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Click to search this book in our catalog Harlem Shuffle
by Colson Whitehead

Publishers Weekly Two-time Pulitzer winner Whitehead (The Nickel Boys) returns with a sizzling heist novel set in civil rights–era Harlem. It’s 1959 and Ray Carney has built an “unlikely kingdom” selling used furniture. A husband, a father, and the son of a man who once worked as muscle for a local crime boss, Carney is “only slightly bent when it to being crooked.” But when his cousin Freddie—whose stolen goods Carney occasionally fences through his furniture store—decides to rob the historic Hotel Theresa, a lethal cast of underworld figures enter Carney’s life, among them the mobster Chink Montague, “known for his facility with a straight razor”; WWII veteran Pepper; and the murderous, purple-suited Miami Joe, Whitehead’s answer to No Country for Old Men’s Anton Chigurh. These and other characters force Carney to decide just how bent he wants to be. It’s a superlative story, but the most impressive achievement is Whitehead’s loving depiction of a Harlem 60 years gone—“that rustling, keening thing of people and concrete”—which lands as detailed and vivid as Joyce’s Dublin. Don’t be surprised if this one wins Whitehead another major award. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi, Inc. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Whitehead adds another genre to an ever-diversifying portfolio with his first crime novel, and it's a corker. Ray Carney owns a furniture store in Harlem. When the novel begins in 1959, he's selling mostly used furniture, struggling to escape the legacy of his criminal father. "Living taught you," Ray believes, "that you didn't have to live the way you'd been taught." Almost. Ray's ne'er-do-well cousin, Freddie, who's been luring Ray into hot water since childhood ("I didn't mean to get you in trouble," is Freddie's constant refrain) regularly brings Ray the odd piece of jewelry, provenance unknown, which Ray peddles to a dealer downtown, building a stake to invest in his business. "There was a natural flow of goods in and out and through people's lives . . . a churn of property, and Ray facilitated that churn." It works until Freddie suggests Ray as a fence for a jewel heist at the Hotel Theresa ("the Waldorf of Harlem"), and suddenly the churn produces a potentially disastrous backwash. Following Ray as his business grows and he delicately balances the crooked and straight sides of his life, Whitehead delivers a portrait of Harlem in the early ’60s, culminating with the Harlem Riot of 1964, that is brushed with lovingly etched detail and features a wonderful panoply of characters who spring to full-bodied life, blending joy, humor, and tragedy. A triumph on every level.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Twice a Pulitzer winner, Whitehead seems destined for more honors with his first crime novel.

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

Book list Whitehead adds another genre to an ever-diversifying portfolio with his first crime novel, and it's a corker. Ray Carney owns a furniture store in Harlem. When the novel begins in 1959, he's selling mostly used furniture, struggling to escape the legacy of his criminal father. "Living taught you," Ray believes, "that you didn't have to live the way you'd been taught." Almost. Ray's ne'er-do-well cousin, Freddie, who's been luring Ray into hot water since childhood ("I didn't mean to get you in trouble," is Freddie's constant refrain) regularly brings Ray the odd piece of jewelry, provenance unknown, which Ray peddles to a dealer downtown, building a stake to invest in his business. "There was a natural flow of goods in and out and through people's lives . . . a churn of property, and Ray facilitated that churn." It works until Freddie suggests Ray as a fence for a jewel heist at the Hotel Theresa ("the Waldorf of Harlem"), and suddenly the churn produces a potentially disastrous backwash. Following Ray as his business grows and he delicately balances the crooked and straight sides of his life, Whitehead delivers a portrait of Harlem in the early ’60s, culminating with the Harlem Riot of 1964, that is brushed with lovingly etched detail and features a wonderful panoply of characters who spring to full-bodied life, blending joy, humor, and tragedy. A triumph on every level.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Twice a Pulitzer winner, Whitehead seems destined for more honors with his first crime novel.

