March 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Breathing New Life into Old Tales | Fiction Grades 9 & Up

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.


See our complete list of
October 2014 SLJ Stars.

redstarCrowder, Melanie. Audacity. 400p. glossary. notes. Philomel. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399168994.

Gr 7 Up –Written in verse, this novel is loosely based on the life of Clara Lemlich Shavelson, the leader of New York shirtwaist strike of 1909. Clara and her family are Jewish Russians who flee the anti-Semitism of turn-of-the-century Russia to find a better life in America. However, Clara still experiences gender and religious oppression in New York. She is unable to gain the education she desires, because she is forced to work in a sweatshop, and she can’t rise above her given status as an immigrant worker because foreign women are taught only rudimentary English. But “Inside I am anything/ but fresh off the boat./ I have been ready for this/ possibility/ all my life,” Clara declares, and she proves that she has the audacity to do the impossible for a female and a Jew: organizing a woman’s union and ultimately having her voice heard. The verse form of the narrative lends lightness to an otherwise bleak topic and moves the story along quickly, while artful formatting of the text creates and sustains mood. This book stands alone in its topic and time frame, with only Michelle Markel’s picture book Brave Girl (HarperCollins, 2013) as a nonfiction companion. With historical notes, interviews with Clara’s family members, and a glossary of Yiddish terms, Audacity is an impactful addition to any historical fiction collection.–Brittany Staszak, Glencoe Public Library, IL

redstarGriffin, Bethany. The Fall. 432p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Oct. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062107855; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062107879.

Gr 8 Up –Griffin offers an alternative take on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Instead of assuming the viewpoint of an outsider, as in the source material, readers get into the mind of Madeline Usher—the girl buried alive in the original tale. The author uses flashbacks to flesh out the missing details and provide backstory. This is an engrossing, creepy tale of a haunted house and its inhabitants. For those who aren’t familiar with Poe’s short story, this title will inspire them to run to the shelves to find it and see what happens or what is different. Those who are already familiar with it will enjoy this different point of view and ending. Altogether, the narrative’s even pacing and thorough character development will keep teens engaged. The updated, supernatural spin will have savvy and reluctant readers hooked. An interesting addition to the “twisted tales” genre, for librarians looking for back doors to lead teens into the classics. Fans of the author’s Masque of the Red Death (HarperCollins, 2012) will especially appreciate this title.–Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ

redstarSmelcer, John. Edge of Nowhere. 154p. Leapfrog. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781935248576.

Gr 7 Up –Sixteen-year-old Seth Evanoff mourns his mother’s unexpected death. For comfort, he eats more than his share of junk food and escapes from life through a portal of video games on his tablet. Seth works with his father on a commercial salmon fishing boat in the Prince William Sound, and during a storm, he and his loyal dog, Tucker, are tossed into the drink. So begins the coming-of-age journey of Seth and Tucker as they toil and swim among a chain of remote islands toward home. Seth uses wisdom from his Native Alaskan culture and common sense to survive a summer season of challenges. Smelcer’s prose is lyrical, straightforward, and brilliant. This is an example of authentic Native Alaskan storytelling at its best. Readers are drawn immediately into this realistic modern-day vision-quest scenario and easily identify and empathize with the characters. The excitement and fast pace of the action are reminiscent of Jack London stories. This novel would make a versatile addition to any secondary English or multicultural curriculum. Not to be missed.–Naomi Caldwell, Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

Amowitz, Lisa. Vision. 248p. ebook available. Spencer Hill. 2014. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781937053994.

Axelrod, Kate. The Law of Loving Others. 240p. Penguin/Razorbill. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781595147899; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698164956.

BARNES, Jennifer. Killer Instinct. 384p. (The Naturals: Bk. 2). ebook available. Disney-Hyperion. Nov. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781423168324.

Bass, Alexis. Love & Other Theories. 384p. ebook available. HarperCollins/HarperCollins. Dec. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062275325.

