Powell, Patricia Hruby. Loving vs. Virginia. Illustrated by Shadra Strickland, Chronicle Books, 2017. 978-1-4521-2590-9. 260 pp. $21.99. Gr. 7 and up.
“Here in Washington my name is Mrs. Loving. / That is one good thing about Washington, D.C.” (181). In 1963, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, 24 states had laws making interracial marriage illegal. In 1958, five years prior, Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who grew up together on Passing Road, Central Point, Caroline County, Virginia, married in Washington D.C. Upon their return to Caroline County, they were arrested in the middle of the night by the Sheriff. They were found guilty of miscegenation and sentenced to one year in prison or a suspended sentence for 25 years so long as they left Caroline County and the Commonwealth of Virginia. They returned to Washington D.C. but did not give up their fight. For nine years they fought for the freedom to love one another publicly, through marriage, in their home, Caroline County, Virginia. On June 12, 1967, Richard and Mildred Loving were granted the ability to return home when the United State Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Lovings. “Upholding the Virginia laws amounted to ‘legalized prejudice’ and relegated the Negro to second-class citizenship” (232). The Lovings’ 14th Amendment Right would no longer be denied. THOUGHTS: Loving vs. Virginia is one of the most amazing historical fiction/documentary novels/novel-in-verse available for young adults. It beautifully captures the Lovings’ relationship and the prejudice and discrimination they fought daily while highlighting the love of family and spirit necessary to forge on in a fight that seemed hopeless. This is a must-have for all high school libraries.
Historical Fiction (Novel-in-Verse/Documentary Novel) Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area
This is the best historical, documentary novel I’ve read in awhile. It literally gave me goosebumps as I read about Mildred and Richard Loving, especially when Mildred writes a letter to Attorney General Bobby Kennedy about their situation; all I could think was, “You Rock!” It’s hard to imagine that interracial marriage was once a felony in almost half of the United States and that the last miscegenation law wasn’t abolished until 2000. This novel is eye-opening and beautifully written and illustrated. It shares the story of love overcoming all without being sappy or romantic. It takes a little known court case that was crucial to Civil Rights and presents it in a very understandable setting: two people just want to be married and live in the home they’ve known all their lives. The interspersed primary sources are excellent and add just enough for context and connections. The timeline at the end and the notes add to reader’s understanding. I read about the film Loving earlier in the year and thought it sounded interesting. Now, I have to see it. It’s a shame the Lovings never lived to see the full impact they made on our society.
Bergstrom, Scott. The Cruelty. Feiwel & Friends, 2017. 978-1-250-10818-0. 384 p. Gr. 9 and up.
With the roles reversed from the Taken movies, The Cruelty begins by building the backstory of Gwendoyln Bloom’s life with her father before he disappears. Upon her father’s disappearance, though not always believable, Gwendoyln transforms from average high school student to mafia/mob spy infiltrator after her father goes missing. Instead of trusting the authorities, Gwendolyn follows a series of clues left behind by her father. THOUGHTS: Readers looking for a fast-paced, though not necessarily realistic, action-packed adventure around the world will enjoy The Cruelty. Though the ending is somewhat resolved, it absolutely sets up book two, and readers will anxiously await more of the story.
Action/Adventure Maryalice Bond, South Middleton School District
Blake, Elly. Frostblood. Little, Brown Books, 2017. 978-0-316-27325-1. 376 p. Gr. 9 and up.
With action, adventure, revenge, and a little bit of romance all set in a fantasy world of frost and fire, Frostblood does not disappoint! Readers will devour this book and won’t be able to wait for book 2, Fireblood, release! The twists and turns of the story are unexpected, and one cannot easily predict how the story will end. There certainly is something for everyone in this genre-blending YA book!
Fantasy Maryalice Bond, South Middleton School District