Posted in Blog Tour

In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton @susankcarlton @AlgonquinYR #bookreview #inneighborhoodoftrue

Happy Monday book lovers!

Excited to share with you today my review for this little gem of a book that is so much more than a YA novel! It is a book that made me think of how far we’ve come, but how far we still need to go! It is so unfortunate that today we still have so much hate penetrating our society. A big thank you to Brittanie from Algonquin for providing me with a copy and asking me to participate in the blog tour!💕

My Thoughts

”When hatred shows its face you need to make a little ruckus. And you dear Ruthie, you made a very important little ruckus.”

Susan Kaplan Carlton has written a compelling story that is loosely based on the 1958 Atlanta temple bombing. My mom was a northerner who moved to the south in the 1950s. I remember her telling me stories of colored water fountains and standing up for Land of Dixie, of debutante balls and sweet tea. It always seems so different from my own upbringing in the melting pot of Southern California. So I can only imagine how different it was for Ruth from New York city. Throw in the fact that she was also Jewish, and I think the girl must have gone through some major culture shock. I will never truly understand hate, it is just something I’ve never had in my heart. What is unfortunate is even though this book was set 60 years ago it is still relevant today. I like to believe that most people are extremely accepting of all people, but there are those few that just can’t seem to let go of the hate and the anger. I probably could go on anon, but I will spare you all!

Ruth is a junior in high school who finds herself in the deep south after the death of her father. The world of pastels and blondes is a far cry from NYC, and Ruth realizes real quick that she cannot be both Jewish and popular. Soon Ruth finds herself ensconced in the debutante world, trying on dresses, attending parties, and striving to be the Magnolia queen. And there is a boy, named Davis Jefferson no less. But is Ruth being true to herself pretending she is something she’s not? And what happens when the unthinkable happens and Ruth is caught between two worlds?

I found Ruth tremendously relatable and likable. I got her, I would have done exactly what she did at her age in her situation. She was all about friendship, and fashion, and fitting in. The romance between Ruth and Davis was so sweet and adorable, yes it was a little Insta but they are teenagers, seems to happen that way quite a bit. I also really liked Ruth’s mother and Ruth’s relationship with her mother. Her mother was strong and a bit righteous, but she let Ruth do her thing. Fontaine Ruth’s grandma was such an authentic character, I truly think she represented how her generation in the south saw things. She herself didn’t feel as though she hated anyone, however she didn’t think anything needed to change either, in fact she felt as though she supported Jewish people because she shopped at a department store owned by Jewish people. I also appreciated that she did not have some major epiphany and completely change how she felt. My only tiny complaint is I wish that the bombing took place a little earlier in the book, so we could really see how the conflict resolved itself.

A riveting and important story that I strongly encourage everyone to pick up!

*** A huge thank you to Algonquin for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

“The story may be set in the past, but it couldn’t be a more timely reminder that true courage comes not from fitting in, but from purposefully standing out…and that to find out who you really are, you have to first figure out what you’re not.”

—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF TRUE

by SUSAN KAPLAN CARLTON

“Every character is memorable and complex, and the plot quickly becomes engrossing…the characters’ moral decisions are so complicated and so surprising that many people will be kept spellbound by even the tiniest detail. Riveting.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Carlton does an excellent job of mixing the personal with the historical here…Ruth crisply relays her conflicted feelings, the tense situations, and characters who are well shaded and occasionally surprising.”

—Booklist

“A gorgeous story about a teenage girl finding her voice in the face of hate, heartbreak, and injustice.”

— Nova Ren Suma, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Room Away from the Wolves

“Susan Kaplan Carlton’s snapshot of 1958 Atlanta is both exquisite and harrowing, and I will hold it in my heart for a long time.”

—Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone and Our Year of Maybe

“You might not think a book set in 1959 could feel wildly relevant, but wow does this YA set in Atlanta that explores anti-Semitism in the south during the Civil Rights era feel incredibly on point after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.”

