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July 28, 2014

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Brutal Youth

Brutal Youth

“A violently active, dominating, intrepid, brutal youth–that is what I am after. Youth must be all those things. It must be indifferent to pain. There must be no weakness or tenderness in it. . . . I will have no intellectual training. Knowledge is ruin to my young men.” – Adolf Hitler, quoted by Hermann [...]

A Fabulous New Novel From Megan Abbott

The Fever

As promised, today we have a review of Megan Abbott’s new novel, The Fever. When last we saw Abbott she was wowing us with Dare Me, which got her a starred review and a place on our list of 2012′s Best Adult Books 4 Teens. The Fever has gotten her another starred review, and (spoiler [...]

The Bees

The Bees

Laline Paull‘s debut novel, The Bees is different from any I have read before. She uses the life cycle of bees and the workings of a hive for inspiration, and in doing so points out fascinating equivalents to modern society. One ordinary bee, Flora, guides the reader through the novel’s mysterious world. Flora’s story takes [...]

A New Take on Sleeping Beauty (No, Not *That* One)

A New Take on Sleeping Beauty (No, Not *That* One)

You all know how much I love fairy tales. Indeed, it almost physically hurt me to assign Elizabeth Blackwell’s While Beauty Slept to another reviewer, but I just didn’t have time in my reading schedule to get to it. Now that I’ve read our review, I’m going to make time. Blackwell’s entry-point is a character [...]

The Ongoing Saga of The Southern Reach

The Ongoing Saga of The Southern Reach

Today we look at Authority, the second book in Jeff VanderMeer’s extraordinary Southern Reach trilogy.  Since I raved about Annihilation in February, it has only grown in my estimation, and Authority lives up to the high standard set by the first novel, while wisely strikes out in an utterly different direction. As I mentioned in my [...]

Survival Stories

Survival Stories

We know that many teens love survival stories for their pacing, suspense and the unexpected trials the characters endure. In both of these historical novels, a young person is displaced from home, loses parents and security, makes a journey into the unknown, and overcomes obstacle after obstacle.  My Name is Resolute is quite a tome, a [...]

National Poetry Month – A Month Late

National Poetry Month – A Month Late

I usually try to get up at least a post or two about poetry during April, which is National Poetry Month. But somehow it completely slipped my mind this year. So, here we have, a month late (or four months late, considering they were both published in January), reviews of two wonderful new poetry collections [...]

BookExpo Preview 2014

BookExpo Preview 2014

BookExpo America is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s all books all the time. And now that the availability of e-galleys effectively lessens my need for paper galleys (well, in some cases), the pressure of making it to this or that booth at a particular time is off. More time and energy [...]

Two Books That Probe the Darkness Beneath

Two Books That Probe the Darkness Beneath

Today we look at two books that take very different looks at the dark secrets we keep. In Bittersweet, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s plays up the skeletons in the closets of the wealthy Winslow family for fun and entertainment: as a young college student begins to uncover the secrets of her new roommate’s family, the tone turns [...]

Guaranteed Chills!

Guaranteed Chills!

We begin with Above by Isla Morley. When I first heard about this book in a publisher pitch, it was described as very like Room by Emma Donoghue. A girl is abducted by a survivalist, held underground for years (supposedly for her own protection from the coming apocalypse), during which time she has a child. [...]

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

I’m excited to begin the week with All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This World War II novel hinges on the U.S. bombing of St. Malo, an isolated port on the northern French coast, which continued to be occupied by the Nazis after most of Brittany was liberated. All the Light We Cannot [...]

More News on The Griots of Oakland

Last week, I posted our review of The Griots of Oakland, edited by Angela Zusman, lamenting that the book hasn’t gotten more attention, and hey, what do you know, it’s gotten some more attention!  It has now been nominated for YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list.* I also wanted to point out that the [...]

Dragons & Romance

Dragons & Romance

For the last two school years, a good half of my student bookgroup meetings have devolved into chatter about The Game of Thrones. There are those who have read all of the books, those who are obsessed with the HBO series, those just getting their feet wet. And yes, there are the quiet few who [...]

Books for Lovers of Indiana Jones

Books for Lovers of Indiana Jones

Today we have two books that prompted our reviewer to invoke the name of Indiana Jones–and for good reason. Anne Fortier’s The Lost Sisterhood and James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell’s Innocent Blood are both rollicking adventure stories, starring University professors, and laden with religious and mythological overtones–precisely the elements that make Steven Spielberg’s archaeologist-adventurer so [...]

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

Gabrielle Zevin, the popular YA author of Elsewhere, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and the Birthright series, has a wonderful new adult novel out this month. Although there is nothing specifically teen about The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, this is the kind of book that anyone who loves bookstores and books will simply [...]

Pressure to Succeed

Pressure to Succeed

Today I’m combining two books about pursuing competitive, pressure-filled fields — dance and basketball. One is nonfiction, one fiction. Both are full of struggle, family difficulties, and the stress of expectations. Misty Copeland is a phenomenon, and her book is a gift to the many young people obsessed with ballet (or dance of any kind). [...]

An Exciting New Way to Understand Einstein

An Exciting New Way to Understand Einstein

“Jeffrey Bennett’s What is Relativity? is certainly one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read this year: a fast-paced, highly readable account of one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time,” writes Mark Flowers on the blog Adult Books 4 Teens.

An Oral History of African American Youth

The Griots of Oakland has been out in bookstores for almost six months now, but as far as I can tell, today’s review will represent its first appearance in a library review journal. Which is a coup for us, but a shame for the other journals, and also strangely fitting the subject matter: the invisibility [...]

Novels about the One Percent

Novels about the One Percent

Today we have two very different novels that feature the lives of the uber-wealthy. I love Jamie Watson’s reference to Brideshead Revisited in her starred review of The Last Enchantments. I was completely obsessed with that novel when we read it in senior year English, and I think the fact that I never fully understood [...]

The Problem with Stories about Amnesia (Solved by Robert Glancy and Jason Bourne)

The Problem with Stories about Amnesia (Solved by Robert Glancy and Jason Bourne)

Anyone who cares about narrative, movies, or both should be reading Matt Bird’s Cockeyed Caravan blog. He spends most of his time there deconstructing the narrative structure of Hollywood movies and explaining how and why movies do (and don’t) work. But while he only discusses movies (and usually big-budget Hollywood ones at that), his insights [...]