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Sunday Book Roundup: Books for Young Adult Readers

July 23rd, 2023

art, downtown Portland, Ore.

(Jamison Park, downtown Portland, Ore. Photo by Rawley; use with permission only, please)

Not writing a review today — I’d like to spend the day reading, instead. How’s that for an idea? I just received four outstanding young adult novels, and yes, I did start reading all four of them at once. I do this all the time and it’s my worst/best habit. I’ll give you the titles and a bit of info for now, in case you’d like to check them out for yourself, a kid or a friend.

Happy Sunday! Happy reading.


I received two novels that are written in free verse. I love this style and how it invites the reader in. Here is the first one:

“The Order of Things,” by Kaija Langley (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, 269 pages, $17.99). Heartbreaker of a story, with a rhythm all its own. This is the tale of April Janelle Jackson and her best friend and neighbor Zee (Zander, son of Papa Zee), April’s mom and the others in their life. Zee plays violin; April is a drummer; and this, this new school year, they’re starting at different schools. They are A-Z.

The Moment

the elevator doors open on our floor,

the blissful scent of baked

bread and cloves fills the hallway.

Mama bakes all kinds of things,

rolls and loaves, cookies and

croissants, muffins and buns,

making my mouth water each time.

I high-five Zee goodbye for now, slip

into my apartment like a whisper.”

“Aniana Del Mar Jumps In,” by Jasminne Mendez, is the second free verse book, and is great, too. (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House, 2023, 374 pages, $18.99.) Aniana lives with her Papi and Mami in the Dominican Republic. Thoughtful, poetic book about living with a chronic, scary disease, and fighting to not give up the things you love.

“Give Me a Sign,” by Anna Sortino (G.P. Putnam/Penguin Random House, 2023, 303 pages, $18.99). Tender, lovely book about first love at a youth summer camp and Deaf Pride. Great read for summer or any other time of the year.

“The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet,” by Jake Maia Arlow is another new book about a potentially tricky topic — Crohn’s Disease. (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House, 2023, 284 pages, $17.99.) The only thing worse than dealing with middle school is dealing with middle school when you have a situation you do not want to discuss.

Talk soon, everyone, hope you’re finding some good pages to read. (It’s Disability Pride month, by the way, and those last three titles are in honor of it.)


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