When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Just like it’s namesake,When Dimple Met Rishi has all the hallmarks of a 90’s rom-com and so much more. Taking place entirely during a web developer summer program, the plot felt a little claustrophobic at times, but the relationship was developed wonderfully. Both narrators on the audiobook give great performance, though Vikas Adams’ voice for Dimple had a tendency to sound shrill. This book is everything you’ve heard and I want this movie. I want it now. – ★★★★
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
After experiencing a violent encounter with the police, high school senior Justyce McAllister begins writing letters to Martin Luther King, Jr. to unpack his newly developed complex feelings about race and policing. Dear Martin is definitely an important book because so few YA novels are explicitly written and marketed for black teen boys the way this book has been but the story left me wanting more. I was annoyed that the white love interest got to explain the complexities of race in America, the MLK portrayal felt sanitized and Justyce reads as younger and more naive than a 17-year-old from the hood at an elite boarding school about to study policy at Yale. Author Zetta Elliot has made some criticisms of this books portrayal of black women and I agree with a lot of what she says. I think Dear Martin would have made a great middle-grade book, but as a YA it felt like a missed opportunity for a more nuanced discussion. – ★★★ + .5
7 hours 32 mins | Simon & Schuster Audio | Contemporary YA | 02/06/2018
I’ll admit I didn’t mean to read this book. I was listening to audiobook samples on Scribd, trying to find something to listen to when I accidentally clicked on American Panda. By the time I started driving I couldn’t change it and before I was home… I was really into it.
At seventeen years old, Mei Lu is starting her first year at MIT. She is just a few steps away from completing her parent’s plans for her to become a doctor, marry a good Taiwanese man and have Taiwanese babies. But now that she is on her own Mei is starting to feel the tension between the Taiwanese and American cultures she straddles. She starts to question the things she’s always believed and to make things worse she’s falling for a spiky-haired Japanese co-ed named Darrin.
American Panda is a story about family, empathy and discovering who you are; it’s perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, especially because of how the romance and mother/daughter storyline evolves. Darrin even has a little “manic pixie dream dude” in him. I have always struggled with YA romances but this one was perfectly executed.
Unrated | 12 Hours 9 Minutes | Sourcebooks | 3/7/17
4 Hours 32 Minutes | Harper Audio | 3/7/17
I think in a world where every other teen non-fiction book is by a YouTuber or reality show star, there is something refreshing about a book by two everyday teenage girls; whose project with Girls Who Code became a viral sensation.
There is something accessible about the success in this book that I think will appeal to teens. Sophie and Andy each bring their unique experiences to the table . Andy is a second-generation Filipina whose drive and discipline constantly push her forward, and Sophie’s quirkiness, selfawareness and need to speak out (and possibly her mom running a start-up media company) keeps her looking for the next challenge in life. At times the book stretched to form a narrative, but delves into the sacrifices and anxieties the girls face as they explore the world of programming.
The authors give listeners an inside look at how two teenaged girls are breaking the tech world’s glass ceiling while challenging the taboo of discussing menstruation. In 2014, Andrea “Andy” Gonzales and Sophie Houser’s summer project at Girls Who Code became the viral computer game Tampon Run. The girl coders lend their voices to the narration, taking on separate chapters as well giving listeners an introductory lesson on how to find tools and resources to start coding. An accompanying PDF supports this part of the audio presentation. Since the success of their game, the pair have been invited to Silicon Valley and offered numerous media appearances and interviews, experiences that are reflected in their thoughtful, straightforward performance. They expertly reflect the highs and lows of their incredible journey. J.C. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine—as published in AudioFile