book reviews, books, children's lit, LGBT, Uncategorized, ya

“I’d Like To Sing, I’d Like to Shout: It’s Spring! It’s Spring! It’s Spring!”

Why stop now?

This bunny and I appear to feel exactly the same way about spring.

Also, I’ve got to read more this spring! Since this semester started, I’ve only read books for either work or class, which I guess is to be expected… but I know I can do better.

1.BOYS DON’T KNIT (IN PUBLIC) by T.S. Easton (2015)

PROMINENT ASPECTS: knitting, toxic masculinity, having juvenile delinquent friends, anxiety, being in love with your teacher, when your mom’s a professional magician

ALSO READ: The narrator of this book is so beyond endearing. He reminded me a little bit of Stewart from We Are All Made of Molecules (see: winter reading.) If you want more books about knitting, I haven’t read it in years but I really enjoyed Chicks with Sticks by Elizabeth Lenhard when I was in middle school. (Also, while looking for the title of this book, I came across The Broken Circle: Yarns of the Knitting Witches—probably my favorite subheading of all time—and in that book, the author lists the knitting patterns of what the characters are wearing, which is low-key amazing.)

2. SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN by Jeff Garvin (2016)

PROMINENT ASPECTS: genderfluid identity, Congress, mental health, nice therapists, new friends, suicide, blogging, bullying, courage

ALSO READ: This book is so important and unique in the fact that there is a nonbinary character (aka, not a clear cisgender girl or guy) whose birth sex is NEVER mentioned: we get to see this character as they see themselves, in all their complexity. It’s different, but Simon (#3 on the list) is equally sweet and also equally exposes the struggles of anonymous Tumblrs in today’s high school landscape.

3. SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli (2015)

PROMINENT ASPECTS: emailing, school plays, sisters, close families, secrets, when your best friends have unreciprocated feelings for each other, coming out as gay, when that one cool English classroom at your school has a couch

ALSO READ: This book is adorable AND important. Read the above book too.


PROMINENT ASPECTS: injuries, Texas, new friends, poetry, Mexican-American identity, prison, family secrets, violence against LGBT youth, when a dog is a boy’s literal best friend, fathers

ALSO READ: Other books that tenderly interweave family, culture, and sexuality. Most of these LGBT YA books don’t mention race at all, and if so, in passing; the characters are white by default. That’s not the case in this novel, featuring two Latino teen boys. For more YA books that include characters of color, check this great list by Malinda Lo.


PROMINENT ASPECTS: the panopticon, boyfriends, secret societies, alpha males, pranks, old boys clubs, private boarding school, being Jewish, cool roomies who love horses, emails, the Jersey Shore

ALSO READ: This book is the shit. Read about the panopticon, read We Were Liars by Lockhart for an even MORE supenseful storyline, and listen to this Jenny Lewis tune; I think that Frankie would have felt a strong connection to it.

6. BRAIN ON FIRE ~ almost done ~

7. EVERYTHING EVERYTHING ~ almost done ~

     *        *      *      *     *     *

Summer reading list here, autumn list here, winter reading list here! 

*= I’ve read this book before

PS: Whenever I think about spring, a poem that I learned in, I believe, first grade echoes through my head. I just found it online, in one specific preschool spring lesson planning PDF! It’s on page 7. It comes along with activities, if you’re interested.

Image via Samantha Berger/Scholastic