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July 24, 2014

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Scary, Creepy, and Dangerous: Novels to Read in One Gulp │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

EH_140715_JLG_Creepy

With a little danger, some suspense, and a dose of the supernatural, these middle grade titles selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild will have kids reading long past their curfew.

A Nightmare that Walks like a Girl

A Nightmare that Walks like a Girl

Is Melanie a monster or a prodigy? The title of this post refers to the first of our thrilling reads of the day, The Girl with all the Gifts, in which one character, Sergeant Parks, thinks of Melanie as “the nightmare-that-walks-like-a-girl.” He’d rather deal with blood-thirsty zombies than with something that walks and talks like [...]

Guaranteed Chills!

Guaranteed Chills!

We begin with Above by Isla Morley. When I first heard about this book in a publisher pitch, it was described as very like Room by Emma Donoghue. A girl is abducted by a survivalist, held underground for years (supposedly for her own protection from the coming apocalypse), during which time she has a child. [...]

Roundup: In a worst case scenario

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 [...]

From Serial Killers to Fairy Tales

From Serial Killers to Fairy Tales

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.

Door Stoppers

Door Stoppers

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

Midwinterblood

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, [...]

Review: Engines of the Broken World

Review: Engines of the Broken World

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 [...]

Ghosts and Other Things that Go Bump in the Night │ JLG’s On the Radar

Zombie BAseball

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.

The Different Shades of Horror

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 [...]

Weekly Reviews: Monster Thrillers

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 [...]

Fanfiction: What Educators Really Need to Know

Fanfiction: What Educators Really Need to Know

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?

‘World War Z’ At the Movies: Some Critical Thinking Questions

‘World War Z’ At the Movies: Some Critical Thinking Questions

Media literacy discussion points covering novel-to-film adaptations, marketing, genre, screen violence, and more.

Why Are Zombies So Good for Libraries?

Why Are Zombies So Good for Libraries?

More than just a craze, the interest in zombies points the way towards a new kind of literacy engagement.

Two Books, Two Stars

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 [...]

Review: Midwinterblood

Review: Midwinterblood

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 [...]

Review: Scowler

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 [...]

Contemplating Horror

Contemplating Horror

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 [...]

Weekly Reviews: Speculative Fiction

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 [...]

Review: Your House is on Fire, Your Children All Gone

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 [...]