With the Fire on High: A (WIRoB) Review

Here’s a teaser from the start of my review of With the Fire on High (2019) by Elizabeth Acevedo (originally reviewed for Washington Independent Review of Books):

cover art for With the Fire on High by Elizabeth AcevedoEven with help from her grandmother, ‘Buela, at home, Emoni Santiago has a lot more than college plans on her mind at the start of senior year in Philadelphia. While her best friend, Angelia, is looking at the best graphic-arts programs and enjoying her relationship with her new girlfriend, Emoni is trying to decide if college (or a relationship) can have a place in her future alongside the hopes and dreams she wants to make a reality for Babygirl. And she wonders if it’s time to focus on doing rather than “spending four years pretending to do” in college.

When an opportunity to take an immersive culinary-arts class comes up at school, Emoni knows this is one thing she has to do even if she isn’t sure what to expect — or even if she can afford the class’ trip to Spain alongside the day-to-day costs of helping ‘Buela keep their house afloat.

“If you ask her to tell it, ‘Buela starts with the same story” of Emoni hopping up on a stool and seasoning her first meal at age 4. Emoni doesn’t know what to believe, but “ever since then ‘Buela is convinced I have magical hands when it comes to cooking. And I don’t know if I really have something special, or if her telling me I got something special has brainwashed me into believing it, but I do know I’m happier in the kitchen than anywhere else in the world. It’s the one place I let go and only need to focus on the basics: taste, smell, texture, fusion, beauty.”

Unfortunately, her natural affinity for food and years of experimentation in the kitchen don’t go far when it comes to prepping Emoni for the rigors of the culinary class. Chef Ayden wants to prepare them for work in a restaurant, but Emoni chafes under the structure and restrictions that seem designed to impede her creativity.

Emoni already knows a lot about taking care of herself and the people she loves, but over the course of her senior year, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to learn even more about cooking, family, and opening her heart.

You can read my full review of With the Fire on High (2019) by Elizabeth Acevedo here: http://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/index.php/bookreview/with-the-fire-on-high

Possible Pairings: A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis, Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll, The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo, Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills, Your Destination is On the Left by Lauren Spieller, Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith, Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Week in Review: July 20

missprintweekreviewBlog Posts of The Week:

Tweet of the Week:

Instagram Post of the Week:

How My Week Went:

Harry Potter Bday celebration prep and Mock Printzmas prep at work are consuming my life. I have done nothing else.

What I Read:

I finished Sloppy Firsts–a first read for me. The book is super dated but I see the appeal. Reserving judgement on Marcus Flutie who seems to be a literal train wreck from what I can tell. Also read Saga Vol. 1 and can admit that you all may have had a point. Then, I checked out Henchgirl which is by Kristen Gudsnuk AKA the author of one of my favorite middle grade graphic novels. I tried Caster and Permanent Record but had to admit neither were working for me. Alas.

Weekly Questions:

  • How was your week?
  • What are you reading?
  • Seriously, what house would you sort yourself into? Inquiring minds (mine) want to know!

Top Fives: Scholastic’s Fall 2019 Mailing

Here are my top fives from their Scholastic’s Fall 2019 middle grade and YA mailing for librarians and educators.

Middle Grade

  1. The Midwinter Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag: I’ve been following Aster’s story since the beginning when he first started learning magic instead of shape shifting in The Witch Boy. This is the final book in the series and, in my opinion, the strongest with a focus on found family and characters readers first meet in the second book The Hidden Witch.
  2. Fearless Felines: 30 True Tales of Courageous Cats: I make no secret that I am not a cat person but I was intrigued just from this title. I bet you are too.
  3. Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! by Mike Lowery: My friend Estelle was Mike’s publicist for some of his first books at Workman and it’s been great to follow his career as an author and illustrator. Also, who doesn’t want to know more about dinosaurs?
  4. Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab: I loved City of Ghosts last year where readers meet Cassidy Blake, her ghosthunter parents, and her ghost best friend Jacob. This second installment finds Cassidy’s summer adventures moving to Paris as her parents start filming the next episode in their new haunted places tv series.
  5. Guts by Raina Telgemeier: If you work in a public library or spend any time with kids and tweens, you may be familiar with Telgemeier’s incredibly successful comics. This latest one is a continuation of her series that starts with Smile and Sisters.

