Currently Reading: Five Feet Apart

Title_ Five Feet Apart

What It’s About:  Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

Currently Reading...Reboot

I am 125 pages into this book and it began well enough.  I like Stella.  I find her to be driven and so incredibly compassionate and kind to everyone around her.  I also really love her friend Poe and his cooking obsession.  The book spends a bit of time really establishing how they became friends but I am not getting a good sense of how deep that bond is in the present.  Friendships matter.

I have 2 issues so far.  I don’t like Will.  Stella says it herself in this novel, his behavior isn’t original.  It really isn’t, and it comes across as gross rather than sad.  I have also had enough of authors putting forward the idea that the only personality trait a teen boy can have is that he’s obsessed with sex and innuendo.  I am not buying it and nor should anyone else.

I’m reading it and continuing to read it.  I’m wondering though, how people from the Cystic Fibrosis community feel about this book.  I’m also wondering how accurate a picture it paints of those growing up and living with cystic fibrosis. Things to think about.

Finished Reading: Everything, Everything

Title_ Everything, Everything (1)

What It’s About:  My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Finished Reading...Reboot

In Everything, Everything, Madeline Whittier lives a solitary, sterile, and routine life because of a rare condition that makes her allergic to almost everything outside her home.   It has been easy to ignore the world going on outside her window until a new family moves in across the street and she notices Olly.  With his introduction, Madeline finds it hard to forget what life was like before he arrived and to go back to the person she was before him.

This is really a book about a girl wanting to grow up and experience everything the world has to offer.  Olly represents that link to the world that Madeline is so desperate and willing to risk her life and other relationships for.  She takes several bold steps to set herself free.  This book really turned into something I did not expect by the end.  Yes, at its heart, it is about love and connection but it isn’t that simple.  It’s also about trauma, healing, family, and independence.

I hope you will check out the book before the movie and have a chance to quietly experience the story on your own.

Donut Rating 4

On a Theme: Filipino Middle-Grade Novels


In this On a Theme post, I wanted to highlight some wonderful books written by Filipina authors.

We have such a large and vibrant Filipino community in my area, and it’s so amazing that we now have stories that are written by authors from that same community, and that feature Filipino characters front and center.

These are just a few authors to watch.


Title:  My Fate According to the Butterfly
Author:  Gail A. Villanueva

What It’s About:   When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she’s doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her — on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn’t even know why.

If Sab’s going to get Ate Nadine and their father to reconcile, she’ll have to overcome her fears — of her sister’s anger, of leaving the bubble of her sheltered community, of her upcoming doom — and figure out the cause of their rift.

So Sab and her best friend Pepper start spying on Nadine and digging into their family’s past to determine why, exactly, Nadine won’t speak to their father. But Sab’s adventures across Manila reveal truths about her family more difficult — and dangerous — than she ever anticipated.

Was the Butterfly right? Perhaps Sab is doomed after all!

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Title:  Everlasting Nora
Author:  Marie Miranda Cruz

What It’s About:  After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila’s North Cemetery, which is the largest shanty town of its kind in the Philippines today.

When her mother disappears mysteriously one day, Nora is left alone.

With help from her best friend Jojo and the support of his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a journey riddled with danger in order to find her mom. Along the way she also rediscovers the compassion of the human spirit, the resilience of her community, and everlasting hope in the most unexpected places.

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Title:  The House that Lou Built
Author:  Mae Respicio

What It’s About:  Lou Bulosan-Nelson is going to build her dream. She shares a room with her mom in her grandmother’s house in San Francisco, and longs for a place of her own where she can escape her lovable but large extended Filipino family. Lou has a talent for woodshop class and creating projects, and plans to build a tiny house, 100 square feet, all her own, on land that she inherited from her dad, who died before she was born. Then Lou discovers it’s not so easy to build one, but she won’t give up on her dream—and her friends and family won’t either. This heartwarming coming-of-age story explores culture and family, forgiveness and friendship, and what makes a house a true home.

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Title:  Any Day with You
Author:  Mae Respicio

What It’s About:  Kaia and her family live near the beach in California, where the fun of moviemaking is all around them. Kaia loves playing with makeup and creating special effects, turning her friends into merfolk and other magical creatures.

