Contemporary

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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Recommendation Tuesday: More Like Her by Liza Palmer

Recommendation Tuesday: More Like Her by Liza Palmer

There is more good than bad. Life and love win if you let them. If you believe in them.

Y'all know I've gushed quite a bit about Liza Palmer's books, especially last year's marvelous Nowhere But Home. As a result, I was surprised that I haven't written about any of her other novels beyond a vague, "Yo, this is awesome!"

I actually have a hard time picking a favorite of Liza's novels because I like them each for different reasons. More Like Her was actually the last Liza Palmer book I read, despite that I immediately bought her entire backlist after reading Nowhere But Home, and it sicks in my mind because it has one of my favorite final chapters (though, Liza pretty much kicks ass when it comes to last chapters).

That plus the fantastically well-done friendships and stickiness of work relationships makes More Like Her a can't miss novel and tied with Nowhere But Home for my favorite.

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Recommendation Tuesday: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Recommendation Tuesday: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

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. 

Jennifer Echols is another relatively well-known author with a book I'm happy to include in my Recommendation Tuesday series. While Jennifer is well-loved by readers, she's generally under-recognized by gatekeeper types, despite having embraced positive depictions of teen girl sexuality and identity in her novels for many years.

Her latest, Biggest Flirts--the first in a new series of connected novels, is no different. 

Tia, the first person narrator of Biggest Flirts, is a senior at her Florida high school, drummer in the marching band and notorious flirt. She unashamedly prefers casual hookups, eschewing boyfriends, and even has a regular hookup buddy (Sawyer, who's going to be a main character in the third book in the Superlatives series).

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