Each week our friendly library staff and special guests review their latest YA reads. Head over to our Instagram account @librariesinwyndham to see all of our recommendations.
📖 YA Book Of The Week - Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo 📖
A beautiful and poetic novel that explores the impact of tragedy, grief and social privilege in the lives of two teenage girls. Sixteen-year old Camino lives in the Dominican Republic with her Aunt and looks forward to the summer when her father flies back from the United States to spend time with her. She is an aspiring doctor and dreams of going to College in the US. Yahaira lives in New York City and misses her father when he visits the Dominican Republic each summer. He is always supportive and encourages her to follow her dreams.
When American Airlines Flight 587, en route from New York City to the Dominican Republic, crashes in Queens, killing all 260 people on board, both girls are faced with the tragic loss of their father that changes their lives forever.
The narration switches between the two girls, exploring their unique lifestyles, feelings of grief and the discovery that they each have a half-sister that they previously didn’t know about. The author skilfully depicts the girl’s inner thoughts and emotions towards their upbringing and their home country. The relationship that eventually develops between the sisters is, at times, awkward and laced with feelings of betrayal. However, they also gain comfort and connection through their similarities, shared loss and increased perspective on each other’s lives and backgrounds.
I listened to Clap When You Land as an eAudioBook, read by the author herself. I really enjoyed listening to Elizabeth narrate the beautiful poetic style of this narrative in verse. I also like how this book is based upon real-life events and pays tribute to the lives lost in the tragic plane accident that took place not long after the 9/11 tragedy. It’s the kind of book that sparks deep thought and stays with you long after the final page. It prompted personal reflection on the fragility of life, the depth of our emotions and the vast differences between us all.
Reviewed by Education & Youth Librarian, KatyAnne. Read Clap When You Land as eBook, print book, or listen to it - find a copy here.
📖📖 YA Book of the Week! Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte 📖📖
What do a divided kingdom (or should I say queendom?), four queens, a pickpocket and a noble messenger, all have in common?
Seventeen-year-old Keralie may seem harmless but, in fact, she's one of Quadara's most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara's most enlightened region, Eonia. When a routine theft goes horribly wrong, Keralie discovers she's stolen a video of the Four Queens of Quadara being murdered. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy.
With no other choices and on the run, the two decide to join forces, endeavouring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first, they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation's four dead queens.
Action-packed from the first page, and all the while you're trying to connect all the dots. Let's just say I am slightly paranoid now! It’s been one of the first books in a long time that I didn’t predict everything that was going to happen. Four Dead Queens is fast-paced and not drawn out too long. The way it develops the story by shifting viewpoints is intriguing, showing you a little of everyone’s perspective and everyone’s struggles.
This book made me laugh at the most inappropriate moments! I really recommend it. 👌
To borrow a copy of the book, click here. Reviewed by Education and Youth Librarian, Carrie 🤓
YA Book of the Week 📚 'Can't Say It Went to Plan' by Gabrielle Tozer
'Can't Say It Went to Plan' is an endearing and sweet book that follows Zoe, Samira and Dahlia on their Schoolies adventure. The narrative is fast-paced and switches between the three young women as they face various challenges during a week that takes unexpected turns 🙃
I think one of the strengths of this book is that Zoe, Samira and Dahlia are all quite different in terms of their personalities and backgrounds, which gives a nice range of perspectives and experiences. Whilst the book is lighthearted and fun, it also delves into some grittier themes such as loss, grief, toxic friendships and first loves 💔
Samira was my favourite character and I felt really proud of how she dealt with the difficult situation she found herself in (realising her boyfriend was a chump and that her friends were rubbish). The one thing that missed the mark for me was how Dahlia's anxiety and grief was portrayed, and the ways in which her friends supported her through her struggle. I'm not sure many young people could cope with having a friend like Dahlia with that level of maturity and understanding, but I hope that's just me!
