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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Frankie
by Plozza, Shivaun.

Publishers Weekly Australian author Plozza mixes mystery with a teenager's messy reckoning with her family history in her debut novel. Now 17 and living with her aunt, Frankie Vega has never gotten over being abandoned by her mother at age four. So when 14-year-old Xavier shows up, claiming to be her half-brother, she isn't sure what to think. Should she trust him, or will he disappoint her like their mother did? Xavier turns out to be involved in some pretty shady things, including helping a (hot) burglar named Nate. Then again, Frankie and her family aren't exactly angels (she's recently been suspended after breaking another student's nose). Though Frankie isn't sure that Xavier can be trusted, when he goes missing, she takes it upon herself to find him. As Frankie plays detective, the clues lead her to Xavier and help her come to terms with her feelings about her mother and her own sense of self-worth. An edgy and drily funny novel that dives deep into how forgiveness-especially forgiving oneself-can help a person grow. Ages 13-up Agent: Cheryl Pientka, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Oct.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Seventeen-year-old Frankie Vega has a quick temper and even quicker wit. Repercussions from attacking a classmate and hurtful memories of those who've let her down (like her addict mother) are compounded by the appearance--and subsequent disappearance--of a previously unknown half-brother, fourteen-year-old Xavier. Frankie's authentic voice carries a gritty and layered story. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus The members of the Italian-Australian Vega family aren't known for their contributions to society."Dark-olive" Frankie, with her "aggressive tendencies," has been suspended from school for breaking a classmate's nose with the complete works of Shakespeare; Juliet, Frankie's drug-addicted mother, abandoned Frankie when she was 4; and Frankie's uncle Terry is currently serving a 15-year sentence for multiple armed robberies. When Xavier, Frankie's half brother, pops out of nowhere, Aunt Vinnie, Frankie's guardian and the only Vega on the right side of the law, warns Frankie not to get too close to the boy with whom she shares a mother. At first Frankie doesn't know what to think of the 14-year-old. Is he a junkie? A liar? A thief? How far from the Vega tree has this newly discovered apple fallen? Is he involved in the recent spate of burglaries in the neighborhood? When Xavier goes missing, the only people Frankie can rely on are her best friend, the caustically funny Cara Lam (whose implied Chinese heritage goes unexplored), and Nate, a white, blue-eyed law-breaking indie poseur. Frankie's first-person narration gives readers a well-rounded picture of a formerly bullied teen from the wrong side of the tracks struggling to make sense of her past and how it affects her present relationships. A gritty and darkly witty debut. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list One word describes Frankie Vega perfectly: survivor. Ever since her mother abandoned her at age four, she's had to be tough, whether it's getting into fist fights or mouthing off to cops. Only Aunt Vinnie, who runs a questionable kabob stand, and her friend Cara are allowed anywhere near Frankie's heart. That changes when her 14-year-old half brother, Xavier, shows up wanting to establish a relationship. Frankie is excited but cautious. She has no love for their estranged mother and wonders how Xavier fits into their lives. Suddenly Xavier disappears, and Frankie begins a frantic search for the brother she didn't know she loved. Readers will love Frankie for her courage, passion, and honesty as a narrator. Supporting characters are equally as well drawn, from surly yet caring Aunt Vinnie to Nate, a neighborhood ne'er-do-well with deep blue eyes. As Frankie assembles clues to Xavier's fate, the story is unafraid to depict unsavory people, nor does it shy away from bittersweet resolutions. A powerful debut about a girl learning to love despite the dangers.--Suarez, Reinhardt Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Saturday Is Swimming Day
by Hyewon Yum

