Alex is looking forward to spending the summer (as she’s always done) with her best friend, Will. Will’s mother runs the concession stand at their community pool, and both kids have spent several summers playing games at the pool. This summer, though, a schoolmate named Rebekah has eyes for Will — and him for her! As Rebekah and Will begin a tentative crush-friendship, Alex feels threatened and ropes Will into a big summer project (building their treehouse) for which they’ll need several summer jobs to afford building supplies. Surprisingly to Alex, Rebekah also wants to be her friend too. Can Alex get over her jealousy and other issues in her life to figure out this summer friendship drama?
Review | Karthik Delivers
14-year-old Karthik Raghavan is spending his last summer of middle school delivering groceries for his father’s Indian grocery store. When he’s not playing delivery boy, he’s hanging out with his best friends and sneaking glances at his crush whenever he runs into her. It’s the early 2000s in Boston, Massachusett and the recession is leading to store closures. Karthik’s father’s store becomes at greater risk of closure when Juhi’s family opens an Indian restaurant (also selling pre-packaged ready-to-cook items). But the most interesting part of Karthik’s summer? A university student wants him to act as Leonard Bernstein in her play. Can Karthik deliver?
Graphic Novel Review | Miss Quinces
What if all you wanted for the summer was to go to camp with your best friends and draw comics in peace — BUT your parents thought it was better to go to Honduras, where they’re from instead? That’s Sue’s dilemma. And then, on top of that, she finds out that her family is throwing her a surprise Quincenera against her wish. Will Sue survive the summer?
Review | Join the Club, Maggie Diaz
New seventh-grader Maggie Diaz is not the most organized person. But she’s trying to become her best self this school year so she can win her parents’ trust and get a new phone by the end of the year. She soon finds out that getting on honor roll is not that easy. Worse still, Maggie’s dealing with so many changes. Her best friends have joined after-school clubs to pursue their interests and have little or no time for Maggie (who can’t seem to find her interests). Since her Abuelo died, her Abuela has become her roommate and Maggie just wants some alone time! Will Maggie find her place and “join the club”?
Review | Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene
Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene follows fifth grader Sofia Acosta who feels like the black sheep of her ballet-loving family. Her parents were professional dancers who emigrated from Cuba to the United States. Her sister, Regina is a ballet prodigy whose eyes are set on the American Ballet Theater (ABT) and even their little brother Manuel is an excellent ballet dancer. Sofia, though? She can’t stop stepping on people’s toes when she dances. What she loves the most is sewing the costumes for the dancers and hanging out with her best friend Tricia. But when a family friend visiting from Cuba hints at staying in the US long-term to dance for the ABT, Tricia’s response hints at prejudice that Sofia never saw coming. Will Sofia stand up for what’s right?
Review | Alpaca My Bags
In Alpaca My Bags, Amelia is relieved when her parents decide to pause their life on the road for a short while so they can work and earn more money to continue their adventures. She’s trying hard to think about her family’s next daredevil adventure plans which involve skiing a black diamond slope. Amelia has been homeschooled most of her life and has major anxiety, so adjusting back to public school is not as easy as she expects. She’s also struggling with being the most scared person in her family of adventurers and feeling like she’s holding them back. But when she finds a farm with a herd of alpacas (animals known for their anxious, fearful tendency), Amelia discovers that being brave goes beyond physically challenging adventures.
Review | Nikki on the Line
In Nikki on the Line, 13-year-old Nikki Doyle feels one step closer to her pro basketball player dreams when she gets signed on to an elite-level club team. But her mother doesn’t have enough to pay for the club, and so Nikki offers to watch her little brother after school so they can save on daycare money. Unfortunately, playing for the club isn’t nearly as easy as Nikki expects.
Review | As If on Cue
In As If on Cue, sworn frenemies Natalie and Reid are forced to work together on a musical to save their school’s art programs after a prank by Natalie goes wrong. Reid is a band kid while Natalie is a scriptwriter, who used to play the clarinet (even before Reid). Natalie prefers to do the arts as a “fun hobby” — or so she tells herself — whereas Reid is serious about his music and wants to become a composer. The two are close family friends, their tween sisters are best friends, and Natalie’s dad teaches Reid how to play the clarinet. But as they work as co-directors, Natalie’s years-long resentment of Reid and his bond with her dad continues to rear it’s ugly head. Will their musical see the light of day?
Picture Book Friday | Bella’s Recipe for Success
Bella’s Recipe for Success is about a girl who can’t seem to figure out what she’s good at. Her brother plays piano excellently and her sister is a brilliant gymnast, but Bella can’t do either of those things well. She decides, though, that she’s going to bake, but it turns out baking isn’t that easy and her first recipe is a bust. But just before she gives up, her abuela steps in to teach her and Bella learns that learning new things — and becoming good at them — takes time and effort.
Review | The Last Super Chef
Curtis Pith is a huge fan of the cooking show, Super Chef, and not just because he loves cooking. He has a huge secret: the host of the show, Lucas Taylor is his father. So when Taylor announces a final season of the show, but for kids, Curtis knows he has to apply. Once he’s accepted and meets the four other kids, it’s straight to work. Between contests, homesickness, and figuring out how to keep his secret while observing Lucas Taylor’s changing behavior, Curtis has his hands full. But will he be The Last Super Chef?
Review | Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance
Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance is Nisha Sharma’s sophomore YA novel. It follows Radha, a skilled Kathak dancer who decides to stop dancing after anxiety and a family betrayal cause her to bow out of a contest. Jai is a student at the Princeton Academy of the Arts where Radha transfers. Although she is insistent on not dancing, her dance skills may be Jai’s ticket to medical school (which he’s convinced e can’t attend). Add Radha’s grandfather’s cookbook, Jai’s family dilemmas, and plenty of dancing, and this story comes to life.
Review | Ten Thousand Tries
Golden Macaroni is having a tough year. First, he really wants to get bigger and become the captain of his middle school soccer team. As a dedicated Messi fan, he’s working on putting in ten thousand hours of soccer practice so that he can become as good as Messi. His former-soccer-star father has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). His best friend, Lucy Littlehouse is also moving away from her home next door to Golden’s. Despite his dad’s obvious deterioration, Golden stubbornly believes that his dad will get better. How will he cope with everything on his plate — and the heartbreaking challenges ahead of his family?