Berman, Ali. Misdirected. 288p. Seven Stories. Nov. 2014. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781609805739; ebk. $18.95. ISBN 9781609805746. LC 2014010183.

BERTRAND, Cara. Second Thoughts. 306p. (Sententia: Bk. 2). Luminis. Oct. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781935462071; pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781935462125.

Birdsall, Bridget. Double Exposure. 304p. ebook available. Sky Pony. Oct. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781629146065.

BLACK, Holly. The Darkest Part of the Forest. 336p. Little, Brown. Jan. 2015. Tr $18. ISBN 9780316213073; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316213059.

Blake, Kendare. Mortal Gods. 352p. (The Goddess War: Bk. 2). ebook available. Tor Teen. Oct. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765334442.

Brauning, Kate. How We Fall. 304p. ebook available. Adams Media/Merit. Nov. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781440581793.

Brown, Jaye Robin. No Place to Fall. 368p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Dec. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062270993.

Calonita, Jen. Side Effects. 256p. ebook available. DreamWorks/Awesomeness Ink. Oct. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781941341094. LC 2014941578.

Capetta, Amy Rose. Unmade. 384p. Houghton Harcourt. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544087378. LC 2013050208.

Carey, Anna. Blackbird. 256p. HarperCollins/ HarperTeen. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062299734; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062299758.

Cherry, Alison. For Real. 320p. Delacorte. Dec. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385742955; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375990861; ebk. ISBN 9780307979926.

Cochran, Molly. Seduction. 416p. ebook available. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Dec. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481400237. LC 2013025929.

Condie, Ally. Atlantia. 320p. Dutton. Oct. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780525426448; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698135604.

Constable, Kate. New Guinea Moon. 288p. Allen & Unwin. Nov. 2014. pap. $13.99. ISBN 9781743315033.

Coyle, Katie. Vivian Apple at the End of the World. 272p. Houghton Harcourt. Jan. 2015. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9780544340114; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780544453289. LC 2013050206.

Dale, Katie. Little White Lies. 384p. Delacorte. Dec. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385740678; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375989605; ebk. $10.99.

Damico, Gina. Hellhole. 368p. ebook available. Houghton Harcourt. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544307100. LC 2013042827.

DAWSON, Delilah. Servants of the Storm. 384p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442483781; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442483804. LC 2013031587.

Echols, Jennifer. Perfect Couple. 320p. (The Superlatives). S. & S./Simon Pulse. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442474499; pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781442474482; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781442474505.

Ellis, Kat. Blackfin Sky. 304p. Running Pr. Teen. 2014. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9780762454013; ebk. $9.95. ISBN 9780762455546. LC 2014933663.

FICKLIN, Sherry. Queen of Someday. 262p. (Stolen Empire: Bk. 1). Clean Teen. Oct. 2014. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781940534909.

Garner, Em. Contaminated 2: Mercy Mode. 352p. (Contaminated: Bk. 2). Egmont USA. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781606843567; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9781606843574.

GRAUDIN, Ryan. The Walled City. 448p. Little, Brown. Nov. 2014. Tr $18. ISBN 9780316405058; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316405041.

Huang, Yang. Living Treasures. 322p. Harvard Square. Oct. 2014. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9780989596053.

Jay, Stacey. Princess of Thorns. 400p. Delacorte. Dec. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385743228; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375991011; ebk. ISBN 9780307981431.

Laureano, C. E. Oath of the Brotherhood. 448p. (The Song of Seare: Bk. 1). glossary. maps. NavPress/TH1NK. 2014. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781612915876.

Lauren, Christina. Sublime. 336p. S. & S. Oct. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481413688; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481413701. LC 2013038763.

Lindner, April. Love, Lucy. 304p. ebook available. Little, Brown/Poppy. Jan. 2015. Tr $18. ISBN 9780316400695; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316400657. LC 2013042984.

Lynch, Chris. Killing Time in Crystal City. 240p. S. & S. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442440111. LC 2013043299.

