at Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.
The compelling story of three young orphans who must survive on their own during the Civil War.
It's near the end of the war, and rumors of emancipation are swirling. Eleven-year-old Luke decides to run away to freedom and join the Union Army. But he doesn’t find the Yankee troops he was hoping for. Instead, he finds nine-year-old Daylily, lost in the woods after suffering an unspeakable tragedy. Her master set her free, but freedom so far has her scared and alone.
Also lost in the woods is seven-year-old Caswell, the son of a plantation owner. He was only trying to find his Mamadear after the Yankees burned their house with all their fine things. He wanted to be brave. But alone in the woods with two slave children, he quickly loses all his courage, and comes to greatly depend upon his new friends. In the chaos and violence that follows, the three unrelated children discover a bond in each other stronger than family.
-Sharon G. Flake and Nikki Giovanni loved this book. Enough said.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
No summary available online (that I could find) since (I suppose) it's not released till Jan. 2010

Back Cover

It's the summer of 1968 and eleven-year-old Delphine is wondering why she and her younger sisters have to go all the way from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to visit the mother who abandoned them. When they get there, she makes them eat Chinese takeout dinners, forbids them to enter her kitchen, and never explains the strange visitors in Afros and black berets who knock on her door.

-I haven't read any books about the Black Panthers so I can't wait to read this one! It's MG too. From HarperTeen.

8th Grade SuperZero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Ever since a deeply unfortunate incident earlier this year, Reggie's been known as "Pukey" McKnight at his high-intensity Brooklyn middle school. He wants to turn his image around, but he has other things on his mind as well: his father, who's out of a job; his best friends, Ruthie and Joe C.; his former best friend Donovan, who's now become a jerk; and of course, the beautiful Mialonie. The elections for school president are coming up, but with his notorious nickname and "nothing" social status, Reggie wouldn't stand a chance, if he even had the courage to run.

Then Reggie gets involved with a local homeless shelter, the Olive Branch. Haunted by two of the clients there--George, a once-proud man now living on the streets, and Charlie, a six-year-old kid who becomes his official "Little Buddy"--he begins to think about making a difference, both in the world and at school. Pukey for President? It can happen . . . if he starts believing.

-Sent to me by the author. Thank you! I gave a copy away already and now it's my turn to read this book which sounds fabulous :D

Secret Saturdays by Torrey Maldonado

A poignant look into one fatherless twelve-year-old’s struggles with friendship and trust.

Sean is Justin’s best friend, at least Justin thought he was. But lately Sean has been acting differently. Sean’s been telling lies, getting into trouble at school, and hanging out with a tougher crowd, even getting into fights. This isn’t like Sean at all.

When Justin finally discovers that Sean’s been secretly going to visit his father in prison and is dealing with the shame of that, Justin wants to do something to help before his friend spirals further out of control. But what if confronting Sean means Justin loses his very best friend? In the end, he decides it doesn’t matter; he’s got to man up.

Set in one of New York’s most dangerous neighborhoods, Secret Saturdays is an affecting read highlighted by strong characters and an authentic, heartening voice.

-Another amazing sounding MG book. Sent to me by Stacey (same who sent me Black Angels).

Another Faust by Dina & Daniel Nayeri

One night, in cities all across Europe, five children vanish — only to appear, years later, at an exclusive New York party with a strange and elegant governess. Rumor and mystery follow the Faust teenagers to the city’s most prestigious high school, where they soar to suspicious heights with the help of their benefactor’s extraordinary "gifts." But as the students claw their way up — reading minds, erasing scenes, stopping time, stealing power, seducing with artificial beauty — they start to suffer the side effects of their own addictions. And as they make further deals with the devil, they uncover secrets more shocking than their most unforgivable sins. At once chilling and wickedly satirical, this contemporary re imagining of the Faustian bargain is a compelling tale of ambition, consequences, and ultimate redemption.

-I've wanted this book So.Badly.And now I have it! Why? Go re-read the summary! Thanks so much Cecilia. I'm not sure if the main characters are poc, but the authors are so I'm reviewing it anyway.

Whew lots of reading to do (my tbr pile has fallen over twice already)! What did you get this week? Leave me a comment.

New Crayons is brought to you by the dynamic susan, at Color Online!


  1. I really want to read I Am Apache and Another Faust! Enjoy(:

  2. I so want Perfect Chemistry! And I just read Another can read my review on it over at my blog! I liked it! Happy reading! :)


  3. Perfect Chemistry and Does My Head Look Big In This? were both really good! You got a LOT of books this week... happy reading :)

  4. Ari,

    While Amalis of Middle Eastern descent, she is Aussie and Muslim. Not everyone who is Arab descent is Muslim and not all Muslims are from the Middle East. And for Amal wearing the hijab is about faith not culture.

    Great books. Happy reading.

  5. Gift cards are great.
    I checked out Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood by Benjamin Alire Saenz from the library - after reading Zetta's review.

    So Ari who reads the middle grade titles first, you are your sister?

  6. Beverly Slapin of Oyate -- an organization that evaluates and recommends books about American Indians, as a response to how awful most books about Indians are (sad, but absolutely true!) -- wrote a review of I Am Apache that documented some major problems with the book. Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children's Literature had smiliar concerns in her review. (Also see Debbie's follow-up.) You might want to keep their reviews in mind as you're reading Landman's book. (And check out Oyate for recs!)

  7. I loved Perfect Chemistry. Such intense, realistic passions...though I do wish it was a longer book. I Am Apache looks so interesting! Great picks and happy reading!

  8. So I was reading these comments and I saw some that said "Ari" and I was confused, for some reason I thought they were talking to me since my name is Arielle and a lot of people call me Ari, ha. But your name is Ari..which is very cool! Anyway..I just had to rant about that. Have a good day!


  9. Haha Arielle we are so awesome 4 having the same name!
    Elizabeth thanks for the heads up about Oyate and I Am Apache. I checked out the links and I'll keep that info in my mind as I read/review the book.
    Doret my sister tries to read my Ya first, but I try to stop her and make her read the MG!


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