Menon, Sandhya. When Dimple Met Rishi.

MY: Simon & Schuster, 2017.

This one has made many of the “Best of” lists, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a YA rom-com, but not the usual sort. California high school seniors Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel are both Indian-American, for one thing, though how each of them deals with that sometimes onerous burden differs considerably.


Larkwood, A. K. The Unspoken Name.

NY: Tor, 2020.

I’ve managed to read quite a few really good books over the years, partly because I get through a lot of reviews beforehand, so I usually know what to expect going in. It’s not often I get really blown away unexpectedly. But this time? Wow. Just wow. I know nothing whatever about the author except that she studied at Cambridge and lives in Oxford, and that this is apparently her debut novel.


Taylor, Jodi. Doing Time.

London: Headline, 2019.

Woo-hoo! Jodi Taylor is starting a new time travel series! This one is a direct spin-off of her very enjoyable “Chronicles of St. Mary’s” and it’s about the Time Police who were introduced about halfway through that first series.But I suggest you not start it until you’ve finished the ten volumes about the adve ntures of the historians of St. Mary’s Historical Institute because the new book is set after all of those. (more…)

Morton, Kate. The Secret Keeper.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 2012.

I read The Lake House awhile back and was thoroughly caught up in the narrative. Morton is a first-rate storyteller. That book dealt with the theme of family secrets, and this one does, too. The first (and main) POV character, though there are several others, is Laurel Nicolson, who grew up happy with her three sisters and much younger brother in a rural English farmhouse.


Gurtler, Janet. I’m Not Her.

Napierville, IL: SourceBooks, 2011.

I’ve read a number of YA novels that deal with the protagonist’s struggle to come back from the death of a sibling or best friend, and some of them have been quite good. The death is usually sudden, from a weak heart or a car wreck or something, and it’s always shocking. One moment someone is there and the next instant they’re not. But this one is rather different.


Published in: on 27 May 2020 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tamaki, Mariko & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me.

NY: First Second, 2019.

This is the other kind of graphic novel, the kind that’s as far from a “comic book” as it’s possible to get. The kind that could as easily be a text-only novel, but in which the story really is enhanced by the art. The protagonist is Frederica Riley, a seventeen-year-old Berkeley lesbian, who has been in love with Laura Dean, the most popular girl in school, for a year now. And Laura is a crappy girlfriend.


Yoon, David. Frankly in Love.

NY: Putnam, 2019.

This debut novel is a YA romance, but with a considerably different slant than most. Frank Li is a California-born Korean-American nerdish teenager whose grasp of his ancestral language is rudimentary at best. He thinks of himself, most of the time, as simply “American.” His mostly unassimilated parents only ever think of themselves as “Korean.”


Morgan, Rachel. The Faerie Guardian.

np: Amazon Digital Services, 2012, 2015.

I confess I got a little confused when I first saw this book. Kim Harrison, who hails from the Cincinnati area, has done a series of mostly quite good fantasy novels about witches and demons and vampires and whatnot, and there’s a fair amount of romance to be found in them, too. The main character’s name in that series is “Rachel Morgan.”


Straub, Emma. The Vacationers.

NY: Riverhead Books, 2014.

Jim and Franny Post, card-carrying New Yorkers with all the attitudes that implies, have been together for thirty-five years and have two kids: Bobby, nearly thirty and trying to make a living pushing real estate in Miami, and Sylvia, now eighteen and two weeks away from leaving for Brown (and, she hopes, never coming back to the family brownstone).


Published in: on 13 April 2020 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Two Maureen Johnson novels

Johnson, Maureen. 13 Little Blue Envelopes. NY: HarperCollins, 2005.

Johnson, Maureen. The Last Little Blue Envelope. NY: HarperCollins, 2011.

Johnson is one of the most dependable authors of “light” YA fiction and these two books are arguably her best work so far. They’re both received top reviews and a number of awards, and even though they were published six years apart, they’re best read one right after the other, as a single story.