December 7, 2016

Subscribe to SLJ

Morris and Turner Contendas

Hello! It’s roundup time, today focused on contendas for awards other than the Printz. One of these awards is a real actual award, the William C. Morris YA Debut Award; the other is imaginary but no less real in my heart. The Morris you all know about, of course, and we’ve been covering several debut/Morris […]

The Passion of Dolssa

The Passion of Dolssa, Julie Berry Viking, April 2016 Reviewed from final copy 2016 has been, by and large, a strong year. Strong enough that I’ll be hard pressed to come up with my top 5 at the end of the season. But my top 2 are already decided, and after rereading The Passion of […]

Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton Viking, March 2016 Reviewed from a final copy OK, I’m a day late with this review because, well, I wanted to talk about this book and then I wasn’t sure if I ought to talk about this book, but I just wanted to keep thinking about this book […]

The Dark Days Club

I’m going to tip my hand right at the outset: this is a fantastic slow burn of a novel that is also the first in a series, so let’s face it: award recognition here probably goes beyond long shot and right into impossible. But sometimes you sit down to write up the book you meant […]

2015 Nonfiction Part Two

 Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum Viking, May 2015 Reviewed from final copy Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, May 2015 Reviewed from final copy We’ve got two nonfiction reads. They’re both short, they’ve both received a lot […]

Thumper’s Dad (A Roundup)

Once upon a time ago, over on Heavy Medal, Jonathan very boldly (and wittily) ran a post with just a title and the cover of the book. His point was that sometimes you just don’t have anything good to say about a book, so why say anything at all? I’m not nearly as bold, nor […]

Saint Anything

Saint Anything, Sarah Dessen Viking, May 2015 Reviewed from final copy Truth time: I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that Saint Anything is the first Sarah Dessen novel I’ve read; I didn’t read YA when I was actually in that demographic and she was never on my syllabi as an education or library student. Although I […]

You know nothing, Mim Malone: Mosquitoland

Mosquitoland, David Arnold Viking, March 2015 Reviewed from final copy There are major spoilers ahead so if you don’t want to know major plot points for Mosquitoland proceed with caution. At a certain point in one’s reading life, first person narration immediately triggers suspicion of an unreliable narrator. It’s not a terrible starting point because […]

Fiction Roundup: Depressed Teens Edition

All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven Knopf Books for Young Readers, January 2015 Reviewed from final copy I Was Here, Gayle Forman Viking, January 2015 Reviewed from ARC Hey folks, a friendly reminder that we do spoilers here so if you don’t want to know major plot points for either of these novels, consider yourself […]

Nonfiction Monday: Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

Nonfiction Monday: Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower By Greg Pizzoli Viking (Penguin) ISBN: 9780670016525 $17.99 Grades 2-4 Out March 10, 2015 *Best New Book* Find it at: Schuler Books | Your Library The Big Con. It’s an idea so captivating that countless books have been written about pulling […]

Althea and Oliver

Althea and Oliver

Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho Viking, October 2014 Reviewed from final copy This book really amazed me by being a story that is bigger and harder and rougher and rawer than I thought it would be. It’s been named for two year’s best lists, and garnered three starred reviews, so it’s not just me […]

The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory, Laurie Halse Anderson Viking, January 2014 Reviewed from final copy Addiction, depression, PTSD; these weighty problems are the main focus of Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memory, recently longlisted for the National Book Award. There’s definitely some great writing here that is worth talking about; Anderson’s ability to sustain an […]

A Whole Lotta Secrets

A Whole Lotta Secrets

Today we begin with a psychological mystery then highlight two thrillers, one suspense-filled, another action-packed. I am excited to recommend Tana French’s new Dublin Murder Squad novel to teen readers. I have enjoyed French’s novels since her 2007 debut, In the Woods. She is among the finest literary crime novelists writing today, and in The […]

Fabulous Debuts

Fabulous Debuts

It’s the end of August, and we still have quite a few reviews of summer books to share with you. So don’t let this somewhat clumsy grouping at all diminish your regard for the following three debut novels. I start with 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas because, well, great title! And it really does […]

The Magician’s Land

The Magician’s Land

Is there anything better than a trilogy that improves with each installment? That’s saying a lot when the first book wins an Alex Award (The Magicians) and the second (The Magician King) makes our AB4T Best of the Year list. Lev Grossman wraps up the trilogy with The Magician’s Land (releasing tomorrow) in a singularly satisfying manner. […]

Steal the North with Author Interview

Steal the North with Author Interview

Every other month you can find an AB4T debut author interview in the SLJ Teen Newsletter. Last week featured an interview with Heather Brittain Bergstrom, author of Steal the North. I thought I would include some excerpts from that interview here, but it is definitely worth reading in its entirety. One of the central themes […]

Dragons & Romance

Dragons & Romance

For the last two school years, a good half of my student bookgroup meetings have devolved into chatter about The Game of Thrones. There are those who have read all of the books, those who are obsessed with the HBO series, those just getting their feet wet. And yes, there are the quiet few who […]

Pressure to Succeed

Pressure to Succeed

Today I’m combining two books about pursuing competitive, pressure-filled fields — dance and basketball. One is nonfiction, one fiction. Both are full of struggle, family difficulties, and the stress of expectations. Misty Copeland is a phenomenon, and her book is a gift to the many young people obsessed with ballet (or dance of any kind). […]

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 […]

Pick of the Day: Following Papa’s Song

Following Papa’s Song

Stunning artwork takes readers into the lush, inviting waters filled with marine life swimming effortlessly across the pages.