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YA Cafe

Danielle Hall and Amanda Thrasher

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YA Cafe

YA Cafe

Danielle Hall and Amanda Thrasher

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Conversations and reviews about Young Adult books for teachers, readers, and caffeine addicts everywhere.

Latest Episodes

Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

This week we’re chatting about Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz, a heartwarming #ownvoices tale of two chronically ill teens who don’t die at the end! (Transcript) In today’s episode… Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz Isabel is sick. Not “Make-a-Wish” sick, though. Isabel has Rheumatoid Arthritis, the kind of sick that hurts her every single day and requires constant treatments, but isn’t going to kill her. Her friends and family, although they care about her, sometimes forget that she’s sick at all. After all, Isabel is dealing with it so well, and works hard to never be an imposition on their lives. Sasha’s world is different. He’s sick, too, with Gaucher disease, but he and his family are open and unapologetic about his life and struggles. When the two meet during […]

23 min2019 NOV 22
Comments
Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Our friend Courtney joins us to chat about A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy. It’s perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone or Three Dark Crowns! (Transcript) In today’s episode… A River of Royal Blood tells the story of two rival princesses, Eva and Isadore, in a land of magic and mystery. Eva, our POV character, has always known that when she comes of age, she and her sister will fight to the death for the crown. Even though she wants to rule and be a good queen, Eva has never believed she’d have a chance because she’s never been able to use her magic of Blood and Marrow. It’s a terrifying magic with a sinister past, and Eva’s father could never find someone to teach her. When a mentor […]

26 min2019 OCT 31
Comments
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus feat. L. Sam Smith

Writer & teacher L. Samantha Smith joins us to chat about The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus, a lush, split perspective YA debut. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Stars and the Blackness Between Them follows two girls, Audre and Mabel. Audre has just been sent to Minnesota from her home in Trinidad after her mother found her with another girl. Mabel is ready to welcome her, but barely has the energy to enjoy much these days. After a startling diagnosis, Mabel counts on Audre for calm and peace. She also begins a correspondence with an imprisoned writer. It feels like these two people are alone in understanding her and anchoring her to this life. Can the two girls shape happiness in the space and time they have left together? […]

28 min2019 SEP 27
Comments
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus feat. L. Sam Smith

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi feat. H.D. Hunter

This week we’re chatting about Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. Our guest is author H.D. Hunter who has some great insight into this totally unique YA new release. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Pet by Akwaeke Emezi The people in the town of Lucille know that there are no monsters anymore – not since the angels came and took them all way. But when a creature from one of Jam’s mother’s paintings comes to life and declares it’s here to hunt a monster, Jam believes it. The creature tells Jam to call it ‘Pet’, and asks her to help it find a monster lurking in her best friend’s house. Can Jam navigate the tricky waters of hunting a monster when no one believes they still exist? These Show Notes use Amazon Affiliate […]

31 min2019 SEP 12
Comments
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi feat. H.D. Hunter

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert feat. Nikea JaLynn

BookTuber, Nikea JaLynn (cohost of the series #BlackGirlLit), joins us to chat about The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert Dove “Birdie” Randolph has tried hard to live up to her parents’ expectations: she’s at the top of her class, she works hard, and she even quit playing soccer to make more time for schoolwork. She seems to be the perfect daughter. But Birdie has a secret: she’s seeing a boy named Booker, a boy who’s been in Juvie, and Birdie’s sure her parents won’t approve. When her estranged aunt Carlene comes to town, Birdie’s life gets even more complicated. Carlene’s in recovery, but Birdie’s mother still braces herself for the moment when it will all come crashing down. Can Birdie […]

31 min2019 AUG 22
Comments
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert feat. Nikea JaLynn

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Stacey Lee does it again! The Downstairs Girl is exactly the kind of historical fiction we need right now. We loved it, and your students will too. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee Being a Chinese American teenager in late 19th century Atlanta isn’t easy, but Jo Kwan has made a life with some stability. She and her caretaker, Old Gin, live in secret in a hidden room below a house, eavesdropping on the family living above them. When Jo’s fired without cause from her job as a hat maker she has no choice but to return to work as a lady’s maid for a girl she despises. Luckily, Jo has a secret. She’s taken to writing an advice column as “Miss Sweetie,” a sauce box of […]

22 min2019 AUG 8
Comments
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim feat. Maura Milan

