FULL CICADA MOON -- a powerful and evocative novel told in verse form shows readers that positive change can start with just one person speaking up
Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton (2015, Dial Books; 343 pages)
Though it takes some time to get accustomed to reading in verse, the author delivers the powerful story of a biracial girl growing up in the late 1960s.
It's 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi's appearance is all anyone notices. She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining Shop Class instead of Home Ec. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.
Marilyn Hilton does an excellent job of mimicking the mind of the narrator, and allows the reader to better empathize with the problems faced by the young protagonist.
Find this title in our catalog: Full Cicada Moon
Recommended by: Ariadne
SOLO -- a novel in poetic verse about the son of a drug-addicted rock star that explores what it means to finally come home
Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess (2017, Blink; 464 pages)
Seventeen year-old Blade Morrison is used to reading about his father's life on scathing tabloid covers. They serve as a constant reminder of his dad's struggles with addiction to almost every type of drug and alcohol. Written in poetic verse by award-winning author Kwame Alexander, this premise works very well, and Solo soars, becoming a perfect read for those who love poetry, music and stories with strong beginnings and somehow happy endings.
This verse novel is truly a love letter to rock and roll and from the first page the reader will be holding up a guitar, the only thing “that matters” for Solo, besides his love for Chapel. Solo is haunted by memories of his mother, and lost on his father's mistakes. His only hope is music, and the forbidden love of his girlfriend. The reader will learn about those topics in the first part of the novel that ends with a climax when a family secret is revealed. The secret threatens Solo's world, his relationship with his family and even his own identity and because of that, he begins a journey, both physical and symbolic that will be the center of the second part of the book. The setting of this second part is West Africa, and it is my favorite part of the book.
Solo is narrated through the voice of the protagonist and the author takes special help in delivering an intimate, intricate and poetic voice. Alexander wrote the book in the company of author and poet Mary Rand Hess. Kwame Alexander himself is a poet, speaker, educator, and New York Times bestselling author of 24 books, including The Crossover, a 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children.
Although the book is marketed for older teens, mature tweens may also enjoy the story. Recommended to those who enjoy strong poetic voices, and stories that work on self searching, and on looking for answers about identity, family, and love.
is a small
and lonesome place
she is a country
her eyes hold
I used to swim
the morning fruit
I touched and tasted
the heart is a small
and lonesome place
she is a country
I no longer live in.
This title will be released in August, 2017
Recommended by: Maite
Teen Reads Blog
To go to our Teen Reads blog, Bookshelf Envy, click here