—Barnes & Noble Teen Blog

“While it’s not wrong to say that historical fiction can be a great genre to read when you want to take a break from current events, these books can also be a gateway to re-examining and understanding the many ways that history can repeat itself unless people make meaningful, positive change happen. Susan Kaplan Carlton’s debut, In The Neighborhood of True, is a combination of both: romantic escapism brushes against harsh truths about discrimination and violence.”

—Bustle

When Susan Kaplan Carlton began to write In the Neighborhood of True (publication date: April 9, 2019; $17.95), she was inspired by historic events that had taken place in a synagogue where her family once worshipped. She never imagined that news in 2017 and 2018 would lend new relevance to the violent anti-Semitism she addresses in her YA novel. Partly inspired by the Atlanta temple bombing of 1958, In the Neighborhood of True is the thoughtful and provoking story of Ruth Robb, a young woman trying to fit in to the “in” crowd in her new hometown by hiding her Jewish heritage. Susan Kaplan Carlton’s past historical YA novels have been praised for their “believable, rich, likable characters” (Kirkus Reviews) and “important” (Booklist) topics relevant to teens’ lives. In this novel of the 50s Jim Crow South, Kaplan Carlton’s gorgeous prose invokes a time filled with sweet tea and debutante balls as well as cross burnings and hate crimes.

In the sweltering summer of 1958, Ruth Robb and her family move to Atlanta from New York City after the sudden death of her father. A fish out of water and grieving, Ruth meets the ruling “pastel posse” and their little pink book of manners. She quickly falls for the charming and popular Davis, who teaches her about football games and the Country Club, and is the perfect escort. Eager to fit in and to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a debutante, Ruth hides her Jewish heritage and her attendance at Sabbath services in a segregated Atlanta. Then a hate crime tears apart her community, and Ruth is forced to confront the prejudice head on and speak up about injustice.

Carlton’s family attended services at the Hebrew Benevolent Society, Atlanta’s oldest synagogue and a center for early civil rights advocacy, in the early 2000s. She says that watching her younger daughter volunteer “in one of the classrooms that had been bombed years before… stayed with me—the idea that the walls that held these kids had once been blown apart by white supremacists…it became really important to me to write this book about a girl who comes to do the right thing even when it’s hard and heartbreaking.”

Praised as “riveting” (Kirkus) and “wildly relevant” (Barnes & Noble Teen Blog), Carlton’s novel depicts an endearing heroine caught between two very different boys and the choice to fit in or speak out, and vividly evokes the temptation to turn a blind eye to injustice in order maintain the status quo. In the Neighborhood of True will have you immersed in its Southern summer, craving a Co-Cola by a picturesque pool with a relatable narrator, rooting for her to embrace her truth.

SUSAN KAPLAN CARLTON currently teaches writing at Boston University. She is the author of the YA novels Love & Haight and Lobsterland. Her writing has also appeared in Self, Elle, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen. She lived for a time with her family in Atlanta, where her daughters learned the finer points of etiquette from a little pink book and the power of social justice from their synagogue.

susankaplancarlton.com | @susankcarlton | @susankcarlton

In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton

Algonquin Young Readers / Publication Date: April 9, 2019

Price: $17.95; Hardcover; 320 pages; ISBN: 9781616208608

http://www.algonquinyoungreaders.com | susankaplancarlton.com

Follow Algonquin Young Readers on Twitter @algonquinyr, Instagram at @algonquinyr or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/algonquinyoungreaders

Have an amazing day! Berit

Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson @maureenjohnson @katerudd #YoungAdult #Mystery #WhoDunnit

Truly Devious

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Riddle me This Stars

Synopsis

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

Review

Look! A riddle! Time for fun!
Should we use a rope or gun?
Knives are sharp and gleam so pretty
Poison’s slow, which is a pity
Fire is festive, drowning’s slow
Hanging’s a ropy way to go
A broken head, a nasty fall
A car colliding with a wall
Bombs make a very jolly noise
Such ways to punish naughty boys!
What shall we use? We can’t decide.
Just like you cannot run or hide.
Ha ha.
Truly,
Devious

Well this little YA book was a lovely little surprise.

