October 21, 2017

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Four Futuristic Finds for Teen Readers | SLJ Spotlight

These four YA sci-fi picks are great recommendations for Doctor Who and Feed fans.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor | SLJ Review

OKORAFOR, Nnedi. Akata Warrior. 496p. Viking. Oct. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780670785612.

Gr 7 Up –Fans of Akata Witch will fall again for the wondrously intriguing fantasy world in modern-day Nigeria in this imaginative sequel. Ekwensu, the evil spirit that Sunny, now 13, and her leopard society friends defeated in the previous book has returned. He severs Sunny’s connection to her spirit face Anyanwu, and without it, Sunny feels lost and unsure of herself. The fact that the severing did not kill her means that the […]

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed | SLJ Review

REED, Amy. The Nowhere Girls. 416p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481481731. POP

Gr 9 Up –This gritty and timely novel examines the culture of sexism and rape through the eyes of three girls and a chorus of the universal “Us.” Grace, the new girl in town, just wants to blend in to the point of invisibility. Having been forced out of their conservative Southern Baptist Church when her preacher mother becomes “too liberal,” Grace is still reeling from the […]

Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older | SLJ Review

OLDER, Daniel José. Shadowhouse Fall. 368p. (Shadowshaper Cypher: Bk. 2). Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780545952828. POP

Gr 7 Up –Sierra and her crew of shadowshapers are back for another adventure in this sequel to Shadowshaper. A mysterious card deck appears and, with it, a conflict between Shadow House and The House of Light arises. Sierra must act quickly to figure out whom she can trust while learning what it means to be a leader. She also begins a relationship with […]

The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis | SLJ Review

KOSTAKIS, Will. The Sidekicks. 288p. Harlequin Teen. Oct. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780373212620. POP

Gr 9 Up –When Australian high school student Isaac dies, three fellow students who each considered him his closest friend battle for individual ways forward. While this is Kostakis’s American debut, his literary polish and deep understanding of teen storytelling is compelling and nuanced from the first page. Ryan, Scott, and Miles take turns recounting the months after Isaac’s death. Each viewpoint differs, as does each voice; it is through […]

The Speaker by Traci Chee | SLJ Review

CHEE, Traci. The Speaker. 512p. (Sea of Ink and Gold: Bk. 2). Putnam. Nov. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780399176784.

Gr 7 Up –This installment picks up where The Reader ended, with Sefia and Archer on the run from The Guard. Unsure about how to proceed, Sefia searches the Book and uncovers several jaw-dropping discoveries: Tanin is still alive and Archer is still believed to be the one to lead the impending Red War. In an effort to quell Archer’s nightmares and to stop the conflict, […]

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez | SLJ Review

SÁNCHEZ, Erika L. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. 352p. Knopf. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781524700485.

Gr 10 Up –Fifteen-year-old outcast Julia Reyes longs to attend college in New York, in order to get away from the suffocating watch of her undocumented Mexican parents in Chicago. The unusual death of Julia’s older sister Olga—considered the perfect child by her family—only bolsters this desire, as her parents focus their attention even more strongly on their now only child. When Julia stumbles across unexpected […]

Light Years by Emily Ziff Griffin | SLJ Review

GRIFFIN, Emily Ziff. Light Years. 304p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781507200056.

Gr 10 Up –A lyrical science fiction novel about a sensitive and creative teenager tasked with saving herself—and the world. In a near future, Luisa Ochoa-Jones, 16, is a brilliant coder and has just been accepted into a high-profile internship program at a leading tech company. She is eager to begin her career and get out from under the thumb of her controlling mother. But Luisa’s plans […]

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson | SLJ Review

Web excerpt

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins | SLJ Review

PERKINS, Mitali. You Bring the Distant Near. 320p. Farrar. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374304904.

Gr 9 Up –Related in the alternating voices of two sisters and their respective daughters, this work captures the unique and, at times, fraught experience of navigating multiple cultures. Perkins examines the delicate balance between meeting family expectations and attaining personal happiness, a common motif in immigrant narratives. The story opens in 1970s New York, where the Das family has immigrated from England in hopes of planting roots […]

All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry | SLJ Review

MABRY, Samantha. All the Wind in the World. 272p. Algonquin. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781616206666.

