YA Recs: Funny in Farsi

Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas



Funny in Farsi is Firoozeh Dumas’s autobiographical account of growing up Iranian in America. Dumas tells stories of her family’s immigration to the US in the 1970s.

Why I liked it:

True to the title, this book is funny. I particularly like the way Dumas casts her family. We really get to know them and enjoy their unique personalities.

YA Recs: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash



Graham has been in love with his best friend, Roxy, for years. When their favorite comic writer comes to comic con, Graham decides to use the special occasion to declare his love for Roxy. However, Graham’s carefully laid schemes soon go awry, leaving him wondering if a geek boy can ever really get the girl.

Why I loved it:

First of all, I’ve been very into YA contemporary that deals with geek culture lately. Mainly, though, I loved this book because I fell in love with the characters. Graham is an absolute sweetheart and the type of guy I would totally date. I also love that Graham’s story manages to simultaneously feel epic and realistic.

YA Recs: Dark Sons

Dark Sons by Nikki Grimes



Sam feels betrayed when his father leaves him and his mother to marry another woman. He struggles with his faith and his father’s devotion to his new family. Sam’s story is paralleled by the Biblical account of Ishmael.

Why I loved it:

This novel is written in verse, and I think that element is well done. Although I have never been in a situation like Ishmael and Sam’s, I was able to feel deeply for their challenges. The book provides believable dynamic characters, and I loved seeing how the characters progressed over the course of the book.

YA Recs: The Iron King

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa



When Meghan Chase’s brother is kidnapped, she must venture into the world of the fey. She soon discovers she is the daughter of the legendary Oberon and a pawn in the war between rival faery factions.

Why I liked it:

I was a little wary of this book when I started it. I’m still a little burnt out on paranormal love triangles and portal fantasies have never really been my thing. However, Julie Kagawa has a crisp writing style that drew me in instantly. This book is basically A Midsummer Night’s Dream meets Labyrinth. I appreciated Meghan’s evolution as a character. A lot of the other characters are very powerful, so it would be easy for her to take a back seat to them. I may add that after book one, I legitimately don’t know who I’m rooting for in this love triangle (besides Meghan. I always root for her). I’m excited to pick up the next book and keep reading.

YA Recs: Orchards

Orchards by Holly Thompson


Summary: After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg’s parents send her to live on her grandparents’s orchard in rural Japan. Kana struggles with guilt over her friend’s death as well as her clashing half-Japanese, half-Jewish heritage.

Why I loved it: Lately I’ve been interested in novels in verse. I think that Thompson’s writing is absolutely lyrical. I also think that she does a remarkable job fleshing out several large conflicts in a very small space. I felt that both the issues of identity and suicide were well addressed in the book.

YA Recs: A Girl Named Faithful Plum

a girl named faithful plum


This nonfiction account follows Zhongmei Lei, a girl from the country who defies all odds to become a student at the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy.

Why I loved it:

I’m just in absolute awe at all the things Zhongmei overcame. Reading her story made her an absolute inspiration to me. I also appreciated the author’s ability to give readers some insight into the historical and political setting in which Zhongmei’s story takes place. This is the kind of book that makes you want to push your own limits.

YA Recs: Irises

Irises by Francisco X. Stork



After the unexpected death of their father, sisters Kate and Mary must figure out how to care for themselves and their mother, who is in a permanent vegetative state.

Why I loved it:

First, I enjoyed this book because the writing was beautiful, which drew me in instantly. I love stories that focus on family relationships, and Stork does a fantastic job depicting the different personalities of the two sisters. They both feel realistic to me, and I enjoyed watching their relationship progress. I also appreciated the book’s approach to the character’s religion. The portrayal was powerful without feeling preachy.