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10 YA Books That Need To Be Reviewed (& Got Them!)

Well, first, the number 10 for books (YA books or otherwise) that need to be reviewed on my list is a gross downplaying of the actual number (which, simply put, is definitely a 3 digit number). If I really start considering all the books I read and want to share via even a quick six word review, then that number is in the 4 digits maybe!! But for today, I am going to stick with 10 YA books that need to be shared and also need to be reviewed here with you.

Today’s list of books has a theme. They are all on the nominations list for the Cybils Awards this year in the YA Fiction category. Since these are books that need to be reviewed, I am going to try to work partially, a teeny-weeny bit at least, on their reviews in this post. Between six words to six sentences each! So while this week’s theme over at ThatArtsyReaderGirl is for winter 2021 to be read books, I twisted the TBR just a bit to to-be-reviewed.

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10 YA Books That Need To Be Reviewed

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Title: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
Author: Crystal Maldonado
Length: 352 pages
Genre: YA Fiction/Coming of Age Fiction (14 – 17 years, and up)
Publisher: Holiday House (February 2, 2021)

Get it here: Amazon

This book is unique in a few ways – the diversity angle is played pretty strongly without overplaying it. Asian, Hispanic, LGBTQ, fat shaming, and more themes are weaved into this storyline effortlessly. And the characters are relatable, flawed, and likeable.

One Great Lie

Title: One Great Lie
Author: Deb Caletti
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Teen and YA Fiction/Biography (14 years and up)
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (June 1, 2021)

Get It Here: Amazon

I loved that this book revolved around writing, and the love of writing! And of course, the setting of Venice too!

Granted, there were some aspects of the book that made me feel like screaming in frustration at some of the characters, because, well, can they really be that blind? But overall, this book is one I had to keep reading to the end. I loved that this book revolved around books, bookish things, writing, and the love of writing. The setting of Venice, the almost-dual-timelines, sweet young love, strong friendships, and familial bonds – all of this make this book a read to enjoy.

Drawn That Way

Title: Drawn That Way
Author: Elisa Sussman
Illustrator: Arielle Jovellanos
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Teen & YA Fiction (12 years and up)
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (September 28, 2021)

Get it here: Amazon

Drawn That Way takes readers into the world of animation and the tech industry, with all its biases – based on gender and race. I loved the concept, the storyline, and that it addresses various issues including nepotism, type-casting and stereotyping people, as well as the biases I mentioned earlier. Sweet friendships, and realistic family portrayals, cute romance, swoony kisses, the illustrations that I wish there were more of, the introduction to real life female animators(!): all of this make this a really sweet, cool read.

Bear as a competitor turned peer turned friend turned romantic interest is so so love-worthy, and all the characters – young and old – are portrayed wonderfully and realistically. As far as the main protagonist, while her single-mindedness and belief in her talent, as well as her determination to keep going are awe-worthy, the ‘I-am-the-best’ Hayley cropped up once too many times for me. On the other hand, her character does mature over time.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

Title: A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
Author: Laura Taylor Namey
Length: 319 pages
Genre: Teen and YA fiction (12 years and up)
Atheneum Books for Young Readers (November 10, 2020)

Get it here

First of all, the title, and next, the culture and food immersion, not just that of Cuban culture, but also that of American and British cultures as well. Family is a big deal in this story, and heart warming-ly so. The romance is sweet, and Orion is simply adorable!

While Lila could be humbler about her cooking abilities, her passion for cooking and her love of feeding others trumps that sometimes obnoxious pride. And talking about food, this book is bound to make you hungry, so keep baked goods and, of course, tea, handy!!

The Ivies

Title: The Ivies
Author: Alexa Donne
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Teen and YA Fiction/Suspense, mystery, social issues (14 – 17 years, and up)
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (May 25, 2021)

The race to getting into the best colleges is ruthless, sometimes, murderously so! The Ivies takes the very real concept that colleges don’t take more than an X number of students from any school (and I know from dealing with my son’s admission process this last year how true and tough it is) and turns into a fictional story that takes it one step beyond, almost to the far-fetched!

It reminded me of Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, and other such stories. I almost felt like I was watching a movie as I read this book with its twists and turns, mean girls, and their very devious minds! A fast paced read that you can enjoy despite its far-fetchedness.

Get it here.

Tokyo Ever After: A Novel (Tokyo Ever After, 1)

Title: Tokyo Ever After
Author: Emiko Jean
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Teen and YA Fiction/Asian American, Multicultural (12 – 18 years, and up)
Publisher: Flatiron Books (May 18, 2021)

Get it here

I positively, absolutely love this cover, don’t you? A charming ‘Princess Diaries’-like story with a Japanese twist. I totally loved the description of the various locations and customs (royal family and otherwise), and adored the characters in this story (even the villainous ones, who are not really villains!) And of course, I also enjoyed that the location mentioned in the US is Mt. Shasta, one of my fav places to visit here. Izumi, the protagonist, is bubbly and quirky, and totally aware of her failings. Romcom at its adorable-est.

Love & Olives

Title: Love & Olives
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Length: 512 pages
Genre: Teen and YA Fiction/Romance (12 years and up)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (November 10, 2020)

Get it here

A sweet read that takes us to Greece in the quest for the mythical Atlantis. Of course, I loved the setting – magical Santorini, and within that, this amazing bookstore I would gladly live in like Olive does!! While Olive’s attitude towards her father annoyed me at times, her developing friendship (and then romance) with Theo is endearingly cute. I appreciated how Evans threaded in aspects of mental health issues throughout. And absolutely adored the setting (Santorini and that bookstore -yes, worth repeating), as well as all the characters. A little long, yes, but I ended up breezing through it.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

Title: How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe
Author: Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Length: 432 pages
Genre: Teen & YA Fiction/Romcom, Self-esteem (14 years and up)
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 10, 2021)

Get it here

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland spins prose that is lyrical, and weaves so many things together effortlessly. There is trauma and learning to love yourself; parental abuse and sisterly love; grief and sexuality; social media and tarot cards; art and curses; sweet romance and warm friendships; fatness and the joy of food. I loved Moon and adored her aunt!

Kneel

Title: Kneel
Author: Candace Buford
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Teen and YA Fiction (13 – 17 years, and up)
Publisher: Inkyard Press (September 14, 2021)

Get it here

Powerful! If I could sum up this book in one word, it would be just this one: powerful. Candace Buford deals with racism, parental abuse and neglect, hate crimes, racial profiling, and police brutality while also working on the positives of team spirit, self-expression familial support, budding romances, strong friendships, the strength of a community, and the power of our voices to stand up against wrongs. She strikes the perfect balance between all these elements to give readers a raw, timely, realistic, moving story. In addition, it offers readers a whole different perspective of looking at these issues, and I know I am doing so too. An important read indeed.

Bluebird

Title: Bluebird
Author: Sharon Cameron
Length: 464 pages
Genre: Teen & YA Fiction/Historical Fiction (12 years and up)
Publisher:  Scholastic Press (October 5, 2021)

Get it here

WW historical fiction has been one of my most-read genre over the last few years; and one that I willingly pick up to read despite knowing that the book will inevitably shred my heart and leave me in tears. Bluebird is no different. With dual timelines and alternating narratives, with themes of revenge, and as is the case with historical novels of this genre, is educational, informative, and a tugging-at-heart-strings emotional read. Filled with twists and turns, heartbreak, and the power of friendships and family, and that of our willpower and courage, this book is sure to keep you reading.

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Dear reader, have you read any of these YA books? Do share your thoughts on them if you have. Any recommendations for similar YA books or even other nonfiction/fiction reads?

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