This summer, Kaia and her friends are part of a creative arts camp, where they’re working on a short movie to enter in a contest. The movie is inspired by the Filipino folktales that her beloved Tatang, her great-grandfather, tells. Tatang lives with her family and is like the sparkle of her special-effects makeup. When Tatang decides that it is time to return to his homeland in the Philippines, Kaia will do anything to convince him not to go.

Note:  I wanted to include this book because it is an upcoming novel by this author.  It is set to be released May 5, 2020.


Title:  Bone Talk
Author:  Candy Gourlay

What It’s About:  It is 1899. Ten-year-old Samkad thinks he knows everything about the world. He knows that home is in the mountains. He knows who his friends and his enemies are. And he knows that he will grow up to become a warrior like his dad, with his own shield, spear and axe.

His best friend is Little Luki and she too wants to become a warrior – though there’s little chance of that because she is just a girl.

Then strangers arrive: a boy with many languages in his throat … and weird-looking men called Americans who bring war and death.

Set during the U.S. invasion of the Philippines.


Title:  The Land of Forgotten Girls
Author:  Erin Entrada Kelly

What It’s About: Two sisters from the Philippines, abandoned by their father and living in impoverished circumstances in Louisiana, fight to make their lives better.

Soledad has always been able to escape into the stories she creates. Just like her mother always could. And Soledad has needed that escape more than ever in the five years since her mother and sister died and her father moved Sol and her youngest sister from the Philippines to Louisiana. Then he left, and all Sol and Ming have now is their evil stepmother, Vea. Sol has protected Ming all this time, but then Ming begins to believe that Auntie Jove—their mythical, world-traveling aunt—is really going to come rescue them. Have Sol’s stories done more harm than good? Can she protect Ming from this impossible hope?


Title:  Lalani of the Distant Sea
Author:  Erin Entrada Kelly

What It’s About:  There are stories of extraordinary children who are chosen from birth to complete great quests and conquer evil villains.

This is no such story.

Sometimes, you are an ordinary child.

Sometimes, you have to choose yourself.

This is the story of Lalani Sarita, a twelve-year-old girl who lives on the island of Sanlagita in the shadow of a vengeful mountain. When she makes a fateful wish that endangers her already-vulnerable village, she sets out across the distant sea in search of life’s good fortunes. Grown men have died making the same journey. What hope does an ordinary girl have?

Note:  Lalani of the Distant Sea does not explicitly take place in the Philippines or feature a Filipino character but many creatures in the book are inspired by Filipino folklore.  I wanted to include it since it is by the same author.

On a Theme: Greta Thunberg

ON A THEME - redesign

When browsing at the library, I kept seeing these new and really cool looking books about Greta Thunberg and her activism.   I thought I would make a small On a Theme post to share with others.  I think her environmental activism and that of others, young and old, is important.  We only have one home, Earth, and we should respect it.  It’s given us so much beauty and life, and we shouldn’t be the ultimate cause of its destruction.

Greta Thunberg’s story is also amazing in that it has inspired other children to be vocal about what they care about and it has highlighted that whatever age or however tall you are, you can make a difference.

Remember, environmental activism is more than just one person but each time we see someone really rise out of the movement, it’s a call to everyone to do their part.  Hopefully, this post will inspire, inform and ignite the activist in each of us.

52698816. sx318 sy475 Title:  Greta and the Giants: inspired by Greta Thunberg’s stand to save the world

Written by: Zoe Tucker
Illustrated by: Zoe Persico

What It’s About:  This picture book tells the story of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg—the Swedish teenager who has led a global movement to raise awareness about the world’s climate crisis—using allegory to make this important topic accessible to young children.

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Title:  Our House Is on Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet

Written by: Jeanette Winter

What It’s About:  I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic…I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.

When she was fifteen years old, Greta Thunberg’s teacher explained to her class that our climate is changing—the earth is getting warmer, the polar ice caps are melting, and life on earth is threatened. Greta was devastated. What could she do? If the grown-ups weren’t doing enough to save the planet, Greta would have to demand change herself.

So she went on strike, skipping school every Friday to sit outside of the Swedish Parliament building with a sign that read “School Strike for Climate.” At first, Greta was the only one. But gradually, more and more students joined her, until her lone protest had sparked a worldwide student movement for action on climate change.

