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Review of The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake Intermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown    373 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-316-51553-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-51550-4    $9.99 After receiving a heart transplant, twelve-year-old Sunny decides it’s time for a “New Life” with specific components — including finding a boy to kiss and finding a new best […]

Review of Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott High School    Houghton    191 pp.    g 3/19    978-1-328-98759-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-04915-9    $9.99 In this verse novel, “voices” refers to Joan of Arc’s messages from the saints; to the various people who testified for and against her; to Joan herself; and to the objects […]

Journeys through grief

Though each of the protagonists of these middle-grade and middle-school stories navigates grief in her or his own way, their paths to healing are all poignant and relatable. In Kwame Alexander‘s Rebound, the 1988-set prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, twelve-year-old Charlie Bell is spending the summer with his grandparents following the sudden death […]

Review of Lovely War

Lovely War by Julie Berry High School    Viking    471 pp. 3/19    978-0-451-46993-9    $18.99 When the Greek god of fire, Hephaestus, catches his wife Aphrodite, goddess of love, in 1942 Manhattan in a passionate affair with his brother Ares, god of war, Aphrodite defends her actions by showing the two gods what real love looks like. […]

Review of The Last Last-Day-of-Summer

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles; illus. by Dapo Adeola Intermediate, Middle School    Versify/Houghton    289 pp.    g 4/19    978-1-328-46083-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-04721-6    $9.99 African American cousins Otto and Sheed Alston are local legends in their small Virginia town, often featured in the Logan County Gazette for their daring exploits — getting rid of ghosts, […]

Review of A Good Kind of Trouble

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    368 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-06-283668-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-283670-0    $9.99 Shayla’s goals for her first year of junior high are simple. Attract the attention of the cute guy. Avoid the class bully. Don’t make waves. Stay close to her two best […]

Review of Dig.

Dig. by A.S. King High School    Dutton    394 pp.    g 3/19    978-1-101-99491-7    $17.99 David has never met his father and is tired of constantly moving around with his mom. Malcolm has already lost his mother and is about to lose his beloved father to cancer. Katie deals drugs out of a fast-food drive-thru window and […]

Review of Internment

Internment by Samira Ahmed High School    Little, Brown    304 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-316-52269-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-52266-3    $9.99 Xenophobic fear-mongering, book burnings, terrified families rounded up in the middle of the night to be thrown into internment camps — all painfully familiar elements of America’s past and present — descend upon Layla Amin’s near-future dystopian […]

Brave girls in audiobooks

These audiobooks starring brave and resilient female protagonists will appeal to middle-grade fans of historical fiction featuring strong and lively young women. March is Women’s History Month. See also our Five Questions interview with Laurie Halse Anderson and the “Strong women making an impact 2019” section in this issue of Notes from the Horn Book; […]

Review of On the Come Up

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    453 pp.    g 2/19    978-0-06-249856-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-249857-1    $12.99 If reading The Hate U Give (rev. 3/17) was like listening to 2Pac, intent on capturing the emotional impact of injustice, On the Come Up is more like Biggie, focusing on the experience […]