Young Adult

  1. Season of the Witch by Sarah Rees Brennan: One of my favorite things about Sarah Rees Brennan’s twitter feed is her live tweets of shows she is watching. Now, instead of just tweeting about one, Sarah is writing the authorized prequel novel for the Netflix show The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina set the summer before Sabrina turns sixteen and comes into her powers.
  2. Rated by Melissa Grey: I spend way too much time studying analytics for my blog or social media and otherwise considering stats. But what happens when the world runs on a similar rating system? And what happens when that system is shaken to its core? I’m so excited to find out.
  3. Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld: I have a lot of feelings about Westerfeld continuing his Uglies series with this companion series. After the cliffhanger ending of Impostors you can bet I need to read this one to find out what happens next.
  4. Caster by Elsie Chapman: Magic always has a cost but it might be too high a price to pay when Aza begins investigating her sister’s death and enters herself in an illegal casting competition.
  5. Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor: Anna is alive thanks to her clockwork heart–an illegal piece of medical technology just like the ones she tries to distribute while disguised as the Technician. Nathaniel is determined to earn his commissioner father’s respect by capturing the Technician. Their game of cat and mouse turns to a reluctant alliance as both realize there are much bigger, and more dangerous forces at play.

Which ones are you adding to your to read list?

Symptoms of a Heartbreak: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona CharaipotraEight years ago Saira helped diagnose her best friend Harper’s cancer and conferred with her doctors about treatment options. It wasn’t enough to save her. Since then, Saira has been working toward helping other kids the way she couldn’t help Harper.

Saira is used to balancing friends and her boisterous Indian-American family with schoolwork–especially after graduating from med school at sixteen. But none of that prepared her for the rigors of her new internship in pediatric oncology. Or dealing with her mother running the pediatric department in the same hospital.

When she starts to fall for a patient, Saira is willing to do whatever it takes to try and improve his chances in treatment–even if it means risking her career in Symptoms of a Heartbreak (2019) by Sona Charaipotra.

Symptoms of a Heartbreak is Charaipotra’s solo debut.

Saira is a winning narrator with a lot of book smarts and a charming naivete that underscores the ways in which growing up often has nothing to do with learning more and everything to do with getting older.

There’s no way around this novel being a book about cancer. Saira is the lead doctor treating several patients and just like in real life, not all of them get better. While the novel ends on a hopeful note, the story remains bittersweet as it acknowledges that surviving cancer isn’t the same as curing it.

Despite the novel’s hospital setting, Symptoms of a Heartbreak does have a lot of humor. Saira has a big extended family to support her along the way including her doting parents, sassy grandmother, and caring older sister along with more aunties, uncles, and cousins than you can shake a stick at. Charaipotra expertly depicts the unique chaos of Saira’s life (and family) with tender and snappy prose.

Symptoms of a Heartbreak is a unique blend of humor, hospital drama, and a sweet romance. Recommended for readers who have always wanted an aged down Grey’s Anatomy and anyone with a soft spot for Doogie Howser.

Possible Pairings: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo, Happy Messy Scary Love by Leah Konen, Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon, Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno, Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration at BookExpo 2019*

Top Fives: Harper Collins Fall 2019 Preview #harperpreview

Today I’m sharing my top five titles from HarperCollins’ Fall 2019 preview for librarians and educators.

If you want to see all of the tweets from the preview, you can check out of the #harperpreview tag on twitter. (You can also find all of my tweets from the preview too!)

Picture Books

(I’ve been lucky enough to read galleys of these picture books and they are all excellent!)