Now, a year later, Greta is speaking to audiences of world leaders at important meetings like the United Nations Climate Conference and the World Economic Forum. She is leading the conversation on climate change and sparking worldwide conversation on how to save our planet. Greta is showing everyone that even the smallest person can make a big difference, and this picture book informs and inspires young readers who are beginning to learn about the world around them.


Written by:  Valentina Camerini
Illustrated by:
Veronica Carratello

What It’s About:  You are never too young to make a difference.

Ever since she learned about climate change, Greta Thunberg couldn’t understand why politicians weren’t treating it as an emergency. In August 2018, temperatures in Sweden reached record highs, fires raged across the country, and fifteen-year-old Greta decided to stop waiting for political leaders to take action. Instead of going to school on Friday, she made a sign and went on strike in front of Stockholm’s parliament building.

Greta’s solo protest grew into the global Fridays for Future—or School Strike 4 Climate—movement, which millions have now joined. She has spoken at COP24 (the UN summit on climate change) and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This timely, unofficial biography is her story, but also that of many others around the world willing to fight against the indifference of the powerful for a better future.

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Title:  We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Save the World
Written by:  Valentina Giannella
Illustrated by:  Manuela Marazzi

What It’s About:  Follow in Greta Thunberg’s footsteps and join the global mission to save our planet from climate change. With in-depth text and data, this necessary and timely book will answer readers’ questions on what climate change means, what its consequences will be, and what must be done to protect our world.

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Title: Our Future: How Kids are Taking Action
Written  and illustrated by:  Janet Watson

What It’s About:  This book profiles ten young activists who are taking on the key issues of our time. These young people from across the globe are raising awareness about what matters to them most. An eleven-year-old boy in Texas kneels with his football teammates during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. A thirteen-year-old girl from the Tla’amin First Nation in British Columbia speaks at the United Nations to raise awareness of water pollution. These activists don’t let their youth stop them from being heard on issues ranging from racism and cyberbullying to gun violence and animal protection.

And with that last book, I want to highlight that there are other movers and shakers on this planet working hard to draw attention to causes that they care about.

This book, especially, mentions one hero from Canada who I wish was talked about more because she’s so interesting.  She is incredibly fierce and powerful, and I want to connect you with her here – her name is Autumn Peltier.  Click on the image below to read an article by Adina Bresge that was published by the National Post newspaper.

autumn peltier

Currently Reading: Everything, Everything

Title_ Everything, Everything (1)

What It’s About: My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Currently Reading...Reboot

I am on a mission with this book.  I am on a mission to read both of Nicola Yoon’s books this year plus her husband David Yoon’s novel, Frankly In Love.

I really enjoyed The Sun is Also a Star (one book down) so I was looking forward to this one.  I went into it blindly really.  I knew next to nothing about it but so far, the writing has really sucked me in.  This author is good at doing that.

I am halfway through this book and I am invested in seeing what happens to Madeline and how she’ll grow with the changes in her life.  For a girl who grew up so isolated and sheltered, this one new thing has really had a ripple effect in all parts of her routine structured life.

I’ll go back to reading now.

On a Theme: Fat Representation and Positivity


This post is going to be about books with not just fat representation but fat positive representation.

I have read those books about fat girls being bullied.  I have been that girl being bullied.  Those stories are important because, when authentic and written well, we can feel that our pain is understood. But I would like to hope that those aren’t the only stories we can have written about us.  We are MORE than that so stories about us should give us MORE than that.

This On a Theme post celebrates people, characters and stories about fat people being themselves and living their lives whether they’re confident about their bodies or learning to be.  They’re visible, brave and moving their stories forward in their own way.


Title: The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat and Fierce

Edited by: Angie Manfredi

What It’s About:   Chubby. Curvy. Fluffy. Plus-size. Thick. Fat. The time has come for fat people to tell their own stories. The (Other) F Word combines personal essays, prose, poetry, fashion tips, and art to create a relatable and attractive guide about body image and body positivity. This YA crossover anthology is meant for people of all sizes who desire to be seen and heard in a culture consumed by a narrow definition of beauty. By combining the talents of renowned fat YA and middle-grade authors, as well as fat influencers and creators, The (Other) F Word offers teen readers and activists of all ages a guide for navigating our world with confidence and courage.

