Episode 39: Speak

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Speak

On Episode 39, we discuss Laurie Halse Anderson’s groundbreaking 1999 novel Speak, which explores the troubling issues of sexual assault and trauma through the story of 14-year-old Melinda. Alli and guest Morgan Hoit — better known as nycbookgirl — talk about the value of the diary-style/epistolary novel, chat about their experiences with high school gossip culture, and break down in great detail Speak’s role as an entry point to an understanding of rape and sexual assault for so many young readers.

Follow Morgan’s adventures in all things books and New York City on Instagram @nycbookgirl and on her blog, NYC Book Girl!

**TRIGGER WARNING: This episode includes discussion of rape, trauma, sexual assault, self-harm, and depression.

CHECK OUT LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON’S BRAND NEW MEMOIR SHOUT!

CHECK OUT MORGAN’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Trust Exercise: A Novel by Susan Choi

MORE READING:

Speak” (Publishers Weekly, 1999)

“15 Years of Speak: An Interview With Laurie Halse Anderson” (Book Riot, 2014)

“Laurie Halse Anderson on her groundbreaking book Speak being reissued as a graphic novel” (Entertainment Weekly, 2018)

Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson Is Still Painfully Relevant In The Age Of #MeToo” (Bustle, 2017)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 38: The Face on the Milk Carton

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The Face on the Milk Carton

You may know her as @molliereads from her blog Mollie Reads and her podcast No Thanks We’re Booked, and on this week’s episode of SSR, Mollie Turbeville joins Alli to discuss Caroline Cooney’s 1990 YA thriller The Face on the Milk Carton. In Episode 38, they break down the plot that’s been freaking teens out for the last three decades (what if you suspected that your parents might have kidnapped you???), gossip about pushy boyfriend Reeve, and compare notes on how the author portrays trauma on the page.

CHECK OUT MOLLIE’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

MORE READING:

The Face on the Milk Carton Series Included Some Stuff You May Have Missed As A Kid” (Bustle, 2014)

“Resentments I Have Formed Against Characters From The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney” (The Toast, 2016)

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Episode 37: The Boxcar Children #1

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The Boxcar Children #1

Allow us to (re)introduce you to Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden. You probably know them better as The Boxcar Children and the protagonists of the now 150+ titles in the beloved series of the same name. Having been orphaned, the children are left to fend for themselves, and they rebuild their lives in an abandoned boxcar. In Episode 37, writer and educator Abby Wolfe joins Alli to chat about the first book in the series (The Boxcar Children #1). Tune in to listen to them talk about important lessons of resourcefulness and perspective, discuss the heteronormative stereotypes that are so often imposed on young children, and speculate on just how many pine needles it would take to turn a boxcar into a cozy home.

Follow Abby on Twitter @shmabbywolfe and Instagram @shmab, and stay tuned for her forthcoming podcast!

CHECK OUT ABBY’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

In the Woods: A Novel by Tana French

The Likeness by Tana French

Faithful Place by Tana French

MORE READING:

“What the hell happened to the Boxcar Children’s parents?” (AV Club, 2015)

The Boxcar Children and the Spirit of Capitalism” (The New Yorker, 2016)

“The Boxcar Children are getting a movie. Here’s how they became immortal crime fighters.” (Vox, 2016)

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The new Boxcar Children cover — very controversial!

The new Boxcar Children cover — very controversial!

Episode 36: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

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Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

If there’s one book that’s been requested for the podcast time and time again by women of all ages, it’s Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. This 1970 novel has served as a kind of guidebook for girls preparing to navigate middle school, puberty, and all of the confusing things that come with them for the last four decades.

Joining Alli to talk all things religion and being a lady on Episode 36 is Emma Gray. Emma is a senior reporter focused on women’s issues at HuffPost and the author of A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance: A Feminist Handbook on Fighting for Good. She is also the co-host of the Bachelor-themed podcast “Here to Make Friends,” which was named a “must-listen” by The Daily Dot. Follow Emma on Twitter @emmaladyrose and Instagram @emmaladyrose.

