September 29, 2016

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YA Xpress Reviews | October 2016

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From Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom to Gaby Triana’s latest, October’s online-only reviews include works for teens in a variety of genres—fantasy, realistic fiction, and more.

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

Heartless by Marissa Meyer | SLJ Review

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MEYER, Marissa. Heartless. 464p. ebook available. Feiwel & Friends. Nov. 2016. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250044655. POP

Gr 8 Up –The author’s best fantasy yet. In her inspired reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s inimitable adventures in Wonderland, Meyer has explored the world that existed before Alice fell down the rabbit hole. All Lady Catherine wants to do is open her own bakery with the help of her maid. She has no wish to wear beautiful dresses or go to balls, and […]

Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King | SLJ Review

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KING, A.S. Still Life with Tornado. 304p. ebook available. Dutton. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101994887.

Gr 9 Up –At 16, Sarah is facing what she calls an “existential crisis,” questioning whether her life has meaning or value, an event fueled by an unfair art show, a cruel teacher, a toxic and abusive family, a missing brother, and the loss of her ability to draw. Sarah wanders through the streets of Philadelphia and meets her future self at age […]

The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely | SLJ Review

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KIELY, Brendan. The Last True Love Story. 288p. ebook available. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481429887.

Gr 10 Up –Teddy Hendrix is a typical teenage boy dealing with hormones, girls who won’t give him the time of day, and family issues. His grandfather, Gpa, is in the throes of Alzheimer’s, and his memories are quickly fading away. After getting into a fight with a popular boy at his school, Hendrix joins up with […]

Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung | SLJ Review

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PUNG, Alice. Lucy and Linh. 352p. ebook available. Knopf. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399550485.

Gr 8 Up –Life is not easy for Lucy Lam. Her immigrant mother and father work seemingly never-ending hours to make life bearable for her and her young brother in suburban Stanley, Australia. Lucy can’t help but compare herself to her more outgoing friends, especially Linh, who always seems to come out on top with her easy retorts and spunky attitude. When she and […]

Librarian Creates #BlackLivesMatter Booklist for Teens

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Chelsea Couillard-Smith, a librarian at Hennepin County (MN) Library, created a #blacklivesmatter booklist for teens.

YA Xpress Reviews | July 2016

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This month’s YA Xpress Reviews take readers everywhere from Paris to Azad Kashmir.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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: 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: 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.