We’re about two weeks away from the YMA’s so it’s the perfect time to highlight some books that are flying under the awards radar. Both of the titles I’m looking at today have excellent character writing and deal with themes of violence and what people do in extreme circumstances. Neither book quite has what it [...]
We do run the gamut here at AB4T. Quite a variety to introduce today, but all three fall under the broad category of speculative fiction.
I thought we’d kick off the New Year with two of the biggest books of 2013. Both couple length with accessible, engaging prose that seduces the reader all the way to the end. Donna Tartt made her name with The Secret History over 20 years ago, and it has since gained cult status. The Goldfinch, [...]
Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick Roaring Brook Press, February 2013 Reviewed from final copy Let me start with a provocative question: Can a book be so literary that it fails at being a book? Midwinterblood is full of the sorts of things I’ve hardly thought about since my days as an English major: tropes, motifs, archetypes, foreshadowing, [...]
Engines of the Broken World by Jason Vanhee. Henry Holt & Co. Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. 2013. Reviewed from ARC. The Plot: Merciful Truth’s mother is dead. She and her brother don’t quite know what to do, so they put her under the kitchen table. Each year there [...]
When kids have long outgrown the nightmare in their closet, they still clamor for a story that scares them into sleeping with the lights on. From zombies to murdering ghosts, the following new fiction titles, selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild will keep middle school readers looking over their shoulders.
I am writing this on the Sunday evening of a weekend during which the movie “Insidious: Chapter 2″ made $41 million dollars at the box office. Tomorrow evening “Sleepy Hollow” premieres on Fox and CBS airs the finale of the first season of “Under the Dome”. “The Walking Dead” is on the cover of this [...]
Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon is a political thriller as much as werewolf horror novel, in the same way that World War Z is about military strategy. Red Moon reflects the current state of our world, in particular terrorism, persecuted minorities, and the importance of energy sources in today’s political decision-making. In fact, Justin Cronin (author of The [...]
Do young fanfiction authors seek the kind of feedback that educators would find “useful” in K-12 settings, and are fanfiction communities really the nurturing environments of peer-critique that some make them out to be?
Media literacy discussion points covering novel-to-film adaptations, marketing, genre, screen violence, and more.
More than just a craze, the interest in zombies points the way towards a new kind of literacy engagement.
Two magical books topped off our April reading, both earning starred reviews. The Golem and the Jinni is a mash-up of Jewish and Arab folklore, historical fiction and fantasy, new and old world sensibilities. Helene Wecker’s debut seems destined to be among the best of the year. The publisher has certainly gone all-out. The physical package is richly [...]
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. Roaring Brook Press. 2013. Review copy from publisher. The Plot: Always, there is an Eric and a Merle; a hare and a loss; and the island of Blessed. These are the constants. What changes in the seven stories of Midwinterblood is the time, starting in the future, 2073, and going back [...]
Scowler by Daniel Kraus. Delacorte Press, Random House. 2013. Review copy from publisher. The Plot: August, 1981. Changes are coming; Ry Burke, 19, knows this. The family farm is dying and he, his mother, Jo Beth, and his eleven year old sister Sarah, will have to leave. Sarah hunts the sky for changes of a [...]
I’ve been thinking about horror fiction lately. What are the secrets of its appeal? Why are teens so drawn to it? How can we know which adult horror novels will appeal to teens and which won’t? One of the reasons I’ve been thinking about this lately is because I enjoyed The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper [...]
Today we review three thrillingly original works of speculative fiction. Let’s start with a post-apocalyptic, dystopian debut novel. The Office of Mercy is being marketed as a Hunger Games readalike. (I’ve also seen comparisons to recent Alex Award winner, Pure). However, debut author Djanikian is more concerned with ethical questions than fast-paced action. The Alphas had good intentions [...]
Your House is on Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye. Penguin Books. 2012. Personal copy. Vacation reads, a series of adult books reviewed before holidays for your vacation reading. The Plot: Christian has returned home, returned from the United States to Germany, to a place that is no longer the dark, small town [...]
A few weeks ago, I posted about genre fiction and teen appeal. At that time I made a promise to myself that I would read more genre titles this year. So far so good because by reading The Six-Gun Tarot I covered three in one – fantasy, horror and western. Teens are going to love [...]
R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, Vol. 1 & 2. 2 DVDs. approx. 2 hrs. ea. Shout!Factory. 2012. ISBN 978-1-60399-841-3/ ISBN 978-1-60399-842-0. $14.97 ea.
Gr 4-9–Each volume in “R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour” series, currently airing on The Hub TV Network, features five 20-minute episodes from the first season that combine creepy, spine-thrilling adventures with problems children face. In the two-part episode, “Really You,” in the first volume, a spoiled child learns a valuable lesson about love when her doll [...]
The tendency is to group fictional treatments of pop culture archetypes such as zombies with similar texts of fiction, but actually non-fiction texts such as this one can be far more reflective of fandom-based learning…