YA supernatural baddies

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Looking for a book to send a chill down your spine? These four new novels involving creepy paranormal characters are perfect for the occasion. Abandoning university for a (failed) archaeological dig in the Carpathian Mountains, Abigail Rook, star of William Ritter’s Jackaby, finds herself aboard a ship bound for America. Landing in the town of […]

Eerie places

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A creepy space can go a long way toward creating the tone for a scary story. These novels all transport readers to places that are likely to give them the willies. A building is the main character in Benny Lindelauf’s Dutch import Nine Open Arms. A family of nine moves into the titular rundown brick […]

2014 BGHB Fiction Day

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Yesterday we honored our BGHB Nonfiction Award winners — today it’s fiction’s turn! Read reviews of all of the 2014 fiction winners here; see below for more web extras to celebrate them. And, if you’re in the Boston area, join us on October 10–11, 2014, for the Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium: Mind the Gaps, […]

Review of Nest

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Nest by Esther Ehrlich Intermediate, Middle School    Lamb/Random    330 pp. 9/14    978-0-385-38607-4    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-38608-1    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-385-38609-8    $9.99 In this debut novel set in the late 1960s, Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein’s sixth-grade teacher tells her, “Your mom is a very lucky lady to have such a responsible girl.” Chirp is very responsible, […]

Review of The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

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The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry Middle School    Roaring Brook    354 pp. 9/14    978-1-59634-956-6    $15.99    g This airy confection could not be more different from Berry’s most recent (and pitch-black) novel All the Truth That’s in Me (rev. 11/13). Part murder mystery, part girls’-school story, part dark drawing-room comedy (think Edwin Drood, […]

Review of Beetle Boy

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Beetle Boy by Margaret Willey High School    Carolrhoda Lab    200 pp. 9/14    978-1-4677-2639-9    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-4677-4626-7    $12.95 As eighteen-year-old Charlie Porter slowly and painfully convalesces from a ruptured Achilles tendon at his girlfriend Clara’s house, bits of his past — years of being paraded around in a bug costume by his exploitive father as […]

Girls on the edge

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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

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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

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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 — […]