Having said that, the book has some excellent messages about mental health, coming of age, relationships and sexuality without being preachy about it. All in all a solid, fun read 😀
To start reading 'Can't Say It Went To Plan' click here🔗
Reviewed by Sophie, Education and Youth Services Librarian 🤓
📚 YA Book of the Week – ‘Carry On’ by Rainbow Rowell
With the recent release of ‘Any Way The Wind Blows,’ I thought it was time to delve into the magical world of Simon Snow and get my hands on a copy of ‘Carry On,’ the first novel in the trilogy!
‘Carry On’ is a YA fantasy/comedy/romance set in England at the Watford School of Magicks, where we follow protagonist Simon during his final year of magical education. Despite being the Chosen One, Simon is a below average spellcaster at the best of times and barely manages to escape near-death experiences on a regular basis. As if battling forces of evil weren’t enough, Simon also butts heads constantly with his suave (and possibly undead) roommate, Baz, who Simon is convinced is his nemesis… and who he continuously obsesses over 😉
‘Carry On’ is very heavily inspired by the Harry Potter series (think Harry Potter with more comedy and a queer romance at its heart) and builds on the fictional universe that was first introduced in Rainbow Rowell’s 2013 novel ‘Fangirl’, where the main character Cath writes fanfiction based on Simon’s adventures.
This book is the perfect lockdown pick-me-up, and I got invested in it very quickly. It made me laugh out loud, swoon and gasp (yes, literally gasp). I loved the enemies-to-lovers storyline and the wonderful, classic case of “opposites attract” (always one of my favourite plot devices). If this sounds like your thing, you will love this book! 🥰
'Carry On' is for older readers, and I recommend it for ages 15+.
To start reading, click here!
Reviewed by Emily, Education and Youth Librarian.
📚 YA Book of the Week: 'Small Spaces' - The award winning, debut novel by Australian author, Sarah Epstein.
At eight years old, Tash Carmody witnessed her disturbing imaginary friend, Sparrow, lure the young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. Found one week later, nobody really knows what happened to Mallory during her disappearance as she hasn’t spoken a word since. At the time, nobody believed Tash. Through regular counselling and reassurance from her parents and Aunt, whom she was staying with at the time, Tash has come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now, at seventeen years old, Tash is still haunted by the events of her past. When Mallory and her older brother, Morgan, move back into town, memories begin to resurface, and Tash starts to see Sparrow again. She begins to question everything she’s ever been told and is determined to find out what’s real and what’s not.
I found this book to be extremely entertaining as it was well paced and kept me guessing right to the end. It highlights the importance of speaking up, being heard and trusting your intuition. The author, @sarahepsteinbooks, take us on an intriguing journey of current events, intertwined with snippets from the past, slowly revealing the truth behind Tash’s haunted past and Mallory’s disappearance. A gripping, psychological thriller!
To borrow "Small Spaces" click me! Reviewed by Education & Youth Librarian, KatyAnne.
YA Book of the Week – 'You Were Made for Me' by Jenna Guillaume 👱🏼♂️🖌✨
Tired of never having had a boyfriend or even a first kiss, Katie and her best friend Libby decide to create a sculpture of the “perfect” guy. A guy who is super sweet, devoted to Katie and who looks like a long-lost Hemsworth brother of course. Much to Katie and Libby’s disbelief, however, the sculpture they created for a bit of a laugh, turns into an actual real-life guy! While having a great-looking boyfriend who dotes on her starts out fun, it doesn’t take long until Katie realises that the ready-made love she created isn’t as satisfying she thought it would be. And that the perfect guy already existed for her all along…
This book made me glad to reminisce about all the awkward and funny things about being in high school! This story is also as much about friendship as it is about first love. I particularly enjoyed Katie and Libby’s friendship throughout the book – they’re the smart, funny and conscientious friends that everyone needs in their lives. A very funny and enjoyable read about first love, friendship and learning to be comfortable with your own imperfections ✨
To start reading ‘You Were Made for Me’, click here! Reviewed by Anna, Education & Youth Services Librarian.