Contemporary

Review: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Review: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
She couldn’t change who she was, and she no longer wanted to, even if she could. She knew that who you are is a stone set deep inside you. You can spend all your life trying to dig that stone out, or you can build around it. Your choice.

In Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells, Sydney Waverley came home to Bascom, North Carolina with her own stone embedded deep inside her. She escaped a dangerous relationship to return to her family and to her roots. She brought her daughter, Bay, to her family home where both relished a newly found security. Syndney Waverely begins building her world around her family’s heritage and the love of her life, Henry. Garden Spells wove this beautiful tale of the Waverley with sheer elegance.

The unexpected sequel, First Frost, picks up the story’s thread with the family settled and waiting for the first frost of fall and what it may bring.

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Recommendation Tuesday: The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin

Recommendation Tuesday: The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

Quiet books aren't the trend right now, but they're still my favorites.

One of the real masters of quiet YA novels is C.K. Kelly Martin, who's been writing for a long time, but is deserving of far more acclaim and attention than she receives. So, it's no surprise that her latest, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, is another excellent, subtle novel that fans of contemporary YA shouldn't miss. 

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Power & the "Tough Enough" Narrative: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Power & the "Tough Enough" Narrative: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

When listening to the audiobook of Joy Hensley's debut YA novel, I kept recalling a huge news story from my youth: Shannon Faulkner's two year-long fight to be granted admission to The Citadel, South Carolina's public military college. When the court finally forced the college to allow her admission to the Corps of Cadets, she lasted only a week, having spent much of her time in the school's infirmary.

Years later, Faulkner revealed that she was subject to intense abuse, and feared for not only her own life but the lives of her family members, thanks to death threats she received while at the school. 

It was a gut-wrenching thing to watch on the news when I was a teenager. I'd been rooting for Faulkner to succeed, to win for every girl who wanted to smash any number of boys-only clubs (institutional or social) that were inaccessible to us girls.

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Love, Hope & Empathy in Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Love, Hope & Empathy in Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Holly Goldberg Sloan's beautiful 2011 novel I'll Be There is one of the novels I often recommend, especially to folks who shy away from the young adult label.

It's a magical little novel about a teen boy, Sam, and his young brother, Riddle, who spent their lives on the run with their abusive father until they meet Emily Bell and her family and everything changes. 

{Note: This post contains spoilers for I'll Be There. You've been warned.}

Could something be an anchor if it wasn’t weighing you down?
Was it possible to be anchored to the sky? 
Because that was how it felt to be with Emily: airborne. But with his feet on the ground.

 

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