This is a good old fashioned murder mystery book, we read about the murder at the beginning of the story, this was in the past, in 1936, we are then jumped into present day.

This had a little bit of a Harry Potter vibe to it, not the magic part, but the MC is a girl called Stevie, she is a bit of a child genius in her field, and has been chosen to attend a very prestigious school, only 50 pupils are chosen every year to attend the school and she is super happy about this.

Her parents are very over protective and are not happy about it in the slightest and try their best to talk her out of it, but Stevie has no concerns about attending the school.

Stevie’s thing is Murder, whether that be Sherlock Holmes, or Agatha Christie, but her true passion is True Crime.

And this school is not only famous for the super talented kids that go there, no there was a really famous unsolved Murder in 1936 by the infamous murderer Truly Devious!

For Stevie this is like a dream come true, she has read so much about the Murder itself and the school, it’s like her perfect idea of wow!

Now being a YA book what would *usually* happen, is that someone would attend the school, and within 5 minutes solve a clue that the police have been scratching their heads over for the last 20 years, and then 20 minutes later solve the case!

Notice i said usually? Yep because that isn’t what happens, some stuff happens, other things kick off, someone may or may not have an attraction to someone else, someone else may or may not end up dead, and there are a few riddles to solve!

All in all i really enjoyed this one, I liked the way it flipped from 1936 and back to today every now and then, and will be patiently waiting for book 2 to come out on audio to find out what the heck is going on, and find out about that bloody Photo!!!!

🎧🎧 Expertly narrated by the fabulous Kate Rudd, she always gives a stellar performance and is narrator that I would not hesitate to listen to every time!

Get your puzzle heads on!

Vicci

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Posted in Blog Tour

The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen @TPolen6 @shananannigans81 #GuestPost

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The Gemini Connection 2D Cover.jpgThe Gemini Connection by Teri Polen

Publication Date: June 7, 2018

Genre: YA Dystopian

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.

On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.

A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

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Excerpt

Evan and Syd Battling a Nightmare

Now Available

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About the Author

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Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Visit her online at http://www.teripolen.com

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Guest Post

Identical twin brother main characters, Evan and Simon, in my new YA sci-fi/thriller, The Gemini Connection, may look alike and share an extraordinary bond, but that’s where their similarities end. While writing, I generally prefer to listen to music, as I did while drafting this book–but quickly learned each twin demanded their own playlist. And they were vastly different.

Simon is a science prodigy, and everything in his world is precise, meticulous, and fact-based. He sees things in black and white, rarely venturing into gray areas. That being said, Simon’s met someone who’s causing him to be uncharacteristically distracted and unfocused–he can’t get this guy out of his mind. While writing Simon’s character, he liked classical music in the background–especially cello music. I’m not really a classical music fan, but I can appreciate it. Once Simon’s relationship began with his new love interest, two songs jumped to the forefront: Sunshower by Chris Cornell, as played by Vitamin String Quartet, and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Variation 18–you may know it as the theme from the movie Somewhere In Time. Simon may be highly logical in his head, but he’s a bit of a romantic in his soul.

Evan is a different story entirely. His mind is full of stormy emotions–doubt, anger, guilt, grief, determination, fear–he’s dealing with some pretty heavy issues. Between searching for Simon and feeling responsible for his disappearance, trying to prove himself to his parents, and sorting his feelings for someone very close to him, Evan’s a vessel of constantly churning emotions, and his choices in songs reflect that. He and I share much similar tastes in alt/rock music.

Bring Me to Life – Evanescence

Falling Apart – Papa Roach

Love Falls – Hellyeah

Hurricane – Thrice

Stand By Me – Ki Theory

Way Down We Go – Kaleo

I’d Rather See Your Star Explode – Slaves

Make This Go On Forever – Snow Patrol

Bother – Stone Sour

In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins

Angels Fall – Breaking Benjamin

Vengeance – Zack Hemsey

Their tastes may be polar opposites, but the music made it pretty to get into their heads, and I could see things playing out as I wrote. I’ve started drafting another book now, but I still miss my twins. Maybe a sequel one day?