January 15, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Fiction Reviews

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Daughters

Sisters. Parents. Family. Children of immigrants. Starred reviews. National Book Award recognition. These books have quite a bit in common, not least in terms of love and buzz and people talk-talk-talking. Both novels examine generational expectations, both examine daughters who long to be artists, and both novels illustrate how daughters and their parents move around each other […]

More Previous Winners, with a Side of Uh-Oh

Two books today, both fantasy. All the Crooked Saints technically belonged in last week’s previous winners cluster, as Stiefvater received an honor for 2012’s The Scorpio Races, but it ran over the word count. And That Inevitable Victorian Thing seemed like a good book to pair with it; Johnston, like Stiefvater, loves to play with old stories in new forms, […]

Previous Winners, Part Two

And here is part two of our previous winners posts! Again, we’re looking at past winners, honorees, and generally lauded authors who have a new book out this year, and again we’re wondering if lighting can strike twice (or, if you’re Marcus Sedgwick, four times). Genuine Fraud, E. Lockhart Delacorte, September 2017 Reviewed from ARC; 5 […]

Previous Winners, Part One

As the year turns, we thought we’d spend a few days looking back at previous winners, musing about the probability of a repeat medal for an author on this prestigious (and long!) list. Splitting the list alphabetically (which started with already 2-time winner M.T. Anderson last week), we get a couple of series entries, as well […]

Landscape with Invisible Hand

Landscape with Invisible Hand, M.T. Anderson Candlewick, September 2017 Reviewed from ARC; five stars It’s not fun to lose, and as readers, we don’t usually take pleasure in witnessing our protagonists suffer and fail at every challenge they face. Yet we also know that failure, yes failure, can be highly instructive and valuable. In Landscape with Invisible […]

When I am Through with You

When I am Through With You, Stephanie Kuehn Dutton, August 2017 Reviewed from a final copy Today I get to talk about one of my favorite authors, Stephanie Kuehn. She has a new title out this year, When I am Through With You, and it got some comment-love earlier in the season as one to […]

Jane, Unlimited

It’s time for another joint conversation about a book. We had a great time last time, and are hoping to have just as much fun again. These are the times this blog feels most like committee work, where we’re all at the table (metaphorically), and all ready to talk about the same book — but […]

Long Way Down

There’s a weird kind of bookending happening this year; we opened with the biggest buzz for early 2017 books belonging to The Hate U Give and we’re closing 2017 with the biggest buzz for the end of the year going to Long Way Down, two books that look at violence in largely black, urban communities […]

Long Way Down

There’s a weird kind of bookending happening this year; we opened with the biggest buzz for early 2017 books belonging to The Hate U Give and we’re closing 2017 with the biggest buzz for the end of the year going to Long Way Down, two books that look at violence in largely black, urban communities […]

Long Way Down

There’s a weird kind of bookending happening this year; we opened with the biggest buzz for early 2017 books belonging to The Hate U Give and we’re closing 2017 with the biggest buzz for the end of the year going to Long Way Down, two books that look at violence in largely black, urban communities […]

Long Way Down

There’s a weird kind of bookending happening this year; we opened with the biggest buzz for early 2017 books belonging to The Hate U Give and we’re closing 2017 with the biggest buzz for the end of the year going to Long Way Down, two books that look at violence in largely black, urban communities […]

Fantasy You Don’t Want to Miss, a Two-fer

Let’s talk about heart books. Because today I want to call your attention to two books that are long shots at best, but which I loved them dearly as a reader. More than that, despite the flaws that I predict will ultimately sink them, these are strong books that deserve close attention. Both are contemporary fantasy, […]

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura HarperTeen, May 2017 Reviewed from a final copy So today we have a realistic coming of age/first love story, and it’s sweet and especially earnest. With one star review, this isn’t a book that’s making major waves; but it’s important to remember that starred reviews aren’t really […]

Midnight

I’ve been dragging my feet with this one. I have plenty of excuses: the holiday weekend, my son’s (minor) surgery, major new unit coming up at school that I need to plan for. But those are just hot air; I have managed to write up books under far less ideal circumstances. Really it was that the posts […]

Realistic Roundup

Here on this holiday weekend (for some, but not for others, I know!), I thought we could have a brief whirlwind of a realistic roundup. We’ve already featured a grouping of funny girls, today we have a slightly smaller set of lady-centric fiction. They’re not all funny, but they are all realistic, they are all […]

The Pearl Thief

I’ve been avoiding this review like the plague. I scrubbed my bathtub this afternoon in an attempt to not write this post, in fact, and I don’t know what my hang up is, really, except that this is not Code Name Verity but it is about Julie and so I have many feelings that have […]

The Harlem Charade

The Harlem Charade Written by Natasha Tarpley Published by Scholastic, 2017 ISBN #978-0-545-78387-3   Grades 3 and up   Book Review   Art, adventure, and activism are at the center of The Harlem Charade, Natasha Tarpley’s novel about three very different seventh graders who unite to solve a series of mysteries in their own backyard […]

Gay Pride

Today we have a two-fer! Are you in the mood for a quick nonfiction read? Or perhaps a fictional take on the Grand Tour? Maybe some history with a side of sass? Perhaps a rogue taking a hedonistic last hurrah before shouldering familial responsibilities? OK, I’m going to stop asking questions and just get on […]

Saints and Misfits

We are pretty random when we divide up our reading each year — sometimes there are books that we latch on to because “that seems like a Sarah/Karyn/Joy type book,” but that’s fairly rare. More often, it’s just an up-in-the-air kind of thing…and it generally works out. For whatever reason, I am pretty sure I am […]

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 […]