A wonderful perk of being a librarian is getting advance reader's copies (ARCs) of soon-to-be-published books. Publishers send review copies as part of their marketing efforts and librarians have the pleasure of reading the books and ordering copies for their library. Last week I was overwhelmed by these Fall offerings in my mailbox. I've already read the first book in the top row, a graphic novel by G. Neri titled Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty. Published by Lee & Low Books, Inc., this gritty, raw dramatization of events that occurred in Chicago in 1994 is powerful and gripping. Told through the voice of an 11-year-old boy, this story follows the life of Robert "Yummy" Sandifer, from his rough beginnings with an abusive mother to his adoption by the Black Disciples, a Southside gang. Out to impress, 11-year-old Yummy kills a young girl in his neighborhood and becomes the object of a heated search by the Chicago police. This incident led news media, politicians, lawyers, professors and even then President Clinton to sit up and take notice of the climbing rate of youth violence and deaths related to gangs.
Now I am reading Beautiful Darkness, the much-anticipated sequel to Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It's a creepy, romantic Gothic fantasy set in the lush South. Fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight will love this. I do!