Five Reasons to Read: Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne – A Spirited Adventure in Barbados about Grief, Magical Stepmothers, and Carribean Mythology

Josephine
Synopsis:

Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That’s why she makes a habit of scaring his new girlfriends away. She’s desperate to make it onto her school’s cricket team because she’ll get to play her favorite sport AND use the cricket matches to distract Daddy from dating.

But when Coach Broomes announces that girls can’t try out for the team, the frustrated Josephine cuts into a powerful silk cotton tree and accidentally summons a bigger problem into her life . . .

The next day, Daddy brings home a new catch, a beautiful woman named Mariss. And unlike the other girlfriends, this one doesn’t scare easily. Josephine knows there’s something fishy about Mariss but she never expected her to be a vengeful sea creature eager to take her place as her father’s first love! Can Josephine convince her friends to help her and use her cricket skills to save Daddy from Mariss’s clutches before it’s too late?

After reading Josephine Against the Sea, I felt like I had traveled all the way to the small village in Barbados where Josephine lives, and that I had gone on an unforgettable journey with her. Josephine Against the Sea reminds me so much of the middle-grade books that I used to read as a younger reader – a story filled with mischief, a little danger, but is ultimately a simple and fun adventure with so much heart.

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[Blog Tour] Five Reasons to Read + Fanart: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean – A Gorgeous and Heartwarming Romantic Comedy about Royalty and Identity

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean.
Blurb:

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after? 

In late March, I had the delight of reading and reviewing Tokyo Ever After, a book that would become one of my favourite reads of all time. I have so much love for this romantic comedy, and I am incredibly delighted to participate in the blog tour for Tokyo Ever After today. Thank you to Flatiron Books for inviting me and allowing me to be part of this blog tour!

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Five Reasons to Read: The Infinity Cycle Series by Adam Silvera – Reluctant Teen Soldiers, Phoenixes, and The Consequence of Power

Infinity Son and Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera.
Synopsis for Infinity Son:

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed. 

Adam Silvera’s debut novel, More Happy Than Not, is a stunning and poignant story about trauma, sexuality, and mental illness that shook the young adult world to its core. When he followed with They Both Die in the End and History is All You Left Me, I think I speak for most readers by saying that Adam became responsible for more tears shed, more aching hearts. Because at the core of Adam Silvera’s stories are stories about ordinary teens grappling with immense crevasses that have fractured their lives – whether it be trauma, love, heartbreak, or destiny.

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Five Reasons To Read: Prepped by Bethany Mangle – A Dramatic Deep-Dive into Doomsday Communities and One Girl Wanting to Escape

Prepped by B
Synopsis:

Always be ready for the worst day of your life.

This is the mantra that Becca Aldaine has grown up with. Her family is part of a community of doomsday preppers, a neighborhood that prioritizes survivalist training over class trips or senior prom. They’re even arranging Becca’s marriage with Roy Kang, the only eligible boy in their community. Roy is a nice guy, but he’s so enthusiastic about prepping that Becca doesn’t have the heart to tell him she’s planning to leave as soon as she can earn a full ride to a college far, far away.

Then a devastating accident rocks Becca’s family and pushes the entire community, including Becca’s usually cynical little sister, deeper into the doomsday ideology. With her getaway plans thrown into jeopardy, the only person Becca can turn to is Roy, who reveals that he’s not nearly as clueless as he’s been pretending to be.

When Roy proposes they run away together, Becca will have to risk everything—including her heart—for a chance to hope for the best instead of planning for the worst.

I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

If you’re the kind of person who loves reading about or watching documentaries about survivalists or preppers, then pay attention: because Prepped by Bethany Mangle may the kind of book that you’re looking for. This YA thriller-comedy debut follows Becca, a white-American teen whose family leads a doomsday community. Though her parents are passionate about the cause, Becca longs for escape – taking her younger sister with her – but when tragedy strikes, her doomsday community falls deeper into their doomsday ideology and escape becomes more difficult.

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[Blog Tour] Five Reasons To Read: FORESHADOW, edited by Emily X.R. Pan & Nova Ren Suma – The Best YA Anthology of This Age

Summary:

Created by New York Times bestselling authors Emily X. R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma, Foreshadow is so much more than a short story collection. A trove of unforgettable fiction makes up the beating heart of this book, and the accompanying essays offer an ode to young adult literature, as well as practical advice to writers.

Featured in print for the first time, the thirteen stories anthologized here were originally released via the buzzed-about online platform Foreshadow. Ranging from contemporary romance to mind-bending fantasy, the Foreshadow stories showcase underrepresented voices and highlight the beauty and power of YA fiction. Each piece is selected and introduced by a YA luminary, among them Gayle Forman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jason Reynolds, and Sabaa Tahir.

What makes these memorable stories tick? What sparked them? How do authors build a world or refine a voice or weave in that deliciously creepy atmosphere to bring their writing to the next level? Addressing these questions and many more are essays and discussions on craft and process by Nova Ren Suma and Emily X. R. Pan.

This unique compilation reveals and celebrates the magic of reading and writing for young adults.

Skye’s review:

FORESHADOW, when it was first announced, was a limited-run publishing project spearheaded by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma. It featured short YA stories across a variety of genres, with monthly issues releasing throughout the entire year of 2019. Each issue had three stories—titled after a single phrase, “foreshadowing” the story that was to come—one of which would also be penned by a new writer, voices hand-selected by renowned authors such as Sabaa Tahir and Nicola Yoon.

Today, the thirteen handpicked stories are published in a wonderful anthology that I have the privilege of introducing here on the blog today after reading an early copy. And friends, friends, please trust me when I say this, and know that I do not mean it lightly: this anthology is everything I crave in a book, and it contains the best short YA fiction I have ever read in my entire life.

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