July 23, 2017

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Kick-butt Heroines, Epic Sagas, and Quirky Debuts | Fiction Grades 9 & Up

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redstarAlmond, David. The Tightrope Walkers. 336p. Candlewick. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763673109.

Gr 9 Up–Dominic Hall is the son of a shipbuilder, living in modest conditions in mid-20th century England. As he grows up, he finds himself torn between two influences—the dreamy intellectual artist girl next door and the brutal outcast boy who seems to cultivate a darker side of Dominic’s nature. His coming-of-age is marked by the ramifications of his choices between the two. The Tightrope Walkers is a tour de force. Almond’s gifted prose sets readers firmly in the grim, gray-skied setting of a post-World War II British town inhabited by deeply layered and well-crafted characters. The use of a thick working-class dialect for many of the protagonists yields immersive dialogue that might have been off-putting in a lesser author’s hands. Dominic’s development takes place among moments of overwhelming bleakness and his experiences with the redemptive powers of human connection and art. The balance between these is precarious and realistic, and the span of years encompassed by the book flies by. The novel is by turns reminiscent of classic bildungsromans such as the Billy Elliott film, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Stephen King’s IT, yet it retains a distinctive heart and voice of its own. While instances of violence are eventually tempered, it is best suited for mature readers. An absolute must-have.–Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, NJ

redstarJuby, Susan. The Truth Commision. 320p. Viking. Apr. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780451468772.

Gr 9 Up–Normandy Pale has grown up in the shadow of her bright, artistically talented, and temperamental older sister, who as a young teen began publishing a popular graphic novel series. Disconcertingly, “The Diana Chronicles” features warped, exaggerated, but identifiable versions of her family members. Normandy and her hapless parents were greatly relieved when Keira went away to college, but now she’s suddenly back, more volatile than ever, and not talking about her experiences or her latest book contract. Normandy is a junior at the Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design, her sister’s alma mater. As she and her two close friends reach out in the spirit of friendship and anti-gossip to their peers they learn more than they bargained for in the search for truth and justice. Normandy tells this story, and the more surreal and personal one unraveling at home, as a “narrative nonfiction” project, complete with footnotes, illustrations, and asides to her creative writing teacher. The narrative/book is smart, darkly funny, sad, and heartening as Normandy learns some hard truths, how to stand up for herself, and how to take charge of her own destiny. While there is no reconciliation in sight, there’s no doubt that the truth has set her free. A surprising, witty, and compulsive read.–Luann Toth, School Library Journal

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

Albertalli, Becky. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. 320p. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062348678; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062348692.

Alexander, Shannon Lee. Love and Other Unknown Variables. 352p. Entangled Teen. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781622664672; ebk. ISBN 9781622664689.

Alloway, Kit. Dreamfire. 352p. St. Martin’s Griffin. Feb. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250063663; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781466869677.

Arnold, David. Mosquitoland. 352p. Viking. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451470775; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698165403. LC 2014009137.

Aveyard, Victoria. Red Queen. 400p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062310637.

Banash, Jennnifer. Silent Alarm. 336p. ebook available. Putnam. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399257896.

Bick, Ilsa J. The Dickens Mirror. 576p. (The Dark Passages: Bk. 2). Egmont USA. Mar. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781606844212; ebk. $18.99. ISBN 9781606844229.

Brewer, Heather. The Cemetery Boys. 288p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062307880; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062307903.

Buxton, Jamie. Temple Boys. 224p. Roaring Brook. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626720367.

Cassey, Jane. Bet Your Life. 336p. (Jess Tennant Mysteries: Bk. 2). St. Martin’s. Feb. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250040664; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781466836266.

Castellucci, Cecil. Stone in the Sky. 272p. ebook available. Roaring Brook. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781596437760.

Claiborne, Erin. A Hero at the End of the World. illus. by Jade Liebes. 308p. Big Bang. 2014. pap. $15.95. ISBN 9780990484400.

Crewe, Megan. Earth & Sky. 306p. (Earth & Sky Trilogy: Bk. 1). ebook available. Amazon/Skyscape. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781477847848.

Cross, Julie. Whatever Life Throws At You. 320p. Entangled Teen. 2014. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781622664047.

Crow, Matthew. The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise. 304p. ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481418737.

Cypess, Leah. Death Marked. 400p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062221247; ebk. ISBN 9780062221261.

Dawson, Delilah S. Hit. 336p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481423397; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481423410.

Dayton, Arwen Elys. Seeker. 352p. Delacorte. Feb. 2015. lib. ed. $21.99. ISBN 9780375991486; Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780385744072; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385378574.

Diaz, Stephanie. Rebellion. 400p. St. Martin’s Griffin. Feb. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250041258; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781466837362.

Elliott, Jenny. Save Me. 288p. ebook available. Feiwel and Friends/Swoon Reads. Jan. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781250061478; ebk. $7.12. ISBN 9781250061799.

Eulberg, Elizabeth. We Can Work It Out. 320p. Scholastic/Point. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545654616; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545654630.

Ferrara, Jonathan L. The Blackwell Family Secret: The Guardians of Sins. 224p. Dragonwell. 2014. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781940076195; ebk. $5.95. ISBN 9781940076201.

Galante, Cecilia. Be Not Afraid. 352p. Random. Apr. 2015. lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780385372756; Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385372749; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385372770. LC 2014009301.

