December 10, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Goodbye Days

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner Crown Books for Young Readers, March 2017 Reviewed from an ARC And now it’s somehow time to speculate about Printz? How can that be?? Ready or not, though, here we are, and it’s time to read, review, debate, and decide! (I am sure many of you are far more ready […]

Review of the Day: The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish

The Ethan I Was Before By Ali Standish Harper (an imprint of Harper Collins) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-06-243340-4 Ages 9-12 On shelves now Southern Gothic children’s literature. Sounds crazy, no? But as weird as it might sound it’s a legitimate genre. You may think it’s all Flannery and Faulkner but kids have a delightful range to […]

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 […]

College Applications

Joy just wrote about authenticity and the way a You Read can find you at just the right time and be the book you need. I don’t need to tell you all about that, you already know; that’s why you read blogs about books, and talk about books, and tell other people about books. She […]

The Serpent King

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner March 2016, Random House Reviewed from an ARC This is a three star title, and had some conversation in the comments of our initial list post. Of course, I’m unable to say definitively whether or not it’s at the table for RealCommittee, but I’m always intrigued by religious themed (or […]

More questions than answers here

Like Joy, I’ve got a double feature: two titles with strong reviews (My Name is Not Friday has three stars; The Bitter Side of Sweet has four), good writing, and memorable characterization. These two titles are both important reads. But are they Printz contenders? My Name is Not Friday by Jon Walter Scholastic, January 2016 […]

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston Dutton, March 2016 Reviewed from a final copy I’m not for sure where I’m landing in this review, so I guess I’ll have to write it and see where I end up. Ha, I guess I’m flying right now, and I’m hoping this review (or you all, […]

Gutsy, Funny, and Flawed: Angela Cervantes on Crafting Strong Latina Characters

Middle grade author Angela Cervantes talks about her inspirations, her research process, and how she crafts authentic—and very funny—Latina characters.

Staying in Touch with Their Inner Tween: Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan on “Save Me a Seat”

Co-authors Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan discuss the challenges of middle school and how they tapped their inner tweens for their humor-filled new novel, Save Me A Seat.

The Real Deal: Three New Realistic Middle Grade Novels

Three new titles that tackle the pathos and humor of the here-and-now.

Infandous

Infandous by Elana K Arnold March 2015, Carolrhoda Lab Reviewed from final ebook I’ve been on a bit of a strange kick here at the end of this season. Untwine and Moonshot in particular really blew me away, but didn’t pick up a lot of stars between them. Infandous is somewhat similar in that it […]

Untwine

Untwine by Edwidge Danticat Scholastic, September 2015 Reviewed from final copy Can I admit something embarrassing? This is the first time I’m reading Edwidge Danticat. I’ve been recommending her for years to eager readers, but I haven’t actually sat down and read any myself, until now. But what a title to start with: Untwine has […]

Show and Prove

Show and Prove by Sofia Quintero Knopf Books for Young Readers, July 2015 Reviewed from a ARC Karyn started out the week gushing about what a banner year for fantasy it is. I’m a little closer to Joy’s wavelength because I’ve got some (historical) realistic fiction to cover in this post. Joy also talked about SIGNIFICANCE […]

The Bunker Diary

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks Carolrhoda Lab/Penguin, March, 2015 Reviewed from a final copy So way back a few weeks ago, Karyn mentioned that she found Tightrope Walkers too dark and oppressive to really sit with. I immediately began to wonder, what did I miss? Why didn’t the darkness affect me? Was I fooled […]

All the Rage

A few thoughts. One: I planned to cover two books tonight, linked by the fact that they both feature girls who have been harmed by their worlds but who won’t go down without a fight, and who both, through perseverance and pain, succeed. But it diminished both texts and I especially didn’t want to risk […]

The Boy in the Black Suit

The Boy in the Black Suit, Jason Reynolds Atheneum Books for Young Readers, January 2015 Reviewed from final copy Sometimes people who are grieving can find comfort in structured routines. Matt Miller, the titular boy of The Boy in the Black Suit, doesn’t just adopt a routine; he gets a job at a local funeral […]