Flashback: January 2011

A look back at what I reviewed in January 2011:

The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson. From my review: “The Latte Rebellion doesn’t start as a rebellion. Yes, Asha and her friend Carey got annoyed at a classmate’s casual comments about Asha being a “towel head” and being “Miss Barely Asian.” In a caffeine induced bout of creativity, they come up with the “Latte Rebellion,” for “the cause of brown people everywhere.” In rebellion against what? Against both racism and the insistence of putting people into specific boxes. Asha’s mother is Indian, her father is Mexican-Irish, so what box should she check on her college applications?

Stolen by Lucy Christopher. From my review: “Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped by Ty and brought to the isolated Australian desert. . . . Ty takes her and tries to break her, to shape her into who he wants her to be. The heartbreak of Stolen is the degree to which he succeeds.

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick. From my review: “1910. Giron, the Arctic Circle. Sig, 14, is alone in his family’s cabin except for the dead body of his father, Einar. A stranger knocks on the door — a stranger who says he knows Sig, knows his father, and has been hunting them for ten years. The stranger says he is owed something by Einar. The stranger has a revolver. What the stranger does not suspect is that Sig also has a revolver.”

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. From my review:Evie, sixteen, works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, helping contain paranormals such as faeries, vampires and werewolves. It’s her version of normalcy until a captured shape-shifter makes her rethink everything she knows about paranormals, the IPCA, and herself.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke. From my review: “Yummy’s story was brought to national attention in a 1994 Time Magazine article, Murder in Miniature.  Yummy’s life was short and brutal, full of abuse and neglect. Raised in Chicago, he was a member of the Black Disciples. Because of his age, when he was arrested for the crimes he committed he was let out: “see, back then, the laws were set up so that no shorty [i.e., someone as young as Yummy] could be convicted of a felony. Even for the worst crime, they’d be sent to Juvie and be back on the streets by the time they were 21. So the gangs put shorties to work.” At eleven, Yummy’s crimes escalated from robbery and arson to murder when he shot at gang rivals and accidentally killed an innocent fourteen year old girl, Shavon Dean. Yummy hid from the police for several days; at first, his gang assisted him. When they realized that Yummy had become a liability, he was killed by two of his fellow gang members, brothers aged fourteen and sixteen.”

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. From my review: “Nineteenth Century England. Elizabeth “Bet” Smith and Will Gardener are sixteen. Will is the nephew and heir of wealthy Paul Gardener, and Uncle Paul wants Will to the the education befitting his station in life. All Will wants is adventure — specifically, the adventure of joining the army! He gets sent home from boarding school after boarding school. Bet, like Will, is an orphan. Unlike Will, she has no rich relatives — she is the child of a maid, and Paul Gardener, in a moment of kindness, offered her shelter when her mother died. Bet has been raised in a no-man’s land: not quite a servant, not quite family, always aware of her place. All Bet wants is the education Will takes for granted. Bet comes up with a plan. Simple, brilliant, foolproof. When Will goes to school… it will really be Bet! It’s yet another new school, so no one will know what the real Will Gardener looks like. While she learns, Will will be free to join the army. She’ll put on one of Will’s suits, cut her hair, learn how to walk like a boy. What could possibly go wrong?

Spies of Mississippi:  The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement by Rick Bowers. From my review: “In 1956, the Governor of Mississippi, J.P. Coleman, signed the executive order to create the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission. The Commission was “a special agency that would preserve the state’s ‘sovereignty’ — that is, its right to govern itself without undue interference from the federal government or private pressure groups.” What was the federal government and private groups doing that created a need for such a commission? Advocating for the end of segregation. In order to preserve segregation, “the Commission would be granted extraordinary powers, including the power to investigate private citizens and organizations, to maintain secret files, to force witnesses to testify, and even make arrests.””

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. From my review: ““Boys, let us get up a club.” In May, 1866, six Confederate soldiers started a “social club.” Bartoletti explores how and why the K.K.K. originated, how and why it spread, and the steps taken to stop it.

And a bonus link to an interview with me at YA Librarian Tales.



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