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

Kirkus After winning back-to-back Pulitzer Prizes for his previous two books, Whitehead lets fly with a typically crafty change-up: a crime novel set in mid-20th-century Harlem. The twin triumphs of The Underground Railroad (2016) and The Nickel Boys (2019) may have led Whitehead’s fans to believe he would lean even harder on social justice themes in his next novel. But by now, it should be clear that this most eclectic of contemporary masters never repeats himself, and his new novel is as audacious, ingenious, and spellbinding as any of his previous period pieces. Its unlikely and appealing protagonist is Ray Carney, who, when the story begins in 1959, is expecting a second child with his wife, Elizabeth, while selling used furniture and appliances on Harlem’s storied, ever bustling 125th Street. Ray’s difficult childhood as a hoodlum’s son forced to all but raise himself makes him an exemplar of the self-made man to everybody but his upper-middle-class in-laws, aghast that their daughter and grandchildren live in a small apartment within earshot of the subway tracks. Try as he might, however, Ray can’t quite wrest free of his criminal roots. To help make ends meet as he struggles to grow his business, Ray takes covert trips downtown to sell lost or stolen jewelry, some of it coming through the dubious means of Ray’s ne’er-do-well cousin, Freddie, who’s been getting Ray into hot messes since they were kids. Freddie’s now involved in a scheme to rob the Hotel Theresa, the fabled “Waldorf of Harlem," and he wants his cousin to fence whatever he and his unsavory, volatile cohorts take in. This caper, which goes wrong in several perilous ways, is only the first in a series of strenuous tests of character and resources Ray endures from the back end of the 1950s to the Harlem riots of 1964. Throughout, readers will be captivated by a Dickensian array of colorful, idiosyncratic characters, from itchy-fingered gangsters to working-class women with a low threshold for male folly. What’s even more impressive is Whitehead’s densely layered, intricately woven rendering of New York City in the Kennedy era, a time filled with both the bright promise of greater economic opportunity and looming despair due to the growing heroin plague. It's a city in which, as one character observes, “everybody’s kicking back or kicking up. Unless you’re on top.” As one of Whitehead’s characters might say of their creator, When you’re hot, you’re hot. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Kira-Kira
by Cynthia Kadohata

Horn Book Katie Takeshima's first-person voice is compelling and often quietly humorous as she describes her family's move from Iowa to Georgia and her older sister's subsequent struggle with lymphoma. Katie's shrewd descriptions of people make startlingly vivid this novel that captures both the specific experience of being Japanese American in the 1950s and the wider experience of coping with illness and loss. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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

Kirkus Katie loves and admires her older sister, Lynn, only to lose her in this story that reads like a memoir about a Japanese-American family in the 1950s. Built around the loss of Lynn to lymphoma, it belongs to Katie and stays true to her perspective. The supporting cast of extended family and friends also fits within Katie's vision of life. Humor keeps the depth of sadness at bay as Katie reports events: "If a robber came to our apartment, I would hit him over the head with a lamp. So I didn't need a bank, personally." Starting out in Iowa, the family moves to Georgia; both parents work long hours in the poultry industry to buy and then pay for a house of their own. Kadohata weaves details of life for a Japanese-American family into the narrative along with Lynn and Katie's gradual acquirement of understanding of the dominant culture around them. The vivid writing and the portrayal of a most loving and honorable father lift this above the norm. "Kira-kira" is Japanese for glittering, and Kadohata's Katie sparkles. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 6-8-Katie's first word is "kira-kira," the Japanese word for "glittering," and she uses it to describe everything she likes. It was taught to her by her older sister, Lynn, whom Katie worships. Both girls have trouble adjusting when their parents move the family from Iowa to a small town in rural Georgia, where they are among only 31 Japanese-Americans. They seldom see their parents, who have grueling jobs in chicken-processing plants. Then Lynn becomes deathly ill, and Katie is often left to care for her, a difficult and emotionally devastating job. When her sister dies of lymphoma, Katie searches for ways to live up to her legacy and to fulfill the dreams she never had a chance to attain. Told from Katie's point of view and set in the 1950s, this beautifully written story tells of a girl struggling to find her own way in a family torn by illness and horrendous work conditions. Katie's parents can barely afford to pay their daughter's medical bills, yet they refuse to join the growing movement to unionize until after Lynn's death. All of the characters are believable and well developed, especially Katie, who acts as a careful observer of everything that happens in her family, even though there is a lot she doesn't understand. Especially heartbreaking are the weeks leading up to Lynn's death, when Katie is exhausted and frustrated by the demands of her sister's illness, yet willing to do anything to make her happy. Girls will relate to and empathize with the appealing protagonist.-Ashley Larsen, Woodside Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. 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.

