November 17, 2017

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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 […]

Gem & Dixie

I had originally paired this read with another book (one that is now to be reviewed later) which happened to include sisters, but it was too fanciful and too light of a connection. I had even mentally titled that post “Hello, seestra,”  which delighted me, but as this week’s schedule fell apart, that title just […]

Fish out of water

A lot of young adult literature is about teens in unfamiliar situations and places. Sometimes the differences they experience are socio-economic, sometimes they’re cultural, and sometimes they’re magical. Fish out of water tales are usually easily relatable, regardless of the specificity, because most people can remember how they felt the first time they encountered something that was […]

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again Written and illustrated by Dan Santat Published by Roaring Brook Press; 2017 ISBN # 978-1-62672-682-6   Grades PreK and up   Book Review   “Life begins when you get back up” – so says the blurb on the back cover of Caldecott Medal winner Dan […]

Haunted Places

We are working on getting through books in the maximally efficient way, which sometimes means more fanciful pairings, and other times means groups that play with each other in interesting ways as we discuss them. Today we have the second option, a trio of books that mingle together in engaging ways as we consider the […]

We Need Diverse Books: Romance Edition

We’re in the mood for love today so we’ve got two reviews of YA romance for you. Both books feature couples who aren’t usually seen in mainstream romantic narratives, so regardless of their chances for the Printz (we’ll get to that in the reviews) they’re important contributions to the continuing effort to bring diverse representation […]

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, […]

Windows

Windows Written by Julia Denos, Illustrated by E.B. Goodale Published by Candlewick Press, 2017 ISBN: 978-0-7636-9035-9 Grades Prek-2 Book Review Have you ever found yourself walking down a street at twilight, watching the lights pop on inside the houses and apartment buildings you pass by? As the northern hemisphere turns and twirls towards winter, autumn […]

Double Lives of Artists

I’ve been calling this post “double life/art ladies,” which doesn’t quite flow off the tongue as a post title, but does hint at what these two have in common — two intense teenage girls who prefer a hidden or secret life so that they can make their art. And both of these titles have a […]

The Hate U Give

In a fairly rare occurrence, we all three read today’s book BEFORE the scheduled post date, so today’s post has all of us discussing it together, just like a RealCommittee might, if six people were missing. Sarah: Friends. Friends. Is this the book to beat this year? To be honest, it’s hard to know where to start here. […]

Sleepers

Today I’m talking about two books that are impressive, powerful, skillfully crafted reads. Both have received some minor critical acclaim (1 star for Maresi, 2 for Fire Color One), and both are books no one is talking about or name-checking, which is a damn shame. More similarities: Both are imports and both are unexpectedly short, which […]

Intertwined Stories

Here’s a day of intertwined stories — stories told through multiple points of view, offering many perspectives on a single converging plot. Yay! I do love novels with multiple POVs; it can give the read a rhythmic, regular pace through to the end. Here we have straight up realistic, historical fiction and we have a mostly realistic but […]

The Antlered Ship

The Antlered Ship Written by Dashka Slater and Illustrated by Terry and Eric Fan Published in 2017 by Beach Lane Books ISBN 978-1-4814-5160-4 Grades PreK-2 Book Review When a mysterious antlered ship arrives at Emerald Lagoon, a philosophical fox named Marco is suddenly filled with quixotic questions: Why do some songs make you happy and […]

Haunted by the past

We’ve got two solid contenders up next, both realistic fiction, both with characters haunted by the past. It’s not entirely fair to pair titles up like this, and it’s not really how RC talks about books at the table — they are trying to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each title individually, after all. […]

Retold Epics, Part 2: Bull

Full disclosure: Yvain and Bull were meant to be one post, only then Sarah had a LOT to say about Yvain, which meant it got its own post, leaving poor Bull all alone. Like Yvain, it’s a retelling that plays with form. Unlike Yvain, it’s a straight up critical darling — 5 stars! Sarah argues that Yvain should be a contender. Should Bull? Bull, David Elliott Houghton […]

Retold Epics, Part One

Today is part one of retold epics. We will hear more, soon, from Karyn, and it absolutely will be epic. Today is my day to talk about lovely knights and raging ladies, about feats of strength, about reclaiming honor.  Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson and Andrea Offerman Candlewick, March 2017 Reviewed […]

Unexpected Mysteries

We’ve been calling this post “unexpected mysteries” which is an intriguing title that I quite enjoy. I wonder if it’s more accurately, “slow, detail-laden, explorative mysteries,” though. Mysteries aren’t always the big movers and shakers in YA fiction, although there are quite a few to be found in the middle grade realm. While one of […]