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April 23, 2014

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Novels about the One Percent

Novels about the One Percent

Today we have two very different novels that feature the lives of the uber-wealthy. I love Jamie Watson’s reference to Brideshead Revisited in her starred review of The Last Enchantments. I was completely obsessed with that novel when we read it in senior year English, and I think the fact that I never fully understood [...]

Where the Dystopian Craze meets Literary Fiction

Where the Dystopian Craze meets Literary Fiction

Adult Books for Teens examines the latest by Chang-Rae Lee: On Such a Full Sea.

The Weight of Blood

The Weight of Blood

Laura McHugh‘s debut novel is set in rural, small-town Missouri, deep in the Ozarks. This dark coming-of-age mystery follows a 17-year-old girl determined to investigate the murder of a friend from school, a search which leads to the earlier murder of her own mother. Told from multiple perspectives, the novel’s strengths include its setting (the [...]

Touchstones of American History

Touchstones of American History

A new novel by Alice Hoffman is always cause for celebration. The Museum of Extraordinary Things conjures up the sights and sounds of early 20th century, Gilded Age Coney Island and New York City. Hoffman’s many teen readers will appreciate the magical love-at-first-sight between her two young protagonists, and fans of The Night Circus will [...]

Show Your Work!

Show Your Work!

Two years ago, I was electrified by Austin Kleon‘s Steal Like an Artist. I gave a copy to each of the students in my literary magazine club at school, and have continued to booktalk it in the library. It made its way onto our Best Books of 2012 list. Now I’m pleased to offer a [...]

Pure Adrenaline

Pure Adrenaline

I’m finally on spring break, and I hope many of you are enjoying (or looking forward to) a vacation around now, too. Speaking of which, do I ever have a great beach read for you (and the teens you serve, too)! This is my first Patrick Lee novel, but it won’t be the last. Great [...]

Biographies, part two

Biographies, part two

Last week, Mark wondered if teens are still reading biographies — or are they less popular now than when he was a teen? It’s true that we don’t review very many biographies here. But we do review quite a few autobiographies and memoirs each year. Has the publishing landscape shifted? Are today’s teens simply more [...]

Family Drama and Mental Illness

Family Drama and Mental Illness

Today’s books are about family, relationships, secrets, and coming-of-age. Both move back and forth in time, and include characters suffering from mental illness. Sarah Cornwell‘s debut novel, What I Had Before I Had You follows a mother’s memories back into her own turbulent adolescence. The thread that connects past and present is bipolar disorder, which [...]

The Martian

The Martian

I feel like we’re in the middle of a 6-part series on science fiction here on AB4T, but there really was no intention behind it. These are the books and reviews in front of us! Today I present The Martian. I think Andy Weir and Crown Books must have the luck of the Gods. Thanks to [...]

On the Run

On the Run

Last week I observed that it’s been quite a winter for science fiction, and today we share two more SF recommendations. Both feature an alternate history aspect and siblings on the run. In Daniel Price’s The Flight of the Silvers, six people watch as our world is destroyed before being whisked away to an alternate America. [...]

Archetype

Archetype

This is a great season for adult science fiction with teen appeal. Some years we barely see any. This year we have 3 outstanding titles already (Red Rising, Burn, and now Archetype) with three more reviews coming soon. I started Archetype thinking I was reading it just for fun. I didn’t “assign it” to myself [...]

Young Women in 19th Century America

Young Women in 19th Century America

The Secret Life of Bees is a phenomenon with teen readers, especially girls. It hardly needs suggesting from us, does it? They just seem to know about it. It always comes up as a peer recommendation when I lead booktalk sessions with the 9th graders in my library. I wonder how that happens, 12 years [...]

Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Every five years, YALSA publishes new Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Readers lists. The 2014 lists were announced last week. The selection committee is asked to determine five broad categories, and this year they stuck with the traditional ones (which work very well): Arts and Humanities, History and Cultures, Literature and Language [...]

Poetry

Poetry

Today we introduce two books — one poetry collection, one book about writing poetry, both excellent additions to high school or public library teen collections. And a third to mention. One of the events I attended at ALA Midwinter last month was the RUSA Book & Media Awards, which includes many wonderful lists. (My favorite [...]

Red Rising

Red Rising

Red Rising by Pierce Brown is the powerful first in a projected dystopian trilogy. This debut lives up to the hype that surrounds, and I don’t use the word “powerful” lightly. The writing is muscular and vivid. The characters come alive. The plot is intense and perfectly paced. This is a great choice for readers who loved Hunger Games (or [...]

Alex Awards 2014

Alex Awards 2014

Mark posted the Alex Award winners on Monday, but what would AB4T be without some post-game celebrating? First, we need to make sure everyone is aware of the official nominations list. We reviewed most of these, but not all. My gut reaction to this list is that it is very brave. And by that I [...]

Women at War

Women at War

Two highly recommended historical novels today. I Shall Be Near to You is, at its heart, a compelling love story. It features a strong heroine, so in love with her husband that she disguises herself as a man to accompany him into the horrors of the Civil War. I’m afraid its cover art may limit the [...]

The Last Days of California

The Last Days of California

You’ve probably already heard about Mary Miller‘s debut — it’s received some very nice starred reviews (LJ, PW, Booklist) and is popping up in more popular magazines like Vogue, Redbook and Elle. The Last Days of California is the first person narration of a naive 15-year-old girl on a road trip with her family. We [...]

Radiance of Tomorrow

Radiance of Tomorrow

Ishmael Beah took bestseller, best of the year, and school reading lists by storm in 2007 with his memoir of being swept up in Sierra Leone’s civil war as a child soldier. It almost seems anti-climactic to mention that A Long Way Gone won an Alex Award. Seven years later it is still a popular suggestion for [...]

Meet the Costa First Novel Award winner

Meet the Costa First Novel Award winner

The Costa Book Award winners were announced earlier this week. We were thrilled when a review of the winner for First Novel arrived from Diane Colson on the very same day! The Costa Book Awards “honour some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland.” The [...]