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October 22, 2014

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National Book Award Finalists

National Book Award Finalists

And we have finalists! With yesterday’s announcement of the National Book Award Finalists in the Young People’s Literature category it’s really starting to feel like awards season. Last month, Karyn wrote about the longlist, observing that social conscience seemed to be a common thread among the nominees. Now that we’re down to five titles, her [...]

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, Susan Kuklin Candlewick Press, February 2014 Reviewed from ARC Does literary quality mean that a writer has to have a strong authorial presence? I bring this up because Beyond Magenta is a wonderful nonfiction book. It’s easily one of the strongest contenders for this year’s YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction—but [...]

Noggin

noggin

Noggin, John Corey Whaley Atheneum Books for Young Readers, April 2014 Reviewed from ARC I need to be up front about something. I loved Where Things Come Back. I know it wasn’t a favorite ’round these parts, but I was impressed with the nuance and ambition in its debut author’s writing. John Corey Whaley’s Printz-winning novel [...]

The Undertaking of Lily Chen

The Undertaking of Lily Chen, Danica Novgorodoff First Second, March 2014 Reviewed from final copy I almost didn’t write this review. Not for a lack of quality in Danica Novgorodoff’s graphic novel–it has quality bursting out of the pages. No, I almost abandoned this one because of that pesky eligibility question. It’s an issue I [...]

The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory, Laurie Halse Anderson Viking, January 2014 Reviewed from final copy Addiction, depression, PTSD; these weighty problems are the main focus of Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memory, recently longlisted for the National Book Award. There’s definitely some great writing here that is worth talking about; Anderson’s ability to sustain an [...]

Little Blue Lies

Little Blue Lies

Little Blue Lies, Chris Lynch Simon & Schuster, March 2014 Reviewed from ARC Printz Honor Book author Chris Lynch’s latest novel is a brief, quirky tale of two teens who aren’t meant to be together. No, they’re not star-crossed lovers, rather Oliver and Junie’s relationship is too glib and shallow to ever have been the [...]

Everything Leads to You

Everything Leads to You

Everything Leads to You, Nina LaCour Dutton Books, May 2014 Reviewed from Final Copy Everything Leads to You has all the elements you would want in a YA summer book: love, glamour, and mystery all in the warm, sunny climate of Southern California. And that’s just the trailer. Nina LaCour’s latest novel is also a [...]

It’s such an honor

It’s such an honor

Heading into the honor vote, we knew a few things: Eleanor & Park and Winger were in strong positions to do well based on where they finished behind Boxers & Saints. Although E&P ended up 26 points behind Boxers & Saints (and Winger was 36 points behind), there was only a 24 point margin between E&P, Winger, The Summer [...]

Fangirl — Finally!

Why isn’t Fangirl getting more Printz buzz? It’s earned five stars and has appeared on a couple best of 2013 lists. Is the subject too niche? Are readers putting all their support behind Eleanor & Park? Whitney Winn of Youth Services Corner did a useful roundup of Mock Printz lists. While E&P appeared on all nineteen [...]

Sex & Violence

Sex & Violence, Carrie Mesrobian Carolrhoda LAB, October 2013 Reviewed from ARC Time for a true confession: of the five 2014 Morris Award nominated titles, I’ve read only one. All of the books had been on my to-read list before becoming Morris finalists, but we all know what happens with to-read lists and then you’ve [...]

Roundup: In a worst case scenario

We’re about two weeks away from the YMA’s so it’s the perfect time to highlight some books that are flying under the awards radar. Both of the titles I’m looking at today have excellent character writing and deal with themes of violence and what people do in extreme circumstances. Neither book quite has what it [...]

Picture Me Gone

girl's face, with red, yellow, and blue blocks of color

Picture Me Gone, Meg Rosoff Putnam Juvenile, October 2013 Reviewed from ARC Picture Me Gone. It’s earned five stars. It’s on three 2013 best lists*, and it was a National Book Award finalist. What am I missing? I’ve read it twice now and my reaction is still just, “meh.” There are no glaringly obvious flaws, [...]

Far Far Away: Once upon a time…

Far Far Away, Tom McNeal Knopf Books for Young Readers, July 2013 Reviewed from Final Copy It is perhaps the most polarizing title of the year. Love, hate, and debate about audience have all bubbled up around Tom McNeal’s Far Far Away. A National Book Award finalist, the novel also has five starred reviews and [...]

Graphic Novel Roundup: A Study in Contrasts

Graphic Novel Roundup: A Study in Contrasts

It’s been a strong year for graphic novels. Boxers & Saints is increasingly looking like a frontrunner, but there’s also Relish, March, Book One (don’t worry, we’re definitely covering this one as soon as we get a copy), and now the two titles that are up for discussion this morning: Delilah Dirk & The Turkish Lieutenant and The [...]

Eleanor & Park: Love Will Tear Us Apart

Eleanor & Park: Love Will Tear Us Apart

Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell St. Martin’s Press, February 2013 Reviewed from Final Copy [Hey, listen. We do spoilers here, okay? Major spoilers, all the time. You've been warned.] Just as I opened my laptop to write this review, it dawned on me that I first read Eleanor & Park over a year ago. Holding [...]

Romance Roundup, Summer Style!

Romance Roundup, Summer Style!

The weather is getting colder, Starbucks broke out the red holiday cups , and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But let’s go back to that happier—and warmer—time in late August when two novels about love were published: The Beginning of Everything and The Infinite Moment of Us. These two books aren’t on our long [...]

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey Putnam Juvenile, May 2013 Reviewed from ARC Apocalyptic scenario, isolated teen in the woods, romance against-the-odds… we’ve been down this desolate road before. Rick Yancey’s tough-girl protagonist is Cassie (short for Cassiopeia) who is determined to find her younger brother. The 5th Wave goes beyond the familiar premise as a [...]

Courage Has No Color

Courage Has No Color, Tanya Lee Stone Candlewick Press Reviewed from ARC Karyn talked about the emotionally powerful Two Boys Kissing last week, and at the risk of completely echoing her review, I had such a similar reading experience with Courage Has No Color, which moved me to tears. The Triple Nickles dealt with racism in the [...]

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, Matthew Quick Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, August 2013 Reviewed from ARC True confession: I had never heard of Matthew Quick until Silver Linings Playbook became an Oscar contender last fall, but then Sophie reviewed Boy 21 for the blog, and then in true Baader-Meinhof fashion, the ARC for Forgive [...]

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, Lucy Knisley First Second, April 2013 Reviewed from Final Copy I was diagnosed with Celiac disease on Halloween eight years ago. That’s eight years of politely saying, “no, thank you” when offered a delicious pastry, forgoing mom’s signature stuffing on Thanksgiving, and checking restaurant menus ahead of any dinner [...]