Book Bites: Women’s History Month and TeenBookCon, Too

Happy Women's History Month, friends! We're proud to be a woman-owned, women-run independent bookshop every day of the year, but this month is a special reminder to highlight the invaluable contributions of women. We're excited to highlight books by women authors below — including a sweet picture book, a wonderful piece of historical fiction, a fantastic debut novel, and a selection of books by authors who will be featured at this month's tenth annual TeenBookCon!

We’ve been busy, busy, busy preparing for TeenBookCon 2019, which will feature 24 of the best YA authors writing today. To say that we’re looking forward to it is just a tiny bit of an understatement — none other than Angie Thomas and Laurie Halse Anderson (!!!) are keynoting the festival — so we’re turning a chunk of this biweekly roundup over to them. Dig in and read on, friends.

Ages 4-8

When I Found Grandma by Saumiya Balasubramaniam; illustrated by Qin Leng

Maya has never met her grandmother as she lives across the sea. She longs to see her. One day, she receives a surprise visit! But her grandma wears "different" loud clothes and calls Maya by her longer, traditional name. And when she comes to school, Maya is mortified—imagine any child's embarrassment of someone who does not fit in. But with lovely illustrations and lyrical text, Maya and her grandma learn to live together and love together. It's a book that can be shared on many levels.

READ this lovely story aloud—at home or in the classroom.
PASS if sweet, multi-generational picture books just make you ugly-cry. (Been there.)
Order your copy on our website. 

Adult Fiction

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Jamaican Brit Queenie is not having a very good year. Her boyfriend Tom has asked for a break, she's just suffered a miscarriage, and she's struggling at work. Although she has a wonderful supportive group of friends, she makes questionable dating choices and ends up having to move in with her strict Jamaican grandparents. Queenie's dynamic voice and painfully funny self-reflection make her an appealing character—one you want to laugh with, cry with, hug like mad, and then talk sense into. A great debut novel!

READ for the unforgettable, fresh voice and winning protagonist.
PASS if you like forgettable, stale, musty characters.
Order your copy on our website. 

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

Two girls, Elise who is German American and Mariko, who is Japanese American, are interned with their families in Crystal City. They form a quick but lasting friendship. Their lives are structured within the camp. As the war rages on, both families learn that they will be repatriated to their home countries.  Having been raised in America, the girls are not prepared. Elise tells the story of those last years and of the present day when she finally reconnects with Mariko who is dying. As they endure war and post-war trials, we learn how they continue to remember each other with love.

READ this spellbinding piece of historical fiction for its timely themes and complex characters. 
PASS if you don’t think that themes of fear, hatred, and immigration are relevant these days.
Order your copy on our website. 
Meet the author when she visits the shop on March 20th.

TeenBookCon Spotlight

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Brianna is a high school student and aspiring rapper, with the kind of talent for words and rhyme that earns her standing ovations when she performs. When Bri gets the opportunity to record her first single, her anger gets the best of her as she takes lyrical aim at a pair of abusive guards who've recently profiled her and her friends, some of the only black students at her school. 

Bri's loaded single blows up just as her mom loses her job, leaving Bri to navigate the strains of poverty and a complicated mother-daughter relationship, racial stereotyping from the media, and her dream of becoming a hip-hop star. In a story that spins on the power of words and stares down stereotypes, Angie Thomas weaves each sentence into a narrative as nuanced and masterly as her heroine's hip-hop lyrics. Forget the sophomore slump—Angie Thomas did it again. The only thing missing is a soundtrack. 
—Mary Cate

READ this timely, insightful story of a smart and nuanced young woman. Just do it.
PASS the time until TeenBookCon by also re-reading The Hate U Give
Order your copy on our website. 

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

In an indirect sequel to her novel Speak, Anderson has amassed a collection of verse reflecting her life story. This memoir builds slowly from childhood memories to a searing, unflinching look at modern-day rape culture and misogyny. Emotions throb on every page from tender heartache to burning rage. Even for those who are not fans of poetry, Anderson writes in a way that is easily accessible. Readers will not find complex metaphors or literary devices, but rather a soul poured unrestrained onto a page. Absolutely recommended. 

READ this fiery memoir and come away galvanized and ready for change.
PASS at your own peril. This has "classic" written all over it.
Order your copy on our website. 

The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason

Seventeen year old Harley opens a door at a high school party and finds her drunk boyfriend kissing her sister Audrey. She storms out of the party, leaving Audrey behind, only to learn the next morning that there's been a drunk driving accident and Harley's now in a coma. It's a dramatic beginning to a nuanced story that addresses siblings, recovery and approaching adulthood with authenticity and a deft touch. For grades 9 and up.

READ for the sensitive treatment of tough topics and well-drawn characters.
PASS if you don't mind missing out on one of the most buzzed-about debuts this spring.
Order your copy on our website. 

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

One year after the disastrous Tour of her older brother Monty, Felicity Montague finds herself in Edinburgh, stressing under the threat of the life of a housewife before her. Her wishes to become a physician are laughed at because she is a female—all in spite of her relentless self-education in human anatomy and medical practices. After reuniting with Monty and Percy in London and another scoffed-at proposal to the hospital board, Felicity learns that her idolized doctor, Alexander Platt, is looking for apprentices to take a voyage with him. Felicity escapes from her brother and races to catch Platt and beg him to take her on, as he will be leaving directly after his wedding—where he will be marrying none other than Felicity's former friend, Johanna Glass, with whom she did not part on good terms. What could go wrong? Lee's trademark wit and humor makes Felicity's story every bit as strong as its predecessor. 

READ because this is a winning second entry in a great historical series.
PASS if you’re hitting the high seas and only have room to pack your medical treatises.
Order your copy on our website.