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November 24, 2014

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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 Debut Novel for Lovers of (or Newbies to) the Greek Classics

A Debut Novel for Lovers of (or Newbies to) the Greek Classics

Natalie Haynes’s debut novel is a fascinating mix of Haynes’s diverse interests and talents. A stand-up comedian, television panelist, journalist, and author of a nonfiction book on the Greek classics, Haynes brings all these sources to bear in creating a complex and satisfying narrative. As our reviewer notes, the novel is structured, as a traditional [...]

A Debut Novel by Indie Rock Darling John Darnielle

A Debut Novel by Indie Rock Darling John Darnielle

As a (and often the only) member of the indie rock band The Mountain Goats, John Darnielle is responsible for some of the most literate music of the 2000s and early 2010s. This year he turned to the in-no-way-guaranteed-to-succeed extension of that literate nature: a novel. But succeed it does, and I’m not the only [...]

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 [...]

North of Normal and What is Visible

North of Normal and What is Visible

On Monday, Angela mentioned that we haven’t had as many nonfiction titles as we’d like this year, and offered up Dr. Mutter’s Marvels for consideration. Today, we’ve got another nonfiction title, this time a memoir, and a novel based on a real person. The memoir is Cea Sunrise Person’s North of Normal, and Person’s first [...]

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 [...]

Historical Fiction Round-Up

Historical Fiction Round-Up

I have to say I expected more World War I books this year, considering it is the Centennial of that war. We did have the fabulous poetry collection/graphic novel Above the Dreamless Dead. But other than that we haven’t seen a huge push for books about the Great War. One book under review today takes [...]

Lockstep & Goodhouse

Lockstep & Goodhouse

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 [...]

Displaced Persons

Displaced Persons

Derek McCulloch’s Gone to Amerikay was one of our favorite books of 2012. In fact, I even (incorrectly) predicted an Alex Award for it. So I was very excited to see that he was out with a new graphic novel, this time illustrated by Anthony Peruzzo. Like Gone to Amerikay, Displaced Persons has an epic [...]

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, [...]

The Final Book in the Southern Reach Trilogy

The Final Book in the Southern Reach Trilogy

You can’t say I didn’t warn you. I’ve been raving about Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy all year, and promising a review of the final volume. So here it is. VanderMeer once again takes readers into the heart of his mysterious Area X (after merely skirting around it through the middle volume in the trilogy), [...]

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 [...]

Poetry from the Streets

Poetry from the Streets

For teen in my community, in Vallejo, CA, mentioning Tupac Shakur is pretty much guaranteed to give you some credibility, and his book of poetry, The Rose That Grew from Concrete is one of our most read (and lost) poetry collections. So when I saw that David Tomas Martinez’s debut collection, Hustle, not only name-checks [...]

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize

I thought readers here might be interested to know, if they hadn’t heard already, that Malala Yousafzai has just been named a co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is, of course, the author of I Am Malala–reviewed here back in December–which chronicles her struggle for education for girls in Pakistan, and eventual shooting [...]

Debut Author Marie-Helene Bertino Dishes the Writing Dirt with SLJTeen

Marie Helene Bertino

SLJ caught up with debut author Marie-Helene Bertino to discuss her 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, a multigenerational story perfect for mother/daughter book clubs.

A Dose of Family Drama | Adult Books 4 Teens

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With the holiday season approaching, we present a handful of picks that give a new spin to the definition of family and offer plenty of food for thought. The full versions of these reviews originally appeared on the Adult Books 4 Teens blog.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

A Little Lumpen Novelita from Roberto Bolano

A Little Lumpen Novelita from Roberto Bolano

One of the greatest Latin American writers of the turn of the 21st Century, Roberto Bolaño has unfortunately only been known to English readers since his premature death, at the age of 50, to liver disease. His two most famous works here in America, 2666 and The Savage Detectives, are massive, complex novels filled with [...]

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 [...]

The Spark and the Drive

The Spark and the Drive

Wayne Harrison’s The Spark and the Drive is one of my favorite debut novels of the year, and like so many debut novels it appears to have been based on the author’s life. Like his young narrator, Harrison worked as an auto mechanic in Waterbury, CT and he uses that background for all it’s worth, [...]