Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

starfish

Originally published in: 2017

What’s it about:  17-year-old Kiko Himura spends her days struggling with her social anxiety and feeling like her half-Japanese identity means she’ll never fit in anywhere – especially not with her mother. She lives for the day she’ll escape to art school, but first, she has to get in.

What made me pick it up: It was a finalist for the Morris Award given to the best YA debut novel.

My favorite things: Bowman includes the most magical descriptions of Kiko’s art. They make her paintings and drawings come to life and reflect and inspire real emotion. There’s a strong romantic element to the story that is perfectly complicated.

Who it’s great for:  Teens interested in a complicated romance with lots of family drama.

Abby’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells


Find this in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).


 

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

wolves

Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: Fourteen-year-old Linda lives her life as an outsider, her solitude punctuated by problematic relationships. She struggles to find herself as she navigates intrigue, illness, fringe religions, and death.

What made me pick it up: I loved the cover art and, although I couldn’t remember what it was about, I knew I’d read good reviews.

My favorite things: I gave this a lot of shells because it is very well written and I recognize that it’s a great book, but it’s also a bummer and I’m not a big fan of literary fiction, so at times it kind of made me want to gouge my eyes out. That said, Fridlund’s perfectly crafted prose walk the line between sinister and simply heartbreaking with ease.

Who it’s great for: Readers looking for a complex and unusual coming of age story. Those seeking a young woman protagonist who is believable and strong. Anyone interested in an extremely well-written story.

Abby’s rating: four-and-a-half-shells


Want a copy? Find one at Amazon (affiliate link) or see if it’s available at a library near you.