Girls on the edge

kuderick_kiss of broken glass

The protagonists of these pull-no-punches YA novels experience the dark side of adolescence, from mental illness to abuse to trauma to religious intolerance to the death of a loved one — but each one is given what she needs to overcome her challenges. After she is caught cutting herself in the school bathroom, fifteen-year-old Kenna, […]

Middle-grade BFFs

curtis_madman of piney woods

The friends you make in childhood can be the best ones of your life. The following books highlight unlikely friendships that are made to last.    Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Madman of Piney Woods (companion to Newbery Honor Book Elijah of Buxton) takes place in 1901, with the American Civil War a not-so-distant memory for […]

Review of Egg & Spoon

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  Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire Middle School    Candlewick    479 pp. 9/14    978-0-7636-7220-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7582-0    $17.99 An imprisoned man tells his story, Scheherazade-like, in letters to the tsar. He begins with Elena, a young girl in the impoverished Russian countryside who is nursing her dying mother and who has witnessed her brother […]

Review of The Madman of Piney Woods

MadmanPineyWoods

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis Intermediate, Middle School   Scholastic    370 pp. 9/14    978-0-545-15664-6    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-63376-5    $16.99 In this companion to Newbery Honor Book Elijah of Buxton (rev. 11/07), it is now 1901, and for thirteen-year-old Benji Alston of Buxton, Ontario, the American Civil War is ancient history — […]

Review of Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, 
and Other Tourist Attractions

look_alvin ho great wall

Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, 
and Other Tourist Attractions by Lenore Look; illus. by LeUyen Pham Primary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    163 pp. 8/14    978-0-385-36972-5    $15.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-36973-2    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-449-81986-9    $7.99 Alvin Ho, who’s afraid even when safe at home, faces previously unknown fears when his […]

Review of A Creature of Moonlight

hahn_creature of moonlight

A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn Middle School, High School    Houghton    314 pp. 5/14    978-0-544-10935-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-544-11009-0    $17.99 Marni is the daughter of a princess and the powerful dragon who presides over the kingdom’s magicked woods. When she was a baby, her grandfather surrendered his throne to his son to save her […]

Go your own way

smith_100 sideways miles

Teen boys go on journeys both physical (road trip!) and psychological in these affecting YA novels. Finn Easton, protagonist of Andrew Smith’s 100 Sideways Miles, has unusual scars on his back, products of the freak accident that also killed his mother when he was a kid. He has a pretty good life otherwise: his sci-fi […]

Review of Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling

frank_two girls staring at the ceiling

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank Middle School, High School    Schwartz & Wade/Random    261 pp. 8/14    978-0-307-97974-2    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-307-97975-9    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-307-97976-6    $9.99 A high-strung teenager faces the emotional consequences of chronic illness in this poignant novel in verse. Narrator Francesca is having a magical night with a […]

Review of Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight

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Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer; 
illus. by Elise Gravel Primary, Intermediate    Little, Brown    101 pp. 4/14    978-0-316-24319-3    $14.99 Paper ed.  978-0-316-24320-9    $5.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-24321-6    $5.99 “Take Your Kid to Work Day” will never again be the same for Archie. He has been waiting “eight years, eight months, and […]

Review of Like No Other

lamarche_like no other

Like No Other by Una LaMarche Middle School, High School    Razorbill/Penguin    347 pp. 7/14    978-1-59514-674-8    $17.99    g How’s this for a meet cute? New York teens Devorah and Jaxon get stuck in a hospital elevator during a hurricane. Though their encounter is a fairly brief one, it’s also intense, and both come away with that […]