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January 30, 2015

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Angela Carstensen

About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.

Descent

Descent

Descent is my favorite book of 2015 so far, and one I expect to see on best lists come next winter. Why? Tim Johnston combines edge-of-your-seat suspense with family drama, tragedy, and an unforgettable setting. The characters are real, which is what makes their fates so suspenseful, of course. And it is incredibly well-written. There are […]

Mort(e)

Mort(e)

Here we have a new kind of apocalypse, one in which humans are at war with ants, joined later by cats, dogs, and more. Just what is going on?? Robert Repino’s debut lands somewhere between Animal Farm and those B-movie sci-fi thrillers with giant, mutated insects. Give this to teens looking for something different. Maybe Grasshopper Jungle fans […]

Illusionists

Illusionists

Two books that follow professional stage magicians, or illusionists, top our week. I was completely entranced by The Magician’s Lie, a terrific historical yarn that reads like a modern thriller. The title magician is a young woman, and the only woman making the circuit in the first decade of the 20th century. It is her […]

Inspirational Memoirs

Inspirational Memoirs

One of my favorite books of 2011 was Little Princes by Conor Grennan. It made that year’s AB4T best list, and Grennan is in demand around the country at schools and colleges where his book is a great Common Read choice. I say all of this to give context to the first of today’s books. […]

Two Very Different Memoirs

Two Very Different Memoirs

When I picked up An Age of License a couple months ago, I had not read Lucy Knisley’s Alex Award-winning graphic novel Relish. (We did not review Relish for AB4T last year–we thought it was a YA publication.) I read An Age of License all in one sitting, and basically fell in love with it. The next morning I checked Relish out of […]

Social Justice and Inequality

Social Justice and Inequality

Two passionate nonfiction books top our week. Just Mercy is a memoir by Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer and activist, which focuses on his work as a co-founder of the Equal Justice Initiative–”a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal […]

Funny Celebrity Memoirs

Need I say more? I’m not sure I need to. We all know that teens love humorous books, and both of these also fall in the category of books that are very fun to browse through. Brief excerpts from Poehler’s book are available from her NPR interview, and NPH’s website offers a nice intro to the […]

Best Adult Books 4 Teens | Curriculum Tie-In Edition

minecraft

From the ‘Best Adult Books 4 Teens’ blog comes a list of high-interest fiction and nonfiction titles that make important contributions to conversations and topics covered in the high school curriculum.

Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2014

Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2014

Every fall the Adult Books 4 Teens reviewers come together to nominate, discuss, and winnow the best titles of the year into a list that guarantees a combination of excellence and appeal to young adults. All of these books were originally reviewed here on SLJ’s Adult Books 4 Teens blog. Science fiction tops the trends: […]

Mystery & Truth

Mystery & Truth

As we launch head-first into the busy holiday season, two family mysteries begin our week. The ever-popular Jodi Picoult is back with another title that mixes animal behavior and human drama. (I say “another” given 2012′s Lone Wolf, which we recommended here.) Leaving Time focuses on elephant research and a mother’s disappearance. Diane Chamberlain is […]

Magical Trilogies

Today we review the first books in three new speculative fiction series. Let’s begin with Charlie Holmberg‘s The Paper Magician series. We review the first, The Paper Magician, Holberg’s debut, published in September. The second in the series, The Glass Magician, is already available. Both are published by Amazon’s fantasy, science fiction and horror imprint, […]

A Trio of Thrillers

A Trio of Thrillers

Valerie Geary‘s debut novel is a family drama, coming-of-age, psychological murder mystery that builds to thriller pitch. Two sisters deal with unusual family dynamics, and put themselves at risk to clear their father’s name.  It seems fitting that one of the authors who has blurbed the novel is Lisa O’Donnell, who won an Alex Award for The Death […]

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels

We’ve suffered from a dearth of adult nonfiction for teens this year, but today I am thrilled to bring you a great recommendation. In fact, Dr. Mütter’s Marvels shares some of the very best qualities of Mary Roach’s iconic Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, especially a gross-out curiosity factor and great story-telling. Add a larger-than-life subject and […]

Lockstep & Goodhouse

Lockstep

Two excellent science fiction titles today, both featuring teen male protagonists. Lockstep is a hard SF romp that, despite its sophistication, could have been published for a YA audience. Karl Schroeder is a well-known and respected Canadian science fiction author whose output is entirely adult, so his publishers probably did well to keep him in […]

Rainey Royal

Rainey Royal

Dylan Landis offers a novel in 14 connected stories that spans 10 years, beginning with the title character, Rainey Royal at 14 years old. It is set in the 1970′s New York City of Landis’s own adolescence. This book explores teenage sexuality, and it can be dark. Rainey is abused by her father’s best friend, […]

Halloween Reading

Halloween Reading

The days grow shorter. The evenings grow darker. You’re trying to figure out a costume to wear to school next Friday. In the spirit of the season, we review three new novels for those seeking a thrill this Halloween. Edgar Cantero’s first book in English, The Supernatural Enhancements, is a secret society mystery/haunted house gothic […]

Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham

Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham

Today I review two books that have the potential to be wildly popular with teens–and wildly challenging for school librarians. Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham are media forces, women who excel in professions dominated by men. They both succeed through the sheer force of their personalities, and to some extent through their willingness to say […]

Asian Identity

Asian Identity

The Year She Left Us concerns the search for belonging and identity, both personal and cultural. Ari was abandoned in China as a baby, taken to an orphanage, then adopted by a Chinese American woman, Charlie, who raises her in San Francisco with the help of her sister and mother. Now Ari is 18 and […]

Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories

Two ghost stories today, both more atmospheric than scary. We begin with the first adult novel from YA phenomenon Lauren Oliver. Before I Fall is one of my go-to recommendations, and was a huge hit with my high school bookgroup a couple years ago. And of course, there’s the Delirium trilogy, so I was quite […]

On the Road

On the Road

All We Had is a road trip novel that follows a mother and daughter from Los Angeles to the East Coast. In Lucky Us, a family moves from Ohio to Hollywood, then back East to New York. There are two main appeal elements in these road novels. All We Had exemplifies the first–grappling to survive and […]