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“Kin: Rooted in Hope,” “The Quiet and the Loud” & more 2023 releases

October 9th, 2023


This has been a great year for kid and young adult books, and this week’s picks are no exception.

“Barely Floating,” by Lilliam Rivera (Penguin Young Readers, 2023, middle grades and up, 229 pages, $18.99) caught me off guard. I don’t know what it is about this particular young adult novel, or the others I’m reviewing this week, but this… unexpectedness… seems to be a common thread with the new fiction on the shelves for young adults. Pretty amazing stuff.

In “Barely Floating,” our angry young heroine, Natalia de la Cruz Rivera y Santiago, wants to compete with the local synchronized swimming team. The L.A. Mermaids are the coolest, but Natalia’s parents, being parents, don’t understand. Her cousin has an even bigger secret. Great story, with well-rounded characters.

“Kin: Rooted in Hope” is a heartbreak, gorgeous, inspiring book from mother and son team Carole Boston Weatherford and Jefferey Boston Weatherford. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster, 2023, middle grades and up, 202 pages, $18.99). Combining Carole’s poems and Jefferey’s art, “Kin” is an extraordinary book about family, ancestry, roots, love and hate and always, hope.

“Give Me A Sign” is a love story set at a camp for Deaf teenagers. Sweet and thoughtful debut novel by Anna Sortino. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2023, ages middle grade and up, 303 pages, $18.99.)

Kaija Langley’s “Order of Things” an exquisite novel written in free verse, introduces us to best friends April and Zee. We learn about their mutual love of music, meet their parents and their community, and discover there are some challenges no one should have to face alone. Poignant and real. (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, ages middle grade and up, 269 pages, $17.99.)

We have another knock-out of a novel, “The Quiet and the Loud,” from Australian author Helena Fox (Dial Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, ages middle grade and up, 380 pages, $19.99). George loves to paddle in the quiet water, alone and content. Who can blame her? Laz, her best friend, worries about everything because the world, as we know, truly is going to hell. (Love you, Laz. You’re right, and it all sucks.) George’s other BFF is Tess, who is being pretty nonchalant about impending teen motherhood; she has her mums; her gramps; her dad-gone-missing who has suddenly reappeared and… Calliope. Calliope, who does handstands and cartwheels through the water.

Trigger warnings for all of these books, but also? So much love.

Have a great week, friends. Keep reading.


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