  1. The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Eric and Terry Fan: All of the animals know to avoid the old scarecrow. But when a baby crow lands near scarecrow in a storm, he doesn’t scare the baby bird. Instead he takes care of it. A lushly illustrated, heartwarming story about found family.
  2. Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin, illustrated by Ebony Glenn: Tameika loves to sing and dance. She can’t wait to audition for her school’s new play. When other students start to wonder if Tameika is too tall, too chubby, or too brown to be this princess, she proves them wrong in this dynamo picture book about chasing your dreams.
  3. The Love Letter by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins: When Hedgehog finds a love letter it makes him feel cheerful. When Bunny finds the same letter she feels helpful. And when the same letter makes its way to squirrel, he feels carefree. When these three friends try to find out who really sent the letter, they learn that a little confusion can lead to a wonderful mix-up.
  4. Mulan: The Legend of the Woman Warrior by Faye-Lynn Wu, illustrated by Joy Ang: A gorgeously illustrated retelling of the classic legend of Mulan–the woman who went to war disguised as a man to protect her loved ones and save China.
  5. A Friend for Bently by Paige Keiser: Bently is lonely as the only pig on the farm. No one else wants to roll in the mud or eat slop with him. And no one will do crossword puzzles. Then Bently hears an oink and when he follows it he finds Daisy, a chick who would much rather be a pig.

Middle Grade

  1. Heroism Begins With Her by Winifred Conkling, illustrated by Julie Kuo: Features profiles of 70 women in different branches of the US military.
  2. Heroes and Hall Passes by Tom O’Donnell: In a mythical realm characters unwind with their favorite role playing game: Homerooms and Hall Passes! When they get transported into their fave game they’ll have to face the biggest challenge yet: middle school.
  3. Ember and Ice Dragons by Heather Fawcett: In an alternate Victorian England a human girl (who was born a dragon!) is swept up in an adventure to save her new home. This is Fawcett’s middle grade debut, you may recognize her name from Even the Darkest Stars.
  4. The Twelve by Cindy Lin: When her sister is captured for her illegal zodiac powers, Usagi must team go with others with zodiac powers to save her.
  5. The Changeling King by Ethan M. Aldridge: This is a sequel so you should read Estranged first, but this follow up story continues the adventure of a human boy and the fae changeling who took his place in the human world.

Young Adult:

  1. I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi: After discovering that Earth is a colony of another planet, three teens have a week to get their affairs in order while the planet decides if it’s time to end the Earth experiment. This sounds a lot like Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente with less singing and more teen angst and I, for one, am here for it.
  2. Our Year in Love and Parties by Karen Hattrup: High concept YA about two characters trying to reconnect and earn their happy ending over one long year. I wish you could have heard the book’s editor, Andrew Eliopulos, talk about this one–I can’t even tell you exactly what it was, but as soon as I heard his presentation I was 100% on board.
  3. Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh: The Road meets The Amazing Race in this story where a girl enters a race to win her freedom. The catch? She has to have her memory erased to compete.
  4. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin: Hi. Hello. Historical witch fantasy. Witch and witch hunter forced into marriage. Please take my money. I have been obsessed with this book since the moment I first heard the synopsis. You should be too.
  5. A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth: Weymouth pitched this to her editor saying “It’s like Downton Abbey. But the houses come to life.” And I think that’s really all you need to know.
  6. Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai: I am never going to summarize this as well as Lai did at the preview. Six years ago Hằng lost her younger brother when he was evacuated in the last days of the Việt Nam War. Now, in 1981, after years of planning Hằng is finally in Texas and ready to find Linh. LeeRoy is on his way to becoming a rodeo star when he’s recruited to help Hằng find her brother. It’s an annoying detour, but he’s knows he can’t abandon her. When she realizes Linh doesn’t remember her, Hằng is unmoored and forced to figure out what happens next. Especially when the only person who seems to understand her when she talks is LeeRoy–the gangly would-be cowboy who never stops talking. This book is gorgeous. It’s already my favorite book of the year–and that’s while knowing there’s a new Garth Nix coming out.

