Search
  • unabridgedpod

Pub Day Shout-Outs! May 25, 2020 featuring Yang, Jollett, and Forna

Updated: May 27

by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)



Kelly Yang's Parachutes


Description from Publisher:

"They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the United States while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California.


"Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out.


"Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. But Dani’s game plan veers unexpectedly off course when her debate coach starts working with her privately.


"As they steer their own distinct paths, Dani and Claire keep crashing into one another, setting a course that will change their lives forever."


Why I want to read it: I'm here for anything written by Kelly Yang, and I'm thrilled that this one is YA lit! Front Desk (which is middle grade) was one of my favorites from 2019, and I loved the way she created her characters and revealed the story. Can't wait to read this one!

Namina Forna's The Gilded Ones


Description from Publisher:

"Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.


"But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.


"Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat.


"Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself."


Why I want to read it:

I'm always ready to read YA lit fantasy books that draw on West African and feminist traditions. Also, I'm loving Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone series and am interested in books that have some similarities. The premise of Forna's series sounds fascinating!

Mikel Jollett's Hollywood Park


Description from Publisher:

"Hollywood Park is a remarkable memoir of a tumultuous life. Mikel Jollett was born into one of the country’s most infamous cults, and subjected to a childhood filled with poverty, addiction, and emotional abuse. Yet, ultimately, his is a story of fierce love and family loyalty told in a raw, poetic voice that signals the emergence of a uniquely gifted writer.


'We were never young. We were just too afraid of ourselves. No one told us who we were or what we were or where all our parents went. They would arrive like ghosts, visiting us for a morning, an afternoon. They would sit with us or walk around the grounds, to laugh or cry or toss us in the air while we screamed. Then they’d disappear again, for weeks, for months, for years, leaving us alone with our memories and dreams, our questions and confusion.'


"So begins Hollywood Park, Mikel Jollett’s remarkable memoir. His story opens in an experimental commune in California, which later morphed into the Church of Synanon, one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults. Per the leader’s mandate, all children, including Jollett and his older brother, were separated from their parents when they were six months old, and handed over to the cult’s 'School.' After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage, Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother. But in many ways, life outside Synanon was even harder and more erratic.


"In his raw, poetic and powerful voice, Jollett portrays a childhood filled with abject poverty, trauma, emotional abuse, delinquency and the lure of drugs and alcohol. Raised by a clinically depressed mother, tormented by his angry older brother, subjected to the unpredictability of troubled step-fathers and longing for contact with his father, a former heroin addict and ex-con, Jollett slowly, often painfully, builds a life that leads him to Stanford University and, eventually, to finding his voice as a writer and musician."


Why I want to read it:

Jen already read and loved this one (see her Instagram review here), and I've seen so many great reviews! I'm excited to listen to this one on libro.fm -- I've heard the audio is excellent!

A Few Others to Celebrate!


Dean Atta's The Black Flamingo

Thomas C. Foster's How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor

Ilhan Omar's This Is What America Looks Like

Natalie Jenner's The Jane Austen Society - check out Jen's review here


#pubdayshoutouts #yalit #memoir #fantasy

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)


Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.


Loving what you see here? Please comment below (scroll ALL the way down to comment), share this post using the social media buttons below (scroll down for those as well!), and find us on social media to share your thoughts!

Want to support Unabridged?


Check out our Merch Store!

Become a patron on Patreon.​

Follow us @unabridgedpod on Instagram.

Like and follow our Facebook Page.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Check out our Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Follow us @unabridgedpod on Twitter.

Subscribe to our podcast and rate us on Apple Podcasts or on Stitcher.

Check us out on Podbean.

Please note that we a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Please note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

© 2020 by Ashley, Jen, and Sara of Unabridged Podcast, LLC. All rights reserved.