Gripping reading; necessary for every library serving teens.

JANE AGAINST THE WORLD

ROE V. WADE AND THE FIGHT FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

An account of the tumultuous struggle for abortion rights in the United States.

Blumenthal kicks off her narrative with a thrillerworthy scene: the 1972 raid by Chicago police on the eponymous “Jane,” an underground abortion referral service. The book then pulls back to offer an engaging history of developments in reproductive rights that contributed to the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Along the way there are brief biographies of key figures—some as famous (or infamous) as Anthony Comstock and Margaret Sanger, some virtually unknown but no less fascinating—placed within a nuanced context and punctuated by “Pregnant Pause[s]”: occasionally humorous, sometimes infuriating, often poignant sketches detailing the history of biological knowledge, birth control techniques, legal issues, popular opinion, and religious proclamations. A deep dive into the circumstances, personalities, deliberations, and compromises involved in Roe v. Wade (along with the frequently overlooked companion cases) takes up a dozen chapters, followed by a brief consideration of the consequences, backlash, and steady succession of laws and court cases chipping away at the decision. An epilogue brings the discussion up to the appointment of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Blumenthal’s bibliography demonstrates the depth of her research, including online, archival, and primary sources. This riveting book, enhanced by historical photographs, also addresses racial bias, the eugenics movement, and other critical related subjects.

Gripping reading; necessary for every library serving teens. (glossary, timeline, significant Supreme Court cases, bibliography, notes) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-165-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story.

DISCOVERING WES MOORE

This story, an adaptation for young people of the adult memoir The Other Wes Moore (2008), explores the lives of two young African-American men who share the same name and grew up impoverished on the same inner-city streets but wound up taking completely different paths.

Author Moore grew up with a devoted mother and extended family. After receiving poor grades and falling in with a bad crowd, his family pooled their limited finances to send him to Valley Forge Military Academy, where he found positive role models and became a Corps commander and star athlete. After earning an undergraduate degree, Wes attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. When the author read about the conviction of another Wes Moore for armed robbery and killing a police officer, he wanted to find out how two youths growing up at the same time in the same place could take such divergent paths. The author learns that the other Wes never had the extensive family support, the influential mentors or the lucky breaks he enjoyed. Unfortunately, the other Wes Moore is not introduced until over two-thirds of the way through the narrative. The story of the other Wes is heavily truncated and rushed, as is the author's conclusion, in which he argues earnestly and convincingly that young people can overcome the obstacles in their lives when they make the right choices and accept the support of caring adults.

Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story. (Memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-74167-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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