CHECK OUT EMMA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

MORE READING:

Are You There God? book redesign has Judy Blume fans in an uproar” (Today, 2018)

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret remains a guide for puberty” (AV Club, 2017)

“If Are You There God? It’ s Me, Margaret Happened in 2014, Here’s What It Would Look Like” (Bustle, 2014)

“Judy Blume Grants Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Screen Rights To James L. Brooks & Kelly Fremon Craig” (Deadline, 2018)

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Episode 35: I Know What You Did Last Summer

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I Know What You Did Last Summer

Before I Know What You Did Last Summer was a blockbuster hit movie, it was a 1973 young adult thriller by Lois Duncan, and with the help of Literary Roadhouse’s Anais Concepcion, we’re chatting about it on Episode 35. Of course, we break down the plot, but we also talk about hotness in YA, discuss the roots of the #MeToo movement in chauvinistic literary characters, and LOL at various relics of the ‘70s.

Follow Literary Roadhouse on Instagram @literaryroadhouse and Twitter @litroadhouse and follow Anais on Twitter @anaisconce.

CHECK OUT ANAIS’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Sympathizer: A Novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Milkman: A Novel by Anna Burns

TUNE IN TO THE LITERARY ROADHOUSE EPISODE FEAT. ALLI — HERE!

MORE READING:

“Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer Is the Perfect Book to Revisit Right Before Halloween” (Bustle, 2014)

“The story behind Last Summer Writer: Lois Duncan will use the film version of her book, I Know What You Did Last Summer, to draw attention to the murder of her daughter” (The Baltimore Sun, 1997)

“Book vs Movie: I Know What You Did Last Summer” (Florence In Print, 2017)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 34: Tuck Everlasting

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Tuck Everlasting

Happy Valentine’s week, listeners! In honor of all things love, we’ve picked something a little dreamy and romantic for Episode 34 — Natalie Babitt’s 1975 novel, Tuck Everlasting. Tune in to hear us talk symbolism, Alexis Bledel, the creepy child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the trouble with first impressions. We also dive into the pros and cons of immortal life and debate the nature of the relationship between shy, ten-year-old Winnie and teenage heartthrob Jesse Tuck.

Chelsey is an English teacher, bookworm, and podcaster. Tune in to her podcast He Read She Read! Follow her on Instagram @hereadsheread for podcast updates and @chelseyreads for book reviews.

CHECK OUT CHELSEY’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

TUNE IN TO MY CONVERSATION WITH CHELSEY’S HUSBAND CURTIS — HERE!

MORE READING:

“The Gift Of Eternal Shelf Life: Tuck Everlasting Turns 40” (NPR, 2015)

Tuck Everlasting Is A Childhood Classic That Stands The Test Of Time” (HuffPost, 2015)

“Books that Built Us: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt” (The Michigan Daily, 2018)

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Episode 33: Anne of Green Gables

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Anne of Green Gables

Having never read Anne of Green Gables before, Alli finally meets the strong-willed, imaginative Anne Shirley for Episode 33. With the help of freelance writer Julie Vadnal, Alli discusses Anne as a role model, debates the decision our heroine must ultimately make between work and family, and considers the possibility that she might actually be a little annoying.

Julie’s work has been featured in Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire, Glamour, and Real Simple. Follow her on Twitter @JulieVAD and Instagram @julievadnal. Sign up to receive her JULES newsletter at JulieVadnal.com.

CHECK OUT JULIE’S BOOK RECOMMENDATION:

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

MORE READING:

“The Other Side of Anne of Green Gables” (New York Times Magazine, 2017)

“10 Things You Might Not Know About Anne of Green Gables” (Mental Floss, 2015)

“Ten things Anne of Green Gables taught me” (The Guardian, 2017)

“‘Nobody ever did want me’” (The Guardian, 2008)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 32: Holes (Manuary)

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Holes

In Episode 32, Alli resists the urge to fangirl as she welcomes one of her favorite podcasters to wrap up Manuary and discuss Louis Sachar’s Holes. A commercial and critical success, the novel has maintained its popularity for more than two decades thanks to its humor and sense of adventure — but from where we sit in 2019, we realize that there are bigger themes at play, as well, including race, class, and the prison industrial complex. Tune in to hear us talk all things Stanley Yelnats, along with broader conversations about how we process culture as adults versus how we process it as kids, the pressure we put on creators to have strong opinions, and why Holes has been so beloved for so long.

