Book reviews and recommendations, Young Adult 12-15

Top Five YA Picks for September

 Orla O’ Brien – Kildare Town Library

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta.

This is a poignant coming of age verse novel. It tells the compelling story of Michael, who is a mixed-race, gay teen. During Michael’s teenage years, and first year of college, he gradually and bravely embraces his identity. Michael boldly pursues the life he wants to live, even though it has been difficult at times. He soon finds his niche, a place where he belongs, at the university drag society. He flourishes into a fully-fledged drag queen, who goes by the name ‘Black Flamingo’. Michael’s conspicuous costume, donning pink feathers, highlights the daring journey he has been on. His tenacious spirit is an inspiration to us all. This verse novel calls on readers to find their own truth and strength to live the life they want.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Jacob is traumatised after finding his grandfather, Abraham, brutally murdered. Abraham Portman had been telling Jacob stories about surviving World War II. He recalled meeting monsters and finding a secret house with peculiar children, run by Miss Peregrine, located on an island off Wales. Nobody paid Abraham much attention and put his fables down to old age. However, Jacob intuitively knew there was a mystery to be solved.  He convinced his Dad to bring him to the island. He discovered Miss Peregrine’s home in a time looped parallel universe. He must now choose which world he wants to stay in. A riveting fantasy with complimentary, spooky vintage photos.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Ever since his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Conor O’Malley, has had the same dream every night. However, one night this all changes. At seven minutes after midnight he is greeted by a monster, outside his bedroom window. The monster is surprised that Conor is not afraid of him. He is adamant that it was Conor who summoned him. The monster, an ally, wants the one thing that hurts the most, the truth. The monster helps Conor to deal with all the inner turmoil he has inside of himself. Siobhan O’ Dowd started writing this novel but sadly died of terminal cancer herself. Patrick Ness has done a superb job of bringing this novel to life.  

  Run, Riot by Nikesh Shukla

Firestone house is a dilapidated tower block in London, home to hundreds of people. Taran, and her twin brother Hari, had no choice but to move there. Their father had no means to pay the rent when he was diagnosed with cancer. The area is littered with boarded up windows, broken lifts and is left to decay. NextGen, a firm of property developers, are eager to dispose of all the remaining residents in these crumbling flats. They want to eradicate them for something more upmarket. Jamal and Anna join the twins in unravelling the dark secrets of what is happening. They witness the murder of resident Sim and go on the run. They must figure out a way to find justice for Sim and save their neighbourhood before it is too late. This is a fast-paced thriller and powerful book. The reader will be hooked from the first page.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane grew up in a loving household in Tehran in the 1970’s. Her parents were well to do secular leftists. They showered her with love and gave her the freedom to think independently. She kept her strong-willed trait even when the Shah’s regime was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution. Freedom was becoming more and more restricted, especially for women.  Many of Marjane’s family members were imprisoned and harassed for their liberal way of thinking. Marjane herself became frustrated not being able to wear make-up or allowed to voice her opinion. Suffocated by this regime she decided to leave her homeland at fourteen and go to Europe. Being alone was the high price she paid for pursuing an education. This is a thought provoking, autobiographical, graphic novel.

Check availability to borrow on Bolinda Borrowbox here. Prefer a physical copy ? Feel free to request online from your local library here or make an appointment to visit your library here.

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