December 7, 2016

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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

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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

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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

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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 […]

Setting a New Default for Readers and Myself: A Guest Post by LABYRINTH LOST author Zoraida Cordova

Today we are very honored to host a guest post by LABYRINTH LOST author Zoraida Córdova. Labyrinth Lost is book one in the Brooklyn Brujas series published by Sourcebooks Fire. It is the story of Alex, a girl who wants to reject her magical destiny and in doing so banishes her family to another plane […]

SLJTeen Live! 2016: Genre-Bending Sci-fi and Fantasy

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Today’s YA resists the traditional definitions of science fiction vs. fantasy. Cases in point: these “genre-bending” authors, whose works meld dystopian societies, magic, imagined empires, and alternate Earths.

Literacy Is Magic: Traci Chee on World-Building, Fantasy, and “The Reader”

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SLJ caught up with debut YA fantasy author Traci Chee and talked about her path to publishing, the need for diversity in genre teen fiction, and her writing process.

Shadow Magic | 30-Second Booktalk

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Giant bats, dark magic, necromancy, and non-stop action fill Joshua Khan’s debut middle grade fantasy, as explained in a super short booktalk.

A Chat with Brian Farrey About “The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse”

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Brian Farrey’s latest middle grade novel has all the magical details and atmospheric elements that fantasy readers crave—along with some deep and thought-provoking themes. SLJ chats with the author about exploring fundamental questions of ethics and emotions with middle graders through literature.

Fantasy Series Starters | Listen In

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Multi-volume tales, both classic and modern, to engage listeners

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

Magic in Our World | Spring 2016 Middle Grade Fantasy

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Exploring topics from grief to bullying in settings both contemporary and historical, a trio of 2016 titles mine real-world emotions and situations—and top them off with dashes of magic, horror, and talking skunks.

Magic, Dastardly Villains, and Less-Than-Perfect Heroes: New YA Fantasy

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Tempt fantasy fans with this spectacular sampling of recent genre titles that reflect this enticing smorgasbord of settings and subject matter, feature diverse casts, and treat an alluring array of coming-of-age themes.

The Door By the Staircase | 30-Second Booktalk

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A super short booktalk of Katherine Marsh’s delightfully creepy middle grade fantasy, A Door By the Staircase.

Andre Norton Award Nominees for Outstanding Speculative Fiction Announced

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Nine YA and middle grade titles were nominated for the 2015 Andre Norton award for outstanding speculative fiction, including Francis Hardinge’sCuckoo Song and Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap.

Review of the Day: The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long

The Magic Mirror: Concerning a Lonely Princess, a Foundling Girl, a Scheming King, and a Pickpocket Squirrel By Susan Hill Long Knopf (an imprint of Penguin Random House) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-553-51134-2 Ages 9-12 On shelves May 10th What do you want from a fairy tale? Magic? Romance? Derring-do? Despicable villainy? Academics and scholars have puzzled […]

Book Review: Burn by Elissa Sussman

Publisher’s description Burn is the thrilling companion to Elissa Sussman’s masterful and original fairy tale, Stray. This engaging and imaginative continuation of the original fairy tale begun in Stray will appeal to readers of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and fans of the musicals Wicked and Into the Woods. After helping to rescue Princess Aislynn, […]

Gregory Maguire’s “After Alice,” Speculative Fiction, and More | Adult Books 4 Teens

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Mark Flowers looks at a wide assortment of speculative fiction titles and a book that seems like it should be science fiction but is actually nonfiction.