May 25, 2016

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Honor Girl

Honor Girl, Maggie Thrash Candlewick Press, September 2015 Reviewed from final copy I was distracted while reading Honor Girl. The first two chapters orient the reader in the early days of the new millennium; there’s a list of celebrity crushes including Leonardo DiCaprio, Usher, and Justin Timberlake, our narrator is reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of […]

More Happy Than Not

More Happy Than Not, Adam Silvera Soho Teen, June 2015 Reviewed from e-ARC This is the kind of book that can’t be discussed deeply without spoiling it. Big spoilers ahead; watch out.  If you could forget the most painful memories of your life, would you? Maybe you’ve seen this scenario play out in Eternal Sunshine of the […]

Magic, Faith, Imagination: Debut MG Author Cassie Beasley on “Circus Mirandus”


Debut author Cassie Beasley chats about Circus Mirandus, a charming and tender tale about a young boy searching for the magical circus that can save his ailing grandfather.

Althea and Oliver

Althea and Oliver

Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho Viking, October 2014 Reviewed from final copy This book really amazed me by being a story that is bigger and harder and rougher and rawer than I thought it would be. It’s been named for two year’s best lists, and garnered three starred reviews, so it’s not just me […]

More Morris, or Rachel Hartman on Charm & Strange

More Morris, or Rachel Hartman on Charm & Strange

A few days ago on Twitter, Rachel Hartman (yes, you know, that Rachel Hartman, who brought us last year’s best debut — and one of last year’s best books, period), Seraphina, asked if we were doing a Morris shortlist roundup this year. The answer, sadly, was not really, because our Morris readership hasn’t been thorough […]

Wild Awake

Wild Awake, Hilary T. Smith Katherine Tegen Books, May 2013 Reviewed from ARC Nominate in haste, repent at leisure? Well, not quite. But… I’m not entirely surprised no one, in effect, seconded this one. Wild Awake is a debut, and while I don’t have a full sense of the year’s debut slate, from what I’ve […]

December Blahs

One of the things I find frustrating about this blogging thing is the December blahs. At this point in the game, I have a sense of what the year has brought us. I’m not a seer, so I don’t know what books will take the RealPrintz (and judging by last year, don’t listen even if […]

More Roundup (Debut Style!)

Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone, Kat Rosenfield
Dutton, May 2012
Reviewed from ARC
Buzz and anticipation, impressive writing, and a whole that ends up not quite hitting it out of the park — haven’t we heard this story before?
Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone has some really magnificent sentence level writing. Some of the best out there […]

Fly, Flutter, Fall?

The Butterfly Clues, Kate Ellison
Egmont Books, February 2012
Reviewed from final copy
This is indeed, just as the back cover promises, a very strong debut.
But I think it’s telling that even the blurbs mention its debut status, because this is a book that might be a solid contender for the Morris, but doesn’t rate for the Printz.
(I […]

SLJ’s 2012 Day of Dialog: Stellar Debuts

From left: Emily Danforth, R. J. Palacio, Ellis Weiner, J. Anderson Coats

Palacio and three other first-time children’s book authors spoke at the “Stellar Debuts: Celebrating new and noteworthy arrivals to the publishing scene” panel during SLJ’s Day of Dialog on June 4 at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center.