How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“The known facts surrounding the shooting death of sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson are few. On the evening of June 2, at approximately 5:30 P.M., Johnson sustained two nine-millimeter gunshot wounds to the torso. Police officers arrived at 5:37 P.M. Johnson was pronounced dead at 6:02 P.M. by EMTs at the scene. Police apprehended a person of interest, Jack Franklin, who was present when Johnson was shot but left the scene in a borrowed vehicle shortly afterward. Franklin was pulled over nearly four miles away from the site of the shooting, at 5:56 P.M. A nine-millimeter handgun, recently fired, was found in the back seat.

Magoon, Kekla. How it Went Down.  Henry Holt and Company, 2014. 325 pages. Hardcover. $20.50, ISBN 978-0-8050-9869-3

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—When 16-year-old Tariq, a black teen, is shot and killed by a white man, every witness has a slightly different perception of the chain of events leading up to the murder. Family, friends, gang members, neighbors, and a well-meaning but self-serving minster make up the broad cast of characters. The police bring their own personal biases to their investigation of the case. When all points of view are combined, the story of a young man emerges and with it, a narrative that plays out in communities across the country every day. Heartbreaking and unputdownable, this is an important book about perception and race. How It Went Down reads very much like Julius Lester’s Day of Tears (Hyperion, 2005) in a modern setting and for an older audience. With a great hook and relatable characters, this will be popular for fans of realistic fiction. The unique storytelling style and thematic relevance will make it a potentially intriguing pick for classroom discussion.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

 

Want to read a truly lovely interview of Kekla Magoon? Here it is 🙂

Awards

  • Junior Library Guild Selection

Courtesy of keklamagoon.com

Kekla Magoon’s Website

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Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Courtesy of Worldcat.org

“‘He won’t talk about what happened to him there. But since he left Stone Mountain, he won’t wear anything orange. He won’t let anyone stand behind him. He won’t go into rooms that are too small. And he won’t eat canned peaches.

Schmidt, Gary D. Orbiting Jupiter.  Clarion, 2015. 183 pages. Hardcover. $17.99, ISBN 978-0-544-46222-9

This story takes place in a small town in Maine – on a dairy farm – with a loving family who takes in a foster child. The family has one child of their own, Jack, who is twelve. Jack is the narrator of this story. They take in Joseph who is just a couple of years older than Jack. There are quite a few things that you learn about Joseph right away. He almost killed a teacher (after taking a drug that someone gave him when he was upset). He spent time at a juvenile prison facility called Stone Mountain. He has a daughter, Jupiter, who he has never met. When he arrives, he does very little talking. He has never had this kind of family life. He was raised by an abusive father. Over time he learns to trust this family and becomes friends with Jack. This is a story of a father’s undying love for his child. It is also a story of how far a family and a friend will go to help.

Gary Schmidt’s website, provides a link to the first chapter of the Orbiting Jupiter. Read it for yourself. I think you will be truly moved by the story.

HRS Black-Eyed Susan

Courtesy of www. public-domain-image.com

Orbiting Jupiter is a Grades 6-9 nominee for the 2016-2017 Black Eyed Susan Award. For more information go to the Maryland Association of School Librarians.

 

Gary Schmidt talks about his book Orbiting Jupiter:

Awards

  • Capitol Choices 2016
  • Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Books of 2015, Middle Grade
  • Booklist Best Young Adult Books of 2015
  • ALA Notable Books for Children 2016, Older Readers
  • VOYA’s Perfect Tens 2015; 2016 Winner, Notable Books for a Global Society
  • CCBC Choices 2016, Fiction for Young Adults
  • 2015 Cybils Awards Nomination, Young Adult Fiction

Courtesy of hmhbooks.com

 

 

Every Day by David Leviathan

Courtesy of FCPS TLC

“‘Every day I am someone else. I am myself—I know I am myself—but I am also someone else. It has always been like this.”

Levithan, David. Every Day.  Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. 322 pages. Hardcover. $17.99, ISBN 978-0-307-93188-7

What would you do if you woke up every morning in a different body? Sometime a male body, sometimes a female, sometimes a drug addict, sometimes you were gay, sometimes you were athletic, sometimes you were suicidal. You just had to make it through that one day without causing harm to the person whose body you were in. You never had a family or a home to call your own. You just floated from one body to the next until one day, you fell in love and all that mattered was being with that one person no matter whose body you were in. What would you do? How would you survive? Imagine…

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Link to Worldcat.org

Available in:

 David Leviathan’s Website 
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Fight Back by Brent R. Sherrard

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Courtesy of Amazon.com

“There are two ways to handle being picked on. One is to lie down and give up. The other is to get angry and fight back. Not against my dad, because he would’ve killed me. But anyone else who ever messed with me only did it once

Sherrard, Brent. Fight Back. James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2014. 174 pages. Paperback. $9.95, ISBN 1-4594-0858-6

Tyler has had a rough life – really rough. When he was eleven, his mother left with his sister for a drive and never came back. Tyler was left with an angry drunk father who took his anger out on the only person left – Tyler. From here, Tyler was taken in and subsequently kicked out by his grandmother. What now?  Where would Tyler go? Tyler is taken in by the Conley’s who give him something he’s never had before – a safe and loving home. He even starts boxing to help control his anger. Will this be enough? Will he be able to let go of all the anger that has been building up for years? Will he be able to trust this new family? What about his father? Read this awesome book to find out.

