November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Signal to Noise, Music & Magic

I am so excited to introduce this small press title today. Signal to Noise is a perfect young adult crossover novel, full of appeal, diverse characters & setting, wonderful writing–and magic. What I love about this book is that even in the 2009 sections, when its characters are adults, Meche still has that sulky teen […]

Unexplored History

Today we look at two fabulous historical fiction works exploring historical periods unfamiliar to most Americans. First up is a starred review of Michelle Moran’s Rebel Queen, which tells the story of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Specifically, it tracks the exploits of Rani Lakshmi, the queen of a smallish kingdom in northern India called […]

Driftwood

Somehow we managed to let this book from November of last year make it all the way till late March without a post. But don’t let that fool you: Elizabeth Dutton’s Driftwood is a fabulous novel with tons of teen appeal: rock stars, letters from beyond the grave, a road trip–this has got all the […]

Doomboy by Tony Sandoval

French writer Tony Sandoval has created a tour de force of storytelling in his latest graphic novel. In France, Doomboy was an Official Selection of the 2012 Angouleme International Comics Festival and winner of the Coup de Coeur Youth Jury prize (for best comic book). Published in the States last fall, it is ideal for […]

Gretel All Grown Up

At the opposite end of fairy-tale retellings from the gritty 2013 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, comes this delightful cozy mystery, the first in a prospective series starring the same Gretel, grown-up and solving crimes. Regular readers know my affection for fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, and while I haven’t read this one yet, […]

From Medieval England to the 19th-century Austro-Hungarian Empire

Two exciting and very different historical novels today. First, a medieval murder mystery set in 1350 England. A 17-year-old is called home to run his family’s Manor after his brothers and fathers are killed by the plague. That’s hard enough, but then a young girl is murdered. We are not the only ones singing the praises […]

A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab is no stranger to writing for young readers. She has published The Near Witch and the Archived novels for teens and the middle grade Everyday Angel series. Last year her adult debut, Vicious, was the top fantasy pick on the RUSA Reading List. A Darker Shade of Magic made February’s Library Reads. It […]

The Nightingale

I’ve written about my regard for Kristin Hannah‘s novels before. The last one I read and reviewed was Night Road, and we also reviewed Fly Away in 2013. Hannah has a way with contemporary family stories. She writes deeply emotional women’s fiction with great characters, usually facing loss or tragedy. This year she brings those […]

Adult Books 4 Teens: Titles to Galvanize a Call for Social Justice

The following are nonfiction titles reviewed on the “Adult Books 4 Teens” blog that feature young people whose lives are adversely affected by racism, gender discrimination, or violence.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Sacrifice by Joyce Carol Oates

Considering that it is based on a police case from almost 30 years ago, it is astonishing how much currency Joyce Carol Oates’s new novel has. A black teen is found beaten and apparently raped, naming only “white cops” as the perpetrators before lapsing into silence. The ensuing polarized reactions on the parts of the […]

Nonfiction Roundup

A group of nonfiction titles that includes something for everyone. Wes Moore is an advocate for youth, education, and veterans (see the 2014 PBS series Coming Back with Wes Moore). He became well-known in library and school circles with his 2010 debut The Other Wes Moore. Now he’s back with an inspirational book of life lessons, […]

Continuing Mystery Series

Today we look at two entries in continuing mystery series – both also parts on ongoing multi-media franchises. The much older of these is, of course, Sherlock Holmes. When last we talked, I mentioned Holmes’s semi-unique place as a character who has leaped the bounds of his original stories. What I didn’t know at the […]

The Sweetheart

Here is a great debut novel that brings universal themes to a unique and unusual story. The Sweetheart is a coming of age story set in the world of women wrestlers in 1950s Florida. I found an interesting review on a site titled Pro Wrestling Books, by a professional wrestling journalist, John Lister, who finds the […]

Before and After the Apocalypse

Two science fiction thrillers on review today, from two new Simon & Schuster imprints that highlight speculative fiction: Saga Press and Simon451. Lee Kelly‘s debut, City of Savages, could easily have been published YA. It alternates two YA narrators, sisters, as they survive post-WWIII Manhattan. This is a good post-apocalyptic novel, and readers experience the war itself […]

Awards, Awards, Awards!

I suppose this post should really be titled Lists, Lists, Lists!  But Awards sound so much more exciting! Mark posted the Alex Awards when they were announced one week ago. I was at the YMA’s, and I have to admit that my heart was in my throat when the announcements began. The very first winner […]

Red Rising and The Bone Season continue

Two of 2014′s stand-out debuts continue! Pierce Brown’s Red Rising was on our Best of the Year list. The second book of the trilogy is even better. EW posted a great interview with the author (mind those spoilers!) and you can see the cover of the trilogy finale, Morning Star, on Brown’s website. The Mime Order is the […]

Alex Awards Announced!

The 2015 Alex Awards were announced this morning (you can find the lists of all the Youth Media Awards winners here). Congratulations to the ten winners: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt […]

Two Takes on Environmental Destruction

Today, we review two books that examine the environmental destruction of small towns, and the ensuing fallout in the community at large. In Rene Steinke’s Friendswood, the eponymous town has been the victim of chemical leaks from a nearby oil refinery. Most of the town seems ready to move on once the EPA has cleared […]

Descent

Descent is my favorite book of 2015 so far, and one I expect to see on best lists come next winter. Why? Tim Johnston combines edge-of-your-seat suspense with family drama, tragedy, and an unforgettable setting. The characters are real, which is what makes their fates so suspenseful, of course. And it is incredibly well-written. There are […]

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 […]