What is it you can’t face Reverend Mother?

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As the Scott O’Dell committee winds up its considerations (look for an announcement after New Year’s but before ALA), I find myself seeing and pondering my favorite historical-fiction nemesis: the info dump. The following example is NOT from one of the contenders but from Katherine Neville’s The Eight, an enormously entertaining pile of balderdash that anticipated […]

The POW! of the turning of the page

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I was super-stoked to attend a live taping of The Nerdist Writers’ Panel podcast at local indie bookstore Brookline Booksmith on Saturday. The special guest was Joe Hill, one of my favorite adult authors. He’s published three horror-ish novels (including Horns, which in 2013 was made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe), a short story […]

Fairytale of New York

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If I ruled the world, Brooklyn would be the teen movie of the season. It has the vicissitudes of young romance, a love triangle, a heroine who blossoms from being pleasant-looking to full-on Titanic-era Kate Winslet, right down to the hair blowing and glowing in the ocean sunrise. It’s probably too quiet for wide appeal, though, […]

#Stuffwhitepeoplelike: Go Set a Watchman

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The Harpers Lee and Collins have certainly presented readers with a lively spectacle these past six months with the promise of another novel by the famous first-novelist-forever Lee. Go Set a Watchman was written  and submitted to Lippincott before To Kill a Mockingbird (published in 1960). Opinion seems to be divided as to whether Watchman should be considered […]

George R. R. Martin’s The Ice Dragon

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George R. R. Martin is best known for penning his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy saga, the basis for HBO’s crazy-popular series Game of Thrones. Speaking from personal experience, it’s shamefully easy for fans of that franchise to forget just how prolific he is. Admittedly, ASOIAF is pretty absorbing — what with bloody […]

Reviewing from under a rock

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I loved Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White (try the audiobook if you want something immersive and long) and am looking forward to his Book of Strange New Things. But there was a passage in Marcel Theroux’s extremely laudatory NYT review last week  that’s driving me crazy: “Since the critical and commercial triumph […]

Magic School

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Continuing my adventures in books for boys grown big, I’m reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which I somehow missed when it came out and only noticed on the recent publication of a second sequel. It’s a story about a nice boy who thinks he’s on the way to Princeton but winds up in magic school […]

Why The Face? I’ll tell you.

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I just finished David Shafer’s thriller Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, which I read because of Dwight Garner’s NYT review. The book is everything Garner says it is–bright, popping, funny, suspenseful. And it has all the things I love: complicated heroes and heroines, smart riffs on contemporary memes, and–best of all–a global conspiracy that really is out to […]

Reading Rainbow (Rowell)

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Who knew Rainbow Rowell had a new book (for adults)? Not me! Until I snapped it up at the Cambridge Public Library yesterday. A TV-writer mom bags out on her husband and kids during Christmas vacation in order to stay home and prepare for a big pitch at work. Her marriage has been cooling for […]

Why do we even call it YA anymore?

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I just can’t blog about this topic anymore. It’s worn me out. But I also can’t muster the reflexive outrage Our Crowd exhibits whenever someone wonders if there’s something weird about civilian adults with a steady reading diet of books for teenagers. There is. But it’s not because these YA books are less complex (a […]