Kevin T. Porter is a writer and comedian and the host of the Gilmore Guys (currently focusing on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and Good Christian Fun podcasts. Follow him on Twitter @kevintporter.

CHECK OUT KEVIN’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Interior States: Essays by Meghan O’Gleblyn

TUNE IN TO MY CONVERSATION WITH KEVIN’S GCF CO-HOST CAROLINE ELY — HERE!

MORE READING:

“What Holes by Louis Sachar Taught Me About Justice, Race, And The Prison Industrial Complex” (Bustle, 2018)

“Best YA Novel of All Time? EW Staff Pick: Holes by Louis Sachar” (Entertainment Weekly, 2013)

“He Didn’t Do It” (New York Times Book Review, 1998)

“Top Ten Reasons to Love Holes by Louis Sachar” (Children’s Book Cellar, 2011)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 31: James and the Giant Peach (Manuary)

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James and the Giant Peach

Much like a large piece of fruit, Manuary rolls on with Episode 31, in which we discuss Roald Dahl’s 1961 classic James and the Giant Peach. With the help of guest Chris Rosen, Alli wonders about just how violent and scary is too violent and scary for kids, considers how we should talk to young readers about grief and loneliness, and speculates on how creative (and maybe bizarre) Dahl must have been to think of worlds like this one. There’s also extensive conversation about giant bugs, of course.

Chris Rosen is the editor-in-chief at TV Guide. Follow him on Twitter @chrisjrosen.

CHECK OUT CHRIS’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting by William Goldman

Which Lie Die I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman

And check out the Saving Private Ryan essay by William Goldman here.

TUNE IN TO MY CONVERSATION WITH CHRIS’S WIFE KASE WICKMAN — HERE!

MORE READING:

“James and the Giant Peach review” (ThoughtCo., 2017)

“7 juicy facts you didn’t know about James and the Giant Peach” (Penguin)

“14 Larger-Than-Life Facts About James and the Giant Peach” (Mental Floss, 2016)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 30: The Phantom Tollbooth (Manuary)

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The Phantom Tollbooth

There is perhaps no other book in history that captures the importance of imagination — and of sucking it up and having a good attitude about learning new things — better than Norton Juster’s 1961 The Phantom Tollbooth. In Episode 30, Alli jumps aboard a giant toy car with protagonist Milo and his friend Tock (the literal watchdog) and explores the fascinating Kingdom of Wisdom with the help of Curtis from the He Read She Read podcast. Alli and Curtis geek out over wordplay, speculate on “what the kids are doing these days,” and break down the many brilliant, zany moments of The Phantom Tollbooth. Follow @hereadsheread and @curtisreads on Instagram, and tune into He Read She Read on Apple Podcasts.

CHECK OUT CURTIS’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth) by N.K. Jemisin

Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command by Sean Naylor

MORE READING:

The Phantom Tollbooth and the Wonder of Words” (The New York Review of Books, 2011)

“An Interview with Norton Juster, Author of The Phantom Tollbooth” (Underdown)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 29: BSC Super Special // Baby-Sitters Island Adventure (Manuary)

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Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #4: Baby-Sitters Island Adventure

The Baby-Sitters Club Club’s Jack and Tanner join Alli for this history-making first episode of Manuary! In it, they break down the ridiculous circumstances that lead Dawn, Claudia, and several children (!!!) to find themselves shipwrecked in Connecticut in Book #4 of the Baby-Sitters Club Super Special series extension, Baby-Sitters Island Adventure. They also make an argument for which babysitter is objectively the worst, share their definitive list of Ann M. Martin’s best-ever novels, and explain why the Baby-Sitters Club series holds up better long-term than Sweet Valley High.

