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International Youth

June 24, 2021

Last time we spoke, I told you all about new places to explore once we can start traveling again. This time I want to tell you about some fun people I met who have different cultural backgrounds. And just because they are tweens, teens, and young adults doesn’t mean they don’t want to live their best lives. Man, I am loving me some YA books right now.

Miami teen Carmen Aguilar is working a summer job as a Disney princess in order to finally earn the one last credit she needs to graduate high school. Unfortunately, her company gets hired to dance for her estranged cousin’s quinceanera. Not to mention, her ex is back in town as her dance partner. Ay, Dios Mio! What’s a Cuban girl to do? I really enjoyed this one. I loved Carmen and her ex/love interest Mauro. I find quinceaneras fascinating - possibly because I didn’t get to have one (as I’m not Latin on any level).

I thought this was going to be a lighthearted romp of a family moving from the Middle East to America.’s not. It’s two stories woven together - Anvar, whose family moves to America from Pakistan and Azza, who’s Iraqi family must overcome terrible trials before she arrives in the US. It wasn’t the funny chick-lity story I expected, but it completely captivated me. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. Yes, it got heavy in places, but that’s how life works sometimes. I liked the characters. I liked how it tied together. It was a really good read. 

Who says fat girls can’t dance? Skye Shin might not be model-thin, but the girl’s got some moves. So much so that she auditions and is cast on a K-Pop reality show - despite the fact that one of the judges continually uses “unprofessional” as a euphemism for fat and basically hates her because of her body. But Skye is tough and she’s determined to succeed no matter what anyone says. I wish I could have been friends with Skye in high school. Heck, I wish I could be friends with Skye right now. And I didn’t even mention the magic that is cute guy Henry Cho. I loved this book and would have read it in one day, except that I am also working my way through the madness that is Bridgerton and had to give them equal time. 

These are all great reads and any of them would make great additions to your Summer Challenge reading.

Jump in. The international waters are fine.

Happy YA-ing…

:) Amanda

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.

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