September 23, 2017

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Take 5: Time Travel and Teens, featuring INVICTUS by Ryan Graudin

We are HUGE Doctor Who fans in my house, and many of my teens are as well. So I’m always excited to read a new Time Travel book. So today I am going to review Invictus by Ryan Graudin and share with you a few of my other favorite time travel books for lovers of […]

Werewolves, Zombies, Space Operas, & Gaslamp Fantasies | Adult Books 4 Teens

This week’s column offers a rich mix of sci-fi and fantasy, from a gripping tale about nuns trained in the deadly arts to a novel that blends elements of Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars.

Felix Yz

Felix Yz Written by Lisa Butler Published by Viking Press, 2017 ISBN: 978-0-425-28850-4 Grades 5-8 Book Review Being thirteen can be hard even on the good days. Protagonist Felix Yz faces bullies, strives to please his teachers, and tries to get to know his crush Hector a little better. But he has even bigger problems, […]

YA: Outlandish Fantasy & Poignant Realistic Fiction | June 2017 Xpress Reviews

The newest YA titles include both action-packed fantasy set in long-ago worlds and insightful realistic fiction about identity and the coming-of-age process.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Book Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

Publisher’s description A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair. When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked […]

Laini Taylor on Genre Blurring and “Strange the Dreamer”

While writing her latest YA fantasy, Laini Taylor followed her hearts.

At the bottom of my garden

Oh, I owe some of you fantasy writers an apology. Over on Twitter, I’ve been pretty hard on your  Capital Letters and apostrophes and archaisms and spelling. Mostly spelling, like “magick,” or, gilding the lily, “enmagick.” And then there’s faery. That’s a spelling that has been the fingernails on my personal chalkboard ever since chalkboards were […]

Fantasizing?

Then join Children’s Books Boston on February 23rd as Our Martha leads a conversation with Kristin Cashore and Tui Sutherland about just what’s going on in those big books today. Maybe they will talk about The Naming. Info at this link.

The Reader

The Reader by Traci Chee Putnam, August 2016 Reviewed from an ARC This is a book I’ve been saving the whole season, saving until the end because I knew I’d love it and I wanted to savor it. I’m not alone in loving it — it has four stars, it’s on the SLJ Mothership’s year […]

Teens Review “Dreamland Burning,” New Fantasy, and More

The Kitsap YA reviewers take on new thrillers and fantasy titles and Jennifer Latham’s Dreamland Burning, among other recent releases.

Historical(ish)

So much fun! History is full of so many unexplored paths! What if you were a child of immigrants who bribed her way into a posh school? What if you were a doomed teenage king? What if you were a doomed teenage queen? What if you survived the San Francisco earthquake? What if you took […]

Tales from Mother Russia

We’re back from a few days of rest, travel, and so much family, with yet another double post — always, as the year draws to a close, the double posts, because the good books just keep piling up. Today’s books in many ways have nothing in common — one historical fiction, absolutely realistic despite some […]

The Lie Tree

Oh, The Lie Tree. For so long — since January, in fact, when I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC — I’ve been holding this up as an exemplar of great writing. Along with The Passion of Dolssa this has consistently held top billing in my head. It’s brilliant and unconventional; the writing is excellent; the […]

Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton Viking, March 2016 Reviewed from a final copy OK, I’m a day late with this review because, well, I wanted to talk about this book and then I wasn’t sure if I ought to talk about this book, but I just wanted to keep thinking about this book […]

Middle Grade Xpress Reviews | November 2016

A young boy with Dreidels on the Brain, a changeling baby, light fantasy for humor lovers, and more.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

YA Xpress Reviews | November 2016

Cindy Pon follows up Serpentine with the deeply satisfying Sacrifice, Jo Knowles delivers a “realistic and sensitive depiction of a family in crisis,” and Edward Stanton explores Polynesian history.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Dark Days Club

I’m going to tip my hand right at the outset: this is a fantastic slow burn of a novel that is also the first in a series, so let’s face it: award recognition here probably goes beyond long shot and right into impossible. But sometimes you sit down to write up the book you meant […]

“Most Magical” Girls | New Fall Fantasy

In their new books, middle-grade luminaries Karen Cushman, Karen Foxlee, and Jennifer A. Nielsen bring new meaning to the words, “girl power.”

The Inquisitor’s Tale

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog By Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly Published by Dutton Children’s Books Grades 5-8 Book Review “Whether you go your separate ways or stay together, you will continue to witness— against ignorance, against cruelty, and on behalf of all that is beautiful about […]

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 […]