Follow the Baby-Sitters Club Club on Twitter (@BSCCPodcast), and join them on Facebook, too (@The Baby-Sitters Club Club). Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

LISTEN TO OUR OTHER BSC EPISODE: Episode 07 feat. Jessica Goodman (Kristy’s Great Idea)

MORE READING:

“From My Childhood Bookshelf: The Baby-Sitters Club Gets Lost At Sea” (Rampant Reads, 2011)

"As a Boy, I Was Obsessed With the Baby-Sitters Club Books. I Have No Regrets." (Slate, 2016)

"The Feminist Legacy of The Baby-Sitters Club" (The New Yorker, 2016)

"Ann M. Martin on the Enduring Appeal of The Baby-Sitters Club and Rebooting Another Children's Series" (Vulture, 2016)

"The Legacy of The Baby-Sitters Club" (The Atlantic, 2012)

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The beautiful John Pike (oh, and his family).

The beautiful John Pike (oh, and his family).

Episode 28: Bonus Q+A #1!

BONUS Q+A #1

For the first time ever, SSR host Alli answers listener questions! Tune in to hear her talk about her marriage, her previous job in the publishing world, and her career as a freelance writer… and for plenty of book talk, too. Alli dishes on her favorite titles past and present, her favorite genre, and the books that have been on her TBR list for, like, ever.

Follow Alli on Instagram (@ahoffkosik) and Twitter (@ahoffkosik).

ALLI’S FAVORITE PLANNER BRANDS:

Passion Planner (for day-to-day scheduling)

PowerSheets (for goal planning — great for freelancers, entrepreneurs, creatives, and WFH-ers!)

THE BOOK THAT MADE ALLI FALL IN LOVE WITH READING:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

ALLI’S MOST-RECOMMENDED BOOKS:

The Corrections: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen

Freedom: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen

This Is Where I Leave You: A Novel by Jonathan Tropper

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Prep: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld

American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Book of Essie: A Novel by Meghan MacLean Weir

The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year by Andy Cohen

Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries by Andy Cohen

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

BOOKS FROM ALLI’S TBR LIST:

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (forgot to mention on the episode!)

ALLI’S SEASONAL FAVORITES:

Winter Street: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

ALLI’S MOST PROBLEMATIC SSR EPISODES OF 2018:

Episode 01: Harriet the Spy

Episode 03: Matilda

Episode 05: Nancy Drew // The Secret of the Old Clock

Episode 09: Little House on the Prairie

WANT TO BE A GUEST ON SSR?

Drop us a line at hellossrpod@gmail.com or send a DM on Instagram!

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 27: The Westing Game

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The Westing Game

Ever since its publication in 1978, Ellen Raskin’s Newbery Medal-winning The Westing Game has been introducing young readers to key elements of amazing books: a fascinating ensemble cast of characters, a whodunit storyline, and a series of shocking bombshells at the end. It’s no surprise, then, that the novel has endured as a favorite for so many over the years. In Episode 27, guest Lauren Boone joins Alli to break down the many twists and turns of this beloved book, to discuss the way stereotypes were handled by authors in the seventies, and to generally marvel at how freakin’ talented Ellen Raskin was. Follow Lauren — who currently works at Renaissance Literary & Talent — on Instagram (@lalafalana).

CHECK OUT LAUREN’S BOOK RECOMMENDATION:

Rear Window and Other Stories by Cornell Woolrich

MORE READING:

The Westing Game” (Shmoop)

“A Look Back at The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin” (Wales Arts Review, 2014)

“Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game Taught Us These 12 Life Lessons, Because You Should Never Judge A Book By Its Cover” (Bustle, 2014)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 26: Stargirl

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Stargirl

Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl was a favorite of Alli’s when she was growing up, and in Episode 26, she discovers that she can still mostly love rereading a book from childhood, while also recognizing that it’s pretty problematic. Is she still a Stargirl fan? Tune in and find out! In this episode, Alli and guest Britta Lokting talk about all things high school stereotypes, popularity, and conformity. They also discuss first loves, the #MeToo movement, Taylor Swift, Hillary Clinton, and Alli’s hilarious history as part of her high school’s morning news show. Britta is a New York-based freelance journalist, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Village Voice, The Baffler, and more. Follow her on Instagram (@blokting) and Twitter (@BrittaLokting).