Let me know if any of these were already on your radar or if this post helped you find some new titles for your to read list!

Week in Review: July 13

missprintweekreviewBlog Posts of The Week:

Tweet of the Week:

Instagram Post of the Week:

View this post on Instagram

What new summer releases are you getting excited about? 📚 I can’t wait for more of you to be able to read Brandy Colbert’s upcoming novel. 📚 Birdie has always been a good daughter. She works hard in school, she's responsible. She listens to her parents even when it's hard like when she had to give up soccer to focus on her classes and college prep. 📚 But it's hard to balance being a good daughter with dating Booker–the new boy in her life. Birdie's parents would never approve of Booker with his bad reputation and his juvenile record. Rather than upset her parents Birdie does what seems like the best thing for everyone: she decides to keep Booker a secret for as long as possible. 📚 Then there's her estranged aunt Carlene who is back in Chicago, and Birdie's life, after years of struggling with substance abuse. Birdie barely remembers her aunt but she's eager to reconnect now–especially when Carlene seems willing to listen to Birdie in a way her mother hasn't for years. As Birdie grows closer to Carlene and to Booker, the secrets mount. When Birdie finds out that she isn't the only one who's been keeping secrets  everything she thought she knew about her family will be thrown into question in The Revolution of Birdie Randolph. 📚 Come for the swoony romance, stay for the authentic intersectional identities, complex relationships, and memorable characters. This one hits shelves on August 20 so now is the perfect time to preorder it or request it be stocked at your local library or bookstore! 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #lovereading #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #beautifulbooks #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #therevolutionofbirdierandolph #brandycolbert #summerreading

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How My Week Went:

Sometimes I don’t sleep much so this has been a pretty long week. I have a ton of BIG WORK THINGS happening in the second half of July and Mercury is Retrograde and my office is host to a weird assortment of bugs so I’m kind of over summer at this point.

What I Read:

I read Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable and illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw. I think it had some interesting things to say but I also might have not liked it. I’m still processing. My feelings were similarly mixed for There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool which started stronger than it finished. I enjoyed it and think I’m on board for book two but, again, still processing.

Weekly Questions:

  • How was your week?
  • What are you reading?
  • Does anyone even read far enough to see these questions?

Top Fives: Sourcebooks Spring 2019 Preview #sourcebookspreview

Today I’m sharing my Top Five titles to watch for from Sourcebooks’ Spring 2019 preview for librarians and educators. I’m a bit behind on sharing these so many of the titles may already be available at your local library or bookstore.

(I’d also like to share that everyone who attended this preview got their very own unicorn horn and it was glorious.)

If you want to see all of the tweets from the preview, you can check out of the #sourcebookspreview tag on twitter. (You can also find all of my tweets from the preview too!)

  1. The Disaster Days by Rebecca Behrens: It’s The Babysitter’s Club meets Hatchet! Enough said. Inspired by the author’s love of historical fiction and disaster stories.
  2. The Star Shepherd by Dan Haring and Marcykate Connolly: A boy and his dog race to save the stars before their light goes out in this fantasy adventure.
  3. You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman: One teen tries to figure out what to do when the promises of happiness and academic success start to pull him in opposite directions.
  4. The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson: And I Darken. Meets. Eragon. Do I need to say more?
  5. Here There Be Monsters by Amelinda Berube: The cover for this one creeps me the hell out but I’m here for any story that is The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls.
  6. Yale Needs Women: How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant by Anne Gardiner Perkins: This book is a bit of a bonus as it’s being marketed as adult non-fiction. It’s the product of many years of research and includes fifty oral histories. I’m super excited to read it.

Let me know if any of these were already on your radar or if this post helped you find some new titles for your to read list!