My Thoughts:  This anthology is so important and I want everyone to read it.  Everyone.  Why, you may ask?  Because it delivers so many different points of view.  That’s the beauty of an anthology – different stories from many groups of people. And like it says in its subtitle, it’s a celebration of each person’s story.


Title: Leah on the Offbeat
Author: Becky Albertalli

What It’s About:  Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

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Title:  There’s Something About Sweetie
Author: Sandhya Menon

What It’s About:  Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

35796025Title: To Be Honest
Author:  Maggie Ann Martin

What It’s About:  Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.

Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.

18304322Title: Dumplin’
Author:  Julie Murphy

What It’s About:  Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

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Title:  Puddin’
Author:  Julie Murphy

What It’s About:  Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

40851643Title:  If It Makes You Happy
Author:  Claire Kann

What It’s About:  With High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she’s spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”

Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it’ll go away if they can’t make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn’t want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

40025175Title: Watch Us Rise
Authors:  Renee Watson and Ellen Hagen

What It’s About: Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.

35818725. sy475 Title: No Big Deal
Author:  Bethany Rutter

What It’s About:  ‘It’s not my body that’s holding me back. I think it’s more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.’

Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.

With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.

41552364Title: Undead Girl Gang
Author: Lily Anderson

What It’s About:  Meet teenage Wiccan Mila Flores, who truly could not care less what you think about her Doc Martens, her attitude, or her weight because she knows that, no matter what, her BFF Riley is right by her side. So when Riley and Fairmont Academy mean girls June Phelan-Park and Dayton Nesseth die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders. But they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

31246717. sy475 Title: The Summer of Jordi Pérez (And the Best Burger in Los Ángeles)
Author:  Amy Spalding

What It’s About:   Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Pérez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.

Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story?

But when Jordi’s photography puts Abby in the spotlight, it feels like a betrayal, rather than a starring role. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?

Is this just Abby’s summer of fashion? Or will it truly be The Summer of Jordi Pérez (and the Best Burger in Los Ángeles)?

Spotlight: This is 18

Spotlight - Redesign

This time around I am shining a light on a book about what it means to be 18 as shown and told by young women from around the world.

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Title:  This is 18
Edited by: Jessica Bennett

What It’s About:  Featuring and photographed by young women, This Is 18 is an immersive look at what it means to be on the cusp of adulthood around the world and across cultures. Twenty-one empowering and uniquely personal profiles, expanded from the New York Times interactive feature and curated by Gender Editor Jessica Bennett, with Sandra Stevenson, Anya Strzemien, and Sharon Attia, give teen readers a rare glimpse at the realities and interests of their contemporaries. With stunning photography and a gifty design, This Is 18 is a perfect tribute to girlhood for readers of all ages.

When I turned 18, that year came and went very quickly.  It was definitely a moment where you felt on the edge of so many things.

I like this book because it connects the reader to so many stories and women from different countries and life experiences.  Each of them have things they love and are passionate about, and their lives shine vibrantly through the photos.  I think another special thing that readers will get out of this is that while all the women are different, they share worries, goals, strengths, and opinions.  Reading this book was like going to a party, meeting a bunch of new people and finding that you have things in common.  It feels like an honest conversation among new friends and that’s pretty powerful.

It is my hope that one day there will be another book where we check in on each of the photographers and the young women profiled in this book.  I care so much about each of them and hope they’re out there doing well, dreaming and shining bright like they did in this book.

Future Reads: Upcoming Manga in 2020 Part 1


I could talk all day about how exciting the new manga being licensed, translated, and released are but I won’t.

I’ll save you the time and show you some of the upcoming releases that I can’t wait to see hit the shelves.  Shall we?

Makeup is Not (Just) Magic: A Manga Guide to Cosmetics and Skin Care

Title:  Makeup is Not (Just) Magic: A Manga Guide to Cosmetics and Skin Care
Author and Artist: Ikumi Rotta

What It’s About:  For anyone intimidated by the world of makeup, you’re in luck–a former beauty consultant turned comic artist is here to walk you through it. Join the author as she breaks down the fundamentals of cosmetics and skincare, guided by common questions from her online followers! Learn the basics and develop your own signature style! The perfect illustrated how-to book for fans of makeup tutorials online.

