October 20, 2017

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We Are Okay

We Are Okay, Nina LaCour Dutton Books for Young Readers, February 2017 Reviewed from ARC Four stars I almost didn’t finish We Are Okay. Not because it’s bad–in fact, it’s quite beautiful–but because reading it required a lot of emotional labor. When fiction pokes at pieces of your heart that you thought you had protected […]

The Careful Undressing of Love

This book. THIS BOOK.   Sometimes you pick up a book because you should; it got some stars (or, in this case, failed to get some stars), some people liked the authors other books, you’re sitting around portioning out the books and it’s your turn to take something off the pile. I read a lot […]

Still Life With Tornado

Oh, A.S. King! Every year, a new novel. Every year, a bold move to expand what we think of as a novel. I’m not sure if I’m a King fan, but I find myself drawn to her books year after year because I trust them to be engrossing reading experiences, even if I have an […]

Last Licks

There are so many great books, and every year we’re reading until the 11th hour to get in as many as possible. This year, between last minute reads and beloved books that didn’t seem like true contenders but deserve a shout-out, we find ourselves down to the final days before the YMAs with quite a […]

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston Dutton, March 2016 Reviewed from a final copy I’m not for sure where I’m landing in this review, so I guess I’ll have to write it and see where I end up. Ha, I guess I’m flying right now, and I’m hoping this review (or you all, […]

The Radiant Road

The Radiant Road, Katherine Catmull Dutton, January 2016 Reviewed from final e-book I mentioned last week that each of us has to assess excellence for ourselves, as well as coming to consensus when it comes time to pick a winner (or, for us, Pyrite winner). For me, excellence is deeply tied to language. I was […]

Life, Life, and Masturbation: The Alex Crow

The Alex Crow, Andrew Smith Dutton, March 2015 Reviewed from ARC and ebook editions Last year, Andrew Smith wrote a book that had: weird science, boys who talk about masturbation, an incredibly strong voice, and strange animals created by the aforementioned weird science. Love it or hate it, we couldn’t stop talking about it. So […]

Pyrite Redux: We’re All Stories in the End

At last Saturday’s Mock Printz, a Hudson Valley Library Associate book club regular, Susannah Goldstein, aptly called 2014 “the year of storytelling.” It was a dead-on observation that applies to so many 2014 books. Storytelling is certainly a theme that’s resonated with me this year. One major question books like How It Went Down and The Unfinished Life […]

Grasshopper Jungle

This book. This book! I loved it. Also I hated it. It has amazing characters, and then it has crimes against female characters. It’s A Tale of Two Cities for me on this one — this book contains multitudes and also contradictions galore. It probably deserves an award, except when it doesn’t. There’s a reason […]

Belzhar

Belzhar, Meg Wolitzer Dutton, September 2014 Reviewed from ARC There’s always some weird dance of anticipation and dread when an author you respect as an author for adult readers dips into the YA world. Happily, Meg Wolitzer is very clear eyed about YA and about why she writes YA — it’s not to jump on […]

Everything Leads to You

Everything Leads to You, Nina LaCour Dutton Books, May 2014 Reviewed from Final Copy Everything Leads to You has all the elements you would want in a YA summer book: love, glamour, and mystery all in the warm, sunny climate of Southern California. And that’s just the trailer. Nina LaCour’s latest novel is also a […]

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 […]

Archetype

This is a great season for adult science fiction with teen appeal. Some years we barely see any. This year we have 3 outstanding titles already (Red Rising, Burn, and now Archetype) with three more reviews coming soon. I started Archetype thinking I was reading it just for fun. I didn’t “assign it” to myself […]

Pick of the Day: Grasshopper Jungle

Award-winning author Andrew Smith has cleverly used a B movie science fiction plot to explore the intricacies of teenage sexuality, love, and friendship.

Roundup: Girls in Crisis

Double feature crisis show! Today we’ve got not one but two — TWO! — reviews for the price of one click. Really, these two books — Fat Angie and 17 & Gone — have very little in common, but they are both March pubs and have some thematic overlap, dealing as they do with girls […]

The Different Girl

The Different Girl, Gordon Dahlquist Dutton Children’s, Feb 2013 Reviewed from ARC Let’s talk about voice (bay-bee), because this book features one of the strongest I’ve come across. (And before you hit the jump, please remember that we do spoilers here. All the time. So if you are reading on and you haven’t read the […]

Speculative Fiction

Baba Yaga is a witch of Russian folklore, and Toby Barlow bewitches with his new novel — our starred reviewof the day. His first, Sharp Teeth, was a 2009 Alex Award winner, a story of werewolves in L.A. told entirely in verse. Babayaga is (mostly) straight prose, and offers quite a combination of genres–spy thriller, […]

Pick of the Day: Just One Day

A coming-of-age novel of love and self-identity set in Paris; by Gayle Forman

10 to Note: Spring Preview 2013

It’s time to once again to look at the season before us and say “that looks good”. What follows are books coming out in March, April, and May that appear to have promise. Picture Book Giant Dance Party by Betsy Bird; illustrated by Brandon Dorman April 23 | Greenwillow | Grades K-2 Ever heard of […]