Engaging.

READ REVIEW

OBVIOUSLY

STORIES FROM MY TIMELINE

Comedian and YouTube celebrity Hughes takes readers on a hilariously intimate journey into her world.

Beginning with her childhood in Kentucky and ending in New York City as she conquers the world of YouTube, Hughes shares stories of spelling bee successes, raccoon infestations, and a cheerleading fail, none of which she allowed to deter her from her dreams of one day becoming as famous as Oprah, someone she admires for what she does to support others. Sprinkled throughout these laugh-out-loud accounts, Hughes keeps it real with autobiographical essays that touch on her absent father and the pain of being a child in a classroom taught by a hostile, racist teacher. Many teens will relate to everything she shares about acne, eating disorders, self-esteem, and body positivity, not to mention tales of besties and breakups, as she leaves childhood behind and barrels toward the world of adulthood. When things go badly as Hughes overcomes a serious health scare, readers will want to fight right alongside her. These essays read like warm conversations with an older cousin. The readable format provides helpful advice—sandwiched between love and laughter—on growing up. Whether they have heard of her before or not, young people will root for this young African American comedian as she navigates life’s challenges. The short chapters and chatty style make this an appealing choice for reluctant readers.

Engaging. (Memoir. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-10199-890-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys.

THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE (ADAPTED FOR YOUNG ADULTS)

The acclaimed author of Between the World and Me (2015) reflects on the family and community that shaped him in this adaptation of his 2008 adult memoir of the same name.

Growing up in Baltimore in the ’80s, Coates was a dreamer, all “cupcakes and comic books at the core.” He was also heavily influenced by “the New York noise” of mid-to-late-1980s hip-hop. Not surprisingly then, his prose takes on an infectious hip-hop poetic–meets–medieval folklore aesthetic, as in this description of his neighborhood’s crew: “Walbrook Junction ran everything, until they met North and Pulaski, who, craven and honorless, would punk you right in front of your girl.” But it is Coates’ father—a former Black Panther and Afrocentric publisher—who looms largest in his journey to manhood. In a community where their peers were fatherless, Coates and his six siblings viewed their father as flawed but with the “aura of a prophet.” He understood how Black boys could get caught in the “crosshairs of the world” and was determined to save his. Coates revisits his relationships with his father, his swaggering older brother, and his peers. The result will draw in young adult readers while retaining all of the heart of the original.

A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys. (maps, family tree) (Memoir. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-03-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

DRAGON HOOPS

The trials of a high school basketball team trying to clinch the state title and the graphic novelist chronicling them.

The Dragons, Bishop O’Dowd High School’s basketball team, have a promising lineup of players united by the same goal. Backed by Coach Lou Richie, an alumnus himself, this could be the season the Oakland, California, private Catholic school breaks their record. While Yang (Team Avatar Tales, 2019, etc.), a math teacher and former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, is not particularly sporty, he is intrigued by the potential of this story and decides to focus his next graphic novel on the team’s ninth bid for the state championship. Yang seamlessly blends a portrait of the Dragons with the international history of basketball while also tying in his own career arc as a graphic novelist as he tries to balance family, teaching, and comics. Some panels directly address the creative process, such as those depicting an interaction between Yang and a Punjabi student regarding the way small visual details cue ethnicity in different ways. This creative combination of memoir and reportage elicits questions of storytelling, memory, and creative liberty as well as addressing issues of equity and race. The full-color illustrations are varied in layout, effectively conveying intense emotion and heart-stopping action on the court. Yang is Chinese American, Richie is black, and there is significant diversity among the team members.

A winner. (notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-079-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more