Isma Pasha and her younger twin siblings, Parvaiz and Aneeka, are trying to carry on with their lives after the death of their mother. They never knew their father, who was accused of being a jihadi and supposedly died at Guantanamo. Both Isma and Aneeka are about to leave to pursue higher education - Isma in the US and Aneeka in the UK. This leaves Parvaiz who quickly becomes the target of a jihadi recruiter in the UK. Told from alternating points of view the Pashas’ lives become unwittingly linked to that of Eamonn, the well-to-do son of the first Muslim Home Secretary of the UK. Each of the four Muslim main characters is trying to navigate a world where they are seen as the enemy - whether they like it or not.
There are a lot of books about rape. Many of them give an intense portrayal of the aftermath, how the victim is increasingly isolated, blamed, falling apart. This book is kind of the opposite. It’s about strength, resilience, and the role of the supporting cast - the parents, the friends, the police investigator. Hermione Winter is a competitive cheerleader in the small town of Palermo Heights. Over the summer, she is assaulted at a cheer camp when her drink is drugged. She doesn’t remember much about what happened. She suffers many negative consequences as a result of the assault from having scary flashbacks, to people blaming her for it happening to not having enough evidence to find the perpetrator. However in this story, the people around her are all helping her, even as they are grappling with this despicable crime and its effect on Hermione. With their support, Hermione is able to start the process of healing. Now all they want is for the perpetrator to be brought to justice.
Starr Carter travels between two worlds. By day she goes to a fancy prep school where she is only one of a handful of African Americans. At night she returns home to a neighborhood that has been ravaged by drugs and gang violence. Her father, Maverick, a former gang member, runs a local grocery and wants the family to stay put, to be one of the few stabilizing influences in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, one night after a party, Starr and her best friend Khalil are stopped by a cop. Thinking that Khalil was reaching for a weapon, the cop shoots him. Starr is the only witness. Traumatized by the event, Starr is immediately thrown into a dilemma - does she speak out and risk endangering her family and friendships or let the media twist the events to paint Khalil as a thug. Ultimately, Starr’s decision will help her come to terms with the two worlds she is caught between.
Finley lives and breathes basketball. He and his girlfriend Erin, a star on the girl’s basketball team, are planning to leave Bellmont as soon as they graduate - hopefully each with a basketball scholarship. The town holds many secrets and is racked by violence, drugs, and racially motivated gang conflicts. As the only white kid on the school basketball team, Finley tries to stay out of trouble by not talking much and just playing ball. Enter Boy 21, aka Russ, a super talented basketball player from a private prep school. Russ moves to town to live with his grandparents after he unexpectedly loses his parents. Out of all the team members, Coach asks Finley to help Russ adjust to being at Bellmont High. More annoying is that Coach wants Finley to convince Russ to play for the team. Finley is worried that he will have to give up his number to Russ as well as his starting spot on the team. Russ does not seem ready for school much less basketball. His obsession with space and his insistence on being called Boy 21 alienates him from the rest of the team. However, as different as they are, Russ and Finley’s friendship deepens and one of them will question just how important is basketball in the grand scheme of things.
In a world where Silver bloods have always dominated and been considered the masters and Red bloods, the slaves and oppressed, Mare Barrow discovers she does not know where she fits in. The Silvers have always been worshipped and obeyed for their special X-men like powers such as super strength, the ability to mindread, manipulate fire, metal, or water, etc. The Reds have never been known to possess any special powers until now -- Mare, a Red, finds that she has the ability to absorb and manipulate electricity and lightning. As the lightning girl gets invited into the royal circles of Norta, she is slowly sucked into the intrigues and plots that threaten to topple the kingdom. Not only is there an internal struggle for power between the high Silver houses, there is a Red resistance which may hold the key to who Mare and other Reds like her are. Add to this the two crown princes of Norta - Cal and Maven, who are both seemingly smitten by Mare. In spite of her deadly powers, Mare still needs to fight her way out of the desperate battles for power surrounding her and decide what her true calling is and where the truth lies. These action-packed page-turner series will keep you guessing about what will happen to Mare. We can’t wait for the last installment of this fantasy series -- coming in 2018.
When Thi becomes a first time mother, she begins to wonder about how her own parents met and their decision to make the perilous journey from Vietnam to America. Tracing her parents’ history in war-torn Vietnam, Bui conjures a tale of the costly sacrifices her family made so that she and her siblings could have a chance to survive. In this debut illustrated graphic memoir, Bui explores issues of identity, loyalty, family and the legacy that we leave behind.
This is a true, gripping account of a murder investigation of a young African American boy, Bryant Tennelle, who also happens to be the son of an LAPD detective. In the Ghettoside section of Los Angeles, young African American men are murdered at a high rate without any real effort to solve the crimes. This book describes the challenges facing the families who are victims of these crimes and the obstacles police face in trying to solve the cases. The work of John Skaggs, a detective who believes that every victim is “some daddy’s baby” and deserves to have their murders given a proper investigation is featured prominently. If you like true crime police investigations, this is a quick page-turner.
Fifteen year old Ali is psyched about wangling an invitation to a “Momo” party. Momo is known for his fly summer parties filled with older girls, the best DJs, and the cool “hood” celebs. The problem is, the invitation is for him, his best friend Noodles who gets ticked off easily and his big brother Needles who has actual tics due to Tourette’s Syndrome. The first problem is finding the right clothes without having to spend the money they don’t have. Then, they have to figure out a way to be chill at the exclusive party and blend in with the older crowd. But how should a touchy 15 year old react when knocking elbows with local hoods, and how does anyone keep Tourettes under control when things are getting exciting? Ali is about to find out as his boxing skills and friendships are put to the test.
Vic Benucci suffers from Moebius syndrome which leaves his face partially paralyzed. He has never gotten over his father’s death but now his mother is about to get re-married. What was once a warm loving home is turning into hell with two younger step-brothers who are ready to make fun of his condition every chance they get. One night, Vic runs off with his dad’s ashes and into the “Kids of Appetite.” There’s Baz and Zuz, refugee brothers from the Congo, Coco, a constantly faux-swearing 11 year old, and Madeline Falco, a domestic abuse victim and the most beautiful girl who’s ever talked to Vic. The kids ‘adopt’ Vic into their group and decide to help him fulfill his dad’s coded last wishes to scatter his ashes in the special nostalgic places shared with his mother. This book is like a puzzle, told through alternating narratives - Vic’s, Mad’s, and the account of what happens in the interrogation room during a murder investigation. If you are a fan of diverse characters, a story told through different points of view, and light romance mixed with a murder mystery, this is a book for you.