April 30, 2017

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Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson | SLJ Review

ANDERSON, Jodi Lynn. Midnight at the Electric. 272p. HarperCollins/­HarperTeen. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062393548.

Gr 9 Up –Adri’s, Catherine’s, and Lenore’s lives are intertwined but not in the way that one would think. Adri lives in 2065 Kansas, Catherine lives in 1930s Kansas, and Lenore lives in England in 1919. As Adri is preparing to go to Mars, she stays with her cousin in Kansas, where the training takes place. Upon settling in, she comes across letters written […]

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley | SLJ Review

CROWLEY, Cath. Words in Deep Blue. 288p. Knopf. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101937648.

Gr 9 Up –An astonishingly realistic look at loss, grief, love, and the importance of words. Rachel Sweetie’s world changed forever the day her little brother Cal drowned. In the eight months since, she’s failed to graduate from school and alienated most of her friends. Rachel’s family seems to think returning to live with her aunt in their old hometown will help. She’s up for […]

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein | SLJ Review

WEIN, Elizabeth. The Pearl Thief. 336p. Disney-Hyperion. May 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781484717165.

Gr 8 Up –In this prequel to Code Name Verity, set in 1938, Julia Beaufort-Stewart, 15, returns home from school in Paris for summer break to unhappy changes. The family’s house and land have been sold and are being converted into a school. Julie, finding no one at home to welcome her, heads to the river. The next thing she remembers is waking up in the […]

SLJ’s April 2017 Popular Picks

The latest thriller from Cristin Terrill, a feminist primer for little ones, and a heartfelt memoir by a BuzzFeed editor.

2 YA Tales of Some Not-so-Witchy Witches

Teen witch books aren’t all “hocus pocus” and “eye of newt.”

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner | SLJ Review

TURNER, Megan Whalen. Thick as Thieves. 352p. (Queen’s Thief: Bk. 5)

­HarperCollins/Greenwillow. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062568243.

Gr 7 Up –Kamet is a slave poised to become one of the most powerful men in the Mede Empire thanks to his master’s close relationship with the Emperor. While he knows the limitations of his life as a secretary and slave, Kamet is ambitious and eager for the chance to help shape the Empire and wield his influence until one […]

Be True to Me by Adele Griffin | SLJ Review

GRIFFIN, Adele. Be True to Me. 352p. Algonquin. Jun. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781616206758.

Gr 8 Up –Eager to escape her sister’s shadow for the summer, privileged but insecure Jean Custis is delighted to meet newcomer Gil Burke one early June night. Yet within a matter of days, Gil has been intercepted by Fritz, a girl with no family connections to the small town of Sunken Harbor, who humiliated Jean in last year’s tennis playoff. As both girls interact […]

The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby | SLJ Review

JUBY, Susan. The Fashion Committee. 320p. Viking. May 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780451468789.

Gr 9 Up –Charlie Dean and John Thomas-Smith live on the wrong side of the tracks, but they both want to attend the private and exclusive Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design. Their local public high school is so poorly funded that all nonessential classes, including art, have been eliminated from the curriculum. But every year, Green Pastures sponsors an emerging talents scholarship worth […]

The Takedown by Corrie Wang | SLJ Review

WANG, Corrie. The Takedown. 384p. Freeform. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484757420.

Gr 9 Up –The near future in this novel is just close enough to feel incredibly eerie. Wang’s characters are plugged in to a degree that will leave some readers exhilarated and others delightfully spooked. Kyla Cheng and her three best friends are uber-popular girls who constantly use their Docs (next-next-next-gen iPhones) for absolutely everything. Sounds familiar, but the reach of this version of social networking is […]

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser | SLJ Review

TOLCSER, Sarah. Song of the Current. 384p. Bloomsbury. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781681192970.

Gr 9 Up –Caroline “Caro” Oresteia knows that like her wherryman father, she belongs to the river god. Yet at 17 she’s still waiting for him to whisper to her. When her father is imprisoned for refusing to carry mysterious cargo, Caro elects to take over. She arranges to captain her first ship and get her father out of jail. After a pirate attack, Caro […]

Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me by Andrea Portes | SLJ Review

PORTES, Andrea. Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me. 400p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062421999.

Gr 10 Up –Paige is a college student who has had anything but a typical life. Her journalist parents ensured she learned five languages, earned a black belt in martial arts, and acquired a healthy skepticism of American involvement in international affairs. Paige’s distrust of the government is heightened with the disappearance of her parents, who were captured by terrorists. Are […]

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon | SLJ Audio Review

YOON , Nicola. The Sun Is Also a Star. 7 CDs. 8 hrs. Listening Library. Nov. 2016. $40 ISBN 9781524721404. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Two lives are changed forever when Natasha, an undocumented Jamaican teen seeking legal help on her last day in the country before she and her family are deported, and Daniel, a budding Korean American poet on his way to a Yale admissions interview and a future he doesn’t want as a doctor, meet on […]

Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick | SLJ Review

SEDGWICK, Marcus. Saint Death. 240p. ebook available. Roaring Brook. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626725492.

Gr 9 Up –Arturo is scraping by, living in Anapra, on the outskirts of Juarez, Mexico. He can see El Norte from his small shack, but America feels distant compared with his reality spent hauling things at the auto shop and trying to avoid the notice of gang members and the cartel, who have carved up Juarez into their own sections of territory. Arturo’s […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 […]