A unique mix of thriller and coming of age novel, FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER is an absolute stand-out -- both as a debut and in the YA category overall. Following her best friend's murder, half-Ojibwe teen Daunis is thrust into an undercover FBI investigation of a drug crisis in her hometown and nearby reservation. Daunis becomes increasingly torn as she realizes seeking justice and protecting her community might not go hand-in-hand. Tribal politics woven into this tightly-plotted book make it as thrilling and it is eye-opening. Though hefty in content and page-count alike, I never wanted this book to end. A favorite of 2021.
"To write so as to peel sentences from one's skin, so that words fall flat onto the floor without the hope of resuscitation—this is the NDN writer's work. This usage of the English language at least matches the intensity with which words have been flung at us like grenades."
Published as essays in the US and as memoir in Canada, this book truly defies classification. It is both and it is neither and it is something else altogether. It resists the typical revelations of memoir but offers unflinching intimacy. It eschews logical narrative structure and leans into Belcourt's roots in poetry. It won't give you what you expect; but it will offer something more beautiful.
This book is YA at its best and exactly what I want to see in the world right now. Marisol's journey as a queer latinx asylum seeker brings light to the emotional burdens we place on migrants while centering on sisterhood, love, friendship, and deep inner strength. This book is topical, thought-provoking, beautifully written, and absolutely essential reading.
Whether or not you're already a devoted fan of this twin indie pop duo, this book is absolutely worth reading. Simultaneously badass and sincere, Tegan and Sara amplify the importance of the formative high school years--when they dropped acid, fell in love with girls, and discovered their powerful musical dynamic amidst a backdrop of 90's nostalgia. A resonant coming-of-age memoir made more complex by the exploration of twin identity and beginnings of fame.
In a novel that is as compulsively readable as it is unnerving, a woman endeavors to sleep away a year of her life with the help of a psychiatrist of dubious integrity and a slew of sleep medications. The result is a piecemeal reconstruction of consciousness that melds a dreamlike feeling of dissociation and a blunt portrait of depression. The narrator's unfiltered cynicism is shocking, darkly humorous, and an uncomfortable mirror to our darker nature.
Though John Green may be most widely known as a YA author, THE ANTHROPOCENE REVIEWED feels like a natural extension of his broader efforts to, in his words, "decrease world suck." In it, Green reviews facets of the human-centered universe on a five-star scale with a healthy dose of irony that yields to disarming sincerity. Regardless of topic -- which ranges from the ubiquitous (the internet) to the oddly specific and obscure (the world's largest ball of paint) -- each essay offers a combination of novel facts, tender memoir, and resonant meditations on our flailing attempts to process the human experience. The comfort this book has brought me certainly made the world suck less for me. Needless to say: I give it 5 stars.
Despite the title, Beach Read can be read any time of year and absolutely can be counted on for comfort and escape from the insanity of the world. Two authors with writer's block swap genres to get out of their ruts. The tension! The rivalry! The bookishness! *chef's kiss*
Lizard is one of those books that I have read multiple times over the years and annotated until it resembled scrap paper. Banana Yoshimoto's short stories are, in my opinion, her most exciting work. Deceptively mundane premises like a subway ride or a night spent in a closed shop yield to mind-bending explorations of internality that border on the fantastical.
Smart, subversive, and my absolute favorite YA read of 2020! City of Bones meets Arthurian lore in this contemporary fantasy novel about a southern Black girl breaking into a white boys' club/secret society of full of magic and demons. Bree is cleverly always one step ahead of readers and she unravels the mysteries of her mother's death and her supernatural inheritances. And there are so many more loveable characters!! I finished this book MORE excited than when I started. A must read for fantasy lovers who enjoy YA.
The first graphic novel long listed for the Booker Prize! To tell you this book follows the community of people closely (and not-so-closely) affected by the disappearance of a woman, Sabrina, would gloss over the deftly explored themes of desensitization to violence and the normalization of fake news in the internet era. Simple line art invites speculation into its ambiguities while immaculately reflecting a contrast of the dull and quotidien with the unnerving and anxious. Leaves you with a feeling you won't forget.
This poetry collection is a stunning piece of art inside and out. Curated in the style of a future museum displaying remnants of the human era, Octopus Museum reflects on the frightening environmental and political legacy we are preparing for our descendants with both urgency and tenderness.