Book list A little girl awakens on Saturday with a stomachache. Since she has no fever, her mother takes her to her first weekly swimming class. She reluctantly dons her bathing suit, but she won't swim. Instead, she stands poolside and tells Mary, the class instructor, that her stomach hurts. The following Saturday follows the same pattern, but she lets Mary carry her in the water, and she tries to participate. The next week, after practicing at home in the bathtub, the girl begins to relax and join the other kids in trying new skills. Best of all: no stomachache. The child narrates the story in direct, matter-of-fact sentences. Meanwhile, the artwork, created with watercolor and colored pencil, clearly expresses her initial dread, sadness, and sense of isolation from the other children, as well as her happiness when she joins them in the end. While showing children they can overcome their fear of water and learn to swim, this quiet picture book realistically depicts how slow their progress will be, yet how rewarding.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A young child conquers a fear of swimming in this charming, child-focused picture book. The unnamed first-person narrator, a preschooler with straight black hair and a strawberry-printed swimsuit, wakes up with a stomachache on the first day of swimming lessons. Blonde, curly-haired Mom offers reassurances that it will probably go away at the pool, but meeting the friendly instructor, Mary, and seeing the excitement of the other budding swimmers can't drive away the butterflies. The child dawdles in the dressing room and spends the lesson on dry ground. The next Saturday, the stomachache has returned, but Martha is willing to offer support while the hesitant young protagonist tries "ice cream scoops." Finding the warm water soothing, the positive experience is enough to inspire evening paddling practice at home in the bathtub. Slowly, the child becomes more comfortable in the water (a better-fitting swim cap helps), progressing all the way to floating alone like a starfish and having splashing contests with the other children. Yum's watercolor and colored pencil illustrations perfectly capture a young child's expressions, conveying reluctance and nervousness as much through body position as through the text. The instructor and classmates are portrayed as a diverse group inclusive of ethnicity and body type. VERDICT An empowering story of gradually overcoming fear that will resonate with young children. A great purchase for most collections.-Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MN Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus In this story about new experiences, readers follow a tiny girl who faces her fear of swimming every Saturday. Trying something new can be scary. Saturday mornings seem to start with stomachaches, as a grumpy little Asian girl fakes illness to avoid going to the swimming pool. She clings to her mom and hides in a locker. Her body language clearly shows her to be uncomfortable and tense as she stands against the wall while other children of all shapes and colors dive right in. Things do not look promising. Week by week, without any pressure from her white mom, she returns to the pool and takes tiny steps forward with the black swim instructor named Mary. Mary guides her away from the pool's edge and gently builds on small successes each Saturday. Illustrations, done in watercolor and colored pencil, show the blue waters of the pool framed by the cold white floor tiles. Colorful swimsuits, bathing caps, and skin tones splash the pages. Slowly, the narrator finds her fearful feelings begin to change. As the little girl's courage grows, the floor tiles slowly disappear, and the pictures become all water. The unnamed child narrates, gender indicated by the style of her swimsuit.This tender and accessible story of bravery and patience when facing a new situation encompasses a wide range of emotions for timid children of all shapes and colors. (Picture book. 4-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Horn Book At the young Asian girl narrator's first swim lesson, she shrinks from getting into the water, and the teacher doesn't insist. By the third Saturday, she's ready to fully participate. Yum conveys the little girl's reluctance through body language. Watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations show people with a variety of skin tones. There's no preaching or reproach, just adults giving an anxious child time and space to try something new. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog A Very Stable Genius
by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig

Publishers Weekly Washington Post reporters Rucker and Leonnig deliver a granular critique of the Trump presidency, from Michael Flynn's ill-fated tenure as national security advisor to the release of the Mueller Report. Contending that "two kinds of people went to work for the administration: those who thought Trump was saving the world and those who thought the world needed to be saved from Trump," Rucker and Leonnig argue that the latter group served as "human guardrails" before they either quit in frustration or were fired. White House insiders lament everything from the preponderance of TVs ("It was like running a meeting in a Buffalo Wild Wings") to Trump's insults ("You're a bunch of dopes and babies," he once told senior military commanders) to the meddling of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. The book's brief epilogue links the departure of Trump's most experienced advisors to his pressure campaign on Ukraine and calls on Republicans to consider "the fate of history" as impeachment unfolds. Rucker and Leonnig try to account for their sources' private agendas (though Chris Christie comes off suspiciously well) and reveal new details about well-known events, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's plans to protect the Russia investigation if Trump fired Mueller. The president's critics will find their worst suspicions confirmed by this doggedly reported account. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Treasure Hunt
by Bill Cosby

School Library Journal : K-Gr 3--Cosby turns his hand to writing, telling stories about situations that children often face. In The Best Way to Play, Little Bill, the narrator, and his friends get caught up in the excitement and marketing of their favorite TV cartoon, Space Explorers, and desperately want their parents to buy them the expensive video game. They become bored with it quickly, however, and realize that it's more fun to play Space Explorers outside. In The Meanest Thing to Say, Little Bill comes face to face with a bully. The Treasure Hunt takes him on a voyage of self-exploration. It seems to him that everyone in his family has a special quality. After a full day of searching, he discovers that his is "telling stories and making people laugh." These titles feature short chapters, making them appropriate for beginning readers--but they're also short enough to be read aloud. Honeywood's illustrations are bright and eye-catching, and show Little Bill and his friends and family as having distinctive personalities and characteristics. Each book comes with a letter to parents from a child psychiatrist about the subject matter in that book. While the writing is nothing extraordinary, Cosby has a good grasp of the issues and how the world looks through children's eyes. The primarily African-American characters also make these books welcome additions to easy-reader collections.

Dina Sherman, Brooklyn Children's Museum, NY Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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