Monday, November 18, 2013

YA Revolution: Book Spotlight

Welcome to the first Book Spotlight for the YA Revolution!

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I put out a virtual call for volunteers to help spread the word about YA books with diverse characters. Well, 50 of you answered that call and for that I thank you very much. Today I share with you several well-written, well-researched and emotionally gut-punching books that I hope you'll share with your friends, bloggers, sisters, brothers, book clubs, schools, the lady who lives down the street. In short, everyone who reads.  Why? Because if books like these get the attention they deserve, than perhaps we will get more diversity in children's literature. 

Feel free to share, comment, recommend more books and, yes, even buy these books.  If you'd like to join the YA Revolution and help the cause, I'd love to have your friendship and your support in promoting more diversity in children's literature. Click here for the details. 

Without further ado, here are some really terrific books in the YA Revolution Spotlight this month:

An Infidel in Paradise by S.J. Laidlaw. I remember reading the synopsis for this book and counting down the days till it released. It's about a Canadian girl and a Muslim boy in Pakistan. Amid a tense political landscape and culture clashes, the girl and her family must rely on her Muslim classmates for survival.  It's a very interesting, fast-paced and, yet, very teen story. 

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan.  This was a wow book for me. It hit all of my emotional buttons.  Here's a story about a 13-year old Tanzanian boy who also happens to be albino. He's always been different--light eyes, yellow hair, white skin.  People in his country either fear or belittle him because he's different, even members of his own family; others want to hunt him for body parts because albino body parts are thought to bring good luck.  In order to protect his family and stay alive, he runs away.  This story is so well written.  Deeper themes like racism and acceptance as well as fascinating cultural issues.  Impactful.  I could not put it down.  This story still sticks with me.

Boy Man Chief by Amy Jarecki.  This was initially entitled Koicto and was originally published by a small press.  It's historical YA, set in the American Southwest, and is a coming of age story about a Native boy who's a member of the the ancient Nahchee Nation.  Oh, my. I loved this story SO HARD. I don't often read books more than once and I read this one twice.  Not only is the story utterly captivating, but it is well-researched, making the characters and setting very authentic. You don't often find Native characters in YA books, especially ones this well-researched. 

Soul Cutter by Lexa Cain.  This book releases December 6 and I was lucky to receive an ARC.  Think Supernatural in Egypt.  It's the story of a western girl who must travel to Egypt to find her missing mother.  And did I mention that the girl also has a job busting psychics and their scams? While in Egypt, she meets a Lebanese boy. Together they search for her mother and battle a supernatural killer.  Not only is there a Lebanese hero, but this book takes some real risks with genre bending: part-mystery, part-paranormal, part-fantasy, part-romance. Very YA.  It had me at Egypt.

Special mention:

Obscura Burning by Suzanne Van Rooyen.  I have not yet read this futuristic/adventure story but it comes highly recommended by several Crew members at YA Revolution Headquarters.  I hope to have it reviewed in time for the December spotlight.  I mention it today because it includes LGBT themes and characters, which is also an important part of diversity in YA.  And how cool to find such diverse characters in a futuristic book! You don't find that very often.

Feel free to comment on these books, recommend more, BUY THEM and, of course, join the YA Revolution

Happy Reading. Till next month!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I will definitely be picking up Lexa's book!
Glad so many answered the call. Several people mentioned on my blog they would be contacting you.

Kittie Howard said...

Great job, Liz, sharing these books. After I have my coffee and get the sleep out of my eyes, I'll help spread the word in today's post. BTW, I'm also adding a couple to my Cloud Reader.

shelly said...

Tweeted and shared!

Hugs and chocolate!

Amy Jarecki said...

Oh, wow, what a surprise! Thank you for your kind words. Great write-ups for the other authors as well. I'll spread the word :-)

Kate Larkindale said...

These all sound wonderful. And apart from Soul Cutter, I haven't heard of any of them. I'm off to find them today!

LD Masterson said...

Great list. And just in time for Christmas shopping (I have several YA readers on my lists).

Lexa Cain said...

I'm so thrilled to see all these books, especially SJ Laidlaw's book, which she bravely set in Pakistan. It must be filled with great details of the Persian culture. And I've heard about the belief albino parts bring luck or magical power. Horrifying. All the books sound awesome -- kudos to the brave authors promoting understanding and diversity.

I'm sharing this on FB. :-)

Kim Lajevardi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim Lajevardi said...

All of the highlighted books sound interesting. I most definitely agree with you about Lexa's book though. It's set in the land of the pharoahs. :)

November 18, 2013 at 4:15 PM

mshatch said...

I've been wanting to read Lexa's book - can't wait for it to come out :)