April 23, 2017

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SLJ Fiction Reviews

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Wolf in the Snow

Wolf in the Snow Written and Illustrated by Matthew Cordell Published in 2017 by Feiwel and Friends ISBN 978-1-250-07636-6 Grades preK-3   Book Review Get ready to challenge all of your assumptions about stories of girls in red-hooded jackets and wolves. Counter to traditional fairy tales that caution (and condition) us to be fearful of […]

Ashes

Ashes (The Seeds of America Trilogy) Written by Laurie Halse Anderson ISBN: 978-1-4169-6146-8 Grades 7 and Up Book Review The Seeds of America trilogy that began in New York City in 1776 with the National Book Award finalist Chains, and continued at Valley Forge in 1777 with Forge, concludes at the Battle of Yorktown in […]

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 […]

Scythe

Sometimes the world really does save the best for last. Because people? Scythe is amazing. I keep thinking about it. I unabashedly loved reading it in that can’t put it down way, but I also absolutely love it as a contender. It jumped the queue right into my top 5, and as the second to […]

Last Licks

There are so many great books, and every year we’re reading until the 11th hour to get in as many as possible. This year, between last minute reads and beloved books that didn’t seem like true contenders but deserve a shout-out, we find ourselves down to the final days before the YMAs with quite a […]

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled Written and Illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins Published in 2016 by Greenwillow Books ISBN 978-0-06-237345-8 Grades K-6 Book Review Take a romp through the school disciplines with Frank and his exuberant dog, Lucky. In this innovative picture book, Newbery award winning author Lynne Rae Perkins sends a strong message: opportunities […]

Thrillers

People, it’s close to midnight and while something may not be lurking in the darkness of my hallway, it is getting late. I want to scream, but my terror of waking the small humans in the apartment takes the sound from me. Yeah…I wanted to write up a hilarious but dark introduction that played with […]

Readers make the case for their faves

If you’re a regular reader, you know that we’re constantly asking for your opinions, picks, and predictions. You’re our weather vein, out in the world bringing us vital information about books that have flown under our radar (or ones that we simply haven’t had the chance to read). And as a mock committee, we’re not too […]

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 […]

Lucy and Linh

Lucy and Linh, Alice Pung Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, September 2016 4 stars; Reviewed from an ARC Lucy and Linh, in addition to being a quintessential coming-of-age story, is a novel about power, class, and racial microaggressions. It’s about the hard work of adjusting our sense of self when we land in […]

A romantic rendezvous

Actually, this is a romantic roundup, but rendezvous sounded catchier. In the context of Printz reviewing, romance has actually fared well in recent years with both the RealCommittee and the Pyrite Committee (aka: all of us). I’ll Give You the Sun was the Real and Pyrite winner in 2015, and in 2014 Eleanor & Park was a Real and Pyrite honor. This […]

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 […]

Places No One Knows

Places No One Knows, Brenna Yovanoff Delacorte Press, May 2016 Reviewed from an ARC Maybe here is a good time to say, I love Brenna Yovanoff. I love her writing, her dark and delicious fantasies. This fifth title is more along the lines of magical realism than straight out fantasy. The slow and sweet Waverly/Marshall […]

Railhead

Railhead, Philip Reeve Switch Press, April 2016 Reviewed from ARC Philip Reeve is underappreciated in the US. The Mortal Engines quartet was brilliant science fiction — pacy, philosophical, and heart-breaking. And then it was gone, apparently out of print. The prequel trilogy starring the incomparable Fever Crumb also failed to get as much traction as it […]

Flannery

Flannery, by Lisa Moore Groundwood Press, May 2016 Reviewed from a final copy Here’s a title with three stars, coming at us from a small press. We’ve got realistic fiction — more Canadian fiction, actually (yeah, OK, I recognize that this is not actually a genre). Moore is an adult novelist visiting the YA landscape […]

Mirrors and Manson: Another Morris Roundup

There are some fun parallels between the two novels we’re discussing today. Both are debut novels from Ivy-league educated women with impressive resumes in other careers. Both books came out in June and have narrators who are teenage girls struggling to find their place in the world. They are also both strong contenders for the […]

The Classroom Bookshelf 2016-11-28 16:01:52

The Night Gardener Written and Illustrated by Terry and Eric Fan Published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers ISBN 978-1-4814-3978-7 2017 Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children Honor Book Book Review Grimloch Lane lives up to its name. The houses that line it are unkempt and the people who […]

The Thin Line

I’m going to cheat a little today, and deviate from our attempts to review in roughly calendar order. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about middle grade and YA and all ages and the fine line between the Newbery and the Printz. We’ve had books on all ends snag awards, yes, but […]

Golden Boys

Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett Candlewick, April 2016 Reviewed from an ARC Oh, friends, I may not be the person to write this review — not least because I haven’t technically finished reading this quite short book. I mean, I’ve read most of it, and what I’ve missed, I have skimmed through as I was […]