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Review of Grayling’s Song

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Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman Intermediate    Clarion    210 pp. 6/16    978-0-544-30180-1    $16.99    g Cushman’s previous works (The Midwife’s Apprentice, rev. 7/95; Will Sparrow’s Road, rev. 11/12; etc.) fall into the realm of historical fiction; this novel is historically based but a fantasy, set in a culture inspired by, but not wedded to, medieval Europe. It’s […]

Review of Somewhere Among

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Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu Intermediate    Dlouhy/Atheneum    441 pp. 4/16    978-1-4814-3786-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3788-2    $10.99 Japanese fifth-grader Ema and her pregnant mother must move to the other side of Toyko to stay for several months with Obaasan and Jiichan, Papa’s parents: Mom is weak with debilitating morning sickness, and Papa works long hours. No […]

2016 Fiction Award winners extras

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On June 2nd, the 2016 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards were announced — via video for the first time! — by Horn Book editor in chief Roger Sutton and Linda Pizzuti Henry, managing director of the Boston Globe. The Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards ceremony will take place at Simmons College in Boston, MA, on September 30th, […]

Review of The Best Man

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The Best Man by Richard Peck Intermediate, Middle School     Dial     232 pp. 9/16     978-0-8037-3839-3     $16.99     g e-book ed. 978-0-698-18973-7     $10.99 Rise and toast The Best Man, Peck’s story about Archer Magill, a boy growing from a raw dollop of kindergarten id into a functional middle-school kid, a budding citizen of the world. As a participant […]

Review of Summerlost

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Summerlost by Ally Condie Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    253 pp. 3/16    978-0-339-18719-3    $17.99    g A local theater festival sets the stage for YA author Condie’s (Matched and sequels) first middle-grade novel. Twelve-year-old Cedar Lee, her little brother Miles, and their mother settle into their new summer home in Iron Creek, “a small town in a […]

Five questions for Tim Federle

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Tim Federle, well known for his middle-grade novels Better Nate Than Ever and its sequel Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (both Simon, 8–12 years), recently published his YA debut The Great American Whatever (Simon, 14 years and up). We asked the versatile writer and Broadway veteran about his reading past and his characters’ futures, and we […]

Review of Every Single Second

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Every Single Second by Tricia Springstubb; illus. by Diana Sudyka Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    360 pp. 6/16    978-0-06-236628-3    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-236630-6    $9.99 Nella Sabatini’s life is largely centered on her tight-knit Italian American family, including her harried mother, her cemetery-groundskeeper father, her four unruly younger brothers, and her crotchety great-grandmother, Nonna. But […]

Fathers, sons, and grandfathers

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The bonds between a son and his father or grandfather can be strong yet complicated. The following books offer middle schoolers a glimpse into some tricky, loving family relationships. In Kwame Alexander‘s verse novel Booked (a companion in structure and theme to his 2015 Newbery Award–winning The Crossover), eighth grader Nick Hall is quite a […]

YA with pride

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June is LGBT Pride Month. Before, during, and after the parades have been attended and the rainbow cakes baked, readers can find queer-centric tales of love, struggle, and discovering one’s identity in the following books. It’s Pride Week in San Francisco in Nina LaCour and David Levithan’s You Know Me Well, and high-school seniors Mark […]

Fiction Reviews of 2016 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner and Honor Books

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Fiction Winner The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge Middle School, High School    Amulet/Abrams    378 pp. 4/16    978-1-4197-1895-3    $17.95 Everything in this audacious novel is on the cusp or in limbo, setting up delicious tensions and thematic riches. The time is nineteenth-century England just after Darwin’s theory of evolution has thrown the scientific world into turmoil; […]