Gier, Kerstin. Dream a Little Dream. tr. from German by Anthea Bell. 336p. (The Silver Trilogy: Bk. 1). ebook available. Holt. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627790277.

Giles, Lamar. Endangered. 288p. Harper Collins/HarperTeen. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062297563.

Gregorio, I.W. None of the Above. 352p. further reading. websites. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062335319; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062335333.

Hartman, Rachel. Shadow Scale. 608p. (Seraphina: Bk. 2). ebook available. Random. Mar. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780375866579. LC 2014017953.

Hasak-Lowy, Todd. Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You. 656p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442495739.

Howard, A.G. Ensnared. 400p. (Splintered: Bk. 3). ebook available. Amulet. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781419712296.

Howard, J. J. Tracers. 288p. Putnam. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399173738; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698188990. LC 2014031563.

Johnson, Maureen. The Shadow Cabinet. 384p. (Shades of London: Bk. 3). ebook available. Putnam. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399256622.

Knowles, Jo. Read Between the Lines. 336p. Candlewick. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763663872.

McCoy, Chris. The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Excursion. 304p. Knopf. Apr. 2015. lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375955990; Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780375855993; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780375897115.

McCoy, Mary. Dead to Me. 304p. Disney-Hyperion. Mar. 2015. RTE $17.99. ISBN 9781423187127.

McCulloch, Amy. The Oathbreaker’s Shadow. 408p. ebook available. Flux. Feb. 2015. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9780738744056.

McKenzie, Sophie. In a Split Second. 368p. S. & S. Mar. 2015. LC 2013040880.

Maggi, Nicole. The Forgetting. 352p. Sourcebooks Fire. Feb. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781492603566; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781492603573.

Oh, Ellen. King. 288p. (Prophecy: Bk. 3) HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062091154.

Omololu, C.J. The Third Twin. 336p. ebook available. Delacorte. Feb. 2015. lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375991714; Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385744522.

Parsons, Ash. Still Waters. 304p. Philomel. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399168475.

Pass, Emma. The Fearless. 368p. Delacorte. Apr. 2015. lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375991684; Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385744478; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385390149.

Pitcher, Chelsea. The Last Changeling. 360p. Flux. 2014. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9780738740843.

Preble, Joy. Finding Paris. 272p. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062321305; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062321329.

Richards, Natalie D. Gone Too Far. 304p. Sourcebooks Fire. Jan. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781402285547; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781402285554.

Romano, Juliana. First There Was Forever. 389p. ebook available. Dial. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803741683.

Rubin, Lance. Denton Little’s Deathdate. 352p. Knopf. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553496963; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780553496970; ebk. ISBN 9780553496987.

Rutkoski, Marie. The Winner’s Crime. 352p. (The Winner’s Trilogy: Bk. 2). Farrar. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374384708; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780374384715.

Ryan, Jeanne. Charisma. 384p. Dial. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803739666. LC 2014013425.

Sappenfield, Heather. The View From Who I Was. 336p. Flux. Jan. 2015. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9780738741741.

Schantz, Sarah Elizabeth. Fig. 352p. ebook available. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481423588.

Sise, Katie. The Pretty App. 352p. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062195296; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062195326.

Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Feral Pride. 304p. (Feral: Bk. 3). Candlewick. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763659110. LC 2014944625.

SMITH, Lindsay. Skandal. 336p. (The Sekret Series: Bk. 2). Roaring Brook. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626720053; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781626720060.

Stevenson, Robin. The World Without Us. 240p. Orca Books. Feb. 2015. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781459806818; ebk. ISBN 9781459806825.

Tahir, Sabaa. An Ember in the Ashes. 464p. Penguin/Razorbill. Apr. 2015. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781595148032; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698176461.

Thorne, Jenn Marie. The Wrong Side of Right. 400p. Dial. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803740570.

Weston, Robert Paul. Blues for Zoey. 312p. Flux. Feb. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780738743400.

Wilkinson, Kerry. Renegade. 368p. (Silver Blackthorn Trilogy: Bk. 2). St. Martin’s Griffin. Jan. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250061331; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781466838550.

Yansky, Brian. Utopia, Iowa. 336p. ebook available. Candlewick. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763665333. LC 2014939349.

Zink, Michelle. Lies I Told. 352p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062327123.

Graphic Novels

Ashihara, Daisuke. World Trigger, Vol. 2. illus. by Daisuke Ashihara. 192p. Viz Media. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781421577654.

Lemire, Jeff. Teen Titans: Earth One. illus. by Terry Dodson et al. 144p. DC Comics. 2014. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781401245566; ebk. $14.99. ISBN 9781401255947.

McDonald, Kel. Misfits of Avalon: The Queen of Air and Delinquency. illus. by Kel McDonald. 176p. (Misfits of Avalon: Vol. 1). Dark Horse. 2014. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781616555382.

Mihara, Gunya. Kamen, Vol. 1. ISBN 9781939012142.

––––. Kamen, Vol. 2. ISBN 9781939012159.

ea vol: illus. by Gunya Mihara. 225p. Gen Manga. 2014. pap. $12.95.

Mitsuki, Miko. Honey Blood. tr. from Japanese. illus. by Miko Mitsuki. 192p. Viz Media. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781421573373.

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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