November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Courtroom Dramas, Murderous Robots, and Tough Stuff | High School YA

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

SLJ1505-FIC-YAHighSch

redstarGilbert, Kelly Loy. Conviction. 352p. Disney-Hyperion. May 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781423197386; ebk. ISBN 9781484719435.

Gr 8 Up –Braden’s dad is in jail, awaiting trial for allegedly killing a police officer, supposedly backing up, swerving, and running the officer down during a routine traffic stop. Braden dreads having to testify. His father is a well-known religious radio host, and Braden’s own faith is wavering as he wrestles with the realities of the relationship he has with his father. He wants to believe that his father is a good man, but the facts in the case seem to point in another direction. Flickers of his dad’s drinking, violence, and judgmental tendencies make Braden increasingly apprehensive about providing his version of the events of the night the officer was killed. He also has lingering doubts about why his older brother would leave home, not returning for more than a decade. When he arrives back to care for Braden during their dad’s incarceration, Braden eventually learns the truth: his dad disapproved of the brother’s secrets and beat him mercilessly. The story flashes forward and back in time, interweaving baseball vignettes as metaphors for strained relationships. The sophisticated pacing requires effort to push through; this is a multilayered story that provides meaty sustenance for those seeking insights into rifts between fathers and sons. Readers who do push through will find a poignant look at the messiness of love, faith, and humanity. VERDICT A strong debut for readers who enjoyed E.M. Kokie’s Personal Effects (Candlewick, 2012).–Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL

redstarSilvera, Adam. More Happy Than Not. 304p. Soho Teen. Jun. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781616955601; ebk. $18.99. ISBN 9781616955618.

Gr 9 Up –Debut author Silvera pulls readers into the gritty, (near-future) Bronx world of 16-year-old Puerto Rican, Aaron Soto, with a milieu of tight-knit, sometimes dysfunctional relationships. Aaron struggles to find happiness despite the presence of his mother, older brother, and girlfriend, as well as a set of childhood buddies and a new, intriguing friend, Thomas. He is haunted by painful physical and emotional scars: the memory of his father’s suicide in their home, his own similar failed attempt with its resulting smiley face scar, not to mention his family’s poverty and his personal angst at an increasingly strong attraction for Thomas. This first-person narrative raises ethical, societal, and personal questions about happiness, the ability to choose to eradicate difficult memories (through a scientific procedure), and gender identity. The protagonist is as honest with readers as he is able to be, and it is only after Aaron is brutally beaten by friends attempting to set him “straight,” that he remembers the entirety of his life story through shocking, snapshotlike revelations. More surprising is the knowledge that his family and girlfriend have known his backstory all along. VERDICT A gripping read–Silvera skillfully weaves together many divergent young adult themes within an engrossing, intense narrative.–Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, IL

redstarSummers, Courtney. All the Rage. 320p. ebook available. St. Martin’s Griffin. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250021915.

Gr 9 Up –Romy Grey lost her friends, including best friend Penny, and all high school social status when she accused the local sheriff’s son of rape. But then she and Penny go missing the night of the annual senior party, and Romy is found on the side of a road the next morning with no memory of what happened. She has to try and reconcile life as the ostracized girl who is found when the beloved girl is still lost, while dealing with the lasting trauma of her assault. In a society that too often seeks to place blame on the victim, Summers’s book offers a deft and timely examination of the aftermath of rape in a small town where corruption and power trump justice. “You can’t deny you were attracted to him,” the sheriff says in one of the book’s flashbacks, before commenting on the teen’s state of inebriation at the time and her clothing (“short skirt, skimpy shirt”). The dynamics between Romy and other characters, such as her supportive mother and new stepfather-figure, and her out-of-town diner coworker and love interest Leon (whom she doesn’t tell about the rape), are well written. Romy is complex and likewise developed well as the story progresses; readers will feel for her as she grapples with her most vulnerable moments and see hope in her times of strength. Not all loose ends are tied up by the end, and the book is more powerful for it. VERDICT Readers will be drawn into this moving story set in small-town America. Essential for libraries serving high school students.–Amanda Mastrull, Library Journal

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

Adams, Carolyn. Ruthless. 256p. ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481422628.

Alpert, Mark. The Six. 368p. ebook available. Sourcebooks Fire. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492615293.

Alton, William. Flesh and Bone. 260p. Luminis. May 2015. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781941311455; pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781941311462.

Becker, Shari. The Stellow Project. 330p. ebook available. Amazon/Skyscape. Jun. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781477829356.

Bloom, M. Beth. Don’t Ever Change. 368p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062036889; ebk. $8.99. ISBN 9780062036896.

Cass, Kiera. The Heir. 368p. (Selection: Bk. 4). ebook available. HarperCollins/ HarperTeen. May 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062349859.

Dimopoulos, Elaine. Material Girls. 336p. ebook available. HMH. May 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544388505. LC 20140009171.

Ficklin, Sherry D. Queen of Tomorrow: A Stolen Empire Novel. 280p. (Stolen Empire: Bk. 2). ebook available. Clean Teen. Jul. 2015. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781634220705.

Gillespie, Hollis. We Will Be Crashing Shortly. 256p. ebook available. Adams Media/Merit. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781440567704.

