October 24, 2016

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Essential Maps for the Lost

Essential Maps for the Lost, Deb Caletti Simon Pulse, April 2016 Reviewed from ARC Girl meets boy. Boy loves girl. Well actually, girl finds the boy’s dead mother in a lake first. This isn’t your typical love story with a slice of grief. Deb Caletti hits all the targets for a melancholy teen romance without […]

When previously awarded writers tell other tales

When we start to compile our list of books to cover, authors who have a previous Printz win or honor are automatically added to the list. We also give serious consideration to writers with wins or honors from other important ALA Youth Media Awards. Of course, the logic is that a previous winner has a […]

Graphic Novel Siblings: Delilah Dirk and The Nameless City

The two books we’re talking about this morning might as well be graphic novel siblings. They share a lot of details in common: both are published by First Second, Canadian authors, 3 stars, action-hero female protagonists, male protagonists who drive themselves to exhaustion trying to keep up, and both are part of a larger serialized story. Even the […]

The Memory of Light

The Memory of Light, Francisco X. Stork Arthur A. Levine Books, January 2016 Reviewed from ARC How can I assess The Memory of Light in the context of the Printz Award? In some ways, it’s too real, too honest, and too close-to-home. It’s also surprisingly uninteresting and predictable. I struggled with these contradictory reactions throughout […]

We Are the Ants

We Are the Ants, Shaun David Hutchinson Simon Pulse, January 2016 Reviewed from final copy Have aliens been abducting Henry Denton since he was thirteen? Or has he been suffering from mental illness? Some days I believe the former; other days, the latter. But does it really matter? Probably not. We Are the Ants is […]

Checking in

It’s the halfway point of the season, and we’re done sowing our wild oats reading non-2016 and/or non-YA books. We thought maybe if we showed you ours, you’d show us yours? So here’s where we are with our reading. What have you been reading? (And if you went to ALA, we were #ALAleftbehind, so we need […]

What To Read Next: 2017 Award Edition

The season is done, the award has been given, we’ve all gasped and mourned (only two honors!) and celebrated, and finally it’s time to look forward to the 2017 YMAs. A final thank you to the RealCommittee, whose hard work has given us three excellent choices to talk about and discuss for years to come. […]

Pyrite: Fun with numbers!

I have to say, running the Pyrite this early in the new year is weird. That being said, many of you took a few moments during the last days of 2015 to vote for the books you think deserve a (fake) honor. As we’ve seen in the past, there’s not a lot of surprise in this […]

Honor Girl

Honor Girl, Maggie Thrash Candlewick Press, September 2015 Reviewed from final copy I was distracted while reading Honor Girl. The first two chapters orient the reader in the early days of the new millennium; there’s a list of celebrity crushes including Leonardo DiCaprio, Usher, and Justin Timberlake, our narrator is reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of […]

The Weight of Feathers

The Weight of Feathers, Anna-Marie McLemore Thomas Dunne Books, September 2015 Reviewed from ebook In previous years, I’ve been much more familiar with the Morris Award nominees, but Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers is the only book of this year’s nominees that I’ve read. Truthfully, if I don’t get around to the others I […]

Symphony for the City of the Dead

Symphony for the City of the Dead, M.T. Anderson Candlewick Press, September 2015 Reviewed from ARC One of my favorite books last year was Candace Fleming’s The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia. Despite having a ton of critical praise for its tight, thrilling narrative and thoughtful approach to complex history, it […]

A Song for Ella Grey

A Song for Ella Grey, David Almond Delacorte Press, October 2015 Reviewed from ARC Here’s a novel that is exactly what its title indicates it will be: a song for Ella Grey. David Almond’s lyrical novel—his third (!) to come out this year—is about the desperate first love of one’s youth that can inspire for […]

All American Boys

All American Boys, Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely Atheneum Books for Young Readers, September 2015 Reviewed from final copy My high school students will find that this novel hits very close to home. As residents of New York City, many of them joined and organized protests when grand juries decided not to indict the police […]

Roundup: Countries in conflict

Black Dove, White Raven, Elizabeth Wein Disney-Hyperion, March 2015 Reviewed from final copy Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go, Laura Rose Wagner Amulet Books, January 2015 Reviewed from final e-book It’s a midweek roundup of books with commas in their titles. Okay, these two books are also about countries in the midst of crisis. Black Dove, White Raven is set […]

More Happy Than Not

More Happy Than Not, Adam Silvera Soho Teen, June 2015 Reviewed from e-ARC This is the kind of book that can’t be discussed deeply without spoiling it. Big spoilers ahead; watch out.  If you could forget the most painful memories of your life, would you? Maybe you’ve seen this scenario play out in Eternal Sunshine of the […]

Printzbery Part 3: Now with cat ears

Goodbye Stranger, Rebecca Stead Wendy Lamb Books, August 2015 Reviewed from ARC Continuing our Printzbery series, today we’re looking at Goodbye Stranger, Rebecca Stead’s latest which has received six stars. The question of intended and/or appropriate audience is one we could debate for a long time. For our purposes, let’s focus on what makes this […]

X: A Novel

X: A Novel, Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon Candlewick Press, January 2015 Reviewed from final copy X: A Novel made the NBA longlist and is one of five YA novels to receive six stars this year. (For reference, the other titles are: Challenger Deep, The Tightrope Walkers, Goodbye Stranger, and The Boys Who Challenged Hitler. All […]

Saint Anything

Saint Anything, Sarah Dessen Viking, May 2015 Reviewed from final copy Truth time: I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that Saint Anything is the first Sarah Dessen novel I’ve read; I didn’t read YA when I was actually in that demographic and she was never on my syllabi as an education or library student. Although I […]

You know nothing, Mim Malone: Mosquitoland

Mosquitoland, David Arnold Viking, March 2015 Reviewed from final copy There are major spoilers ahead so if you don’t want to know major plot points for Mosquitoland proceed with caution. At a certain point in one’s reading life, first person narration immediately triggers suspicion of an unreliable narrator. It’s not a terrible starting point because […]

Fiction Roundup: Depressed Teens Edition

All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven Knopf Books for Young Readers, January 2015 Reviewed from final copy I Was Here, Gayle Forman Viking, January 2015 Reviewed from ARC Hey folks, a friendly reminder that we do spoilers here so if you don’t want to know major plot points for either of these novels, consider yourself […]