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April 25, 2014

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Novels about the One Percent

Novels about the One Percent

Today we have two very different novels that feature the lives of the uber-wealthy. I love Jamie Watson’s reference to Brideshead Revisited in her starred review of The Last Enchantments. I was completely obsessed with that novel when we read it in senior year English, and I think the fact that I never fully understood [...]

Decoded

Decoded

Mai Jia has published three novels and a novella in his native China and has won several awards for them. But Decoded (2002) marks the first time his work has been published in English, and based on this one, we can only hope the rest of his work isn’t far behind. Some readers may be [...]

Touchstones of American History

Touchstones of American History

A new novel by Alice Hoffman is always cause for celebration. The Museum of Extraordinary Things conjures up the sights and sounds of early 20th century, Gilded Age Coney Island and New York City. Hoffman’s many teen readers will appreciate the magical love-at-first-sight between her two young protagonists, and fans of The Night Circus will [...]

Review of the Day: Curiosity by Gary Blackwood

Curiosity By Gary Blackwood Dial (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-8037-3924-6 Ages 9-12 On shelves April 10th Blackwood’s back, baby! And not a minute too soon. Back in 1998, the author released The Shakespeare Stealer which would soon thereafter become his best-known work. A clever blending of historical fiction and adventure, [...]

Young Women in 19th Century America

Young Women in 19th Century America

The Secret Life of Bees is a phenomenon with teen readers, especially girls. It hardly needs suggesting from us, does it? They just seem to know about it. It always comes up as a peer recommendation when I lead booktalk sessions with the 9th graders in my library. I wonder how that happens, 12 years [...]

The Pieces We Keep

The Pieces We Keep

Still trying to catch up on all those great 2013 books we recommended? Sorry, we’ve still got a few more to add to that pile. Today, we have Kristina McMorris’s fabulous new novel, The Pieces We Keep. In this her third novel, McMorris returns to the World War II setting of each of her previous [...]

Victorian Violence

Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson published The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886, and the next year Arthur Conan Doyle published A Study in Scarlet, the first novel to feature Sherlock Holmes–both works set in the heart of London. And in September of 1888, the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper began [...]

Historical Novels with Modern-Day Appeal | JLG’s Booktalks to Go Teen

VIII

From King Henry VIII to Hitler, this month’s titles, selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild, are historical novels that take your readers for a journey to the past, enlightening them along the way.

Women at War

Women at War

Two highly recommended historical novels today. I Shall Be Near to You is, at its heart, a compelling love story. It features a strong heroine, so in love with her husband that she disguises herself as a man to accompany him into the horrors of the Civil War. I’m afraid its cover art may limit the [...]

The 2014 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The 2014 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The 2014 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to Kirkpatrick Hill for Bo at Ballard Creek, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Review: Belle Epoque

Review: Belle Epoque

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Delacorte Press, Random House. 2013. Review copy from publisher. Morris shortlist. The Plot: Paris, France. 1888/1889. Maud Pichon, 16, had big dreams when she ran away from her small village in Brittany and an arranged marriage. Her dreams have changed to one thing: survival. The money she took from her father [...]

Rose Under Fire

house, barricades

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein Disney Hyperion, September 2013 Reviewed from an ARC Last year, we had a lot of great conversation about Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, which ended up with a silver medal. This year, we have its companion title, Rose Under Fire. With two starred reviews, will this title go the [...]

Confessions of Marie Antionette

Confessions of Marie Antionette

Confessions of Marie Antionette brings to a close Juliet Grey’s trilogy on that perenially popular, if still misunderstood, monarch. We reviewed the first two novels in the trilogy, Becoming Marie Antionette and Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, and we recommend this volume just as strongly. For teen readers who love to get lost in a [...]

Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. Amulet Books. 2013. Library copy. Morris Shortlist. The Plot: 1918. Mary Shelley Black, 16, has fled Portland, Oregon following her father’s arrest for treason. She is going to stay with her aunt, Eva, in San Diego. San Diego has changed since the last time she was there, [...]

Message or Masterpiece (Or, Does the Problem Novel Still Exist?)

Message or Masterpiece (Or, Does the Problem Novel Still Exist?)

Today we’re running a roundup of books that we think are worth discussing because they are in the top, say, 100 of the year. But they aren’t quite there, and we don’t think they’ll go the distance. And to make the post about more than just a series of short reviews, we’ve limited today’s roundup [...]

The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen

The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen

Let’s see: this year we’ve had a reimagining of Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the Bennets’ maid and a modern rewrite of Sense and Sensibility. This year also saw the release of a film of Shannon Hale’s Austenland (the sequel of which, by the way, this blog reviewed). And today we have yet another [...]

Family, for Better or Worse

Family, for Better or Worse

“Today we review three very different novels about families, none of them easy. The families, that is!,” writes Angela Carstensen on the Adult Books 4 Teens blog.

Review: The Kingdom Of Little Wounds

Review: The Kingdom Of Little Wounds

The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal. Candlewick Press. 2013. Reviewed from ARC. The Plot: 1572. The royal city of Skyggehavn in Scandinavia. The stories of royalty, nobility, and servants are woven together, creating a tapestry of a time, a place, and a crisis. King Christian V and his French wife, Isabel, have produced [...]

Review of the Day: Written in Stone by Rosanne Parry

Review of the Day: Written in Stone by Rosanne Parry

Written in Stone By Rosanne Parry Random House $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-375-86971-6 Ages 9-12 On shelves now Finding books of historical fiction for kids about Native Americans is an oddly limited proposition. Basically, it boils down to Pilgrims, the Trail of Tears, the occasional 1900s storyline (thank God for Louise Erdrich), and . . . yeah, [...]

The Daylight Gate (plus more on Best Ofs)

The Daylight Gate (plus more on Best Ofs)

As promised, we have a review today of Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate, one of the sixteen fiction books that have made more than one “best of” list so far this year. In other news, also as promised I took a look at A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and Tenth of December, and unfortunately I [...]