June 25, 2016

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RIP Lois Duncan

I was sorry to hear about Lois Duncan’s death yesterday. Lois had been writing for young people for a long time–her first novel, Debutante Hill, was published in 1958 (and republished in 2013 by Lizzie Skurnick Books). She is someone whose work I always point towards as a reminder that YA fiction did not begin […]

YA Xpress Reviews | June 2016

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David Lubar delivers thought-provoking metafiction, Rick Yancey concludes “The Fifth Wave,” and Kristy Acevedo offers complex and profound science fiction.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Andre Norton Award Nominees for Outstanding Speculative Fiction Announced

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Nine YA and middle grade titles were nominated for the 2015 Andre Norton award for outstanding speculative fiction, including Francis Hardinge’sCuckoo Song and Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap.

Blast to the Recent Past | SLJ Spotlight

HITCHCOCK, Bonnie-Sue. The Smell of Other People’s Houses

The following YA titles take place from the 1970s to the mid-aughts, each offering a glimpse of the recent past, and perhaps a little bit of hindsight.

Zombie Fiction, Bone-Chilling Horror, and Genre-Defying Dystopians | YA Series Update

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YA librarian and Library Journal Mover and Shaker Lindsey Tomsu curates a roundup of the latest installments of popular YA series. Among the highlighted choices are romance, sci-fi, dystopian, mystery, horror, and fantasy selections that teens won’t want to miss.

Family Matters | SLJ Spotlight

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From struggling to find footing as a foster kid to having a mom with depression, these YA titles are about working through real-life situations.

Lynne Reid Banks: right for the wrong reasons

I think we’ve all written letters like this one. Responding to the announcement that David Almond’s A Song for Ella Grey had won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, author Lynne Reid Banks wrote to that publication: “Buoyed up by David Almond’s beautiful description (21 November) of his inspiration for writing A Song for Ella Grey, which  has […]

The post Lynne Reid Banks: right for the wrong reasons appeared first on The Horn Book.

Best Books 2015: Dime | Young Adult

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Plucked out of a bleak foster home by the manipulative pimp Daddy and groomed into a life of prostitution, 13-year-old Dime gives voice to her pain as she attempts to write a note, the intent of which is revealed toward the end of the book. Exploring an oft-overlooked subject, Frank has crafted an honest and raw true-to-life narrative—and one laced with the barest sliver of hope.

Best Books 2015: The Tightrope Walkers | Young Adult

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Dominic Hall, a British youth from a working-class family, finds himself wavering between attachment to his childhood friend, the artistic Holly Stroud, and the literary future he dreams of, and the powerful, inexplicable draw of Vincent McAlinden, a violent neighborhood bully. Set in the shadow of the 1960s shipbuilding community on the banks of the River Tyne, this beautifully written story is as taut and as exhilarating as the high wire.

Best Books 2015: X: A Novel | Young Adult

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Malcolm X’s daughter collaborates with acclaimed young adult author Magoon to craft this historical novel about the civil rights leader’s formative years. From Malcolm Little’s impoverished childhood in Michigan to his downward spiral into a life of excess and crime in New York City, the work chronicles how a troubled young man found his true self and changed the world.

Best Books 2015: Everything, Everything | Young Adult

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Madeline has spent 18 years at home with only her doctor mother and a nurse to care for her rare form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) and can’t risk exposure to the world beyond her highly controlled environment. When a boy her age moves next door, he wreaks havoc with her regimented routine and makes her acutely aware of all that she’s been missing. A tender and bittersweet romance with a jaw-dropping twist.

Best Books 2015: Bone Gap | Young Adult

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A thought-provoking look at our culture’s obsession with beauty. With echoes of the Persephone myth, this magical realism tale centers on Finn’s search for the missing Roza, his older brother’s love and the town sweetheart. Alternating chapters from his and her points of view reveal the sinister and otherworldly nature of Roza’s abductor. Ruby’s lush language, intricate plotting, and impeccable sentence-level writing make this a winning title for sophisticated teen readers.

Best Books 2015: All American Boys | Young Adult

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Black teen Rashad is assaulted by a white police officer. White classmate Quinn, who was practically raised by the police officer, witnessed it. When a video of the brutal event surfaces, the school, city, and country explode with protests and outrage, and the two protagonists must examine who they are and what they believe. Told in alternating chapters, this timely YA novel presents a stirring account of two young men coming to grips with the racism that pervades this country and the steps they must take to turn the centuries-long tide.

Best Books 2015: Conviction | Young Adult

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High school baseball star Braden is the only witness to the car accident that killed a police officer. His father, a Christian radio personality, was behind the wheel. When his prodigal older brother returns, Braden’s convictions about his father, their family’s past, and his faith in God waver. Alternating between the present and past, with baseball metaphors sprinkled throughout, this poignant debut shines with the hope of truth and forgiveness.

Best Books 2015: Out of Darkness | Young Adult

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Set in 1937 Texas and focusing on the events leading up to and immediately following the New London School explosion—the deadliest school disaster in American history—this melancholic novel tells the ill-fated love story of Mexican American Naomi and African American Wash. Pérez’s honest prose lyrically explores racism and sexism while giving voice to those who have been marginalized within American history. A compelling tearjerker.

Best Books 2015: More Happy Than Not | Young Adult

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There’s plenty that 16-year-old Aaron Soto would like to forget, including life in the poverty-ridden Bronx projects, his father’s suicide, and his own attempt to carve a smile into his wrist, but he only seriously considers a cutting-edge “memory-relief procedure” when his all-consuming friendship with Thomas turns into unrequited love. Characters with straight-up street cred, a heart-searing narrative, and a must-reread resolution provide an unforgettable look at gender identity and coming-of-age issues.

Best Books 2015: Nimona | Young Adult

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A rambunctious shape-shifter is in search of a supervillain to assist, and the brilliant Lord Ballister Blackheart fits the bill. As they plan to take down Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics, their not-all-that-nefarious intentions go awry and Nimona’s powers get out of control, endangering the entire kingdom. An ode to girl power, friendship, and teamwork, this vibrant full-color work, filled with witty dialogue and touching moments, charms and delights.

Best Books 2015: Challenger Deep | Young Adult

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Fourteen-year-old Caden Bosch lives two realities: the one where he’s a high schooler struggling with anxiety, compulsions, and the belief that people are trying to kill him; and one in which he’s part of a motley crew of pirates aboard a ship bound for the Challenger Deep, the deepest place on Earth, located in the Pacific Ocean along the Mariana Trench. A fittingly surreal and heartbreaking exploration into the mind of a teen battling mental illness.

Neal Shusterman Takes NBA Prize […]

Best Books 2015: Shadowshaper | Young Adult

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Motivated by unnerving events in her Bed-Stuy neighborhood, including a weeping mural and creepy street-shuffling corpses, Sierra Santiago begins to unravel a nightmarish mystery that brings to light secrets about her Puerto Rican family’s heritage and ultimately releases the magic hidden within her soul. A comfortable-in-her-own-skin heroine, magnetic portrayals of a multicultural cast, and scintillating suspense make for a knockout thriller.

Best Books 2015: The Accident Season | Young Adult

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Cara’s family has learned to expect that October will bring injuries—from broken bones to fatalities. It’s a history that they haven’t questioned until the 17-year-old, her sister, and her stepbrother are confronted with family secrets. Brimming with characters and spirits both naive and nefarious and a setting steeped in mystery and myth, this haunting debut will linger long in readers’ imaginations.