August 17, 2017

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One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus | SLJ Audio Review

MCMANUS, Karen M. One of Us Is Lying. 9 CDs. 11:44 hrs. Listening Library. May 2017. $65. ISBN 9781524756901. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Five high school students walk into a normal Monday after-school detention but only four leave alive. Simon, the dead student, was despised for the secrets he revealed in his toxic gossip app targeting the students of Bayview High. The remaining four students all have reasons to want Simon dead, and the police quickly zoom in on all of them […]

I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin | SLJ Review

DUNN, Gaby & Allison Raskin. I Hate Everyone But You. 352p. Wednesday Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250129321.

Gr 10 Up –This contemporary coming-of-age story of two friends on opposite shores explores difficult topics in a relatable tone. Ava and Gen are best friends whose relationship defines the maxim that opposites attract. Ava, the perfectionist, joins a sorority because she thinks that’s what college students should do. She struggles with balancing her social life, anxiety, and class load. Gen is studying journalism […]

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 […]

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | SLJ Audio Review

THOMAS, Angie. The Hate U Give. 9 CDs. 11:40 hrs. HarperAudio. Feb. 2017. $39.99. ISBN 9781470827137. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Starr has learned to adapt her personality to fit two worlds. “Garden Heights Starr” helps her ex-gangbanger father in his neighborhood grocery. “Williamson Starr” has a white boyfriend, and is one of the few black students at a tony prep school in an exclusive part of town. When gunshots ring out at a Garden Heights party, Starr and her friend Khalil leave. […]

Odd & True by Cat Winters | SLJ Review

WINTERS, Cat. Odd & True. 368p. Abrams/Amulet. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419723100.

Gr 9 Up –Trudchen, a polio survivor who reads tea leaves, is the younger sister to Odette, and both are Maria’s daughters. All through Tru’s youth, Od would fill her head with magical, fantastical stories to fill the dark times. After a two-year absence, Od returns looking haunted and accompanied by a case full of mysterious weapons that she promises will help kill monsters. Soon, the siblings whisk away on […]

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore | SLJ Review

CASHORE, Kristin. Jane, Unlimited. 464p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780803741492.

Gr 9 Up –Before her Aunt Magnolia died in a blizzard in Antarctica, she made Jane promise to accept any invitation she might receive to visit Tu Reviens. When her high school tutor, Kiran, extends an invitation to her family’s annual spring gala at Tu Reviens, Jane knows she has to accept even though she is still deep in mourning for the aunt who had raised her. But the […]

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter | SLJ Review

PORTER, Sarah. When I Cast Your Shadow. 384p. Forge/Tor Teen. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765380562.

Gr 9 Up –Teen twins Ruby and Everett have very different feelings about their older brother’s overdose. Closer to Dashiell and often oblivious to his dramatics and manipulations, Ruby is devastated while awed by and jealous of Dash. Everett understands the strain their brother created within the family. Though Dash is dead, he won’t leave. Visiting Ruby in her nightly dreams, Dash wheedles her into consenting to […]

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu | SLJ Review

MATHIEU, Jennifer. Moxie. 336p. Roaring Brook. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626726352.

Gr 8 Up –This novel is full of wit, insight, and moxie. Vivian is the dutiful daughter of a former 1990s Riot Grrl. While her mom raged against the machine and published feminist zines in her youth, Viv prefers getting good grades and keeping a low profile. That is, until things at her small town’s high school go too far. There are double standards for football players and everyone else, arbitrary […]

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore | SLJ Review

MCLEMORE, Anna-Marie. Wild Beauty. 352p. Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250124555.

Gr 7 Up –Set in an undisclosed time period, this new magical realism story featuring characters of color across the gender and sexuality spectrum draws on Latin American culture and language. Relying on lyrical prose, McLemore weaves an intricate tale of family, love, loss, and flowers. The Nomeolvides women have lived on and tended the enchanted gardens of La Pradera for generations. They are also hiding a dangerous secret: […]

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Review

REYNOLDS, Jason. Long Way Down. 320p. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481438254.

Gr 8 Up –Fifteen-year-old Will’s big brother has been shot and killed. According to the rules that Will has been taught, it is now his job to kill the person responsible. He easily finds his brother’s gun and gets on the elevator to head down from his eighth-floor apartment. But it’s a long way down to the ground floor. At each floor, a different person gets on to […]

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle | SLJ Review

FOWLEY-DOYLE, Moïra. Spellbook of the Lost and Found. 368p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Bks. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525429494.

Gr 9 Up –This lush and deliciously twisty contemporary Irish novel, set in Balmallen, County Mayo, population 2,400, has just a hint of the supernatural. It takes the form of the red, leather-bound Spellbook of the Lost and Found, which three friends find when their diaries go missing just before the town’s annual early May bonfire. The temptation to call for […]

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 […]

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee | SLJ Review

ORMSBEE, Kathryn. Tash Hearts Tolstoy. 384p. S. & S. Jun. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781481489331.

Gr 9 Up –Seventeen-year-old Kentucky filmmaker and Tolstoy superfan Tash Zelenka’s summer takes an unexpected turn when her web series, Unhappy Families (a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina) goes viral. The newfound fame causes tension between Tash and her best friend Jack, who also works on the series. Tash is easily caught up in the increased social media attention, her fans’ expectations, and the […]

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 […]

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, […]

YA: Mean Girls, “Mad Miss Mimic,” and Mars | May 2017 Xpress Reviews

Eve Darrows delivers a poignant, gripping exploration of bullying; Sarah Henster’s latest is sure to please fans of Victoriana; and Jonathan Maberry takes a trip to Mars.

This article was published in School Library Journal's May 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Where Secrets Lurk… | New YA Mysteries

A trio of new books venture into the lives of teens determined to uncover the truths that lie beneath the surface of family memories and histories.

Take 5: Using YA Lit to Talk Government, Power, Politics, Corruption and More (An #SJYALit Book List)

A few years ago, I believe it was Cory Doctorow who Tweeted that no one discusses politics in literature anymore. Which struck me, at the time, as an odd statement because it was the height of YA Dystopian, which arguably is all about power and politics. It could also have been someone other then Cory […]

Take 5: YA Lit Titles for Makers and MakerSpaces

Collection development is an active process in which I, like all librarians, actively seek to build balanced collections of all types of books. Because we have an active and popular Teen MakerSpace, one of the things I actively look for are “maker” related books. These can be books that include any type of maker related […]