January 15, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

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 […]

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones | SLJ Review

JONES, Kelly. Murder, Magic, and What We Wore. 304p. Knopf. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553535204.

Gr 9 Up –A cross between Jane Austen dramas and Harriet the Spy, this delightful strong female–led title mixes historical fiction and spy mystery with a touch of magic to produce a story filled with adventure. Sixteen-year-old Annis Whitworth leads a privileged existence in 19th-century London when she learns about her father’s tragic death. Suspecting foul play, she sets out to discover the truth behind his mysterious accident […]

Black Light Express by Philip Reeve | SLJ Review

REEVE, Philip. Black Light Express. 352p. Switch Pr. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781630790967.

Gr 7-10 –In this sequel to Railhead, trains are sentient beings with different personalities who communicate with one another through “trainsong” and with their passengers via artificial intelligence. They run on rails and travel through K-gates, portals to different worlds throughout the Network Empire. Zen Starling and Motorik (female android) Nova have escaped the Network Empire aboard the Damask Rose, hurtling through a new K-gate to the previously unknown Web of […]

Debut YA Author Bonnie Pipkin on “Aftercare Instructions” and Abortion

Pipkin on her writing process and approaching the topic of abortion without shame.

Funny YA Favorites | SLJ Spotlight

Not all of young adult literature is dark and cry-inducing.

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert | SLJ Review

COLBERT, Brandy. Little & Lion. 336p. Little, Brown. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316349000.

Gr 10 Up –Suzette has been devoted to Lionel from an early age, and vice versa. At first glance, they don’t look like siblings—a black girl and white boy barely a year apart in age—but their blended family is closely knit. At her parents’ insistence, Suzette has been away at boarding school since Lionel’s mental health began to deteriorate and he was diagnosed with bipolar […]

Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton | SLJ Review

HUTTON, Keely. Soldier Boy. 336p. Farrar. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374305635.

Gr 9 Up –A compelling tale that recounts the story of former, real-life Ugandan child soldier Ricky Richard Anywar. Told in alternating chapters that focus on Ricky’s past and the present-day story of Samuel, this brutally honest novel will have readers struggling to move through the often gruesome initiation of kidnapped children into the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Ricky is consumed by fear and desperation as he […]

How To Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat | SLJ Review

ROAT, Sharon Huss. How To Disappear. 384p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062291752.

Gr 7 Up –Vicky Decker relies upon her best friend, Jenna, to shield her from stressful social situations. That is, until Jenna and her family move away and Vicky’s social anxiety is cast into sharp relief against Jenna’s seeming ease at making new friends. To cope with her jealousy and loneliness, Vicky Photoshops herself into one exciting social setting after another and uploads the images […]

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson | SLJ Review

ANDERSON, M.T. Landscape with Invisible Hand. 160p. Candlewick. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763687892.

Gr 9 Up –The vuvv came in peace, offering new technology and life-changing medical breakthroughs. Yet their presence on Earth has slowly eroded Adam Costello’s small town. Joblessness, illness, and food scarcity are the realities of his shaky existence, and his only solace is in his painting. When Adam begins to date Chloe, they realize that there’s a moneymaking opportunity in their relationship. Taking […]

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart | SLJ Review

LOCKHART, E. Genuine Fraud. 272p. Delacorte. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780385744775.

Gr 9 Up –Jule West Williams is at a fancy resort in Mexico. Someone is looking for her, but she can do a pretty stellar job of taking care of herself, paying a bartender to smuggle her out in his car, then fighting back when he tries to extort more money. That’s where Lockhart’s latest novel begins. Jule was recently in London. Her best friend, Imogen Sokoloff, […]

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel | SLJ Review

ISRAEL, Julie. Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index. 352p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Bks. May. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735228177.

Gr 9 Up –It has been 65 days since Camie died in a car accident. Her sister, Juniper, has been coping with the aftermath of the event. She can’t find happiness and struggles with former relationships. Juniper then discovers a mysterious letter from her late sister addressed to “You” and begins a mission to learn who the intended recipient is. While on the […]

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder | SLJ Review

CROWDER, Melanie. An Uninterrupted View of the Sky. 304p. Philomel. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399169007.

Gr 7 Up –Seventeen-year-old Francisco wears violent anger just under his skin, despite a tranquil life with his parents and eight-year-old sister in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 1999. He and his family are irrevocably affected by Law 1008, a statute initiated in response to U.S. threats of economic sanctions, which seeks to find and imprison individuals connected to coca production. Francisco’s father, a taxi […]

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | SLJ Review

ZAPPIA, Francesca. Eliza and Her Monsters. 400p. HarperCollins/­Greenwillow. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062290137.

Gr 9 Up –Eliza’s parents have no understanding of her online life, from her friendships to the scope of the world she created. As a result, Eliza feels like an outsider, unless she’s talking with her cyberfriends or working on her popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Wallace, a new boy at school, has been the first person to bring her out of her shell in ages. […]