“La Lìnea” by Ann Jaramillo

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 The novel La Lìnea by Ann Jaramillo, tells the story of two young children who attempt to cross borders in order to improve their circumstances and join their parents in the United States. Elena and Miguel are two teenaged children who live with their grandmother in Mexico after their parents moved to the United States in order to better benefit their family’s financial and societal conditions. When Miguel receives word from his parents that he is now able to come and join them in the United States, he is delighted and anxious to come, not knowing that his younger sister Elena is planning on unexpectedly joining him on his journey. Together the two face many perilous obstacles during their travels as they try to give themselves the opportunity to improve upon their lives.

I chose to read this book since it depicts a very commonplace situation of less fortunate people fleeing to foreign countries as a means of improving their current economic and social situations, yet in a more adolescent-appropriate manner. Especially in the present political climate, being able to understand and empathize with the plight of refugees forced to leave their homes in search of solace is of vital importance. The serious and dangerous conditions the two young protagonists of the book are faced with clearly depict the suffering and risk that innocent people must endure with the hope of eventually reaching comfort and normality. I found reading this book to be very rewarding and insightful, and I would recommend it be read by people whom wish to know more intimate details of crossing the Mexico-United States border that is still an age appropriate story.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Lisa F.

“Tiger Moon” by Antonia Michaelis

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A wealthy rajah chooses Raka to be his newest bride. Though she does not wish to go, her father arranges the marriage and sends his daughter off to the rajah’s palatial estate. Despite numerous escape attempts, she remains imprisoned within his walls. Lalit, a young man who works for the rajah, asks Raka why she tries to escape and she tells him it is because she is not a virgin, and she knows the rajah will have her killed when he discovers this.

While Raka waits for her imminent death, she tells Lalit the story of a thief named Farhad, who is chosen by the god Krishna to save his daughter from the clutches of a demon king. Farhad, with the help of his magical white tiger, travels across the desert and slowly evolves from a self-serving thief into a compassionate and brave hero. As the end of Farhad’s story approaches, so does the end of Raka’s–until the transcendent power of her magical tale takes over.

This masterfully-written novel, translated beautifully from German by Anthea Bell, utterly captivated me. I felt transported to India, spellbound by the story, sometimes surprised to return to reality when I looked away from the pages. Readers who enjoy sweeping fantasy or fairy tale-inspired novels will love this book.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“Bitter Melon” by Cara Chow

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High school student Frances Wong lives with her mother in a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. Her mother works hard to put Frances through private school, and constantly dreams of the day her daughter will grow up to be a doctor so she can afford to take care of her mother. Frances works hard to show filial dedication to her mother, as their Chinese culture dictates.

All this changes when Frances accidentally gets put in Speech instead of Calculus at school. Rather than switching to the correct class, Frances is intrigued by her new teacher and the possibility of competing in Speech. She knows her mother would never approve, so she begins lying to prevent her from finding out.

Frances begins to blossom, seeing for the first time the possibility of a life not bound to her demanding and abusive mother. At home, as her lies come to light, her mother becomes more controlling and abusive, both verbally and physically. Frances’ evolution is beautifully illustrated by the changing topics of her speeches over the course of the novel, starting with her acceptance of her culture’s filial piety, and ending with her own desire to explore the world and be her own person even if this is not what her mother wishes.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“Magic Under Glass” by Jaclyn Dolamore

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Nimira is a stranger in a strange land, an exotic, foreign “trouser girl” who sings in a dance hall to earn a meager living. When sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing with an automaton piano player at concerts, she sees this as her chance to move up in the world. But Hollin’s house is full of mysterious secrets, and Nimira’s place in the world seems more uncertain than ever.

Nimira discovers that the automaton piano player who accompanies her is actually a fairy imprisoned in a clockwork body. Despite their limited ability to converse, she soon falls in love with Erris, the imprisoned fairy prince. Her desire to save Erris gives her the courage to explore all of Hollin Parry’s secrets — but will she be able to survive the dangerous magic she stirs up in her exploration?

Jaclyn Dolamore’s style is irresistable — old-fashioned romance reminiscent of Jane Austen combined with fairies, magic and a unique fantasy world. This story is especially perfect for readers who want a satisfying teen romance without sexual content.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“The Trouble With Half a Moon” by Danette Vigilante

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Thirteen-year-old Dellie’s family fell apart when her little brother, Louis, died. Mom is terrified that Dellie will get hurt, too, so she refuses to let her leave their apartment for anything besides school. Dellie keeps her confusion, pain and guilt inside–until six-year-old Corey and his abusive mother move into the apartment downstairs. Though Dellie knows Corey’s mother and her boyfriend are dangerous people, she can’t stop reaching out to Corey and trying to help him.

Readers will respond to the emotion Dellie feels–her worry and love for Corey, the fight she has with her best friend, Kayla, and the new romance that buds between her and Michael. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this sweet book is Dellie’s developing friendship with another new neighbor, Miss Shirley, who helps her cope with her past and learn to deal with her present.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Amanda Coppedge Bosky