Gr 9 Up –Mabry crafts a strong romantic arc set at The Real Marvelous, a maguey ranch rumored to be cursed in the magically realistic Southwest Texas desert. Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt end up at the strange farm following a violent dust storm, and Sarah’s involvement in the accidental death of a maguey foreman elsewhere. Considered outlaws, the two perilously hide their identities and their […]

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera | SLJ Review

SILVERA, Adam. They Both Die at the End. 384p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062457790.

Gr 9 Up –Everyone who is going to die on a given day gets a call to let them know; not the when, or the how, or the why, but just notification that they will die on that day. Mateo and Rufus each get that call and are facing their last day without a loved one. But there’s an app for that. Combining a well-realized alternative present […]

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston | SLJ Review

JOHNSTON, E.K. That Inevitable Victorian Thing. 336p. Dutton. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101994979.

Gr 9 Up –Years from now, Victoria-Margaret will be the next Queen and continue the work her ancestor Victoria I started two centuries earlier: to strengthen the British Empire for all of its people, and promote genetic diversity and inter-Empire politics with an advantageous marriage. First, the crown princess will have a summer of freedom for her debut season in Toronto. Although her brown skin, epicanthic fold, and freckles […]

Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi | SLJ Review

BACIGALUPI, Paolo. Tool of War. 336p. Little, Brown. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316220835.

Gr 10 Up –The third entry in his award-winning dystopian series, following Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities, tells the story of Tool the “augment,” a genetically engineered “half-man” made up of a cocktail of genetic material—human, dog, tiger. Augments are designed to be the ultimate killing machines while remaining fiercely loyal to his creators. However, once Tool discovers that he can suppress his submissive instincts, he rebels against his creators and […]

Warcross by Marie Lu | SLJ Review

LU, Marie. Warcross. 368p. Putnam. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399547966. POP

Gr 8 Up –A highly engaging and incredibly exciting science fiction novel for young adults. Emika Chen is a bounty hunter living in a futuristic New York City. Emika has a juvenile record and spent time in the foster care system after her father died. She is struggling to pay her bills, and is banking on getting enough from the next bounty to settle up with her landlord. In the midst of […]

YA Lit or New Adult? Six Titles for Older Teens | SLJ Spotlight

Six sophisticated titles for teens that explore life beyond high school.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee | SLJ Review

YEE, F.C. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. 320p. Abrams/Amulet. Aug. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419725487.

Gr 7 Up –Genie Lo lives in Silicon Valley, but not the nice part. All she wants is to get into the Ivy League so she can escape. But then Quentin, the weird new kid at school, tells her that he’s really the Monkey King and she is the human reincarnation of his weapon, the Ruyi Jingu Bang. In response, she punches him the face. Unfortunately for […]

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe | SLJ Review

ITURBE, Antonio. The Librarian of Auschwitz. tr from Spanish by Lilit Thwaites. 432p. Holt. Oct. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781627796187.

Gr 8 Up –Based on the true story of Holocaust survivor Dita Kraus, this novel features a protagonist who exemplifies courage in the face of death. Fourteen-year-old Dita is imprisoned at Auschwitz along with her mother and father in the “family camp.” Her work assignment is to assist the Jewish leader in charge of Block 31, a section created to entertain the children […]

New Releases and Mini Reviews: Little & Lion, The Bakersville Dozen, and The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

Today is a good day for book releases, as apparently all the recent books I have chosen to read release today. Is it fate? Destiny? Hard to say. Let’s dive right in, shall we. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert Two step-siblings who were closer than close are reunited after one, Little (the female) spends […]

Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork | SLJ Review

STORK, Francisco X. Disappeared. 336p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780 545944472.

Gr 8 Up –Sara, a reporter at her Mexican hometown, writes a column in the local newspaper detailing numerous cases of abducted young girls in Cuidad Juárez, including her best friend Linda. When the young woman receives a coded email message hinting at her friend’s whereabouts and captors, she investigates further and discovers how deeply the corruption and criminality runs in her city. Her brother, Emiliano, lives […]