Book list Gr. 6-12.atie Takeshima worships her older sister, Lynn, who knows everything and takes care ofatie while their parents are working long hours in their small Georgia town in the late 1950s. It's Lynn who showsatie the glittering beauty (kira-kira) of the stars and who preparesatie for the prejudice she will encounter as one of the fewapanese American kids in their school. But whenatie is 10, Lynn, 14, falls ill, and everything changes. Slowly the roles are reversed;atie becomes caregiver and does what Lynn has taught her. There's no surprise. It's clear that Lynn will die, andatie goes through all the stages of grief. The real story is in the small details, never self-consciously poetic but tense with family drama. In her first novel for young people,adohata stays true to the child's viewpoint in plain, beautiful prose that can barely contain the passionate feelings.ust as heart wrenching as the sisters' story is whatatie knows of her father's struggle, whether it's his backbreaking work in the factory or his love for his family. The quiet words will speak to readers who have lost someone they love--or fear that they could. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Set in the 1950s and '60s, Kadohata's moving first novel is narrated by a first-generation Japanese-American girl who moves with her family from Iowa to Georgia when their "Oriental foods grocery store" goes out of business. There, Katie and her family face hardships, including discrimination (she is ignored by the girls at school, for example), and the harsh conditions at the poultry plant where her mother works ("thugs" make sure workers do not gather so that they cannot organize). Katie's father often sleeps at the hatchery between shifts, and when their babysitter goes away, Katie and her brother must stay in the hot car outside the plant while their mother works. But it's her doting older sister Lynn's struggle with lymphoma that really tests her family. Katie's narrative begins almost as stream-of-consciousness, reflecting a younger child's way of seeing the world. But as she matures through the challenges her family faces, so does the prose. Kadohata movingly captures the family's sustaining love-Lynn and Katie secretly save their treat money for years so they can help their parents buy a house, and when ailing Lynn gets to pick the house, she chooses a sky blue one, because Katie as a "little girl,... had told her [she] wanted our first to be sky blue." The family's devotion to one another, and Lynn's ability to teach Katie to appreciate the "kira-kira," or glittering, in everyday life makes this novel shine. Ages 11-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Publishers Weekly PW starred this Newbery winner, which is set in the 1950s and '60s and is narrated by a first-generation Japanese-American girl, saying, "The family's devotion to one another, and one sister's ability to teach her younger sister to appreciate the `kira-kira,' or glittering, in everyday life make this novel shine." Ages 10-14. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Going Down Home with Daddy
by Kelly Starling Lyons

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-Inspired by the author's family heritage and traditions, this title follows an African American family as they travel "down home" for a family reunion. Lil' Alan is excited to see his extended family and visit his great-grandma and her farm but is anxious about how he might contribute to the celebration. Sis is planning to sing Granny's favorite song, and cousin Isaiah will read a poem by Langston Hughes, but what can Lil' Alan do? As he goes on a tractor ride, enjoys "love-made" family meals, attends church services, and listens to his father and other relatives share memories and ruminate on the importance of family, Lil' Alan realizes that the answer is in the precious family land, the gifts of which he uses in a heartfelt tribute to his family and its roots. Minter's illustrations, rendered in an acrylic wash, work in beautiful harmony with Lyons's joyful portrait of a deeply loving multigenerational family. Carefully layered images, patterns, and textures reinforce the narrative links between family history, American history, ancestral land and nature, and the bonds of family: "When we go down home with Daddy, everything we see holds a piece of him and us." VERDICT Readers will enjoy this moving celebration of familial love, history, and tradition. Highly -recommended.-Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Elkins Park, PA © Copyright 2019. 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.

