Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Crayons

New Crayons is hosted by susan at Color Online.

May being Asian Pacific Heritage Month has been good for me. It's pushing me to read books I keep claiming that I'm going to read soon (like Samurai Shortstop) or books that I've had for an embarrassingly long time (Unpolished Gem). It has also made me look for more YA books with Asian male protagonists (Love is the Higher Law). There is a terrible lack of books that fit the criteria.

From the Library

Love Is the Higher Law by David Levithan

First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . . .

The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.

David Levithan has written a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever.

-I just finished this book and wow. I don't really remember 9/11 so this book was really eye-opening. Review coming tomorrow

Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz

Tokyo, 1890. Toyo is caught up in the competitive world of boarding school, and must prove himself to make the team in a new sport called besuboru. But he grieves for his uncle, a samurai who sacrificed himself for his beliefs, at a time when most of Japan is eager to shed ancient traditions. It’s only when his father decides to teach him the way of the samurai that Toyo grows to better understand his uncle and father. And to his surprise, the warrior training guides him to excel at baseball, a sport his father despises as yet another modern Western menace. Toyo searches desperately for a way to prove there is a place for his family’s samurai values in modern Japan. Baseball might just be the answer, but will his father ever accept a “Western” game that stands for everything he despises?

-Heather loves this book and she has great taste so I'm really looking forward to reading it. I mean, samurais and baseball? Fantastic mix!

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before by David Yoo

Before he met Mia, resigned loser Albert Kim was too busy dodging high school sociopaths to imagine having a girlfriend. Much less the adorable ex-girlfriend of alpha jerk Ryan Stackhouse. Yet somehow, by the end of a summer working at an inn together, Al and Mia are "something."

Then September arrives with a thud: Ryan has been diagnosed with cancer and needs Mia at his side. As the school year turns into one giant tribute to Ryan, Al can’t help but notice that Ryan may not be quite who everyone--particularly Mia--thinks he is. Before his heart shatters completely, Al has just a few more things to point out...

-Another book recommended to me quite often. It sounds like it will be a fun read.

Wait for Me by An Na

Mina is the perfect daughter. Bound for Harvard, president of the honor society, straight A student, all while she works at her family’s dry cleaners and helps care for her hearing-impaired little sister. On the outside, Mina does everything right. On the inside, Mina knows the truth. Her life is a lie.

At the height of a heat wave, the summer before her senior year, Mina meets the one person to whom she cannot lie. Ysrael, a young migrant worker who dreams of becoming a musician, comes to work at the dry cleaners and asks Mina the one question that scares her the most. What does she want?

Mina finds herself torn between living her mother’s dreams, caring for her younger sister, grasping the love that Ysrael offers, and the most difficult of all, living a life that is true.

With sensitivity and grace, An Na weaves an intriguing story of a young woman caught in the threads of secrets and lies, struggling for love and finding a voice of her own.

-Meh. Read my review

From Lyn

A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar
From America to the Middle East and back again- the sparkling story of one girl's childhood, by an exciting new voice in literary fiction

In this fresh, funny, and fearless debut novel, Randa Jarrar chronicles the coming-of-age of Nidali, one of the most unique and irrepressible narrators in contemporary fiction. Born in 1970s Boston to an Egyptian-Greek mother and a Palestinian father, the rebellious Nidali-whose name is a feminization of the word "struggle"-soon moves to a very different life in Kuwait. There the family leads a mildly eccentric middle-class existence until the Iraqi invasion drives them first to Egypt and then to Texas. This critically acclaimed debut novel is set to capture the hearts of everyone who has ever wondered what their own map of home might look like.
-This is not YA but the main character is a teenager and I've been wanting to read this one so it will be reviewed here. Thanks so much Lyn, what a wonderful surprise!

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
Sixteen-year-old Jess Parker survives by staying invisible. After nine schools in ten years, she's come to terms with life as a perpetual new girl, neither popular nor outcast. At Mt. Sterling High, Jess gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join The Cinderella Society, a secret club of the most popular girls in school, where makeovers are the first order of official business. But there's more to being a Cindy than just reinventing yourself from the outside, a concept lost on Jess as she dives tiara-first into creating a hot new look.

With a date with her popular crush and a chance to finally fit in, Jess's life seems to be a perfect fairy tale. That is until the Wickeds--led by Jess's archenemy--begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers her new sisterhood is about much more than who rules Mt. Sterling High School. It's a centuries-old battle of good vs. evil, and the Cindys need Jess on special assignment. But when the mission threatens to destroy her new dream life, Jess is forced to choose between this dream realized and honoring the Sisterhood. What's a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn't want to wear it anymore?

-I won this from Jill at the O.W.L. I'm excited to read this because the author seems so nice on Twitter and I've been reading a lot of serious books lately so I need some fun chick lit. Also I've been down in the dumps lately, so I need some girl-power!

For Review
The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle by Deva Fagan
All Prunella wants is to be a proper bog-witch. Unfortunately, her curses tend to do more good than harm. When her mixed-up magic allows a sneaky thief to escape her grandmother’s garden, Prunella is cast out until she can prove herself.

It’s hard enough being exiled to the unmagical Uplands, but traveling with the smug young thief Barnaby is even worse. He’s determined to gain fame and fortune by recovering the missing Mirable Chalice. And to get what she wants, Prunella must help him, like it or not.

-I like all the different types of magical/paranormal creatures, but I want to go back to basics with this one. It all began with witches :) I love this cover too; the POC witch on the cover, the alligator, it all screams "magical and adventurous MG read!" WoWd a while ago

That's what I got this week. What POC books did you get this week?

All summaries from


  1. Sorry An Na didn't work for you. I was reading a string of romance at the time and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    A Map of Home is outrageous. Loved it. Looking forward to hearing what you think.

  2. I loved A Map of Home.
    The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle is really good and the author ends strong.
    The Samurai Shortstop is suppose to be really good. I can't believe your reading a baseball book before me.

  3. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Love is the Higher Law. I realized when I was reading it that the characters were my peers - I was just two months shy of my 17th birthday when 9/11 happened, just like some of the characters in that book. And I also specifically wondered what current teenagers would think of the book, since your 9/11 experience was clearly different than mine.

  4. Ooh, The Magical Misadventures sounds fun!

  5. Aww, you said I had great taste. You're so sweet. But seriously, I'm dying to see your review of Samurai. I really hope you like it as much as I did. After seeing your post, I had to go check it out from the library again.


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