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April 23, 2014

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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 [...]

Where the Dystopian Craze meets Literary Fiction

Where the Dystopian Craze meets Literary Fiction

Adult Books for Teens examines the latest by Chang-Rae Lee: On Such a Full Sea.

A Look at Minor League Baseball from John Feinstein

A Look at Minor League Baseball from John Feinstein

We’re two weeks into the baseball season, the Giants are in first place in the National League West, and all is right with the world.  That must mean it’s time to start reading some baseball books, specifically John Feinstein’s Where Nobody Knows Your Name. Feinstein is a prolific sports writer, with nonfiction works on golf, [...]

The Debut: SLJTeen Talks with Laura McHugh, Author of ‘The Weight of Blood’

The Weight of Blood

Laura McHugh‘s debut novel is set in rural, small-town Missouri, deep in the Ozarks. This dark coming-of-age mystery follows a 17-year-old girl determined to investigate the murder of a friend from school, a search which leads to the earlier murder of her own mother. SLJ contributor Diane Colson shares her recent conversation with McHugh here in SLJTeen.

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones

In September 2011, about 5 months after HBO’s TV series Game of Thrones debuted, Dynamite Entertainment began releasing the comic series A Game of Thrones, adapted by Daniel Abraham, with art by Tommy Patterson. The indefinite article is significant: unlike the TV series–which is attempting to adapt the entire A Song of Ice and Fire [...]

The Weight of Blood

The Weight of Blood

Laura McHugh‘s debut novel is set in rural, small-town Missouri, deep in the Ozarks. This dark coming-of-age mystery follows a 17-year-old girl determined to investigate the murder of a friend from school, a search which leads to the earlier murder of her own mother. Told from multiple perspectives, the novel’s strengths include its setting (the [...]

Decoded

Decoded

Mai Jia has published three novels and a novella in his native China and has won several awards for them. But Decoded (2002) marks the first time his work has been published in English, and based on this one, we can only hope the rest of his work isn’t far behind. Some readers may be [...]

Where Babies Come From, a Jazz Legend, & One Brave Chicken | Stars List, April 2014

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From an ode to an innovative jazz musician to an unreliable narrator-driven YA novel, check out the book and multimedia titles that made SLJ’s April list of stellar offererings.

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

Touchstones of American History

Touchstones of American History

A new novel by Alice Hoffman is always cause for celebration. The Museum of Extraordinary Things conjures up the sights and sounds of early 20th century, Gilded Age Coney Island and New York City. Hoffman’s many teen readers will appreciate the magical love-at-first-sight between her two young protagonists, and fans of The Night Circus will [...]

Show Your Work!

Show Your Work!

Two years ago, I was electrified by Austin Kleon‘s Steal Like an Artist. I gave a copy to each of the students in my literary magazine club at school, and have continued to booktalk it in the library. It made its way onto our Best Books of 2012 list. Now I’m pleased to offer a [...]

Dreams of the Golden Age

Dreams of the Golden Age

When I reviewed Carrie Vaughn’s After the Golden Age back in 2011 (and listed it among our Best Books of the Year So Far), I had to be somewhat coy about my favorite aspect of the novel, because it was revealed in the final pages. But now, I think the time for spoilers has passed: [...]

Pure Adrenaline

Pure Adrenaline

I’m finally on spring break, and I hope many of you are enjoying (or looking forward to) a vacation around now, too. Speaking of which, do I ever have a great beach read for you (and the teens you serve, too)! This is my first Patrick Lee novel, but it won’t be the last. Great [...]

Biographies, part two

Biographies, part two

Last week, Mark wondered if teens are still reading biographies — or are they less popular now than when he was a teen? It’s true that we don’t review very many biographies here. But we do review quite a few autobiographies and memoirs each year. Has the publishing landscape shifted? Are today’s teens simply more [...]

That Old Black Magic

That Old Black Magic

A little more than a year ago, I posted an Omnibus Mystery Review Post, featuring six mysteries, many entries in series and/or by prolific mystery authors. So I expected sometime around now to have a new crop of reviews of many of the same authors, but so far I’ve been striking out. Jacqueline Winspear is [...]

Biographies

Biographies

I remember reading a lot of biographies when I was a teenager. Not memoirs or autobiographies (although I read those too), but big, thick books about famous people written by someone who had done a lot of research. I was obsessed with the Beatles, and I know I read several massive biographies of John Lennon [...]

Family Drama and Mental Illness

Family Drama and Mental Illness

Today’s books are about family, relationships, secrets, and coming-of-age. Both move back and forth in time, and include characters suffering from mental illness. Sarah Cornwell‘s debut novel, What I Had Before I Had You follows a mother’s memories back into her own turbulent adolescence. The thread that connects past and present is bipolar disorder, which [...]

Short Work

Short Work

Neither of the books reviewed below looks much like a traditional short story collection. Eileen Gunn’s Questionable Practices includes stories as short as one page long, a poem, and a “steam-punk quartet” of stories. Novak’s collection, meanwhile, mocks the whole concept of a “short story collection”, calling itself, in the subtitle,  “Stories and Other Stories”. [...]

The Martian

The Martian

I feel like we’re in the middle of a 6-part series on science fiction here on AB4T, but there really was no intention behind it. These are the books and reviews in front of us! Today I present The Martian. I think Andy Weir and Crown Books must have the luck of the Gods. Thanks to [...]