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October 31, 2014

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Kill My Mother: A New Graphic Novel From Jules Feiffer

Kill My Mother: A New Graphic Novel From Jules Feiffer

A brief account of my acquaintance with the work of Jules Feiffer: I first became aware of Jules Feiffer through his phenomenal, and phenomenally funny, picture book Bark, George (1999). I didn’t know anything about the book or the author–I think my wife brought it home to read to the kids–but I immediately fell in [...]

The Invisible Circle

The Invisible Circle

For the last nine months, I’ve been on a mission to get you all to read the great French mystery novelist Paul Halter (posts here and here) and today I’m back with another of his books. As I pointed out in that first post, his books are translated and published by a tiny house called [...]

Fabulous Debuts

Fabulous Debuts

It’s the end of August, and we still have quite a few reviews of summer books to share with you. So don’t let this somewhat clumsy grouping at all diminish your regard for the following three debut novels. I start with 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas because, well, great title! And it really does [...]

On the Cusp

On the Cusp

High school is behind you, but you’re not quite an independent adult. Today’s reviews cover one book of essays and stories written during–and one graphic novel memoir written about–the college years. Marina Keegan was a talented writer who died days after graduating from Yale. She had lined up a position as an editorial assistant at The [...]

Two Books About Black Youth in America

Two Books About Black Youth in America

“In comparing football players to drug dealers, Almond’s point is that football is among the very few limited options available to black youth,” writes Mark Flowers. The Adult Books 4 Teens blogger considers Burning Down the House, by Nell Bernstein, and Against Football, by Steve Almond.

An Interview With George Pratt

An Interview With George Pratt

On Wednesday, we reviewed Above the Dreamless Dead, edited by Chris Duffy, a graphic novel comprised of poems by the Trench Poets of World War I, and illustrated by contemporary graphic novelist. As promised in that post, today we have an interview with one of the illustrators of that collection, George Pratt. Pratt is a [...]

SLJTeen Catches Up with Debut Author Anthony Breznican

Brutal Youth

It can’t be easy having your debut novel compared to The Chocolate War, but Anthony Breznican takes it all in stride. Adult Books 4 Teens contributor Diane Colson talks to the author about his inspiration, his characters, and Elvis Costello.

Illustrating the Poetry of World War I, One Hundred Years Later

Illustrating the Poetry of World War I, One Hundred Years Later

There are various dates given as the first day of World War I, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, to the first shots fired by Austro-Hungarian soldiers on July 28 to the August 4th declaration of war by the British Empire, signalling the truly world-wide stretch of the conflict. Whatever [...]

Family Histories and Folktales

Family Histories and Folktales

Today we review two books that offer intriguing, even haunting, stories from unfamiliar cultures. Both are inspired by the family histories and folktales the authors were told by family members, one Native American, one Vietnamese. We begin with House of Purple Cedar, an historical novel that reveals both the daily and spiritual life of one [...]

Lock In

Lock In

John Scalzi’s Redshirts was one of my favorite books of 2012 to recommend–fun and funny, Science Fiction but easily accessible to non-SF readers. Now he’s back with another high-concept Science Fiction title, Lock In. A disease called Haden’s Syndrome leaves its victims completely paralyzed–”locked in”–but with their mental facilities fully intact, calling for a series [...]

August Starred Reviews

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Paul Fleischman opens our eyes to the environmental crisis, young Henri Matisse ponders The Iridescence of Birds, and Philip C. Stead takes to the skies in the August stars, offering the best of fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia.

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

The Magician’s Land

The Magician’s Land

Is there anything better than a trilogy that improves with each installment? That’s saying a lot when the first book wins an Alex Award (The Magicians) and the second (The Magician King) makes our AB4T Best of the Year list. Lev Grossman wraps up the trilogy with The Magician’s Land (releasing tomorrow) in a singularly satisfying manner. [...]

Two Strong Women in Love

Two Strong Women in Love

Both of today’s novels are about far more than romance, but love is certainly one element they share. Another is a strong cultural setting. Jean Kwok is known by many librarians and teen readers as the author of Girl in Translation, which earned her an Alex Award. Mambo in Chinatown features a slightly older protagonist, [...]

Detective Fiction Round-Up

Detective Fiction Round-Up

Despite their obvious differences–fifth book in an ongoing series; first book in a projected series, based on a TV show and movie; standalone by a master of horror–the three books under review today share something more in common than their detective fiction trappings. All three should take little to no prodding to fly off your [...]

A New Look at Peter Pan

A New Look at Peter Pan

For such a big fan of fairy tales, you would think that I’d have a healthy appreciation for one of the 20th Century’s preeminent fairy tale creations, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. But in truth, I’ve never much cared for the little imp, even now that my 4-year-old son is obsessed with him and has me [...]

New Books from Alex Award Winners — The Reviews

New Books from Alex Award Winners — The Reviews

Last week Mark put together a terrific list of current books by past Alex Award winners. Today, we offer two reviews from that group. We begin with the second book by Lisa O’Donnell, Closed Doors. O’Donnell’s debut, The Death of Bees, won an Alex Award just last year. Our reviewer called The Death of Bees a [...]

A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip

A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip

I mentioned in our Best Books of the Year so far post that “If I’d had a week longer, I would have been able to list a tremendous memoir which we’ll be featuring here shortly.” Well, it’s been shortly, and here it is: Keven Brockmeier’s A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip. As a mention below, [...]

Language in Speculative Fiction

Language in Speculative Fiction

Today we review two speculative novels in which language plays an important role. The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon is all about language and the ways that technology changes words and communication. For teens who are as attached to their devices as to most of their actual body parts, this is ideally relevant literary fiction. (Slate titled [...]

My Salinger Year

My Salinger Year

Joanna Rakoff’s wonderfully engaging memoir, My Salinger Year, shares the author’s experiences during the year she moves to New York City straight out of grad school. She sort of maybe wants to be a poet. She knows she wants to work with books. Maybe publishing? She leaves her boyfriend behind, even though he sounds like [...]

New Books from Alex Award Winners

New Books from Alex Award Winners

Last year around this time I looked at a far-from-complete list of new books by Alex Award winners to see which ones we had reviewed and might be reviewing. Today, I show my compulsive side by trying to put together a complete list of every 2014 book by a former Alex winner. Altogether, I found [...]