Release Date:  May 26th, 2020.

I Had That Same Dream Again: The Complete Manga CollectionTitle: I Had that Same Dream Again
Author: Yoru Sumino
Artist: Idumi Kirihara

What It’s About:  An unhappy girl who engages in self-harm, a high schooler ostracized by her classmates, and an old woman looking to live out her twilight years in peace–what could three such different people have in common? That’s what grade schooler Nanoka Koyanagi is trying to find out. Assigned by her teacher to define what “happiness” means to her, Nanoka tries to find her place in the world by exploring her relationships with these three strangers, and through them, comes to know herself.

Release Date:  July 7th, 2020.

Note:   If you haven’t already, you can check out Yoru Sumino’s other works like “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas” through several methods as it came out as a manga, light novel, anime, and live-action film.

Title:  Blue Flag
Author and Artist:  KAITO

What It’s About:  An unexpected love quadrangle with a dash of unrequited love as two classmates, a boy and a girl, begin to fall for each other when each of their best friends have already fallen for them.

It’s the last year of high school, and love is in the air. Romantic feelings that have been building up over years of friendship come to light. When Taichi’s classmate Futaba asks him to help her confess to his best friend, Toma, it sparks the catalyst that begins the sweet and heart-wrenching journey of their third and final year of high school.

For some reason, Taichi Ichinose just can’t tolerate Futaba Kuze. But at the start of his third year in high school, he finds himself in the same homeroom as her, along with his childhood friend and school sports star Toma Mita. But one day Futaba opens up to Taichi, admitting she has a crush on Toma and asking for his help in confessing to him! There’s just one problem—Toma seems to already have a secret crush on someone else…

Release Date:  April 21st, 2020.

'Carole & Tuesday' by Morito Y is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The 20 Best New Manga You Should Be Reading in 2020

Title:  Carole & Tuesday Vol. 1
Author: BONES and Shinichiro Watanabe
Artist: Morito Yamataka

What It’s About:  Based on the hit anime directed by Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Kids on the Slope), two girls from different worlds connect through a love of music and a desire to make it big on Mars.

Release date:  October 10, 2020

Note:  There isn’t official artwork for the English translation just yet but it should feature Carole and Tuesday front and center just like the Japanese version above does.


Title:  BL Metamorphosis
Author and Artist: Kaori Tsurutani

What It’s About: Ichinoi, a 75-year-old woman living a peaceful life, unwittingly buys a Boy’s Love manga one day…and is fascinated by what she finds inside. When she returns to the bookstore to buy the next volume, the high school girl working there–Urara, a seasoned BL fan–notices a budding fangirl when she sees one. When Urara offers to help Ichinoi explore this whole new world of fiction, the two dive into BL fandom together, and form an unlikely friendship along the way.

Release Date:  April 7th, 2020.

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Title: Perfect World
Author and Artist: Rie Aruga

What It’s About:  An office party reunites Tsugumi with her high school crush Itsuki. He’s realized his dream of becoming an architect, but along the way, he experienced a spinal injury that put him in a wheelchair. Now Tsumugi’s rekindled feelings will butt up against prejudices she never considered — and Itsuki will have to decide if he’s ready to let someone into his heart… Yet they may soon discover that, without each other, the world feels imperfect.

Release Date:  April 21, 2020.

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Title: Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku Vol. 4
Author and Artist: Fujita

What It’s About:  A tall, quiet gamer boy and a geeky girl whose life revolves around yaoi manga are old friends, but when they start working in the same office, they decide to date. It’s a relationship of convenience at first, but could it become something more? This manga comedy is now a hit streaming anime!


Narumi and Hirotaka’s relationship is going swimmingly, so now the two have a new problem: the rumor mill. The couple is going to have to rely on Hirotaka’s reputation as an undateable gamer to quash the gossip, because it’s shaping up to be a busy summer. There’s a double date with Hanako and Taro at a festival, Narumi’s first try at cosplaying, and even that otaku classic: a hot springs episode. Meanwhile, when Naoya’s incredible misunderstanding about his new friend Ko comes to a head, will their friendship survive?