CHECK OUT BRITTA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATION:

Swing Time: A Novel by Zadie Smith

MORE READING:

“Everything We Know About the Stargirl Movie So Far” (BookBub, 2018)

“Grace VanderWaal Will Play Stargirl in New Movie Adaptation of Jerry Spinelli’s Novel” (Teen Vogue, 2018)

Stargirl” (Kirkus)

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CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO OF GRACE VANDERWAAL, WHO’S SLATED TO PLAY STARGIRL IN THE FORTHCOMING MOVIE!

Episode 25: The Dark Is Rising

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The Dark Is Rising

Published in 1973, Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising feels in many ways like the OG Harry Potter — in it, a young, seemingly average British boy learns on the eve of his eleventh birthday that his fate is much bigger than he ever could have imagined. In Episode 25, Alli (a total newbie to this series!) and guest Erica Berger discuss everything from spiritual energetic centers and childhood nostalgia to Star Wars and modern politics. Are the lines between dark and light really so clear? Is it more important for kid protagonists to learn by making mistakes or by beating impossible odds? Tune in to hear what they think! Hear more from journalist, host, strategist, and investor Erica on the TBD Podcast. Follow her on Twitter (@GoodBerger).

FOLLOW MADELEINE L’ENGLE ON TWITTER: @MadeleineLEngle

CHECK OUT OUR WRINKLE IN TIME EPISODE HERE

CHECK OUT ERICA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

American Gods: A Novel by Neil Gaiman

Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge by Terence McKenna

Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

MORE READING:

“Why The Dark Is Rising Is The Book We Need Right Now” (Electric Literature, 2017)

“Re-reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising” (Kate Macdonald, 2017)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 24: The Hate U Give (New Reads November)

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The Hate U Give

Published in 2017, Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give has become a bestselling phenomenon and a conversation starter among readers of all ages. The book — which tells the story of 16-year-old Starr Carter in the days and weeks after her unarmed best friend is shot and killed by a police officer right in front of her — makes the Black Lives Matter movement all the more real for teens and assigns a relatable face to an all-too-frequent tragedy that may feel distant to kids who only hear about it on the news. Traci Thomas joins Alli on Episode 24 to discuss both the merits and the shortcomings of this hugely popular title — and to offer suggestions for important next steps. LA-based Traci hosts The Stacks podcast. Follow The Stacks on Instagram (@thestackspod).

CHECK OUT TRACI’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

Heads of the Colored People: Stories by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

OTHER RECOMMENDED RESOURCES FROM TRACI:

74 Seconds podcast: Who Was Philando Castile? (Apple Podcasts)

16 Shots (Apple Podcasts)

Fruitvale Station (Amazon Prime | YouTube | iTunes | Google Play)

LISTEN TO THE STACKS PODCAST: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher

MORE READING:

“Social issues YA novels can be terrible. The Hate U Give is a stunning exception.” (Vox, 2018)

The Hate U Give: Angie Thomas’ sensational debut novel should be required reading for clueless white people” (Salon, 2017)

“Angie Thomas: the debut novelist who turned racism and and police violence into a bestseller” (The Guardian, 2017)

The Hate U Give author Angie Thomas on why it’s wrong to ban her Black Lives Matter novel” (Entertainment Weekly, 2018)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 23: Leah on the Offbeat (New Reads November)

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Leah on the Offbeat

Fans of the movie “Love, Simon” or the book that inspired it Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda will already be familiar with Leah Burke, Simon’s BFF and the title character of Becky Albertalli’s 2018 novel Leah on the Offbeat. In it, cool, confident, and body positive Leah is keeping two major secrets from her tight-knit group of friends: her bisexuality and her lingering feelings for former best pal Abby. Albertalli goes on to explore everything from racism and labels to the LGBTQ+ spectrum and fights in the dressing room with your mom. For Episode 23, we’re joined by real life YA author Laura Stampler. Check out her book Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies and follow her on Twitter (@laurastampler) and Instagram (@lastamp).

CHECK OUT LAURA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

I’ll Be There for You: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

READ LAURA’S BOOK!

Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies by Laura Stampler

MORE READING:

Leah on the Offbeat” (Kirkus Reviews, 2018)

Leah on the Offbeat review: Why it’s the perfect sequel for Simon” (Hypable, 2018)

“3 Reasons Why Leah on the Offbeat Deserves Dear, Simon Levels of Love” (Study Breaks, 2018)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 22: We Are Okay (New Reads November)

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We Are Okay

Meet Marin, the star of Nina LaCour’s 2017 Printz Award-winning novel We Are Okay. In it, Marin is grappling with the recent loss of her Gramps, whose sudden death reveals the startling and upsetting circumstances of his life. Having moved across the country to start her freshman year of college, she’s isolated herself from everyone back home in order to cope with the fallout of the tragedy. Over the course of We Are Okay, LaCour examines mental illness and tells beautiful, heartbreaking stories of different kinds of love. The guest on Episode 22 is Chiara Charida, who is the co-host of the Books & Booze podcast. Check out the show on Instagram @booksboozepod, and follow Chiara (@bookish.kiki) and her co-host Jade (@boho_bookworm), too!

CHECK OUT CHIARA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

MORE READING:

“The National Book Award For Young People’s Literature In 2018 Will Be Awarded To One Of These 10 YA Books” (Bustle, 2018)

We Are Okay — Nina LaCour” (The Beauty of Literature, 2017)

“Q&A with Nina LaCour” (Publisher’s Weekly, 2017)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

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Episode 21: When Dimple Met Rishi (New Reads November)

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When Dimple Met Rishi

In the first-ever New Reads November episode, Alli and guest Laura Yamin discuss the 2017 YA novel When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. First-generation American teens Dimple and Rishi meet at a coding conference called InsomniaCon, but — twist! — career-focused Dimple has no idea that their Indian parents are actually working behind the scenes to see if they can arrange a marriage between the two. When she learns the truth, Dimple shuts down the idea entirely, and she and Rishi spend the summer getting to know each other, building an app, choreographing a Bollywood dance routine, and (maybe!) falling in love all on their own. When Dimple Met Rishi is a book about culture, tradition, identity, and first love, and we couldn’t have picked a better debut title for New Reads November. Laura Yamin is the bookworm behind the What to Read Next blog and podcast. Follow her on Instagram (@laurayaminreads).

CHECK OUT LAURA’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

A Place for Us: A Novel by Fatima Farheen Mirza

This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid

LISTEN TO THE WHAT TO READ NEXT EPISODE FEAT. ALLI RIGHT HERE!

MORE READING:

When Dimple Met Rishi Is The Indian-American YA Rom-Com You Need To Read This Summer” (Bustle, 2017)

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon Book Review” (Smart Bitches Trashy Books, 2017)

“7 Reasons to Read When Dimple Met Rishi” (Riveted, 2017)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!** 

Episode 20: The Black Cauldron

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The Black Cauldron

Alli puts aside her distaste for Halloween to dive into Lloyd Alexander’s The Black Cauldron, which is the second book in the beloved high fantasy series, The Chronicles of Prydain. Published in 1965, the book went on to win a Newbery Honor and to inspire a 1985 Disney film. The Black Cauldron tells the story of an unlikely group of crusaders seeking to squelch an undead military force called the Cauldron-Born, but there’s so much more to the book than that. In our 2018 reading, we find it to be a fascinating portrayal of gender politics — the role of heroines, mansplaining, and different versions of masculinity (including the toxic kind). Thanks to author Erin Nelsen Parekh for joining us for this spooky episode! Check out her website Drivel and Drool and follow her on Twitter (@ENParekh).

CHECK OUT ERIN’S BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Uprooted: A Novel by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver: A Novel by Naomi Novik

ORDER ERIN’S BOOK!

Behowl the Moon: An Ageless Story from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Erin Nelsen Parekh

MORE READING:

“5 unanswered questions everyone who loves Disney’s The Black Cauldron still has” (HelloGiggles, 2016)

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**Please note that the Amazon links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links. Please do not feel inclined to purchase unless you are excited to add these books to your TBR list!**