“Superman: Dawnbreaker” by Matt de la Peña
The fourth installment of the DC Icon series is finally here! “Superman: Dawnbreaker” is the book I have been waiting for. De la Peña takes a beloved character, creates a Smallville, very similar to towns in America, weaves an immigration subplot into a superhero mystery that is sure to capture the hearts of old and new fans alike. I am a huge Superman fan. I have been since I was a little girl and Christopher Reeve flew his way into my heart. There is no other superhero like him, and no other that I love like this. When I found out Matt de la Peña was writing this one, it made this book much more special for me because of the diversity I knew he would bring to the “Superman Universe.” This book captured me from the get go. It is well written and so relevant to our changing country today. With a cast of new — yet familiar — characters, “Dawnbreaker” is bold, powerful and beautiful. A timely Superman, perfect for a new generation. Matt de la Peña’s Superman is brilliant!
“Barely Missing Everything” by Matt Mendez
I was looking forward to this book for months. “Barely Missing Everything” is a coming-of-age novel set in El Paso. With plans and goals for the future, Juan hopes to get out of poverty and El Paso by means of a basketball scholarship. When his dreams are derailed, he and his friend set out on a journey to find a man named Mando he learns about from letters his mother had been hiding from him. “Barely Missing Everything” is a tragic, heartfelt, important story which we need more of in YA. Growing up poor, with dreams for a better life and how sometimes when life gives you lemons, it is not always easy to make lemonade. This book had me in tears, and hoping and praying that the lives of these boys would somehow get better. In this Brown Lives Matter Too story, you will become invested and rooting for Juan.
“Internment” by Samira Ahmed
In America, Muslim Americans are being rounded up and asked to register as part of the new exclusion laws enacted in America. Books burnings, families separated, bodies encode with identification numbers, all eerily familiar. “Interment” is as powerful as it is important. Books like this need to be in schools, need to be read in classrooms and need to be circulated in libraries. When real life and fiction collide, it is important to stop and discuss these matters with our young people. This book presents real questions and real concerns that many may be afraid to confront but at the same time offers hope and understanding to an issue that is so prevalent today.
“Dealing In Dreams” by Lilliam Rivera
A dystopian novel with a Latina crew? I am here for this! Lilliam Rivera’s sophomore work is imaginative, impressive and super complex. We follow Chief Rocka, leader of a female guardian gang and her crew, who keep order after a devastating earthquake that Mega City is still trying to recover from. What I loved about this book was how interesting it was to read. Coined as “The Outsiders meets Mad Max: Fury Road” this book is about sisterhood, and the family we sometimes need to make for ourselves.
“Samantha Spinner and the Spectacular Specs” by Russell Ginns
The Samantha Spinner Series is one that I have come to adore. These two books have been so fun, hilarious, creative and engaging. Silly adventures, wonderful sibling love, and in this one, a pair of strange purple sunglasses. Sign me up! This is my kind of fun! Filled with historical facts and an amazing cast of characters, “Samantha Spinner and the Spectacular Specs” is one you will want on your summer must-reads list.
“The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe” by Ally Condie
In this high seas adventure, the reader embarks on a journey of revenge, self discovery and survival. This book has it all, a sublime dystopian feel, a mystery that has you hooked from start to finish and a plot that carries and brings it all together, settling into your heart. Ally Condie is a great writer in all genres she attempts to write for. I have yet to read a book by her that I didn’t love. “The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe” just confirms all the praise her stories deserve.
Margie Longoria is a librarian at Mission High School. She provides periodic young adult book recommendations to The Monitor.