Release Date:  June 9th, 2020.

Finished Reading: I Love You So Mochi

Title_ I Love You So Mochi

What It’s About:  Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement. She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel brave, fabulous, and like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother sees this as a distraction from working on her portfolio paintings for the prestigious fine art academy where she’s been accepted for college. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.

When she arrives in Japan, she loses herself in Kyoto’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival–and meets Akira, a cute med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. What begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.

Finished Reading...Reboot

I Love You So Mochi is an upbeat first-person story about finding your passion, reckoning with family history and being brave enough to chase after love.  Kimiko Nakamura has been avoiding something lately – the lack of passion she has for her future as an artist at a prestigious academy.  A well-timed ticket to Japan from her estranged grandparents might just be what she needs to help discover her path and give her mom time to forgive her.  This novel is insightful, romantic and oh so charming.

A lot of the reviews I read after reading this book said this book focused on how sweet and romantic this book was.  It definitely is but this book has so much more to it.  What I truly loved beyond Akira and Kimi’s romance was Kimi’s relationship with her grandparents and her mom.  Kimi has such a strong sense of self.  She’s such a joy of a character and reading about her experiences in Japan really takes you there.  In getting to know her grandparents through their hobbies, she reveals the sadness and hurt left in the wake of their estrangement from her mother and it’s heartwrenching.   Again with me and the character-driven novels!  I can’t help it!  This novel is also so relatable especially if you’ve grown up away from the country your parents are originally from.  Those feelings like Kimiko describes of feeling removed from the culture and history are so interesting.

Come for the adorable JDrama level romance and the beautiful descriptions of Japan but stay for the journey of self-discovery, the heartwarming mother-daughter relationship, and the building of new familial bonds.

Donut Rating 5

On a Theme: LGBTQ+ YA Through Time


I love reading stories set in the past.  It is always a wonder to see a character’s story come to life and be influenced by a particular time’s events or the constraints of that time period.

There definitely needs to be more LGBTQ+ YA fiction set in the past out in the world.  We need those echoes of the past to reflect on where we are now and to see what still needs to be done.

So this On a Theme post will focus on LGBTQ+ YA fiction set in the past.  Let’s.  Get.  To.  It.

the 1700s

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Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Written by:  Mackenzie Lee

What It’s About:  Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still, it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

the 1800s


Title: Wildthorn
Written by:  Jane Eagland

What It’s About:  Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor’s daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself – and others – in order to be set free. And love may be the key…

the 1910s

Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Title: Things a Bright Girl Can Do
Written by:  Sally Nicholls

What It’s About:  Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

the 1920s


Title: Silhouette of a Sparrow
Written by:  Molly Beth Griffin

What It’s About: In the summer of 1926, sixteen-year-old Garnet Richardson is sent to a lake resort to escape the polio epidemic in the city. She dreams of indulging her passion for ornithology and visiting the famous new amusement park–a summer of fun before she returns for her final year of high school, after which she’s expected to marry a nice boy and settle into middle-class homemaking. But in the country, Garnet finds herself under the supervision of equally oppressive guardians–her father’s wealthy cousin and the matron’s stuck-up daughter. Only a liberating job in a hat shop, an intense, secret relationship with a daring and beautiful flapper, and a deep faith in her own fierce heart can save her from the suffocating boredom of traditional femininity.


Title: The Diviners
Written by:  Libba Bray

 What It’s About:   Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

the 1950s

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Title: Pulp
Written by:  Talley Robin

What It’s About:  In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a danger all too real.

Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity.

35224992Title: Last Night at the Telegraph Club
Written by:  Malinda Lo

What It’s About:  Set in 1950s San Francisco, the YA novel is a story of love and duty that explores the complicated overlap between the city’s Chinese-American and LGBTQ communities.

Note:  Malinda Lo’s book doesn’t have an official cover or release date yet but as soon as she mentioned that she was working on this title, I got excited.  I cannot wait to update this spot eventually with more information on this title.

the 1970s

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Title:  Ziggy, Stardust and Me
Written by:  James Brandon

What It’s About:  The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

Jonathan doesn’t want to like brooding Web, who has secrets all his own. Jonathan wants nothing more than to be “fixed” once and for all. But he’s drawn to Web anyway. Web is the first person in the real world to see Jonathan completely and think he’s perfect. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known. For the first time in his life, he may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.