González, Rigoberto. Mariposa U. 226p. ebook available. Lethe Pr. 2015. pap. $13. ISBN 9781590215104.

Hall, Tim. Shadow of the Wolf. 480p. Scholastic/David Fickling Bks. Jun. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780545816649; ebk. ISBN 9780545823135.

HARAZIN , S.A. Painless . 279p. Albert Whitman. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807562888. LC 2014027713.

Haston, Meg. Paperweight. 304p. Harper Collins/HarperTeen. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062335746; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062335760.

Heltzel, Anne. Charlie, Presumed Dead. 272p. ebook available. HMH. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544388499. LC 2014023458.

Jayne, Hannah. The Escape. 256p. ebook available. Sourcebooks Fire. Jul. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781492616542.

Karalus, Kimberly. Love Fortunes and Other Disasters. 368p. ebook available. Feiwel & Friends/Swoon Reads. May 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781250047205.

Levy, Michelle. Not After Everything. 336p. ebook available. Dial. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803741584.

Lyga, Barry with Peter Facinelli & Robert DeFranco. After the Red Rain. 400p. Little, Brown. Aug. 2015. Tr $18. ISBN 9780316406031; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316406048.

Maas, Sarah J. A Court of Thorns and Roses. 432p. (A Court of Thorns and Roses). Bloomsbury. May 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781619634442; ebk. ISBN 9781619634459. LC 2014020071.

McGarry, Katie. Nowhere But Here. 496p. (Thunder Road: Bk. 1). ebook available. HarlequinTeen. May 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780373211425.

McGuigan, Mary Ann. Crossing Into Brooklyn. 224p. ebook available. Adams Media/Merit. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781440584633.

McNulty, Amy. Nobody’s Goddess. 306p. ebook available. Month9. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780692337387.

Moore, Stephanie Perry. Give It Up. 118p. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781467758048; ISBN 9781467760492; ISBN 9781467778862. LC 2014014254.

––––. On Your Knees. 152p. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781467758055; ISBN 9781467760508; ISBN 9781467778893. LC 2014025729.

––––. Back That Thing. 102p. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781467758062; ISBN 9781467760515; ISBN 9781467778923. LC 2014027381.

ea vol: (The Swoop List). Darby Creek. 2015. Tr. $27.99. pap. $9.99. ebk. $9.99.

Nix, Garth. To Hold the Bridge: An Old Kingdom Novella and Other Tales. 416p. HarperCollins/Harper. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062292520; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062292544.

Painchaud, Michelle. Pretending to be Erica. 272p. Viking. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780670014972; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781101618103.

Petroff, Shani & Darci Manley. Ash: A Destined Novel. 352p. (Destined). ebook available. Polis. 2015. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781940610320.

Phillips, Rebecca. Faking Perfect. 256p. Kensington. Jul. 2015. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781617738807; ebk. ISBN 9781617738814.

Reece, Julie. The Artisans. 355p. (The Artisans: Bk. 1). ebook available. Month9. May 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780692337325.

Reed, Amy. Invincible. 336p. HarperCollins/ Katherine Tegen Bks. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062299574; ebk. ISBN 9780062299598.

Rhodes, Morgan. A Book of Spirits and Thieves. 358p. Penguin/Razorbill. Jun. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781595147592; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698148147.

Riordan Hall, Deirdre. Sugar. 304p. ebook available. Amazon/Skyscape. Jun. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781477829387.

Schroeder, Lisa. All We Have Is Now. 272p. Scholastic/Point. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545802536; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545803366.

Schumacher, Anna. Children of the Earth. 368p. (End Times: Bk. 2). Penguin/Razorbill. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781595147523; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698146389.

Sheldon, Dyan. The Truth About My Success. 352p. ebook available. Candlewick. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763672720.

Stokes, Stacy A. Where the Staircase Ends. 245p. ebook available. Month9. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780986279386.

Sweeney, Diana. The Minnow. 256p. ebook available. Text. 2015. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781922182012.

Templeton, Laura. Summer of the Oak Moon. 339p. ebook available. Month9. May 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780986279393.

van Rooyen, Suzanne. I Heart Robot. 311p. (I Heart Robot: Bk. 1). Month9. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780692337332; ebk. ISBN 9781942664109.

Walton, Will. Anything Could Happen. 288p. Scholastic/PUSH. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545709545; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545709552.

Warman, Jessica. The Last Good Day of the Year. 304p. ebook available. Bloomsbury. May 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780802736628.

WeingarTen, Lynn. Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls. 336p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481418539; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481418591.

West, Temple. Velvet. 416p. ebook available. Feiwel & Friends/Swoon Reads. May 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781250057082.

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

Share
A Day-Long Celebration of Fandom-Beloved Stories and Characters
Join Library Journal and School Library Journal for our inaugural LibraryCon Live! We’re excited to offer this day-long virtual festival for book nerds, librarians, and fans of graphic novels, sci-fi, and fantasy. Network online with other fans and explore our virtual exhibit hall where you’ll hear directly from publishers about their newest books and engage in live chats with featured authors. You’ll also learn from librarians and industry insiders on how to plan and host your own Comic Con-style event.