Boys’ life

herrndorf_why we took the car

A heartrending and hilarious junior-high road-trip novel; a story about stepping up in dire straits; an exploration of grief, false exteriors, and hope; and a riveting depiction of a boy feigning manhood. These new novels featuring teenage boys offer coming-of-age drama with real heart. Two teens abandon their lackluster lives and hit the Autobahn in […]

“HORMONES SUCK. But being a young person doesn’t always.”

rookie yearbook 2

Rookie, popular e-zine for teenage girls and brainchild of teen blogger Tavi Gevinson, has steadily garnered fans since its launch in 2011. With monthly issues, the site offers engaging, cutting-edge, easily browsable material. Rookie Yearbook Two (Drawn and Quarterly, October 2013), the second compilation of annual content, featuring goods from 2013, is just as vibrant […]

Review of The Midnight Dress

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The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee High School    Knopf    281 pp. 10/13    978-0-375-85645-7    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-95645-4    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-449-81821-3    $9.99 Self-contained, morose fifteen-year-old Rose and her alcoholic father arrive in Australian beach town Leonora, and it seems like they may actually stay put for a spell, for once. Rose enrolls in school and […]

Boys to men

coaltown jesus

Being a teenage boy can be tough. Things change, insecurities reign supreme. These new YA novels all feature male protagonists dealing, in their own ways, with life’s big stuff. When fourteen-year-old Walker offers up a prayer (“Look…if you’re up there, help / my mom, okay? My brother’s been dead / two whole months, and she’s […]

From the Guide: Teen Problem Novels

revenge of a not-so-pretty girl

In his “What Makes a Good YA Urban Novel?” column, Horn Book Guide reviewer Randy Ribay discusses books about teens growing up in cities and the issues they face. On a larger scale, the problem novel can be a way for all teens, in any environment and of any background, to find their struggles explored […]

From the Guide: Slightly Spooky Middle-Grade Tales

wednesdays

It’s time for trick-or-treating, costuming-wearing, and embracing all things eerie. In “Horn BOO!” the Horn Book staff recommends spooky (or kooky) offerings, mostly picture books, for celebrating Halloween. The following books about ghosts, hauntings, monsters, and more will all appear in the forthcoming fall 2013 Horn Book Guide. These novels are lightly creepy, gently macabre, […]

NF Notes: The 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winners

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Every fall, we give out the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for excellence in children’s literature. To honor the tradition, this issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book includes reviews of all three 2013 nonfiction award recipients — winner Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd and honor books […]

From the Guide: Historical Fiction for Teens

jepp who defied the stars

Good historical fiction engages readers with different times, places, people, and cultures while still resonating today. In young adult books, this means raising issues that are universal for teens of any generation: overcoming social expectations, coming of age amidst struggle, and understanding one’s identity and place in the world. Here are some recent YA novels […]

Enjoyable and easy reading

Penny and Her Marble

Age-appropriate stories about friendship and impromptu adventure make easy reader books relatable and entertaining. With welcoming texts and complementary illustrations in engaging formats, these titles starring characters both beloved and soon-to-be-beloved have something to offer emergent and newly independent readers. In Kevin Henkes’s Penny and Her Marble, the mouse’s third early-reader outing, she spies a […]

Lisa! You’re back!

movin' and shakin'

Last winter, overcome with mid-nineties nostalgia, I excitedly blogged about Lisa Loeb’s Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs (Sterling, January 2012). The cute bespectacled songstress is back with another picture book/CD package, Lisa Loeb’s Songs for Movin’ & Shakin’: The Air Band Song and Other Toe-Tapping Tunes (Sterling, April 2013). These songs […]