January 21, 2017

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The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz | SLJ Review


SÁENZ, Benjamin Alire. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. 464p. ebook available. Clarion. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544586505. POP

Gr 9 Up –It is the first day of senior year, and Sal feels as if his life is exactly as it should be. He has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican American extended family. Sal’s best friend, Samantha, is almost like his sister. She really gets him, and more […]

Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf | SLJ Review

who killed christopher goodman

WOLF, Allan. Who Killed Christopher Goodman? 288p. Candlewick. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763656133.

Gr 9 Up –Christopher Goodman wears ridiculous bell bottoms, and the way he shakes hands with people is a little strange. He’s also a genuinely nice guy, which is why everyone in Goldsburg, VA, is shocked when Chris is murdered during 1979’s Deadwood Days, a Western street festival that draws tourists to the town every summer. While on a cross-country run, classmates Doc Chestnut and […]

Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg | SLJ Review


KONIGSBERG, Bill. Honestly Ben. 336p. ebook available. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545858267.

Gr 9 Up –Ben Carver works hard trying to please his friends, his teammates, his teachers, and, most important, his father. Barely keeping up with his classwork, extracurricular activities, and friendships, Ben wonders if he does all of these things for himself or just to placate those around him. He grapples with staying true to himself, even if he isn’t sure who […]

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson | SLJ Review


WATSON, Renée. Piecing Me Together. 272p. Bloomsbury. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781681191058.

Gr 7 Up –High school junior Jade is an “at-risk” student from a rough neighborhood in Portland, OR. She is also a talented collage artist, and she attends an elite private school on scholarship. More than anything, she wants to go on a study abroad week offered at her school to use her Spanish skills. Instead, she is given an invitation to join Woman to Woman, […]

A List of Cages by Robin Roe | SLJ Review


ROE, Robin. A List of Cages. 320p. ebook available. Disney-Hyperion. Jan. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484763803.

Gr 9 Up –Julian—shy, quiet, and nervous—has just entered high school, and it’s a nightmare. Kids pick on him for the children’s books that he keeps in his backpack; teachers berate him for not speaking up in class and for handing in near-illegible assignments because of his undiagnosed dyslexia. He hides away in the school theater at lunchtime just to get away from […]

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig | SLJ Review


HEILIG, Heidi. The Ship Beyond Time. 464p. (The Girl from Everywhere: Bk. 2). ebook available. HarperCollins/ Greenwillow. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062380784.

Gr 8 Up –This artfully constructed sequel to The Girl from Everywhere does not disappoint, with even more romance and adventure than in the first installment. Based on a devastating prediction, ship captain Nix takes her crew on a time-traveling journey to a mythological kingdom. They are pursuing a method of manipulating time, and with all […]

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria | SLJ Review


SORIA, Destiny. Iron Cast. 384p. Abrams/Amulet. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781419721922.

Gr 9 Up –Owing to a blood condition, hemopaths have the ability to perform a variety of illusions through poetry, painting, or music. In an alternate Boston, as Prohibition is on the verge of making alcohol illegal in 1919, hemopathy shows are also officially against the law. Corinne Wells and Ada Navarra have called Johnny Dervish’s club, the Cast Iron, home for years, blending their respective magical […]

The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt | SLJ Review


MARQUARDT, Marie. The Radius of Us. 304p. St. Martin’s Griffin. Jan. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250096890.

Gr 9 Up –Seventeen-year-old Gretchen Asher’s life has not been the same since she was mugged in a parking lot one night. The traumatic incident propelled her into a state of panic, and she is unable to go to school, socialize, or interact deeply with her boyfriend, Adam. Months later, while babysitting her niece and nephew in a neighborhood park, Gretchen spots a […]

A Star Is Born | SLJ Spotlight


The stage life isn’t all glamour, as the teens in these diverse titles discover. Whether they’re performing for a few spectators at a high school auditorium or for thousands of screaming fans at a stadium-size arena, these young singers and actors learn to balance everyday concerns about family, friends, and romance with the high-stakes drama of life in the spotlight.

