What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones (my review) --- I re-read and reviewed this book for Banned Books Week and was baffled by why it would be so frequently challenged. So, I visited Sones' website and she let me in on the big secret - on page 46 of the book, Sophie is examining her newly developed breasts and performing a little experiment on a cold window. Really? This short poem (that's so totally relatable, might I add) is what people find so offensive? Silliness (and extreme prudishness), I say. Changing bodies are causes for enormous stress and that little poem shows girls they're not weird or alone. It happens to all of us! Anyhow, just thought I'd add that little info since I missed it in my review. So much love for this book!
Lush by Natasha Friend (my review) --- I also read this book for Banned Books Week and am so glad I did. After looking at Friend's website, I learned that almost one in five adult Americans lived with an alcoholic while growing up. Wow! Here's another "you are not alone" book that some people feel the need to censor. I'm not one for hiding the ugly bits of life - they only get uglier that way. And this book is so empowering for teens that have to deal with more than their fair share of those ugly bits.
All Stations! Distress! April 15, 1912: The Day the Titanic Sank by Don Brown --- Children's nonfiction is not a genre I frequent often, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a few nonfiction titles on this year's Bluestem Award list. What I love about this book is that the amount of research that went into it is blended so well with the narrative. I read it aloud to fifth grade students, and we talked about how the quotes from the book came from people who were actually survivors of the Titanic, and they were pretty fascinated by that. Lots of great discussions!
Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles --- This is the third book in the A Perfect Chemistry trilogy, and it tells the love story of the youngest Fuentes brother, Luis. He's lived in Colorado with Alex for awhile but has now moved back to the Chicago suburbs, back to the old hood, where living on the wrong side of the tracks could get you killed. And you certainly don't associate with people who live on the other side either. Except that the spicy Nikki Cruz lives in a big ol' house in fancy pants Fairfield, even though her parents are from Mexico too. But she knows nothing of her heritage and is perfectly fine with that. When Luis and Nikki collide (quite literally), there's no mistaking the sparks that fly.
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer --- Sequel to Nightshade, this book picks up where the first leaves off and reminds you of what's happened so far because goodness knows I could not remember. I do remember love love loving Nightshade and being extremely disappointed that it was the first in an unfinished series. I hate when I do that to myself. Unfortunately, Wolfsbane didn't enchant me the way that Nightshade did, and I really couldn't tell you much about the story besides what you'd read in the jacket flap. I know that I liked it (okay, I couldn't put it down and finished it in one weekend), but the fact that I can't recall any details tells me it didn't leave a lasting impression.