February 13, 2016

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Shelley Diaz

About Shelley Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz ( is School Library Journal's Reviews Team Manager and SLJTeen newsletter editor. She has her MLIS in Public Librarianship with a Certificate in Children’s & YA Services from Queens College, and can be found on Twitter @sdiaz101.

Flatiron Press Goes YA; “Reproductive Rights” Giveaway; a New Harry Potter Book | SLJTeen News

HP 8

Macmillan debuts a new YA imprint. Win free copies of Reproductive Rights—a teen nonfiction title. Apply for Library of Congress literacy grants. An eighth Harry Potter book was just announced. These tidbits and more in SLJTeen’s news roundup.

Interview: Veronica Rossi on Her YA Crossover Series Opener, “Riders”

Photo courtesy of Tor Teen.

New York Times bestselling YA author Veronica Rossi chats with SLJ about her inspiration for Riders, her latest focusing on the four teen Horsemen of the Apocalypse and their quest to save the world from destruction.

(Anti)Valentine’s Day Inspiration: Molly Wetta Curates an SLJ Pinterest Board

FT_Valentine Pinterest

In search of a last-minute display idea for Valentine’s Day? Or perhaps your teens would run in the opposite direction at the sight of hearts and doilies. Librarian and blogger Molly Wetta curates SLJ’s (Anti)Valentine’s Day-themed Pinterest board.

Looking for Bongo by Eric Velasquez | SLJ Review

VELASQUEZ, Eric. Looking for Bongo

Velasquez, Eric. Looking for Bongo. illus. by Eric Velasquez. 32p. Holiday House. Feb. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823435654; ebk. $16.95. ISBN 9780823436026. 

PreS –An Afro Latino boy searches for his missing stuffed toy in this tender tribute to family, music, and childhood. The adorable narrator, depicted charmingly with a puffy Afro, protruding tummy, inquisitive eyes, and pj’s, inquires after the whereabouts of his beloved Bongo. With Spanish-peppered text, the toddler asks his parents, the family pets, […]

Sailing Through Time: Heidi Heilig on Her YA Debut, “The Girl from Everywhere”

Heilig_Adrian Buckmaster

Heidi Heilig shares what inspired her to write The Girl from Everywhere, her thoughts on diversity, and how she juggles between writing YA fiction and theater musicals.

Ruta Sepetys on Unearthing an Untold Story of World War II in “Salt to the Sea”


SLJ caught up with the acclaimed YA author of Between Shades of Gray to discuss her latest historical fiction novel about the world’s worst maritime disaster, Salt to the Sea.

The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters | SLJ Review

The Steep and thorny way cat winters

Winters, Cat. The Steep and Thorny Way. 352p. Abrams/Amulet. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781419719158. 

Gr 8 Up –There’s something rotten in 1920s Oregon in this Hamlet-inspired tale of a biracial girl seeking the truth about her African American father’s death. When the drunk driver who killed her father is released, Hanalee starts to look more closely at her small town and the folks who live there. She uncovers prejudice, injustice, and serious crimes from some […]

Primed for a Fight: SLJ’s 2016 Battle of the Kids’ Books Contenders Revealed


SLJ’s March Madness–like tournament will soon be upon us—the eighth annual Battle of the Kids’ Books (BOB) officially begins on March 7. Take a look at the 16 books vying for the title.

Apollo: The Brilliant One by George O’Connor | SLJ Review

Apollo- The Brilliant One by George O'Connor

O’Connor, George. Apollo: The Brilliant One. illus. by George O’Connor. 78p. (Olympians: Bk. 8). bibliog. charts. further reading. notes. First Second. Jan. 2016. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781626720152; Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626720169.

Gr 4 Up –Narrated by the nine Mousai, or muses, who were worshipped alongside the brilliant son of Zeus, the eighth entry in O’Connor’s masterful graphic novel series continues in the tradition of his previous “Olympians” tales. Starting off with Hera’s pursuit of Leto, mother of […]

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston | SLJ Review

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston

Johnston, E.K. Exit, Pursued by a Bear. 256p. ebook available. Dutton. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101994580.

