March 24, 2017

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Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan | SLJ Review

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KAPLAN, A.E. Grendel’s Guide to Love and War. 320p. ebook available. Knopf. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399555541.

Gr 8 Up –When the Rothgars move in next door, high schooler Tom Grendel’s summer takes a turn into uncharted territory that proves often terrible, definitely weird, and occasionally wonderful beyond words. He has struggled with the death of his mother and his father’s post-traumatic stress disorder for years; the appearance of the Rothgars, anti–manic pixie dream girl Willow, and inveterate […]

Heartless by Marissa Meyer | SLJ Audio Review

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MEYER , Marissa. Heartless . 12 CDs. 14:34 hrs. Macmillan Audio. Nov. 2016. $39.99. ISBN 9781427267948. digital download.

Gr 8 Up –In this dark imagining of the origin of the Queen of Hearts, Lady Catherine starts out with the dream of owning a bakery with her maid, Mary Ann. Cath’s baking skills land her the heart of the King of Hearts, but she is drawn to the mysterious court joker, Jest. As Cath begins to give her heart to […]

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | SLJ Review

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LEE, Mackenzi. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. 528p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Jun. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062382801. POP

Gr 9 Up –A trio of high-born, determined, and wildly charismatic teenagers get more than they bargained for in this rollicking 18th-century Grand Tour of the Continent gone awry. Endearing rake Lord Henry Montague (or Monty) and his biracial best friend (and unrequited love), the infinitely patient Percy, leave England to drop Monty’s fiercely intelligent sister Felicity […]

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld | SLJ Review

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WESTERFELD, Scott. Spill Zone. illus. by Alex Puvilland. 224p. First Second. May 2017. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781596439368.

Gr 10 Up –It’s a mystery why three years ago Poughkeepsie suddenly broke the boundaries of reality, giving life to demonic wolves and sentient twisters, or why its human inhabitants now hang suspended in the air like puppets. It wasn’t aliens, it wasn’t a nuclear attack, and the military isn’t talking. That isn’t Addison’s mystery to solve; all she has to do […]

9 Refugee Stories for Kids and Teens

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These nine titles—from picture books to YA—explore the many dangers, factors, and effects that refugees and immigrants face every day.

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge | SLJ Review

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HARDINGE, Frances. A Face Like Glass. 496p. ebook available. Abrams/Amulet. May 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781419724848.

Gr 5 Up –Neverfell didn’t mean to cause a stir when she left Cheesemaster Grandible’s tunnels for the first time, nor could she have known that she would become a darling of the court, the target of assassins, a captive of the Kleptomancer, a pawn of the powerbrokers, or a leader of an uprising. She is just a girl trying to figure out […]

A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl | SLJ Review

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BAYERL, Katie. A Psalm for Lost Girls. 368p. ebook available. Putnam. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399545252.

Gr 8 Up –Two years ago, Callie’s older sister Tess started hearing a voice. Tess could often tell if something ominous was on the horizon. The resulting throng of believers changed the course of the da Costas’ lives as their daily rhythm became punctuated by visitations from pilgrims and makeshift shrines to Tess. After Tess was unable to answer prayers to locate […]

To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown | SLJ Audio Review

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BROWN, Skila. To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party. 3 CDs. 3:51 hrs. Brilliance. Oct. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781522656296. digital download.

Gr 7 Up –For 19-year-old Mary Ann Graves, and her family, the journey from Illinois to California in 1846 meant an arduous walk through mountains and deserts, alongside livestock and wagons. Following Graves’s actual reports, the chapters of this novel, which is based on actual events, relate the party’s day-to-day struggles […]

First Things First: YA Debuts | SLJ Spotlight

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From fun romances to royal intrigue and from a harrowing tale of Hurricane Katrina to a teen’s journey from Haiti to Detroit, the following YA debut novels offer new stories and voices on the teen lit scene.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | SLJ Review

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TAYLOR, Laini. Strange the Dreamer. 544p. ebook available. Little, Brown. Mar. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316341684. POP

Gr 9 Up –Lazlo Strange is a foundling who has grown up alone and unloved, sustained only by his fantasies and stories of a city known as Weep. As an adult, Lazlo finds his way to the Great Library of Zosma and becomes a librarian, tasked with supporting scholars in their work. His fixation with Weep continues, and he searches for scraps […]

American Street by Ibi Zoboi | SLJ Review

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ZOBOI, Ibi. American Street. 336p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062473042.

