Browsing Category : Book Reviews

Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young feat. Amanda K. Morgan


Author Amanda K. Morgan joins us to chat about Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young, a new YA thriller that kept us guessing all the way through! (Transcript)   In today’s episode… In Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young, Philomena is the perfect student at a school that makes perfect girls. Behind her school’s gated walls, girls are…

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Liar by Justine Larbalestier


It’s time for another #throwbackthursday, and this week we are arguing, I mean talking, about Liar by Justine Larbalestier. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Liar by Justine Larbalestier. Micah Wilkins is a liar, she’ll lie about anything. Not just for personal gain, not just for a good reason, but to see how easily someone falls for the lies that comes easily…

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon feat. Somaiya Daud


Beware: dragons ahead! Join us as we dive into the epic fantasy world of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, with our guest Somaiya Daud. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon is an epic fantasy set in a world with sharp divisions. For those in the West, dragons are their most…

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45 We Set the Dark on Fire Tehlor Mejia cover

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia feat. Erin Callahan


Love, lies, and revolution! All of that and more in this week’s featured title, We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, with guest Erin Callahan. (Transcript) In today’s episode… We Set the Dark on Fire provides a dark vision of the island world of Medio where a wall separates the prosperous inner region from the salted, barren…

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15 YA Books about Sports cover

15 YA Books about Sports


When I say that I give my students time for independent reading or that I believe there’s a book for every kid, people invariably ask me for a list of books about sports. Well, here it is, folks! Here are 15 YA books about sports to engage your most reluctant readers!     1. Swing by Kwame Alexander & Mary…

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On the Come Up Angie Thomas cover

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas


Can Bri be true to herself and still make her voice heard? On the Come Up by Angie Thomas is a love song to rap and radical, brave young women. (Transcript)   In today’s episode…   In Angie Thomas’ new book, On the Come Up, Bri Jackson isn’t interested in the prescribed future of college and career her mother has…

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Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig


Teens, drag queens, heists, and hijinks? All of this and more in this week’s title, Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Our book this week is Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig. By day Margo Manning appears to be your average vapid socialite heiress, but by night she is the leader of a highly skilled group…

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo


This week it’s a #throwbackthursday as we chat about a book that came out in 2016. The Stonewall Book Award winning, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Today we’re discussing If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. Amanda is a normal high school girl and for the first time she’s given the chance to…

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The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe


This week we are joined by our teacher friend Carissa Peck as we chat about The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe. (Transcript) In today’s episode… When Norris’ mother gets a job as a professor in Austin and his father “can’t quite fit a teenager” in the same house as his new wife and baby, Norris…

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In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire feat. Betsy Cornwell


New year, new books! This week we devoured the novella In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire, and had a lovely time chatting with YA author Betsy Cornwell. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Today we chat about In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire. Katherine Lundy is quiet, serious, and studious. She’d rather be reading a book than playing with her…

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2018 Recommendation Round-Up Pt. 2


This is part 2 of our 2018 round-up with recommendations from 15 guests. Today we hear from Lamar Giles, Amanda K. Morgan, Hannah Moskowitz, and more! (Transcript) In today’s episode… Today’s episode will be a little different, this is part 2 of a two-part year in review. We’ve called up some of our writer, reader, and teacher friends to make…

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2018 Recommendation Round-Up Pt. 1


We have something very special for y’all to finish off 2018! In a two-part episode our guests bring 15 recommendations of books that you don’t want to miss. (Transcript)   In today’s episode… Today’s episode will be a little different, this is part 1 of a two-part year in review. We’ve called up some of our writer, reader, and teacher…

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The Disasters by MK England


In The Disasters by MK England we follow four teens on the run. Can they evade the government long enough to stop the terrorists from striking again? (Transcript) In today’s episode… Today we’re discussing The Disasters by MK England. After washing out of flight school in less than a day, wanna-be pilot Nax Hall is dreading his return to Earth.…

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Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton


Today’s episode is perfect for cyberpunk and Sci-Fi fans – join us as we discuss Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Arwen Elys Dayton’s new book Stronger, Faster and More Beautiful is a collection of six stories spanning a couple hundred years of human experimentation with genetic modification. Six teens provide different perspectives…

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The Resolutions by Mia Garcia


Joining us today is friend and writer Samantha Leidig. You may remember her from our first season, and she’s back to discuss The Resolutions by Mia Garcia. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Resolutions by Mia Garcia. This new year, Jess has a new plan to keep her four best friends together. The four of them will make New Year’s resolutions…

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Land of Permanent Goodbyes Book Review cover

Book Review: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes


A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi   Tareq’s life is hustle and bustle in Syria. He goes to school, comes home to care for his twin baby brothers, and listens to his grandmother’s stories. But in a single moment, a bomb strikes and his world comes crashing down around him. Tareq and his little sister survive and travel…

