I’m nearly finished with Angie’s Thomas’ The Hate U Give read beautifully by Bahni Turpin. (Last year I listened to her read Everything Everything. She’s one of my favorite readers!) It’s a book right now that is timely and true and sad. The main character, Starr, was in a car driven by her best friend Khalil who is pulled over by the cops and shot in front of her. Starr had been straddling the inner-city neighborhood where she lives with the suburban prep school she starting attending years before after another of her best friends was killed in a gang drive-by. This is a must read. I was on the waiting list nearly all summer for this one, so it’s getting a lot of readers. You should be one, too.
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum is on this years Florida Teens Read. It’s the kind of book where you root for the main character and hope she gets what she wants in the end. Jessie’s father surprise married someone she didn’t even know he was dating and moves her from her Chicago public school to Los Angeles. A Los Angeles filled with model-worthy class mates at an ultra prep school. When Jessie receives an anonymous email from someone offering her guidance on how to navigate her new world, she takes it.
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner is also on the Florida Teens Read list this year. Dill’s only solace in this world are his friends Travis and Lydia. Dill’s father, a Pentecostal preacher who encouraged his parishioners to let deadly snakes coil around them is in jail for child pornography. Dill’s mother would like him to drop out of school and start working full time to support the family. He’s also grieving the loss of Lydia in anticipation of her going away to college when he know’s he’ll be stuck home forever. When Dill learns that his mother blames him for his father’s imprisonment, it cracks his resolve to keep going.
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (author of another book I loved, Dumplin) is the story of Ramona who got the nickname Ramona Blue because she loves swimming so much. Ramona works in a restaurant/bar and is about to start her senior year of high school. There’s no way out for Ramona. She thought she and her older sister would move out of town once they both graduated, but now that her sister is pregnant, Ramona knows the money she’s been saving will all go to the baby. Ramona also just spent the summer in her first real relationship with a girl. A girl who has a boyfriend back home. She’s mixed up and sad when Freddie, a boy she was friends with years ago, moves to town. Could she be attracted to him, too? Julie Murphy is an author sensitive to addressing what’s important to teens with real, fleshed-out characters.
Whether you listen or read, you should check out these wonderful YA books!