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Title: Music from Another World
Written by:  Talley Robin

What It’s About:  It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.

Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.

the 1980s


Title:  Annie On My Mind
Written by: Nancy Garland

What It’s About:  This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. The book has been banned from many school libraries and publicly burned in Kansas City.

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Title: Like a Love Story
Written by: Abdi Nazemian

What It’s About:  It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS.

Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance…until she falls for Reza and they start dating.

Art is Judy’s best friend, their school’s only out and proud teen. He’ll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won’t break Judy’s heart–and destroy the most meaningful friendship he’s ever known.


Title: We Are Lost and Found
Written by:  Helene Dunbar

What It’s About:  Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate.

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.


Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Written by:  Benjamin Alire Sáenz

What It’s About:  Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

the 1990s


Title: Skim
Written & drawn by:  Mariko Tamaki

What It’s About:   “Skim” is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls’ school. When Skim’s classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. As concerned guidance counselors provide lectures on the “cycle of grief,” and the popular clique starts a new club (Girls Celebrate Life!) to bolster school spirit, Skim sinks into an ever-deepening depression.

And falling in love only makes things worse…


Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Written by:  Emily M. Danforth

What It’s About:  When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship–one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self–even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.


Title: Everything Grows
Written by:  Aimee Herman

What It’s About:   Fifteen-year-old Eleanor Fromme just chopped off all of her hair. How else should she cope after hearing that her bully, James, has taken his own life? When Eleanor’s English teacher suggests students write a letter to a person who would never read it to get their feelings out, Eleanor chooses James.

With each letter she writes, Eleanor discovers more about herself, even while trying to make sense of his death. And, with the help of a unique cast of characters, Eleanor not only learns what it means to be inside a body that does not quite match what she feels on the inside, but also comes to terms with her own mother’s mental illness.

Set against a 1993-era backdrop of grunge rock and riot grrrl bands, EVERYTHING GROWS depicts Eleanor’s extraordinary journey to solve the mystery within her and feel complete. Along the way, she loses and gains friends, rebuilds relationships with her family, and develops a system of support to help figure out the language of her queer identity.

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Title: We Were Promised Spotlights
Written by:  Lindsay Sproul

What It’s About:   Taylor Garland’s good looks have earned her the admiration of everyone in her small town. She’s homecoming queen, the life of every party, and she’s on every boy’s most-wanted list.

People think Taylor is living the dream, and assume she’ll stay in town and have kids with the homecoming king–maybe even be a dental hygienist if she’s super ambitious. But Taylor is actually desperate to leave home, and she hates the smell of dentists’ offices. Also? She’s completely in love with her best friend, Susan.

Senior year is almost over, and everything seems perfect. Now Taylor just has to figure out how to throw it all away.

And three other titles, one a middle-grade novel, one an anthology and one an adult fiction novel that may appeal to a young adult reading audience.  Just to shake things up a bit. *sprinkles glitter*

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Title:  One True Way
Written by: Shannon Hitchcock

What It’s About:  A heartening story of two girls who discover their friendship is something more. But how, among their backward town, will Sam and Allie face what they know is true about themselves?

Welcome to Daniel Boone Middle School in the 1970s, where teachers and coaches must hide who they are, and girls who like girls are forced to question their own choices. Presented in the voice of a premier storyteller, One True Way sheds exquisite light on what it means to be different, while at the same time being wholly true to oneself. Through the lives and influences of two girls, readers come to see that love is love is love. Set against the backdrop of history and politics that surrounded gay rights in the 1970s South, this novel is a thoughtful, eye-opening, look at tolerance, acceptance, and change, and will widen the hearts of all readers.


Title:  All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages
Edited by: Saundra Mitchell

What It’s About:  From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.


Title:  Tell The Wolves I’m Home
Written by: Carol Rifka Brunt

What It’s About:   1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.

At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.

Note:  I used the words “through time” to describe this post and not the classification of “historical fiction” for all the books in this post because technically, not all of them are considered or classified as historical fiction.