Lauren Adams

About Lauren Adams

Lauren Adams teaches English and ELL at Natick High School and adolescent literature at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Formerly a Senior Editor for The Horn Book Magazine, she regularly contributes book reviews.

Fantasy and science fiction | Class #4, 2016

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This week’s topic is “Beyond the World We Know” — a category that encompasses an extensive range of books, from magical realism to science fiction to the far away places of imaginary worlds. Jane Langton’s classic piece on fantasy from the 1973 Horn Book, “The Weak Place in the Cloth” provides an apt and lovely […]

Feed | Class #4, 2016

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At first perusal, M.T. Anderson’s Feed is an entertaining tale of privileged futuristic teens who spend spring break on the moon. Their carelessness about the environment, their pitiful lack of knowledge, and technology-induced overstimulation seems so exaggerated as to invite easy laughter. Not far into the book, however, we start to recognize every aspect of […]

Far Far Away | Class #4, 2016

far far away

Folk and fairy tales have long been fodder for writers, who re-tell, borrow, fracture, and invert the original stories in their own. I would suggest that Tom McNeal bends the relationship between fairy tale and novel in a new way in his suspenseful tale Far Far Away. What do others think about blending of new […]

Review of The Smell of Other People’s Houses

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock Middle School, High School   Lamb/Random   228 pp. 2/16   978-0-553-49778-6   $17.99 Library ed. 978-0-553-49779-3   $20.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-553-49780-9   $10.99 Through sensory details that viscerally evoke the story’s physical and emotional landscapes, readers are transported to 1970s Birch Park, Alaska, where hunting and fishing are both livelihood […]

Three nonfiction books | Class #3, 2016

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        Bomb: the Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steven Shenkin Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose Marching For Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge Good nonfiction shares many of the qualities of good fiction; the best writers pay as much attention to narrative, style, and characterization as to careful research of the facts. […]

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian | Class #2, 2016

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie tells Junior’s story with lots of humor but pulls no punches in depicting the brutal truths of alcoholism, poverty, and bigotry both on and off the reservation. In his article “Why the Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood,” Alexie talks about the importance […]

Eleanor and Park | Class #2, 2016

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Rainbow Rowell’s nontraditional romance novel Eleanor and Park portrays a young love that is genuine in its intimacy and awkwardness, as well as the painful realities of life that are well beyond the control of the young protagonists. What are the universal themes of this book distinctly set in the 1980s, and what elements are […]

Brown Girl Dreaming | Class #2, 2016

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Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is a coming-of-age memoir in eloquent free verse. Consider how form and voice reflect the young girl’s discovery of self and the world around her.

Review of City of Halves

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City of Halves by Lucy Inglis Middle School, High School   Chicken House/Scholastic   361 pp. 11/15   978-0-545-82958-8   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-545-83054-6   $17.99 While on reconnaissance for her lawyer father in the City of London, sixteen-year-old Lily is viciously attacked by a two-headed dog and discovers the existence of the other half of the City she […]

Review of Symphony for the 
City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and 
the Siege of Leningrad

anderson_symphony for the city of the dead

Symphony for the 
City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and 
the Siege of Leningrad by M. T. Anderson High School   Candlewick   424 pp. 9/15   978-0-7636-6818-1   $24.99   g Accomplished novelist Anderson presents an ambitious work of nonfiction encompassing the life of composer Dmitri Shostakovich, the early political history of the U.S.S.R., and the nation’s horrific suffering […]