Lyons, C J. Watched. 320p. Sourcebooks Fire. Nov. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781402285486.

McClintock, Norah. About That Night. 256p. Orca. 2014. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9781459805941; ebk. ISBN 9781459805965. LC 2014935377.

MARNEY , Ellie . Every Breath. 352p. ebook available. Tundra. Oct. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781770497726. LC 2014933493.

Melvin, Treva Hall. Mr. Samuel’s Penny. 254p. Poisoned Pen Pr./Poisoned Pencil. Nov. 2014. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781929345045. LC 2014938597.

Murgia, Jennifer. Forest of Whispers. 328p. ebook available. glossary. Spencer Hill. 2014. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781937053567.

Myers, Walter Dean. On a Clear Day. 256p. Crown. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385387538; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780385387545; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385387552. LC 2013046708.

Oatman, Linda. Teeny Little Grief Machines. 252p. (Gravel Road). ebook available. Saddleback. 2014. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781622508839.

Olson, Norah. Twisted Fate. 272p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062272041; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062272072.

Purdy, Rebekah. The Winter People. 380p. ebook available. Entangled. 2014. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781622663682; ebk. $7.99. ISBN 9781622663699.

Reynolds, Jason. The Boy in the Black Suit. 256p. S. & S./Atheneum. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442459502; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442459526. LC 2014001493.

Serle, Rebecca. Famous In Love. 336p. ebook available. Little, Brown/Poppy. Oct. 2014. Tr $18.00. ISBN 9780316366328. LC 2013043744.

Shusterman, Neal. Undivided. 480p. (The Unwind Dystology: Bk. 4). S. & S. Oct. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781481409759; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481409773. LC 2014003060.

Spears, Kat. Sway. 320p. St. Martin’s Griffin. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250051431; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781466852198.

Strickland, Adrienne. Wordless. 336p. ebook available. Flux. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780738739663.

Szymkowski, Beth. Runaways. 256p. ebook available. DreamWorks/Awesomeness Ink. Oct. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781941341087. LC 2014941577.

Thrasher, Travis. Marvelous. 352p. (The Books of Marvella: Bk. 1). NavPress/TH1NK. 2014. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781612916231.

VILLAREAL, Ray. On the Other Side of the Bridge. 232p. ebook available. Piñata. Oct. 2014. pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781558858022.

Voisin, Mandy Madson. Star of Deliverance. 320p. Cedar Fort/Sweetwater. 2014. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781462114542.

Williams, Michael. Diamond Boy. 400p. Little, Brown. Dec. 2014. pap. $18. ISBN 9780316320696; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316320665. LC 2013042071.

Zail, Suzy. Playing for the Commandant. 256p. ebook available. Candlewick. Oct. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763664039. LC 2013955694.

Zettel, Sarah. Dangerous Deceptions. 384p. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544074095.

Graphic Novels

Atangan. Patrick . Invincible Days. illus. by Patrick Atangan. 128p. NBM. Oct. 2014. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781561639014. LC 2014940888.

Caillou, Hubert. Adrian and the Tree of Secrets. tr. from French by David Homel. illus. by Marie Caillou. 128p. Arsenal Pulp. 2014. pap. $18.95. ISBN 9781551525563.

Chen, Wei Dong. Spirits and Bandits. Vol. 1. ISBN 9788998341718.

––––. Thick As Thieves. Vol. 2. ISBN 9788998341725.

––––. Lost in Exile. Vol. 3. ISBN 9788998341732.

ea vol: illus. by Xiao Long Liang. 176p. (Outlaws of the Marsh). JR Comics. 2014. pap. $9.99.

Love. One Is Enough. illus. by Love. 152p. Gen Manga. Jul. 2014. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781939012043.

Urasawa, Naoki. The Perfect Edition. illus. by Naoki Urasawa. 426p. (Monster: Vol. 1). Viz Media. 2014. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781421569062.

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