August 20, 2017

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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 […]

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall | SLJ Review

Pearsall, Shelley. The Seventh Most Important Thing. 288p. ebook available. Knopf. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780553497281; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780553497298.

Gr 4-7–A middle school student learns the meaning of redemption in this excellent coming-of-age story. For the rest of the country, it was the year President Kennedy was assassinated. For Arthur Owens, it would always be the year his Dad died. Arthur is struggling to adapt. When he sees his Dad’s hat being worn by the neighborhood “Junk Man,” […]

Review of the Day: Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Goodbye Stranger By Rebecca Stead Wendy Lamb Books (an imprint of Random House Children’s Books) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-385-74317-4 Ages 10-14 On shelves August 4th After much consideration, I think I’m going to begin this review with what has to be the hoity toity-est opening I have ever come up with. Gird, thy loins, mes amies. […]

Roundup: Boarding School Blues

This morning, we’re looking at two novels set in boarding schools; And We Stay is Jenny Hubbard’s follow up to her 2012 Morris Award Finalist, Paper Covers Rock, and debut author Chelsey Philpot is inspired by classic literature in Even in Paradise.* Both novels feature a young woman with a traumatic past who, in her […]

Portrait of an Author: SLJ Chats with Jandy Nelson About ‘I’ll Give You the Sun’

Former literary agent Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun is told not only in alternating narratives but also in alternating time lines. SLJ caught up with the author to talk about her unique writing process, love of magical realism, and casting wishlist for the optioned film version.

Review of the Day: Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Absolutely Almost By Lisa Graff Philomel (an imprint of Penguin) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-399-16405-7 Ages 9-12 On shelves now. In the stage musical of Matilda, lyricist Tim Minchin begins the show with the following lines about the state of children today: “Specialness is de rigueur. / Above average is average. Go fig-ueur! / Is it some […]