Mini Reviews — A Middle Grade Fantasy Explores Grief, A Political Dystopian Intrigues, And A Paranormal Romance Entertains

Furthermoor by Darren Simpson Bren is still grieving the tragic loss of his sister Evie and has numbed himself while going through the daily routines of home and school. Simultaneously, the school bully, Shaun, preys on the saddened Bren while also marking down a new kid. Bren is happy he at least has an imaginary…

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An Arrow to the Moon: Emily X.R. Pan Beautifully Blends Love and Lore in This Magical Mix of Romeo & Juliet and Houyi & Chang’e

Retellings have been trending on book lists and for all the right reasons. Whether it’s Chloe Gong’s YA romantic historical fantasy, These Violent Delights, or CB Lee’s fresh exploration of Treasure Island, as part of the “Remixed Classics” series by BIPOC authors, A Clash of Steel. Even reimaginings of Hindu epics like Ramayana (Vaishnavi Patel’s…

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“Every time someone connects with Michie I feel like I’ve given a voice to this thing that no one really talks about”

Sixteen-year-old Michie lives with her grandmother and hopes to get into her dream college, but the scholarship essay is a difficult one to write, especially when she shares a complicated relationship with her mother. Derek is the new kid at this high school and very much interested in Michie. Both are absolute sweethearts and the…

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Mini Reviews — Two Middle-Grade Books, Two Contemporary Romances, And A Translated Fiction

A Mystery at Lili Villa by Arathi Menon Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers meets Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew in this small-town mystery set against the beautiful backdrop of Kerala, India. For a desi kid, summer vacations are more than school holidays: they’re the perfect time for meeting up with distant family, delicious food, running wild while the elders napped in…

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