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January 26, 2015

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Alex Award Predictions

Alex Award Predictions

MARK: The 2015 Alex Awards–recognizing “ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults”–will be named during the Youth Media Awards on February 2. In our annual quest to pretend we know what we’re talking about, today Angela and I are going to make some guesses about what we think might have […]

The Heart Does Not Grow Back

The Heart Does Not Grow Back

The tagline plastered on the back of Fred Venturini’s debut novel–”Every superhero needs to start somewhere”–may draw in readers, but it may mislead them as well. It is true that the novel’s protagonist, Dale Sampson, has a superheroic ability to regenerate his limbs, but the novel is much less of an origin story than it […]

Mort(e)

Mort(e)

Here we have a new kind of apocalypse, one in which humans are at war with ants, joined later by cats, dogs, and more. Just what is going on?? Robert Repino’s debut lands somewhere between Animal Farm and those B-movie sci-fi thrillers with giant, mutated insects. Give this to teens looking for something different. Maybe Grasshopper Jungle fans […]

The Rosie Effect: A Sequel That Delivers the Goods

The Rosie Effect: A Sequel That Delivers the Goods

When I read Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project, I loved it (and reviewed positively)–funny, charming, sweet, with something real to say about humanity. But I had some doubts about it’s teen appeal, which was the only reason I didn’t give it a starred review. So I was pleasantly surprised when one of our other reviewers […]

Illusionists

Illusionists

Two books that follow professional stage magicians, or illusionists, top our week. I was completely entranced by The Magician’s Lie, a terrific historical yarn that reads like a modern thriller. The title magician is a young woman, and the only woman making the circuit in the first decade of the 20th century. It is her […]

The World of Ice and Fire

The World of Ice and Fire

As this blog’s resident Game of Thrones reviewer (again, despite having never read the novels), I took it upon myself to read the newest entry into the world of The Song of Ice and Fire, a “nonfiction” companion to George R.R. Martin’s epic world. The book has Martin’s name above the title, but the smaller […]

Inspirational Memoirs

Inspirational Memoirs

One of my favorite books of 2011 was Little Princes by Conor Grennan. It made that year’s AB4T best list, and Grennan is in demand around the country at schools and colleges where his book is a great Common Read choice. I say all of this to give context to the first of today’s books. […]

First Frost

First Frost

Happy New Year! Given the frost on the ground in my usually balmy California home, I thought we would ring in the New Year here with the appropriately titled First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen–our first 2015 title, to boot. This book is an example of one of my favorite parts of this blog: when […]

Two Very Different Memoirs

Two Very Different Memoirs

When I picked up An Age of License a couple months ago, I had not read Lucy Knisley’s Alex Award-winning graphic novel Relish. (We did not review Relish for AB4T last year–we thought it was a YA publication.) I read An Age of License all in one sitting, and basically fell in love with it. The next morning I checked Relish out of […]

Lists!

Lists!

It’s mid-December and that means there are lots of lists coming out. Last year, I made an exhaustive spreadsheet of all of the major journals’ best-of lists to show you what made multiple lists and which ones we’d reviewed. This year, I’m . . . not going to do that. Instead, just a few thoughts. […]

Social Justice and Inequality

Social Justice and Inequality

Two passionate nonfiction books top our week. Just Mercy is a memoir by Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer and activist, which focuses on his work as a co-founder of the Equal Justice Initiative–”a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal […]

Three Debuts

Three Debuts

One of my favorite reader’s advisory tools is Amazon’s “Customer’s Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature. I know, I know, Amazon’s a big evil company engaged in a fight against the absolutely tiny publishing firm of Hatchette (note: Hatchette is not tiny), but what can I say? The algorithm they use is great. You […]

Funny Celebrity Memoirs

Need I say more? I’m not sure I need to. We all know that teens love humorous books, and both of these also fall in the category of books that are very fun to browse through. Brief excerpts from Poehler’s book are available from her NPR interview, and NPH’s website offers a nice intro to the […]

Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2014

Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2014

Every fall the Adult Books 4 Teens reviewers come together to nominate, discuss, and winnow the best titles of the year into a list that guarantees a combination of excellence and appeal to young adults. All of these books were originally reviewed here on SLJ’s Adult Books 4 Teens blog. Science fiction tops the trends: […]

Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2014

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The Adult Books 4 Teens reviewers have come together to nominate, discuss, and winnow the best titles of the year into a list that guarantees a combination of excellence and appeal to young adults. The following are must-have titles for teens and were originally reviewed on SLJ’s Adult Books 4 Teens blog.

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

Mystery & Truth

Mystery & Truth

As we launch head-first into the busy holiday season, two family mysteries begin our week. The ever-popular Jodi Picoult is back with another title that mixes animal behavior and human drama. (I say “another” given 2012′s Lone Wolf, which we recommended here.) Leaving Time focuses on elephant research and a mother’s disappearance. Diane Chamberlain is […]

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 […]