November 30, 2015

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Spectacular Speculative Fiction | Adult Books 4 Teens


Mark Flowers highlights recent adult titles with teen appeal in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres, including Cat Winter’s The Uninvited and John Scalzi’s End of All Things.

Book Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker, by teen reviewer Lexi

“I’m quiet for a moment, enchanted by the idea of something stealing over you, settling into you, and telling you, with absolute certainty, who you are and what you’re meant to do.” Summary: The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut. Your […]


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson HarperTeen, May 2015 Reviewed from final copy I’ve been considering this a graphic novel roundup — we’re short on time, you may have heard? — but now that I’m sitting down to write it, I’m finding myself with a lot to say about Nimona. I can’t guarantee that we’ll have a […]

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs | SLJ Review


SLJ reviews the latest installment in Ransom Riggs’s YA crossover series, “Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children.”

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett | SLJ Review


SLJ reviews Terry Pratchett’s last novel, a cleverly crafted fantasy starring the intrepid teen witch, Tiffany Aching.

The Allure of the Unsettling | New Middle Grade Fantasy


Meet a ratter, a girl with telepathic abilities, and an otherworldly creature in new middle grade fantasy titles that walk the line between light and dark and comfort and creepy with aplomb.

If you only had a brain

Farah Mendlesohn called my attention to this bit of fuckwittery from The Guardian, in which their art critic Jonathan Jones opines that the late Terry Pratchett wrote “trash” while the equally late Günter Grass was a “true titan of the novel,” so why is everyone more sad about the passing of Sir Terry? The dumbness of this point–let’s […]

The post If you only had a brain appeared first on The Horn Book.

The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet | SLJ Review


NESBET, Anne. The Wrinkled Crown. 400p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Harper. Nov. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062104298.
Gr 3-7–Linny is approaching her coming-of-age “twelve ceremony,” when she will at last be able to touch a lourka—the almost magical, exquisitely toned, stringed instrument, named for Linny’s village in the wrinkled hills. The instrument has been forbidden to her until now. The trouble is, Linny has already broken this strict rule and made her own lourka, which she plays in secret, and only her best […]

My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson | SLJ Review


Anderson, Jodi Lynn. My Diary from the Edge of the World. 432p. S. & S./Aladdin. Nov. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442483873.

Gr 4-7–Gracie Lockwood is a spirited girl and journal writer, who lives with her parents, brother, and sister right down the street from a T.J.Maxx that was recently burned down by dragons. Her world mirrors ours, in that there is a Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s off of Route 1. It differs, however, because Sasquatches roam the forests, depressed ghosts […]

The Keeper by Darragh | SLJ Review


Martin, Darragh. The Keeper. 280p. glossary. Little Island. Jul. 2015. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9781908195845.

Gr 7 Up–Twelve-year-old Oisin Keane has grown up in the suburbs of Dublin without the slightest clue that he coexists with the ancient magic of the land. He and his youthful looking Granny Keane are the only members of the family with green eyes. Celtic folklore and legends attribute magical powers to those with green eyes, because green is said to be the color of Fairies’ eyes. […]

The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst | SLJ Review


Durst, Sarah Beth. The Girl Who Could Not Dream. 384p. Clarion. Nov. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544464971.

Gr 4-6–Middle school is rough even for ordinary kids, but Sophie is anything but ordinary. For one thing, her parents run a secret underground shop, where they distill, bottle, and sell dreams. Sophie herself has a special power that allows her to bring elements of the dream realm into the real world with her. Worries about getting her homework done and not having anyone […]

Review of the Day: Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer By Kelly Jones Illustrated by Katie Kath Alfred A. Knopf (an imprint of Random House Children’s Books) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-385-75552-8 On shelves now The epistolary novel has a long and storied history. At least when it comes to books written for adults. So too does it exist in […]

Review of the Day: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Review of the Day: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

The Jumbies By Tracey Baptiste Algonquin Young Readers $15.95 ISBN: 9781616204143 Ages 9-12 On shelves now “All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” So sayeth Leo Tolstoy (at least in theory). Regardless of whether or not it’s actually true, it is fun […]

Two Speculative Fiction Genre Blends

Two Speculative Fiction Genre Blends

Two books with huge teen appeal today, both by authors comfortable writing in multiple speculative fiction genres. First, a fantasy novel by Daryl Gregory. You may have heard of Afterparty, last year’s science fiction novel that created quite a buzz and ended up on a few Best lists. I read Raising Stony Mayhall back in […]

Review of the Day: Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

Review of the Day: Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

Castle Hangnail By Ursula Vernon Dial (an imprint of Penguin Group) ISBN: 978-0803741294 Ages 8-11 On shelves April 21st These are dark times for children’s fantasy. Dark times indeed. Which is to say, when I pick up a fantasy novel for kids, more often than not I find the books filled with torture, violence, bloody […]

Next Up for Fantasy Readers!

Next Up for Fantasy Readers!

Today we review the first in one fantasy series and the second in another. Randy Henderson’s debut novel, Finn Fancy Necromancy, is fantasy with a good dose of humor, something that can be hugely popular with teens if it hits them right. (Our reviewer notes call-outs to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams!) The first three […]

Signal to Noise, Music & Magic

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 […]

Gretel All Grown Up

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, […]

A Darker Shade of Magic

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 […]

Cover Reveal: Beast in the Mirror by Laura Bradley Rede

Cover Reveal: Beast in the Mirror by Laura Bradley Rede

We’re excited to share with you the cover reveal for Beast in the Mirror, Laura Bradley Rede’s forthcoming LGBT fantasy novella. Laura is a Minnesota author who I had the pleasure of meeting this past summer when she came to visit the YA book club I facilitate through the public library. We had a great time […]