Gr 9 Up –Palermo Heights is known for two things. One, its phenomenal cheerleading team, and two, a supposed streak every year that sees one student die and one student get pregnant. As team captain, Hermione Winters is determined to see that tradition broken. Yet after a sexual assault takes place at camp, she is forced to reconcile her […]

The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller | SLJ Review

The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

Waller, Sharon Biggs. The Forbidden Orchid. 416p. bibliog. Viking. Feb. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451474117.

Gr 7 Up –Elodie Buchanan grows up the eldest of 10 girls with an almost constantly absent father. Though she has never left her home village, she dreams of accompanying her father to the far-off places where he journeys in search of rare and unknown plants. Being a young woman in the 1861 English countryside, Elodie finds adventure hard to achieve. […]

Blast to the Recent Past | SLJ Spotlight

HITCHCOCK, Bonnie-Sue. The Smell of Other People’s Houses

The following YA titles take place from the 1970s to the mid-aughts, each offering a glimpse of the recent past, and perhaps a little bit of hindsight.

The Girl Who Fell by S.M. Parker | SLJ Review

The Girl Who Fell by S. M. Parker

Parker, S.M. The Girl Who Fell. 368p. ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481437257.

Gr 9 Up –The opening pages find the protagonist Zephyr in a dark house, alone, and about to come face to face with a tormentor. Flash back to three months earlier. Senior year is not exactly perfect with Zephyr’s dad suddenly taking off, but at least her field hockey team is on track for playoffs, and hopefully […]

Family Matters | SLJ Spotlight


From struggling to find footing as a foster kid to having a mom with depression, these YA titles are about working through real-life situations.

2015 Cybils Finalists Announced; YALSA Accepting Symposium Proposals | SLJTeen News


The finalists in the 2015 CYBILS awards have been revealed; YALSA is accepting proposals for its YALSA Symposium. These tidbits and more in the first SLJTeen news roundup of 2016.

The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan | SLJ Review

The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan

Sullivan, Tara. The Bitter Side of Sweet. 320p. bibliog. glossary. Putnam. Feb. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399173073.

Gr 8 Up –The title of Sullivan’s second novel is more description than metaphor, as it recounts the misery of child slavery on cacao farms in Africa. Facing hunger because of drought in their native Mali, 13-year-old Amadou and his beloved brother Seydou seek work to help their family. When the novel opens two years later, Amadou muses, “I […]

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle | SLJ Review

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

Federle, Tim. The Great American Whatever. 288p. ebook available. S. & S. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481404099.

Gr 10 Up –In the six months since his sister was killed in a car accident, Quinn has hardly left his bedroom. He hasn’t gone to school or talked to his best friend and has barely interacted with his heartbroken mother. He hasn’t turned on his phone, either, knowing the last text his sister sent before running a […]

Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse | SLJ Review

Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse

Peevyhouse, Parker. Where Futures End. 304p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Bks. Feb. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803741607.

Gr 9 Up –In this series of interconnected novellas, Peevyhouse tackles ideas about technology, the environment, time, other worlds, and how we relate to one another. The novellas are interlocking and puzzlelike, the first set in a very near future and the final one taking place more than 100 years later. The final entry answers many questions raised by the first […]

Most Popular 2015 Articles of “SLJTeen”


Your clicks have spoken! The following are the top 10 pieces that ran in the SLJTeen newsletter this year.

#MorallyComplicatedYA: Estelle Laure on Love, Longing, and “This Raging Light”


Debut author Estelle Laure’s This Raging Light is a shining example of #MorallyComplicatedYA. Laure shared with SLJ what inspired her to write this work about a teen whose longing to do what’s right doesn’t always overcome her longing for the boy-next-door.