 

Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.

Courtesy of Writers Federation of New Brunswick

Available in:

Paperback

Library Binding

 

Want to learn more about Brent R Sherrard? Click here to learn more.

Unlovable by Sherry Gammon

Courtesy of Worldcat.org

 Seth is an undercover policeman at Port Fare High school trying to break up a drug ring. Maggie is a high school senior who fits the description of Heroine Chic perfectly and who Seth just happens to be falling in love with.

Gammon, Sherry. Unlovable. Wordpaintings Unlimited, 2011. 363 pages. Paperback. $13.99, ISBN 9781461060529

 

Maggie is an eighteen-year old student at Port Fare High School. Her mother is an alcoholic. Maggie takes care of her mom when she’s drunk, which is most of the time. Maggie has a 4.0 GPA. Maggie is starving to death because all of their money is spent on vodka. Maggie’s mom takes every opportunity to tell Maggie how unlovable she is.

There have been several drug related deaths in Port Fare over the past few months. Seth is a 21 year old MET officer working undercover as a senior at Port Fare High School in order to find out who is selling the heroin to the teens.

Seth doesn’t think Maggie is using because of her good grades but she fits the image for Heroin Chic. Because there is no money for food, Maggie is down to 90 pounds and because she has to look after her mother, there are a lot of late nights getting her homework done to keep up her grades, thus the dark circles under her eyes.

Seth wants to ask Maggie out. Maggie is seriously attracted to Seth but trying to stay focused on school and surviving. Will they get together? Is Maggie’s mom involved with the drug sales? What about the murders in the local park? Is Maggie safe? Can Seth find out where the drugs are coming from? Will Maggie always be Unlovable? You’ll just have to read to find out.

Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.

Courtesy of YouTube.com
Available in:

Paperback

Kindle Edition

Photo Courtesy of WordpaintingsUnlimited.com

Sherry Gammon Website

Twitter Account

Facebook Account

Unlovable is going to be a movie!

Click here to read about it in an interview with Sherry Gammon.

Still want to read more?? Click here for a Q&A on goodreads.com with Sherry Gammon.

“I really like to read realistic fiction, although sometimes it can be a bit insulting or trivializing. I like to read crime and law novels.” Megan C. Age 15

No Boyz Allowed by Ni-Ni Simone

Cover Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com

Gem and Malik move into their third foster home of the  year. Follow Gem as she tries to adjust to her new home and school, reconnect with an old friend, connect with new friends and a very sexy new boyfriend, and learn some things about herself along the way.

Simone, Ni-Ni. No Boyz Allowed. Kensington Publishing Corp., 2012. 244 pages. Paperback. $9.95, ISBN 978-0-7582-4193-1

Gem is sixteen, her brother Malik is eight, their mother is a crack head and they don’t know who their father is.

“The moment the soles of my crisp white Concords hit the concrete and my brother and I stood in front of our new foster home – our third one this year, our umpteenth this lifetime- I knew this was destined to be a hot mess.”

Gem has a bad attitude, to say the least. She’s fed up with the system and trusts no one but herself. Who could blame her with all that she and Malik have been through.

Gem used to love basketball and she was good at it. She had skillz.

“Never mind that playing ball was the only escape I had. The only worry-free zone in my life… I had to skip all that and fast forward to my reality-which had no room for three point plays.”

So what happens next? Gem reconnects with her best friend Pop from years ago, joins Pop’s No Boyz Allowed Club where no guy can come between their friendship and goes to a new school. Do you think she can lose the attitude and connect with her new family? What about basketball, will she play? And then there is her new oh soooo sexy boyfriend, Ny’eem. Will he be a problem for the No Boyz Allowed Club? Read and find out!

Link to Amazon.com.

Link to Worldcat.org.

Available in:

Paperback

Kindle Edition

Library Binding

eBook

Want to read another review? Click here for a Kirkus Review.

Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com

Want to learn more about Ni-Ni Simone? Click here to check out her website.

Like to follow Ni-Ni Simone on Twitter? Click here.

Or you can also go to the Ni-Ni Simone Official Facebook page here.

Click here to read an interview with Ni-Ni Simone.

© Chris Peeler 2013