Publishers Weekly In a lushly illustrated tribute to family history, an African-American boy and his family take their annual trip to his great-grandmother's farm for a reunion. The pivotal event is a family celebration during which each individual performs. Lil Alan's cousins have their presentations prepared-one cousin will read a Langston Hughes poem, another will share a scrapbook "in Granny's favorite color blue." Alan, though, is stumped: "I kick a stone and my eyes start to burn." But as he internalizes the energy of the farm, tastes "love-made dishes," and enjoys family, the words come: "Cotton for the quilts Granny made to keep her children warm... A pecan for the trees Pa planted and all the kids love to climb." Lyons's image-rich prose and Minter's powerful acrylics-rendered in shadowy blues and fiery shades-convey a sense of historical struggle alongside cherished tradition while capturing the experience of performance jitters. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Lil Alan and his family are heading "down home" to the farm where Daddy was raised. Although Alan is excited to see his family, he's nervous about what to share at the celebration. With his family's help, Alan finds the right words to say. This relatable story of a multigenerational family reunion is strengthened by the acrylic-wash paintings, mixed with African symbols, of the family gathering. (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.

Book list Lil' Alan and his African American family arise before dawn for the drive down home to Granny's house for a reunion. They arrive to hugs from Granny, a parade of extended kin, and a quick trip around the farm on Granny's tractor. Tradition dictates that everyone contributes something to the celebration a song, a poem, a scrapbook but Alan agonizes, unsure what he should share. Lyons' lyrical text recounts a heartfelt story of family love, shared history, and connection to a place that binds everyone together. Minter's acrylic wash illustrations transmit a dreamy quality that conveys the deep respect family members share with one another. Blue washes are employed for the most reverent scenes, depicting dinnertime grace, memories of the now departed patriarch Pa, and Alan's heartfelt speech acknowledging the iconic elements that symbolize family for him. Also effective is Minter's use of intricately designed patterns that grace clothing, Granny's chickens, and layered images depicting cotton plants, garden areas, and a church. A tribute to families and the components that connect them.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Kirkus A young boy ponders the perfect tribute to his great-grandma for their annual family reunion.This year everyone's prepared something special for Granny's anniversary celebration "down home"everyone except Lil Alan. As he considers what to give, Lil Alan's weekend is marked by memories connected to the land and his family, those who are still alive and ancestors that have passed on. Ultimately, he gifts an object lesson that emphasizes the legacy of love that brings them together as a "mighty family." Imagery is presented in marvelous metaphors ("I watch as we drive from city streets to flowing highways under a sweep of sparkling stars"), while lighthearted ribbing (" Got a head just like your daddy,' Uncle Jay teases me") and soul food ( "smoked turkey, mac and cheese, okra and tomatoes, and biscuits oozing mayhaw jelly"yum) set the scene for a celebration of myriad African-American and family traditions. Minter's acrylic-wash prints soar as stenciled cotton bolls, okra, and pecans dot the pages alongside images of family members in sepia and blue-black hues. One striking spread details silhouettes of Lil Alan, Sis, and Momma layered on top of one another, same eyes, lips, and textured hair and same reunion T-shirt imprinted with a simple, familiar, deeply rooted tree.A warm, loving, necessary reminder of the power in families coming together. (Picture book. 4-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-Inspired by the author's family heritage and traditions, this title follows an African American family as they travel "down home" for a family reunion. Lil' Alan is excited to see his extended family and visit his great-grandma and her farm but is anxious about how he might contribute to the celebration. Sis is planning to sing Granny's favorite song, and cousin Isaiah will read a poem by Langston Hughes, but what can Lil' Alan do? As he goes on a tractor ride, enjoys "love-made" family meals, attends church services, and listens to his father and other relatives share memories and ruminate on the importance of family, Lil' Alan realizes that the answer is in the precious family land, the gifts of which he uses in a heartfelt tribute to his family and its roots. Minter's illustrations, rendered in an acrylic wash, work in beautiful harmony with Lyons's joyful portrait of a deeply loving multigenerational family. Carefully layered images, patterns, and textures reinforce the narrative links between family history, American history, ancestral land and nature, and the bonds of family: "When we go down home with Daddy, everything we see holds a piece of him and us." VERDICT Readers will enjoy this moving celebration of familial love, history, and tradition. Highly -recommended.-Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Elkins Park, PA © Copyright 2019. 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.

