Posted in So Many Good Books, Writing Life, YA Novels

The Kingdom of Back

The Kingdom of Back (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020) by Marie Lu is such an unexpected story–history and fantasy–about the other Mozart. The sister.

It’s 1759 and Nannerl Mozart wants to be recognized as a musical prodigy. She doesn’t want to be forgotten. Her younger brother Wolfgang is getting more and more attention. While she helps him with his compositions, she is secretly composing herself. But when a stranger from a dream promises she’ll be remembered, things go oddly wrong.

This is Marie’s first historical novel. And is a standalone book. Most of her other books are series. Read about all her titles here. Read about The New York Times bestselling author here. I’m really looking forward to her newest title coming next April: Stars and Smoke.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Lost Girl of Astor Street

Lost-Girl-of-Astor-StreetThe Lost Girl of Astor Street (Blink, 2017) by Stephanie Morrill was a hard to put down historical mystery with a very likable tough female main character. I enjoyed the book a lot.
Eighteen-year-old Piper Sail’s best friend disappears two weeks before graduation and Piper is determined to find out what happens to Lydia. Along the way she finds out some uncomfortable truths about her own family, is disturbed out of her complacency about young men, and puts her own life at risk. The book is set during prohibition in Chicago.
The first sentence is a good description of Piper, “If he doesn’t know it already, Jeremiah Crane is about to learn that I’m not the type of girl to be pushed around.”
Author Stephanie Morrill is the creator of You can read about her here and read about her other books here.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Passion of Dolssa

PassionofDolssa_PrintzHonorThe Passion of Dolssa (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016) by Julie Berry is a historical novel that shows a time of extreme prejudice for those who don’t believe the same way as a another group–and the latter are in power. In this case it’s the Catholic church inquisitors going after men and women who may have merely talked about the love of Jesus. This story is told in multiple viewpoints and was fascinating. I grieved for Dolssa, for Botille and her family, and even somewhat for some of Dolssa’s hunters. At some points it may be a difficult read, but it’s definitely worth persisting.
This book is a 2017 Michael L. Printz Honor title, a New York Times Notable Book, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
The author writes middle grade as well as YA and you can see all her titles here. Plus on that page there’s a short video about the setting and historical backdrop for this novel.

Posted in Award Winners, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Year We Were Famous

year we became famousIn 1896 Clara Estby and her mother left Washington state to walk all the way to New York City to save the family farm. The two women would write up their experiences and a publisher in New York would pay them and publish the story. The two fight illness, weather, ruffians, terrain, and dangers along the way. But will they meet their deadline and get paid?
The Year We Were Famous (Clarion Books, 2011) by Carole Estby Dagg is based on the true story of the author’s great-aunt and great-grandmother. About this book, Carole says, “After fifteen years and twenty-nine rejections, I have finally given Great-Aunt Clara and Great-Grandmother Helga voices of the forward-thinking women they were.”
Carole did an excellent job. While reading this very good book, I really felt the time period and the struggles of these two women.
I’m not the only one who things this book is good. Carole was awarded the Will Rogers Medallion earlier this summer for the book AND won the 2012 WILLA Literary Award for Children’s and Young Adult Fiction and Nonfiction. This award is named for Willa Cather and is bestowed by Women Writing the West. Woo Hoo!
Read about the backstory of this book on Carole’s site. It’s fascinating, too!

Posted in Contest, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Second Fiddle

second_fiddleYou won’t want to miss out on the chance to read this great book yourself! Author Rosanne Parry has graciously given me two autographed paperback copies of Second Fiddle (Random House Children’s Books, 2011) to award to two lucky people.
First, let me tell you about this book:
Jody and her two musician friends, Vivian and Giselle, will be separated soon. The Berlin Wall has come down and the kids’ army families will all be sent to different places in the US. But first they have an Ensemble Contest in Paris. But now their music teacher has to cancel, so how will they get there? The answer involves attempted murder, rescue, lies, danger, and betrayal.
I love, love the first sentence: “If we had known it would eventually involve the KGB, the French National Police, and the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, we would have left the body in the river and called the Polizei like any normal German citizen; but we were Americans and addicted to solving other people’s problems, so naturally, we got involved.” Don’t you want to read more? Of course, you do!
To enter for a chance to win the giveaway, comment below with one of your favorite book lines. Tell me the title and author. I’ll throw your name in the hat with others and draw the winners. You must enter by April 16th at midnight Pacific Standard Time. (Please make sure you give me a way to contact you, so I can get your mailing address privately…)
After you enter, read more about Rosanne here. Her next book is called Written in Stone and will be out in June 2013! Rosanne says, “This is a story I’ve been working on for many years and is particularly dear to me as it is set on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State among the Quinault and Makah where I spent my very first years as a teacher.” And, yes, if you read YA, you’ve heard about the Quinaults before…