Project Runway meets Mulan in the new YA fantasy novel Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. Joining us to chat is author and filmmaker, Maura Milan. (Transcript) In today’s episode… In Spin the Dawn, Maia Tamarin wants to be the best tailor in the land but can’t even officially apprentice as a girl. Her brothers have gone off to fight in a bloody civil war, and she’s all that holds the family business together. When her aging father gets called to the emperor’s court to be the imperial tailor, Maia slips away in his stead, posing as one of her brothers. When she arrives, she discovers that there are several tailors vying for the job, and she must best them in a series of challenges. Soon, Maia discovers that there’s more at stake […]

32 min2019 JUL 26
Comments
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim feat. Maura Milan

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

We are joined by Zshavette, a Pinay bookstagrammer to chat about Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay. It’s one of our favorite reads of 2019! (Transcript) In today’s episode… In Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, we meet Jay Reguero, a Filipino-American teenager. He has mostly maintained his connection to his family in the Philippines through letters to his cousin, Jun. Or did, before they lost touch a few years ago. Now, Jay is just trying to make it through his senior year before heading to college in the fall. When he gets news that Jun has died, no one will give him any details. Jay wants answers, and he travels to the Philippines to get them. As he learns more about President Duterte’s drug war and the truth about his […]

27 min2019 JUN 27
Comments
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen

This week we chat with author Justina Chen about Gilmore Girls, Firefly, and of course our featured title, Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi Rachel Recht is the next great filmmaker. At least, she will be as soon as she can get her movie finished. She works hard not to rely on anyone—especially not Sana, the beautiful cheerleader who asked her out freshman year as what had to be some kind of cruel joke. Sana is the picture of the perfect daughter. She may not know what she wants to do next year—does she want to go to Princeton like her family believes, or fly halfway across the world for an internship in India?—but she knows […]

28 min2019 JUN 13
Comments
Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling feat. Jessica Spotswood

Author/editor Jessica Spotswood joins us to chat about the blood witches and bad breakups in These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling, a fun YA mystery. (Transcript) In today’s episode… In These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling, Hannah Walsh wants to get through her summer breakup, but sharing a coven with her ex-girlfriend Veronica doesn’t make life easy. Hannah is an elemental witch—she’s able to control the four elements through magic. But she’s still underage and not fully trained, meaning no one believes her when a dangerous Blood Witch comes to town. She thinks it’s a Blood Witch. She’s pretty sure. Working with Veronica is the only way to convince her family of the threat, but it’s hard to focus on the dangers facing them when Veronica keeps trying to hook back up. In […]

28 min2019 MAY 30
Comments
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling feat. Jessica Spotswood

Latest Episodes

Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

This week we’re chatting about Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz, a heartwarming #ownvoices tale of two chronically ill teens who don’t die at the end! (Transcript) In today’s episode… Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz Isabel is sick. Not “Make-a-Wish” sick, though. Isabel has Rheumatoid Arthritis, the kind of sick that hurts her every single day and requires constant treatments, but isn’t going to kill her. Her friends and family, although they care about her, sometimes forget that she’s sick at all. After all, Isabel is dealing with it so well, and works hard to never be an imposition on their lives. Sasha’s world is different. He’s sick, too, with Gaucher disease, but he and his family are open and unapologetic about his life and struggles. When the two meet during […]

23 min2019 NOV 22
Comments
Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Our friend Courtney joins us to chat about A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy. It’s perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone or Three Dark Crowns! (Transcript) In today’s episode… A River of Royal Blood tells the story of two rival princesses, Eva and Isadore, in a land of magic and mystery. Eva, our POV character, has always known that when she comes of age, she and her sister will fight to the death for the crown. Even though she wants to rule and be a good queen, Eva has never believed she’d have a chance because she’s never been able to use her magic of Blood and Marrow. It’s a terrifying magic with a sinister past, and Eva’s father could never find someone to teach her. When a mentor […]

26 min2019 OCT 31
Comments
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus feat. L. Sam Smith

Writer & teacher L. Samantha Smith joins us to chat about The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus, a lush, split perspective YA debut. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Stars and the Blackness Between Them follows two girls, Audre and Mabel. Audre has just been sent to Minnesota from her home in Trinidad after her mother found her with another girl. Mabel is ready to welcome her, but barely has the energy to enjoy much these days. After a startling diagnosis, Mabel counts on Audre for calm and peace. She also begins a correspondence with an imprisoned writer. It feels like these two people are alone in understanding her and anchoring her to this life. Can the two girls shape happiness in the space and time they have left together? […]

28 min2019 SEP 27
Comments
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus feat. L. Sam Smith