Publishers Weekly In a lushly illustrated tribute to family history, an African-American boy and his family take their annual trip to his great-grandmother's farm for a reunion. The pivotal event is a family celebration during which each individual performs. Lil Alan's cousins have their presentations prepared-one cousin will read a Langston Hughes poem, another will share a scrapbook "in Granny's favorite color blue." Alan, though, is stumped: "I kick a stone and my eyes start to burn." But as he internalizes the energy of the farm, tastes "love-made dishes," and enjoys family, the words come: "Cotton for the quilts Granny made to keep her children warm... A pecan for the trees Pa planted and all the kids love to climb." Lyons's image-rich prose and Minter's powerful acrylics-rendered in shadowy blues and fiery shades-convey a sense of historical struggle alongside cherished tradition while capturing the experience of performance jitters. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Lil Alan and his family are heading "down home" to the farm where Daddy was raised. Although Alan is excited to see his family, he's nervous about what to share at the celebration. With his family's help, Alan finds the right words to say. This relatable story of a multigenerational family reunion is strengthened by the acrylic-wash paintings, mixed with African symbols, of the family gathering. (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.

Book list Lil' Alan and his African American family arise before dawn for the drive down home to Granny's house for a reunion. They arrive to hugs from Granny, a parade of extended kin, and a quick trip around the farm on Granny's tractor. Tradition dictates that everyone contributes something to the celebration a song, a poem, a scrapbook but Alan agonizes, unsure what he should share. Lyons' lyrical text recounts a heartfelt story of family love, shared history, and connection to a place that binds everyone together. Minter's acrylic wash illustrations transmit a dreamy quality that conveys the deep respect family members share with one another. Blue washes are employed for the most reverent scenes, depicting dinnertime grace, memories of the now departed patriarch Pa, and Alan's heartfelt speech acknowledging the iconic elements that symbolize family for him. Also effective is Minter's use of intricately designed patterns that grace clothing, Granny's chickens, and layered images depicting cotton plants, garden areas, and a church. A tribute to families and the components that connect them.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Kirkus A young boy ponders the perfect tribute to his great-grandma for their annual family reunion.This year everyone's prepared something special for Granny's anniversary celebration "down home"everyone except Lil Alan. As he considers what to give, Lil Alan's weekend is marked by memories connected to the land and his family, those who are still alive and ancestors that have passed on. Ultimately, he gifts an object lesson that emphasizes the legacy of love that brings them together as a "mighty family." Imagery is presented in marvelous metaphors ("I watch as we drive from city streets to flowing highways under a sweep of sparkling stars"), while lighthearted ribbing (" Got a head just like your daddy,' Uncle Jay teases me") and soul food ( "smoked turkey, mac and cheese, okra and tomatoes, and biscuits oozing mayhaw jelly"yum) set the scene for a celebration of myriad African-American and family traditions. Minter's acrylic-wash prints soar as stenciled cotton bolls, okra, and pecans dot the pages alongside images of family members in sepia and blue-black hues. One striking spread details silhouettes of Lil Alan, Sis, and Momma layered on top of one another, same eyes, lips, and textured hair and same reunion T-shirt imprinted with a simple, familiar, deeply rooted tree.A warm, loving, necessary reminder of the power in families coming together. (Picture book. 4-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog With the Fire on High
by Elizabeth Acevedo

