November 24, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

7 Dazzling Debuts | Adult Books 4 Teens

From Middle Eastern–set epic fantasy to gritty memoir to thought-provoking speculative fiction, these seven unforgettable works from first-time authors are sure to enthrall.

Thick as Thieves

So, today’s post was scheduled to be about two new books in familiar worlds with thieves in them. But after rereading Thick as Thieves I decided to split them up — because really, both books (the other is Wein’s The Pearl Thief, of course) deserve full posts to themselves. Thick as Thieves delighted me when I […]

Strange the Dreamer

Do I start with why this is not going to win an award, or with why it should? Let’s start with the issues: it’s fantasy. It’s the start of a series. We’ve all heard this song before, and I don’t have faith that this is the book that will change the tune – but man, […]

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman | SLJ Review

The latest novel from the author of the beloved and award-winning “His Dark Materials” returns with a prequel that will delight fans and newcomers alike.

Putting “Wunder” into the Ordinary: An Interview with Jessica Townsend

Jessica Townsend’s debut fantasy is as delightful and optimistic as the author herself.

Book Review: Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G.

Publisher’s description What happens when an evil queen gets her hands on an ancient force of destruction? World domination, obviously. The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they’ll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic […]

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 […]