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August 28, 2014

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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.

Young Women in 19th Century America

Young Women in 19th Century America

The Secret Life of Bees is a phenomenon with teen readers, especially girls. It hardly needs suggesting from us, does it? They just seem to know about it. It always comes up as a peer recommendation when I lead booktalk sessions with the 9th graders in my library. I wonder how that happens, 12 years [...]

10 to Note: Spring Preview 2014

10 to Note: Spring Preview 2014

Book hope springs eternal. It’s time to take a look at ten titles that I’m excited about for spring. Picture Books Help! We Need a Title! by Hervé Tullet May 13, 2014 | Candlewick Press | Grades PreK-1 I’m a sucker for inventive picture books and Hervé Tullet is the master of this realm. This [...]

Pick of the Day: A Mad, Wicked Folly

A Mad, Wicked Folly

In 1870, Queen Victoria made the astonishing declaration that women’s rights were a “mad, wicked folly.” This statement was the inspiration for Waller’s impeccable debut novel.

All the Truth That’s In Me

All the Truth That’s In Me

Another guest post, this time on a book that has been getting a ton of positive press. Guest poster Maureen Eichner is a children’s assistant at a public library in the Indianapolis area. She has excellent taste in fantasy and is a thoughtful careful reader, so after reading and replying to this, do take a [...]

Review: The Moon And More

The Moon And More by Sarah Dessen. Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA). 2013. Reviewed from ARC from publisher. The Plot: It’s the summer after high school graduation, and everything in Emaline’s life is the same as it ever was. She’s working at her grandmother’s beach rental property business. She’s hanging out with Luke, [...]

Review: The Plantagenets

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones. Viking. 2013. Reviewed from ARC from publisher. Vacation reads (aka, when I talk about books for grownups and post them before holidays.) It’s About: The designated heir of England dies in a shipwreck; England is plunged into civil war as descendants of [...]

Weekly Reviews: Literary Fiction

Weekly Reviews: Literary Fiction

Today’s reviewed novels are most likely to appeal to strong, mature teen readers looking for a challenge. Yet each includes a teen character, an authentic teen voice, that will keep the adventurous reading. The starred review belongs to A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This novel is difficult to categorize. It begins [...]

Weekly Reviews: Graffiti

I fully admit that this may seem strange to many readers of this blog, but one of my favorite things to do after reading a historical novel is to read up about the facts of the history the novelist used.  Similarly, if a novel I’m reading revolves around some particular subject–anthropology, math, whatever–I tend to [...]