Claire Gross

About Claire Gross

Claire Gross is the youth librarian at the Egleston branch of the Boston Public Library and a former associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

Review of Fiendish

yovanoff_fiendish

Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff High School    Razorbill/Penguin    341 pp. 6/14    978-1-59514-638-0    $17.99    g Yovanoff (The Space Between, rev. 1/12; Paper Valentine, rev. 3/13) here weaves a haunting tale of old magic in a changing world. When Clementine was a child, a torch-bearing mob burned out her family; Clementine escaped by virtue of a magical coma […]

Review of The Screaming Staircase

screaming staircase

The Screaming Staircase [Lockwood & Co.] by Jonathan Stroud Intermediate, Middle School     Disney-Hyperion     374 pp. 9/13     978-1-4231-6491-3     $16.99     g With a morbidly cheery tone and sure-footed establishment of characters and setting, Stroud (the Bartimaeus trilogy; Heroes of the Valley, rev. 1/09) kicks off a new series that is part procedural and part ghost story, with […]

Review of Openly Straight

openly straight

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg High School     Levine/Scholastic     328 pp. 6/13     978-0-545-50989-3     $17.99     g e-book ed. 978-0-545-50990-9     $17.99 Rafe is sick of being the poster child for all things gay at his uber-liberal Colorado high school: no matter how accepting everyone is, it feels like they only […]

What Makes a Good YA Coming-Out Novel?

i'll get there

Since John Donovan’s groundbreaking 1969 I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip, young adult novels featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens have come a long way. Once few and far between, they have enjoyed a steady rise in numbers and prominence, particularly over the last decade, as prolific and acclaimed queer* […]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

deathly hallows part one movie poster

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has a lot riding on it. The final installment of the wildly popular series, it’s the story of the boy hero’s final showdown with the ultimate villain. Voldemort has severed pieces of his soul and placed them in Horcruxes, which must be found and destroyed in order for his […]

David Yates’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

half-blood prince movie poster

As a book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is one of the more uneven entries in the famed series. The plot is episodic, meandering through Dumbledore’s collected memories of Voldemort’s past and taking what seems like an unnecessarily indirect route to setting up Harry’s final quest: the destruction of Voldemort’s Horcruxes (sundered pieces of […]

David Yates’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

order of the phoenix movie poster

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is eight-hundred-plus pages of Harry at his teen-angstiest, Hogwarts at its darkest, and life at its most maddeningly unfair. David Yates’s movie adaptation captures all of this, surgically snipping subplots to build on the main emotional themes of the book: Harry’s pathological distrust of authority, his emergence […]