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Pulp by Robin Talley


Pulp by Robin Talley is a moving split perspective window into the lives of two women – 60 years apart – who both seek refuge in their writing. (Transcript) In today’s episode… In Robin Talley’s new book PULP, senior Abby Zimet becomes obsessed with 1950’s lesbian pulp fiction. Though her life is falling apart around her, Abby believes that meeting…

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Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean


This week we are journeying into a rich fantasy world inspired by Japanese folkore. Join us as we chat about Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean. (Transcript) In today’s episode … In Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean, Mari’s world is split into two kinds of people—magical creatures and spirits called Yokai, and the humans who oppress and enslave…

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Resources for Teaching About Immigration


Teaching about immigration can be intimidating for a someone without personal experience, but it’s an important topic to tackle with our students. Learning about immigration stories builds empathy and a desire to be a catalyst for positive change. Here are some resources I’ve used in my classroom to spark conversations.   This post uses affiliate links. This doesn’t affect the…

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Salt by Hannah Moskowitz


Sea monsters, pirates, and lost treasure? All of that (and more) awaits you in this weeks episode. Join us as we chat about Salt by Hannah Moskowitz. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Salt by Hannah Moskowitz Monster hunting on a wide ocean is all the Indy knows and he knows that he hates it when his parents vanish on a long hunt.…

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31 The Hate U Give Angie Thomas Book vs Movie cover

The Hate U Give: Book vs. Movie


Today we are joined by our bookstagram friends, Anna & Courtney, for a Book vs Movie breakdown of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. (Transcript)     In today’s episode…   In The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, sixteen-year-old Starr witnesses the murder of her unarmed friend, Khalil, at the hands of a white police officer. In the…

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30 Diverse YA Novels - YA Cafe Podcast IG

30 Diverse YA Novels – Shelf 1 from the YA Cafe Podcast


We’ve wrapped on our first “shelf” from the YA Cafe Podcast, and we want to give you a complete list of diverse YA novels for the classroom library. We’ve reviewed each of these extensively on our podcast, and given our points of view as teachers AND book addicts. 🙂 Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for more great reviews,…

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30 Blanca y Roja Anna-Marie McLemore cover

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore


Anna-Marie McLemore’s Blanca & Roja is a twist on an old tale: two sisters challenge the story they’ve been told, and the roles they’ve been given. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Blanca & Roja is a twist on the classic fairytale, Snow White and Rose Red, and shares the tale of a family under a curse. Unto each generation will be…

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29 Ladys Guide to Petticoats and Piracy Mackenzi Lee cover

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee


In The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee, Felicity faces new adventures as she tries to realize her dreams of becoming a doctor. And yes, there are petticoats AND pirates!     In today’s episode…   The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee is the follow-up to her fabulous The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and…

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Book Recommendations cover

Making Successful Book Recommendations


The #1 Thing Students Need to Know When You Recommend a Book   Reggie sits at his desk during SSR, drumming his fingers on the table. He reads for five minutes, but then takes his book back to your classroom library and wants to exchange it for another. It seems like Reggie never gets more than a quarter of the…

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Mirage by Somaiya Daud review

Mirage by Somaiya Daud


Eighteen-year-old Amani has grown up on a poor moon under the rule of an oppressive empire. She dreams of a life where she and her family can safely farm and barter for what they need to survive, and maybe even have a little leisure time left to read her precious poetry. But when Amani is kidnapped and taken to the…

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Toil & Trouble feat. Melissa from @thereaderandthechef


  Join us as we chat with bookstagrammer Melissa Robles about Toil & Trouble, a new YA anthology of stories about witchy women, written by 15 diverse authors.     In today’s episode… Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft  is an anthology of short stories featuring witchy girls. Like Spotswood’s other anthologies, the fifteen tales span the…

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Seafire by Natalie C. Parker feat. Emily Skrutskie


Today we chat about Seafire by Natalie C. Parker, with YA author Emily Skrutskie. Seafire has kick-ass lady pirates, and tons of action. What’s not to love? (Transcript)   In today’s episode…   In Natalie C. Parker’s new book, Seafire, we are brought into a world where the seas and colonies are under the control of a brutal warlord. The protagonist…

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Fresh Ink feat. Lamar Giles


This week we feature the Fresh Ink anthology, a collection of diverse short stories for a YA audience. Joining us is editor and YA author Lamar Giles. (transcript) In today’s episode…   Fresh Ink: An Anthology is a collection of short stories, a graphic novella, and a never before published play by the legendary Walter Dean Meyers. Thirteen voices, some brand…

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The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell


  The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell isn’t ‘just’ a Robin Hood retelling, it also serves up strong lady friendships, and a sharp look at power and privilege. (Transcript)     In today’s episode… In The Forest Queen, sixteen year old Silvie has been born into a life of nobility and privilege. She has spent her entire life hating and…

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