Fight or flight

It’s all about fac­ing the mat­ters of the heart or keep­ing them buried for­ever in this week’s reads for young adults and teens.

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Here We Are Now Au­thor: Jas­mine Warga Pub­lisher: Balzer + Bray, fic­tion

TALIAH Ab­dal­lat lives and breathes mu­sic. Songs have al­ways helped Tal ease the pain of never hav­ing known her fa­ther. Her mother won’t say a word about who her dad re­ally was. But when Tal finds a shoe­box full of old let­ters from Ju­lian Oliver – yes, the in­die rock star Ju­lian Oliver – she be­gins to piece the story to­gether. She writes to Ju­lian, but af­ter three years of ra­dio si­lence, she’s given up hope.

Then one day, com­pletely out of the blue, Ju­lian shows up at her doorstep, and Tal doesn’t know whether to be fu­ri­ous or to throw her­self into his arms. Be­fore she can de­cide, he asks her to go on a trip with him to meet her longes­tranged fam­ily and to say good­bye to his fa­ther, her grand­fa­ther, who is dy­ing.

Starlight Nights Au­thor: Stacey Kade Pub­lisher: Forge Books, fic­tion

AT 22, Cal­ista Beck­ett is try­ing to over­come her early fame and for­tune. The for­mer “saviour of the world” on TV se­ries Starlight is now at col­lege, miles away from her for­mer ex­is­tence and be­gin­ning a new life, a nor­mal life, one where she won’t make the same mis­takes she made be­fore.

Eric Stone played her older brother on Starlight. But she’s been in love with him pretty much since they kissed – her first kiss – while au­di­tion­ing. When Eric shows up on cam­pus out of the blue, Cal­ista’s struck im­me­di­ately by two things: first, in spite of ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pened, she still feels some­thing dan­ger­ous for him, and sec­ond, she’s ab­so­lutely deter­mined not to let him ruin her life again. Only Eric’s not go­ing away so eas­ily.

Flight Sea­son Au­thor: Marie Mar­quardt Pub­lisher: Wed­nes­day Books, fic­tion

BACK when they were still strangers, TJ Car­valho wit­nessed the only mo­ment in Vivi Flan­ni­gan’s life when she lost con­trol en­tirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that mo­ment from his mind. Vivi doesn’t re­mem­ber any of it, but she’s deter­mined to leave it far be­hind.

But when Vivi re­turns home from her first year away at col­lege, her big plans and TJ’s am­bi­tion to be­come a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a uni­ver­sity hos­pi­tal, fac­ing a long and painful three months of glo­ri­fied babysit­ting of Án­gel, the prob­lem pa­tient on the ward. As it turns out, though, Án­gel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the mo­ments when love gets in their way.

Here So Far Away Au­thor: Hadley Dyer Pub­lisher: HarperTeen, fic­tion

FEISTY and fear­less Ge­orge War­ren (given name: Frances, but no one calls her that) has never let life get too se­ri­ous. Now that she’s about to be a se­nior, her plans in­clude par­ty­ing with her tight-knit group of friends and then get­ting the heck out of town af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

But in­stead of own­ing her last year of sec­ondary school, a fight with her best friend puts her on the outs of their so­cial cir­cle. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ge­orge’s fam­ily has been fac­ing hard times since her fa­ther, a po­lice sergeant, got in­jured and might not be able to re­turn to work, which puts Ge­orge’s col­lege plans in jeop­ardy. So when Ge­orge meets Fran­cis, an older guy who shares her name and her affin­ity for sar­cas­tic ban­ter, she’s thrown. If she lets her­self, she’ll fall reck­lessly, hope­lessly in love. But be­cause of Fran­cis’s age, she tells no one, and ends up los­ing al­most ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing her­self.

Rebel With A Cup­cake Au­thor: Anna Main­war­ing Pub­lisher: Kids Can Press, fic­tion

JESOBEL Jones is bold and brash. She sees no need to apol­o­gise for her ram­bling house, her im­per­fect fam­ily, her sin­gle sta­tus ... or her weight. Jess is who she is. She makes her own cup­cakes and she eats them, too. No re­grets.

That is, un­til Own Clothes Day rolls around at school. Jess and her friends ded­i­cate the req­ui­site hours of plan­ning to put to­gether their out­fits and do their hair and their makeup for the one day they are free from school uni­forms.

But a wardrobe mal­func­tion leaves Jess with a pair of leg­gings split open at the worst spot, and a mean girl call­ing her the one thing that’s never both­ered her be­fore: fat. The en­counter shakes Jess’s for­merly iron-clad con­fi­dence, and she starts to won­der if she’s been just a lit­tle too com­fort­able in her own skin.

Loser’s Bracket Au­thor: Chris Crutcher Pub­lisher: Green­wil­low Books, fic­tion

WHEN it comes to fam­ily, An­nie is in the loser’s bracket. While her fos­ter par­ents are great (mostly), her birth fam­ily would not have been her first pick. And no mat­ter how many times An­nie tries to write them out of her life, she al­ways gets sucked back into their drama.

But when a fam­ily ar­gu­ment breaks out and her nephew goes miss­ing, An­nie might be the only one who can get him back. With help from her friends and her fos­ter brother, An­nie puts the pieces of the puz­zle to­gether, deter­mined to find her nephew and fi­nally get him into a safe home.

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