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera | SLJ Review


SILVERA, Adam. History Is All You Left Me. 320p. ebook available. Soho Teen. Jan. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781616956929. POP

Gr 10 Up –No one understands what Griffin is going through after Theo, his ex and the love of his life, dies. No one, perhaps, except Theo’s new boyfriend, Jackson. In a narrative that alternates between past and present, Silvera offers a gem of a story about first love and great loss. Griffin’s voice is strong and affecting, and […]

Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh | SLJ Review


OH, Ellen, ed. Flying Lessons & Other Stories. 240p. Crown. Jan. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101934593.

Gr 4-6 –This anthology, published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, presents 10 short stories from a stellar list of authors: Kwame Alexander, Matt de la Peña, Jacqueline Woodson, Soman Chainani, Grace Lin, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Federle, Meg Medina, Tim Tingle, and Kelly Baptist. De la Peña’s linguistically grooving basketball story will have readers swaying in their seats. Verbal roadblocks are […]

Teens Review New Historical Fiction, “The Sun Is Also a Star,” and More


The Kitsap YA reviewers take on new titles, including Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star, a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature finalist.

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen | SLJ Review


NIELSEN, Susin. Optimists Die First. 240p. ebook available. Random/ Wendy Lamb Bks. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553496901.

Gr 9 Up –Vancouver teenager Petula de Wilde is aware that her personality is the very opposite of her last name. Since her sister died two years earlier, Petula constantly washes her hands, avoids construction sites (lest she get killed by falling stray metal), and scours the Internet for articles on random and accidental deaths to add to her scrapbook. She […]

Merrow by Ananda Braxton-Smith | SLJ Review


BRAXTON-SMITH, Ananda. Merrow. 240p. ebook available. Candlewick. Nov. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763679248.

Gr 8 Up –Twelve-year-old Neen has heard the stories the people of Carrick tell: “Her Pa was a drinker who’d killed Mam by mistake.” “Pa married a merrow—a mermaid—and Mam went after him and drowned.” “Mam lost her mind after Pa died and walked the island until she was nothing but a skeleton.” But Neen believes none of these. The only tales she’ll listen to are […]

LGBTQ in Genre Fiction | SLJ Spotlight


While coming-out stories will always be necessary in teen lit, it’s refreshing to see that LGBTQ protagonists are taking center stage in mysteries, sci-fi, romance, and other genre fiction. These latest titles offer engaging narratives with nonheteronormative leads that all young adults will find fun to read.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo | SLJ Review


BARDUGO, Leigh. Crooked Kingdom. 560p. ebook available. Holt. Sept. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781627792134.

Gr 7 Up –Teens will be excited to return to Bardugo’s marvelous world, first visited in her “Grisha Trilogy” and in this duology’s previous Six of Crows. They will be treated to a visit from old friends—the graceful (and deadly) Inej; Nina, the Grisha Heartrender; Wylan, the discarded, illiterate merchant’s son; and the mysterious and vengeful Kaz. Characters from the original trilogy (most notably Stormhund, […]

On the Road, Again: New YA Road Trip Novels | SLJ Spotlight


Nothing signifies “coming of age” as well as a road trip. And as the protagonists in these YA novels prove, the twists and turns of highways and inevitable vehicle malfunctions are part and parcel of this rite of passage. From an Odyssey-like journey to an artist’s struggle to forge her own identity in the Jim Crow South, the following works highlight the ups and downs of adolescence and the winding adventures of the road.

Tanita Davis’s Coming-of-Age Novels Hit the “Sweet Spot” Between MG and YA | Under the Covers

Tanita Davis_child

Tanita Davis crafts multifaceted and diverse tween characters who deal with relatable issues.

Recently in Book Mail + a Giveaway

The following are books that have arrived here recently. I’ll be reviewing many of them in the upcoming months. Head on over to the Rafflecopter to be entered to win one package of three books from this list! You can also enter by retweeting this post or following me (@CiteSomething) on Twitter! US entries only, […]

True Dystopia: Three New Wartime Novels for Tweens | The Upper Deck


These three recent historical novels about wartime survival should appeal to upper middle graders and teens.