Perfect for fans of One for the Murphys and Paper Things, this heart-wrenching middle grade debut considers homelessness from one girl’s perspective and explores deep truths about the resounding impact of empathy.
Fifth grade can be tough for anyone. There are cliques and mean kids and homework and surprise math tests. But after tragedy strikes her family, almost-eleven-year-old Maya has a painful secret that makes many days feel nearly impossible.
And today might be Maya’s toughest yet. Her family is on edge, she needs to travel alone across the city, a bully is out to get her, and Maya has to face this winter’s biggest rainstorm without a coat or an umbrella.
But even on the rainiest days, there’s hope that the sun will come out soon.
Emotional and compassionate, Shelter looks at homelessness through one girl’s eyes and explores the power of empathy, friendship, and love.
Shelter is a middle grade contemporary novels that follows Maya’s story as she navigate homelessness after a life threatening injury her dad experiences and her home being sold by their landlord turns her world upside down. And to top it off, she has to keep her homelessness a secret for fear of being bullied for it. But this doesn’t stop Maya from hoping that things will get better. Shelter was a quick read that adds a different perspective to how most view homelessness and influences people to ponder more about the negative stereotypes society may put upon homeless people.
After the accident that has left her dad in a coma [medically induced], Maya’s mom now struggles to navigate being a single mom of two. Gabby, Maya’s younger sisters has many allergies and illnesses which makes it harder for Maya’s mom to keep a steady job and care for her daughter. Keeping the secret that you are homeless can be hard for a 5th grader but we view in Maya’s journey her ability to create a façade for her peers. I overall enjoyed the support of Maya’s teachers throughout the story. I also appreciated Maya’s story also having a strong friendship component; it allowed me as a reader to not focus too much on the theme and see Maya for more than just a young girl going through many situations. I also enjoyed Maya’s character. She felt very mature for her young age and it was mostly given her circumstances. But what I enjoyed most about Maya was her hopefulness – she was able to find some good among a very unpredictable journey. She is also generous – she is willing to give her last bit of food to a homeless boy. It rings true to her altruistic spirit.
It was a pretty good read. It was under 200 pages and told the story in the way that it could. I wasn’t fully invested and I tihnk it was mostly because I was not the target reader for this. Nonetheless, I do recommend this book to anyone who has a middle grade reader in their life. It is a sweet story about perseverance, hope and navigating a tough struggle with optimism. You don’t often read about homelessness through the eyes of a child which is just as important. It makes you think a bit differently and for good reason.
About the Author
Christie Matheson is the author and illustrator of many picture books, including Tap the Magic Tree, Touch the Brightest Star, and Bird Watch. Shelter is her first novel. She lives in San Francisco with her family. Find her on Instagram at @christiematheson.
When she receives an invitation to spend Christmas with her family on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, she feels it may be the perfect medicine.
She throws herself into helping her sister’s struggling art gallery, even taking a temporary job for extra money by looking after a little girl from her nephew’s school. She also begins to paint again, something she’s been unable to do since her breakup. It’s tempting to stay on Kauai, but she has obligations back in Los Angeles.
Life gets more complicated when circumstances keep putting her close to Leonardo Medici. Not only is he drop-dead gorgeous, he’s a local celebrity. But Kaitlyn can’t shake the feeling he’s hiding something.
Should she believe the rumors that he’s romancing half the island’s single women?
Or is the random sound of wind chimes when he’s close-by a sign that an angel is near and the secret to her happily ever after?
Praise for ISAN Series
“A stunning sequel! Mary Ting takes us once again into the inventive world of ISAN–one of intrigue and betrayal–but this time, with deadly consequences. A must read!” —Jonas Saul, Bestselling Author of the Sarah Roberts Series
“Captivating from the very beginning, this sci-fi novel explores issues of autonomy and survival in a world where there are few remaining citizens after meteors crashed into Earth… this thrilling dystopian drama has a splash of romance and tons of action. The fast-paced chapters will engage reluctant readers and fans of postapocalyptic scenarios.” —School Library Journal
“Addictive and impossible to put it down!” —Addison Moore, New York Times Bestselling Author
PHOTO CREDIT: MICHELLE ENGLAND DELAVARA
About the Author
Mary Ting is an international bestselling, award-winning author. She writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers around the world. Her books span a wide range of genres, and her storytelling talents have earned a devoted legion of fans, as well as garnered critical praise.
Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.
Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Being a huge Twilight fan, Mary was inspired to make book-themed jewelry and occasionally gives it away as prizes to her fans.
*Thank you Fantastic Flying Book Club and Blink YA for providing a review copy and for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour. This review consists of my original thoughts and have not been influenced in any way.*
Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.
The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere can help her cope.
With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.
I was so intrigued by how this Hansel and Gretel retelling was written. It’s so unique and that uniqueness is what hooked me in. Ashlyn is sent to a retreat center to work for the summer after her father is set to go to prison and her mother is taken to a rehab facility for mental health. Ashlyn believes her perfect life and summer have been ruined from this decisions. Throughout the journey, she gains so much from this experience and it changes how she see things moving forward.
I enjoyed this novel mostly because it felt relate-able. Ashlyn had the teen angst related to the family situation. Although I couldn’t relate to situation directly, I understand the strain of teenager – parent relations all too well because I was pretty angsty as a teen. I love Ashlyn’s character development. She went from a character that we felt for because of her circumstance to being proud in her development as a strong protagonist willing and able to face challenges so much better than when she began her journey at the retreat center. Speaking of characters, the supporting characters were also very well developed. The author managed to make supporting characters that helped strengthen the protagonist but also added insight into their own development and stories. I was able to invest in all the characters because they were different and complimented each other so well.
This was a coming of age story that worked well. there wasn’t a damsel in distress stories that many contemporaries I’ve read have done. Through all the wilderness activities, conversations with characters and overall self-discovery, Ashlyn painted a vivid but relate-able story that captivated me form the first page. Throughout the story, the theme of family was very focused. We knew Ashlyn’s family structure was broken because she was no longer living with them and had to uproot herself for a whole summer. However, the family dynamic is important to this story. We understand why although Ashlyn wanted to be home, her relationship with her parents were strained. Ashlyn was trying to rebuild that trust and showing she can be perfect even though her father was far form that. It shone a light in how family structures may seem great on the outside and are vastly different on the inside.
Overall this book was a quick, light-hearted read. The writing style kept me wanting to turn the next page to see what Ashlyn was up to next. It was a contemporary read that is perfect for summer reading.
About the Author
Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become–whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal–the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland.
She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter. She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.
Beauty In the Binding – Author Q&A with Annie Sullivan
Onemused – Book Review of Meet the Sky (Instagram Photo)
A Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Cinnamon Summers – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
A Dream Within a Dream – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Swing + Favorite Quotes
FictitiousWonderland – Book Review + Creative Post for Pretty In Punxsutawney (Instagram)
What She Will Read – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Starlight Reads – Book Review of Swing
YA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
YA Media Consumer – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Some Books and Ramblings – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite QuotesThe Reading Corner for All – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Instagram Post
Feed Your Fiction Addiction – McCall Hoyle Guest PostTaylor Fenner’s
Bookish World – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Book-Keeping – Book Review of Touch of Gold
Utopia State of Mind – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Kait Plus Books – Annie Sullivan Guest Post
Musings of a (Book) Girl – Book Review of Swing
Kait Plus Books – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest Post
Read At Night – No Place Like Here Creative Post
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite Quotes
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
Reading Authors Network – Creative Post for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with Christina June
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
The Secret Reader – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Creative Post
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Swing
A Dream Within A Dream – Annie Sullivan Guest Post
Smada’s Book Smack – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Adventures Thru Wonderland – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyThe Secret Reader – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton + Creative Post
Smada’s Book Smack – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Faery Tales Are Real – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Read At Night – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Swing