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi feat. H.D. Hunter

This week we’re chatting about Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. Our guest is author H.D. Hunter who has some great insight into this totally unique YA new release. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Pet by Akwaeke Emezi The people in the town of Lucille know that there are no monsters anymore – not since the angels came and took them all way. But when a creature from one of Jam’s mother’s paintings comes to life and declares it’s here to hunt a monster, Jam believes it. The creature tells Jam to call it ‘Pet’, and asks her to help it find a monster lurking in her best friend’s house. Can Jam navigate the tricky waters of hunting a monster when no one believes they still exist? These Show Notes use Amazon Affiliate […]

31 min2019 SEP 12
Comments
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi feat. H.D. Hunter

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert feat. Nikea JaLynn

BookTuber, Nikea JaLynn (cohost of the series #BlackGirlLit), joins us to chat about The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert Dove “Birdie” Randolph has tried hard to live up to her parents’ expectations: she’s at the top of her class, she works hard, and she even quit playing soccer to make more time for schoolwork. She seems to be the perfect daughter. But Birdie has a secret: she’s seeing a boy named Booker, a boy who’s been in Juvie, and Birdie’s sure her parents won’t approve. When her estranged aunt Carlene comes to town, Birdie’s life gets even more complicated. Carlene’s in recovery, but Birdie’s mother still braces herself for the moment when it will all come crashing down. Can Birdie […]

31 min2019 AUG 22
Comments
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert feat. Nikea JaLynn

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Stacey Lee does it again! The Downstairs Girl is exactly the kind of historical fiction we need right now. We loved it, and your students will too. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee Being a Chinese American teenager in late 19th century Atlanta isn’t easy, but Jo Kwan has made a life with some stability. She and her caretaker, Old Gin, live in secret in a hidden room below a house, eavesdropping on the family living above them. When Jo’s fired without cause from her job as a hat maker she has no choice but to return to work as a lady’s maid for a girl she despises. Luckily, Jo has a secret. She’s taken to writing an advice column as “Miss Sweetie,” a sauce box of […]

22 min2019 AUG 8
Comments
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim feat. Maura Milan

Project Runway meets Mulan in the new YA fantasy novel Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. Joining us to chat is author and filmmaker, Maura Milan. (Transcript) In today’s episode… In Spin the Dawn, Maia Tamarin wants to be the best tailor in the land but can’t even officially apprentice as a girl. Her brothers have gone off to fight in a bloody civil war, and she’s all that holds the family business together. When her aging father gets called to the emperor’s court to be the imperial tailor, Maia slips away in his stead, posing as one of her brothers. When she arrives, she discovers that there are several tailors vying for the job, and she must best them in a series of challenges. Soon, Maia discovers that there’s more at stake […]

32 min2019 JUL 26
Comments
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim feat. Maura Milan

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

We are joined by Zshavette, a Pinay bookstagrammer to chat about Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay. It’s one of our favorite reads of 2019! (Transcript) In today’s episode… In Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, we meet Jay Reguero, a Filipino-American teenager. He has mostly maintained his connection to his family in the Philippines through letters to his cousin, Jun. Or did, before they lost touch a few years ago. Now, Jay is just trying to make it through his senior year before heading to college in the fall. When he gets news that Jun has died, no one will give him any details. Jay wants answers, and he travels to the Philippines to get them. As he learns more about President Duterte’s drug war and the truth about his […]

27 min2019 JUN 27
Comments
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen

This week we chat with author Justina Chen about Gilmore Girls, Firefly, and of course our featured title, Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi Rachel Recht is the next great filmmaker. At least, she will be as soon as she can get her movie finished. She works hard not to rely on anyone—especially not Sana, the beautiful cheerleader who asked her out freshman year as what had to be some kind of cruel joke. Sana is the picture of the perfect daughter. She may not know what she wants to do next year—does she want to go to Princeton like her family believes, or fly halfway across the world for an internship in India?—but she knows […]

28 min2019 JUN 13
Comments
Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling feat. Jessica Spotswood

Author/editor Jessica Spotswood joins us to chat about the blood witches and bad breakups in These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling, a fun YA mystery. (Transcript) In today’s episode… In These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling, Hannah Walsh wants to get through her summer breakup, but sharing a coven with her ex-girlfriend Veronica doesn’t make life easy. Hannah is an elemental witch—she’s able to control the four elements through magic. But she’s still underage and not fully trained, meaning no one believes her when a dangerous Blood Witch comes to town. She thinks it’s a Blood Witch. She’s pretty sure. Working with Veronica is the only way to convince her family of the threat, but it’s hard to focus on the dangers facing them when Veronica keeps trying to hook back up. In […]

28 min2019 MAY 30
Comments
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling feat. Jessica Spotswood
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