Dear Mrs. Naidu, by Mathangi Subramanian
Goodreads summary: Twelve-year-old Sarojini’s best friend, Amir, might not be her best friend any more. Ever since Amir moved out of the basti and started going to a posh private school, it seems like he and Sarojini have nothing in common.
Then Sarojini finds out about the Right to Education, a law that might help her get a free seat at Amir’s school – or, better yet, convince him to come back to a new and improved version of the government school they went to together.
As she struggles to keep her best friend, Sarojini gets help from some unexpected characters, including Deepti, a feisty classmate who lives at a construction site; Vimala Madam, a human rights lawyer who might also be an evil genius; and Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, a long-dead freedom fighter who becomes Sarojini’s secret pen pal. Told through letters to Mrs. Naidu, this is the story of how Sarojini learns to fight – for her friendship, her family, and her future.
This is a Sakura Medal 2017 book, and *snaps* for the librarian who put it on the list and fought for it, because it was great. I couldn’t put it down. I carried the paperback with me all over Tokyo.
We Awaken, by Calista Lynne
Goodreads summary: Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.
But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.
Reading the summary, it’s like someone sat down and said, “What do we think Meep will like best?” We have: dream telepathy (my secret narrative obsession since I was little), asexuality, and a lesbian romance.
… which means I’ll probably end up a little disappointed, but whatever. I’m here for this. I might buy it just for that cover design.