Anastasia Suen

Developmental Editor

Category: young adult (Page 2 of 17)

Prince of Pot

Prince of Pot
by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Author)

Booktalk: Isaac loves art class, drives an old pickup, argues with his father and hangs out with his best buddy, Hazel. But his life is anything but normal. His parents operate an illegal marijuana grow-op, Hazel is a bear that guards the property, and his family’s livelihood is a deep secret.

It’s no time to fall in love with the daughter of a cop.

Snippet: The rain’s letting up. Between the treetops there’s a bright patch in the clouds where the sun might work its way through. I take deep breaths scented with plant oils and cedar trees, and my irritation gradually melts away as I head south.

Though there’s a trail from the access road to our cabin, there are not paths back here. It’s government property, not ours, and we take different routes through the brush every time. That way there is no visible connections between our cabin and the grow. If the police ever raided the place, they couldn’t prove we knew about the crop.

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Playing By Heart

Playing By Heart
by Carmela Martino (Author)

Booktalk: Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as much as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, her position as “second sister” means she’ll likely be sent off to a convent instead. Ironically, Emilia’s pious older sister, Maria, would gladly become a nun. But Father won’t allow it—her brilliant language skills are too important to his quest for noble status.

Emilia’s only hope to avoid the convent is to prove that her musical talents are as indispensable as Maria’s skills. First, Emilia must earn the respect of the music tutor who has always disdained her, simply for being a girl. But before Emilia can carry out her plan, Mamma, her greatest supporter, dies in childbirth. In her sorrow, Emilia composes a heartrending sonata that causes the maestro to finally recognize her talent. He begins teaching her music theory alongside handsome violinist Antonio Bellini, the great-nephew of a wealthy marquis. The two begin as rivals, but making music together gradually melds their hearts.

When Antonio abruptly quits their lessons, Emilia assumes it’s because her family isn’t nobility. More determined than ever to help Father acquire a title, she dedicates a set of compositions to Archduchess Maria Teresa. The archduchess is so impressed that she helps Father become a count. Having finally won Father’s favor, Emilia expects she’ll now be betrothed to Antonio. But the repercussions of her family’s new status threaten not only her dreams, but her sister’s very life.

Snippet: As I recalled Father’s disappointment, the room started to spin. I gripped the wicker chair tighter and breathed in until the bodice stays dug into my ribs.

“Carlo’s behavior was terrible rude,” Mamma went on, “especially compared to Count Riccardi’s impeccable manners. He praised Emilia profusely, saying how he’d never heard anyone her age play so beautifully, boy or girl.”

I took another deep breath. Mamma didn’t understand. The count was just being polite.

Zia Delia’s shadow shifted. “What did you play, Emilia?”

Surprised by her question, I released my grip in the chair. “Three of Scarlatti’s sonatas and Rameau’s Suite in A Minor.”

Zia bowed her head. “Secular music is strictly forbidden within these walls.” Her voice held both sorrow and longing.

How could such beautiful music be forbidden? I shivered at the thought.

I stepped forward and pressed my hand against the iron grille. On the opposite side, Zia stood and raised her hand to mine. She pressed hard, as though she could make our fingers touch through the linen drape. But I only felt the cold iron bars.

Zia whispered, “Don’t let them do this to you.” Her shadow gestured behind her, towards the nuns’ quarters. “Don’t let them lock you away from the music.”

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

The Last Cherry Blossom

The Last Cherry Blossom
by Kathleen Burkinshaw (Author)

Booktalk: Yuriko is happy growing up in Hiroshima when it’s just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and Japan’s fate is not entirely clear, with any battle losses being hidden from its people. Yuriko is used to the sirens and air raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the atomic bomb hits Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.

Snippet: I looked in the direction of my house. The outside frame was the only thing left standing. Every room seemed to have crumbled to the floor below. I recognized the two cement pilars where the iron gates had been, but the cement walls were reduced to ashes. My home was gone, as were all the other houses on the street, as far as I could see.

I would have time to grieve later. Now I needed to rescue my best friend.

“Machiko, I am out. Call to me. Tell me where you are!” I screamed. My entire body shook as if it were twenty degrees outside and I was without a winter coat. It was then that I realized that I was not the only one screaming. I heard people shouting at piles of rubble all the way down our street.

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Page 2 of 17

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