Gr 9 Up –After her mother is detained by immigration officials, Fabiola Toussaint has to finish her move from Port-au-Prince to Detroit alone. The tough-as-nails cousins and exhausted aunt who greet her in Michigan bear little resemblance to the warm family she had dreamed of when she was in Haiti. Left with a mother-size hole in her life, Fabiola begins the unsteady process […]

SLJ’s February 2017 Popular Picks

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These materials will fly off the shelves, from a story about a young boy who loves his green pants to a timely YA novel centered on gun violence and Islamophobia by Barry Lyga.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi | SLJ Review

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CHOKSHI, Roshani. A Crown of Wishes. 400p. ebook available. St. Martin’s Griffin. Mar. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250085498.

Gr 9 Up –In this companion to The Star-Touched Queen, Chokshi returns to a vivid fantasy world steeped in Hindu mythology. After her brother’s betrayal, Princess Gauri is awaiting execution in an enemy Ujijain prison. Prince Vikram faces the unhappy destiny of becoming a puppet ruler in Ujijain. With nothing left to lose and everything to gain, this pair of would-be […]

Bang by Barry Lyga | SLJ Review

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LYGA, Barry. Bang. 304p. Little, Brown. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316315500; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316315531. POP

Gr 10 Up –When Sebastian Cody was four years old, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun. A decade later, in the summer before his sophomore year in high school, he can no longer endure the guilt, everyone’s knowing and nervous stares, and the constant feeling that he doesn’t deserve to be alive. Sebastian decides to take […]

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli | SLJ Review

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ALBERTALLI, Becky. The Upside of Unrequited. 352p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062348708. POP

Gr 9 Up –Growing up can mean growing apart, which is a hard revelation for twins Cassie and Molly Peskin-Suso. When Cassie, who is a lesbian, begins dating Mina, a pansexual Korean American, Molly feels a little cast aside. Molly, who has an anxiety disorder, has silently nursed 26 crushes and is working on finally risking the rejection she fears […]

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson | SLJ Review

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JACKSON, Tiffany D. Allegedly. 400p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Jan. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062422644.

Gr 9 Up –Jackson delivers a requiem about systemic issues of injustice in this debut novel that portrays the juvenile justice system, meant to rehabilitate youth who have gone astray, and the social service system, which is intended to defend those whose rights have been infringed upon. Interwoven with case study excerpts, depositions, and inmate interviews, this gripping thriller centers on 16-year-old Mary […]

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | SLJ Review

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THOMAS, Angie. The Hate U Give. 464p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062498533.

Gr 8 Up –After Starr and her childhood friend Khalil, both black, leave a party together, they are pulled over by a white police officer, who kills Khalil. The sole witness to the homicide, Starr must testify before a grand jury that will decide whether to indict the cop, and she’s terrified, especially as emotions run high. By turns frightened, discouraged, enraged, and […]

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix | SLJ Review

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NIX, Garth. Frogkisser! 384p. ebook available. Scholastic. Mar. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338052084.

Gr 8 Up –Anya, a 13-year-old princess, loves nothing more than reading in her favorite chair. But after she makes a “sister promise” to her elder sibling to turn a frog back into a prince, she finds herself on a quest for a magic lip balm that sends her far from her beloved castle library. Along the way, she learns that wizards offer help but only […]

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson | SLJ Review

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ANDERSON, Natalie C. City of Saints & Thieves. 432p. ebook available. Putnam. Jan. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399547584.

Gr 7-10 –Tina has been developing her plan for revenge against her mother’s killer for five years, and it’s finally time to set it in motion. But things don’t go quite as planned when she breaks into Roland Greyhill’s palatial estate in the hills above bustling Sangui City, Kenya. Greyhill’s son, Michael, who was Tina’s best friend when her mother worked […]

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

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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 […]