Book list Acevedo has done it again: the multi-award-winning author of The Poet X (2018) here delivers perfection, from the cover art featuring a young Afro-Latina woman looking out, her curls picked up in a scarf, and kitchen staples framing her face, to Acevedo's keen, stirring prose that reads like poetry and demands to be read slowly. In a distinct, perceptive, and vulnerable first-person narrative, Emoni, a young single mom being raised by her grandmother while raising her own daughter, relates the story of her last year of high school in vignettes and short chapters, trading off between sharing bits of the story and her musings about her life and her future. Emoni has a gift for cooking, and her food, like magic, conjures emotions in people she shares it with. Her teachers, friends, and family are all ready to support her when the subject of culinary arts schooling comes up, but the one Emoni needs to learn to trust is herself. Acevedo compassionately challenges her readers with a wide variety of topics, including cultural and personal identity and the needs and desires of older women, something that is so often forgotten. Fittingly, for a book so deeply about food, she also includes Emoni's recipes. This sophomore novel is simply stunning. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Acevedo's debut won a National Book Award and the Printz Award and her many fans will be salivating for this superb follow-up.--Kristina Pino Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Horn Book High school senior Emoni Santiago (an aspiring chef) and her two-year-old daughter live with Emoni's abuela. Emoni signs up for a culinary arts class that culminates in a trip to Spain--and she begins to see a path forward, if only she dares follow it. Acevedo creates beautifully realized characters with complex lives. A few recipes (such as "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Verbena Tembleque") are interspersed. (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 Seventeen-year-old Afro-Boricua Emoni Santiago hones her gift for cooking and makes important decisions about her future.Emoni's 'Buela says she's had a gift for cooking since she was small. Now Emoni has her own toddler, Emma ("The kind of name that doesn't tell you too much before you meet her, the way mine does"), nicknamed Babygirl. Emoni's first day of senior year at her Philadelphia high school is also Babygirl's first day of day care, leaving Emoni saddened about missing parts of her life. Emoni's a classic example of the school system's failure to harness many students' creativity and interests, but thankfully she discovers and enrolls in a new class called "Culinary Arts: Spain Immersion." Though the teacher, Chef Ayden, respects her, he's strict, and Emoni nearly drops the class, but eventually she gathers the ingredientsconnections and skillsshe'll need for success. A romance that doesn't fit the usual mold and a class trip to Spain round out this flavorful tale. Emoni occasionally breaks from first-person narration to address readers directly, and her voice and story feel fresh and contemporary. Diversity in representation is primarily racial and ethnic; however, Emoni's best friend Angelica is a lesbian. The short, precise prose chapters will draw in even reluctant readers, and the inclusion of several recipes adds to the appeal. Current pop-culture references and cultural relevance will attract both window and mirror readers. Sabroso. (Fiction. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this stunning sophomore novel from National Book Award and Printz winner Acevedo (The Poet X), Afro-Puerto Rican and African-American Emoni Santiago, a high school senior, lives in Philadelphia with her two-year-old daughter, Emma-nicknamed Babygirl-and paternal grandmother, 'Buela. A talented cook, Emoni balances school, work at a local burger joint, and motherhood-including shared custody with her ex-boyfriend, Tyrone-with moments in the kitchen, where her "magical hands" create dishes that allow the eater to access deep, surprising memories. But she's not sure what to do with her passion, or after high school, until enrolling in a culinary arts elective helps her to hone her innate cooking skills in the classroom and during a hard-won weeklong apprenticeship in Spain. As she gains practice at leadership and fund-raising, she also cautiously develops a budding relationship with new student Malachi, a boy who respects Emoni's boundaries. Acevedo expertly develops Emoni's close female relationships, which are often conveyed through the sharing of food and recipes, and which shape and buoy Emoni's sense of her own direction and strength. With evocative, rhythmic prose and realistically rendered relationships and tensions, Acevedo's unvarnished depiction of young adulthood is at once universal and intensely specific. Ages 13-up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-The acclaimed author follows up her celebrated The Poet X with a love letter to food and a tribute to young, single mothers. Emoni Santiago is an Afro-Latinx high school senior in Philly who dreams up the most delectable concoctions, always mixing up tastes from her two cultures with a spice of her own. The news of a culinary arts course with a possible trip to Spain grabs her interest, but how will she juggle school, work, and taking care of her daughter? The young woman is barely balancing everything on her plate with the help of her talented best friend Angelica, 'Buela (her intractable grandmother), and occasional visits from her activist father (who moved to Puerto Rico after her mother's death). Acevedo populates her first prose novel with complex and unforgettable characters and turns the stereotype of "teen mom" on its head. Emoni has to deal with daycare drop-offs, custody issues, and making ends meet alongside college applications, budding romances, and the high school rumor mill. Realistic dialogue and vulnerable interior monologues about sex, loss, and insecurities will ring true with all adolescents. The author expertly weaves Spanglish, toddler mom worries, and culinary lingo and aptly evokes the Philly and Spain settings, immersing readers in Emoni's world. The novel's three parts are introduced by recipes created and perfected by the protagonist, and hints of Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate will leave teens hungry for more. VERDICT Acevedo's second serving offers a much-needed nuanced exploration of teen parenting that belongs on all shelves.-Shelley M. Diaz, BookOps: The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2019. 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.

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