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April 24, 2014

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Book/Multimedia Review Stars List

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A modern and magical retelling of The Snow Queen, a train adventure packed with nonstop action, and a delightful look at the life and inspirations of one of the most well-respected picture book artists round out a rich selection of titles in our March Stars.

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

On the Run

On the Run

Last week I observed that it’s been quite a winter for science fiction, and today we share two more SF recommendations. Both feature an alternate history aspect and siblings on the run. In Daniel Price’s The Flight of the Silvers, six people watch as our world is destroyed before being whisked away to an alternate America. [...]

Annihilation

Annihilation

Last week I praised Julianna Baggott for publishing her science fiction Pure trilogy within 2 years. Then on Monday, we posted our review of  MD Waters’s Archetype, which has a sequel due out in July. Well, Jeff VanderMeer has got them both beat–if the scheduling works as planned, the entirety of his new SF trilogy, [...]

Archetype

Archetype

This is a great season for adult science fiction with teen appeal. Some years we barely see any. This year we have 3 outstanding titles already (Red Rising, Burn, and now Archetype) with three more reviews coming soon. I started Archetype thinking I was reading it just for fun. I didn’t “assign it” to myself [...]

Burn

Burn

And so it ends. We reviewed Julianna Baggott’s Pure exactly two years ago. Later in the year, we named it one of our favorite books of the year so far, and were then validated when it won a 2013 Alex Award. A year after Pure, we felt just as strongly about its sequel, Fuse. Now [...]

Young Women in 19th Century America

Young Women in 19th Century America

The Secret Life of Bees is a phenomenon with teen readers, especially girls. It hardly needs suggesting from us, does it? They just seem to know about it. It always comes up as a peer recommendation when I lead booktalk sessions with the 9th graders in my library. I wonder how that happens, 12 years [...]

The Pieces We Keep

The Pieces We Keep

Still trying to catch up on all those great 2013 books we recommended? Sorry, we’ve still got a few more to add to that pile. Today, we have Kristina McMorris’s fabulous new novel, The Pieces We Keep. In this her third novel, McMorris returns to the World War II setting of each of her previous [...]

The Debut: Nathan Filer on ‘Where the Moon Isn’t’ | Adult Books for Teens

Where the Moon Isn't

Author Nathan Filer recently was given the Book Of The Year Award at the 2013 Costa Book Awards for his debut, Where the Moon Isn’t (St. Martin’s). A former mental health nurse, Filer used his own experiences in this examination of schizophrenia, grief, and guilt. SLJ reviewer Diane Colson caught up with him to talk about writing his process British trivia, and more.

Victorian Violence

Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson published The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886, and the next year Arthur Conan Doyle published A Study in Scarlet, the first novel to feature Sherlock Holmes–both works set in the heart of London. And in September of 1888, the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper began [...]

Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Every five years, YALSA publishes new Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Readers lists. The 2014 lists were announced last week. The selection committee is asked to determine five broad categories, and this year they stuck with the traditional ones (which work very well): Arts and Humanities, History and Cultures, Literature and Language [...]

Poetry

Poetry

Today we introduce two books — one poetry collection, one book about writing poetry, both excellent additions to high school or public library teen collections. And a third to mention. One of the events I attended at ALA Midwinter last month was the RUSA Book & Media Awards, which includes many wonderful lists. (My favorite [...]

Red Rising

Red Rising

Red Rising by Pierce Brown is the powerful first in a projected dystopian trilogy. This debut lives up to the hype that surrounds, and I don’t use the word “powerful” lightly. The writing is muscular and vivid. The characters come alive. The plot is intense and perfectly paced. This is a great choice for readers who loved Hunger Games (or [...]

Alex Awards 2014

Alex Awards 2014

Mark posted the Alex Award winners on Monday, but what would AB4T be without some post-game celebrating? First, we need to make sure everyone is aware of the official nominations list. We reviewed most of these, but not all. My gut reaction to this list is that it is very brave. And by that I [...]

Women at War

Women at War

Two highly recommended historical novels today. I Shall Be Near to You is, at its heart, a compelling love story. It features a strong heroine, so in love with her husband that she disguises herself as a man to accompany him into the horrors of the Civil War. I’m afraid its cover art may limit the [...]

Maybe Hubris Isn’t Such a Bad Thing After All

Maybe Hubris Isn’t Such a Bad Thing After All

The 2014 Alex Awards have been announced – and they are an excellent group. We managed to predict one! Lexicon by Max Barry. That’s down from two in 2013 which I joked was a result of my hubristic claim to scientific accuracy. Maybe hubris isn’t such a bad thing after all. All joking aside, here’s [...]

Night of the Wolf

Night of the Wolf

Probably the most successful program I have ever held at my library was a “minute mystery” program–where I simply posted a short mystery and invited teens to solve it.  Today, I’m have a review of a collection of short stories by French novelist Paul Halter.  You may remember that a little more than a month [...]

The Last Days of California

The Last Days of California

You’ve probably already heard about Mary Miller‘s debut — it’s received some very nice starred reviews (LJ, PW, Booklist) and is popping up in more popular magazines like Vogue, Redbook and Elle. The Last Days of California is the first person narration of a naive 15-year-old girl on a road trip with her family. We [...]

An Exceedingly Humble Discussion About the Alex Awards

An Exceedingly Humble Discussion About the Alex Awards

MARK: Last year at this time, I tempted the fates by titling our pre-Alex Awards post “Extremely Scientific Predictions of the Alex Awards”, and the fates promptly put me in my place, as Angela and I each managed to predict only a single title correctly.  I’ve also already gone on record as stating that “this [...]

Life After Death

Life After Death

Two young women with recently deceased fathers find themselves immersed in relics of the past: these are the striking parallels between the two novels reviewed below.  In Ellen Marie Wiseman’s What She Left Behind, the teenaged heroine is sucked into the past by the journals of another young woman who had been committed to an [...]

Harrowing Memoirs

Harrowing Memoirs

Today we look at two memoirs of harrowing childhoods.  Today’s teens are too young to remember the media onslaught brought on by Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapping and rescue. But they will be by turns riveted and revolted by her account of her abduction, which was made especially horrific to her as she was forced to act [...]