Book Reviews

Middle Grades
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): black writers, fantasy ٭٭٭٭
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier (pub. 2014, KZ’s comments 2021): home, story/truth, desire, life/death, supernatural ٭٭٭
Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Newbery Honor (pub. 2020; KZ’s comments 2021): abuse, healing, voice ٭٭٭٭٭
I Can Make this Promise by Christine Day (pub. 2019; KZ’s comments 2021): Native American history/culture, identity/adoption, changing relationships ٭٭٭٭٭
Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee (pub. 2019; KZ’s comments 2021):  friendship, doubt, strength, bullying, harassment ٭٭٭٭
Violets Are Blue by Barbara Dee (pub. 2021; KZ’s comments 2021): secrets, friendship, family, divorce, being weird, theater, makeup٭٭٭
Mary Underwater by Shannon Doleski (pub. 2020, KZ’s comments 2021): science, abuse ٭٭٭
Taking up Space by Alyson Gerber (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): body image, basketball, friendships, cooking, family, mother-daughter relationship, health
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (pub. 2015 Graphic Novel, KZ’s comments 2021): friendship, identity, truth, change, sport, strength ٭٭٭
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah Kapit (pub. 2020, KZ’s comments 2021): autism, baseball, bullying, family relationships, choice, control ٭٭٭
When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller (pub. 2020 *Newbery Winner*, KZ’s comments 2021): grief, identity, coming of age, Asian folklore ٭٭٭٭
You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly (pub. 2018, KZ’s comments 2021): friendship, isolation, change, trauma, bullying, board games, social group, public speaking, regret ٭٭٭
Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte (pub. 2020, KZ’s comments 2021): grief, communication, deafness, isolation, community, native peoples, OWN voices
The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): truth, public opinion, brotherhood, family ٭٭٭
Bea is for Blended by Lindsey Stoddard (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): family, teamwork, girl power, bullying, strength/confidence, gratitude, sports, blended families ٭٭٭٭
Right as Rain by Lindsey Stoddard (pub. 2019, KZ’s comments 2021): grief/loss, gentrification, belonging, moving, divorce/separation ٭٭٭٭
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson Newbery Honor Graphic Novel (pub. 2015, KZ’s comments 2021): friendship, identity, truth, change, sport, female strength ٭٭٭
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga Newbery Honor (pub. 2019, KZ’s comments 2021): home, language, dislocation/refugees, empathy, cultural perspective, middle east/syria ٭٭٭٭
The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman (pub. 2018, KZ’s comments 2021): identity, family, World War II, Judaism, bat mitzvah, adoption ٭٭٭٭
Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wokenstein (pub. 2020, KZ’s comments 2021): grief/death, nature, terminal disease, jewish traditions ٭٭٭٭
Pippa Park Raises her Game by Erin Yun (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): belonging, authenticity, friendship, Korean culture, economic&social status ٭٭٭

Young Adult
What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST (pub. 2017, KZ’s comments 2021): womanhood, body, art, identity, sexuality, love, motherhood ٭٭٭٭٭
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): black writers, anxiety, empowerment ٭٭٭
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum (pub. 2016, KZ’s comments 2021): romance, grief, new school, step family ٭٭٭
The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle (pub. 2017, KZ’s comments 2021): neurodivergence, adhd, autism, dyslexia, drug therapy, intelligence ٭٭٭
Mazie by Melanie Crowder (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): (gender) barriers/expectations, dreams, identity, theater/stage life ٭٭٭٭
Once upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): Latinx, coming of age, mending relationships, multiple cultures ٭٭٭٭
One of the Good Ones by Maika & Maritza Moulite (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): black writers, history, grief, BLM ٭٭٭٭
American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): identity, Indian culture, objectification, cultural awareness, art, romance, expectations of others ٭٭٭
Jackpot by Nic Stone (pub. 2019, KZ’s comments 2021): love, friendship, money, belonging, choices, luck, poverty, wealth, responsibility
Biggie by Derek E. Sullivan (pub. 2015, KZ’s comments 2021): obesity, dating, goals, baseball, perfection, anxiety, identity, social media ٭٭
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen (pub. 2011, KZ’s comments 2021): perseverance/determination, loss/overcoming, friendship/teamwork, disabilities, hopes/dreams, sports ٭٭٭٭
Impossible Music by Sean Williams (pub. 2019, KZ’s comments 2021): identity, music, communication, Deaf culture, art, community ٭٭٭

ADULT FICTION/ NONFICTION
-Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (pub. 2019 w/ 2020 transl., KZ’s comments 2021): isolation and connection, anxiety and depression, literary structure, family & relationships ٭٭٭٭
The Marriage Code by Brooke Burroughs (pub. 2021, KZ’s comments 2021): food, multicultural romance, arranged marriage, tradition, family ٭٭٭
French Exit by Patrick DeWitt (pub. 2018, KZ’s comments 2021): dark comedy, family relationships, high society ٭٭٭٭
Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tchida (pub. 2020, KZ’s comments 2021): technology, identity ٭٭٭

RATINGS GUIDE

٭ = DNF, would not recommend
٭٭ = would not recommend
٭٭٭ = enjoyable, would recommend
٭٭٭٭ = very good, would recommend
٭٭٭٭٭ = amazing, would definitely recommend

Let’s read something together.