Review of Belzhar

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Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer High School   Dutton   264 pp. 9/14   978-0-525-42305-8   $17.99   g After her boyfriend Reeve’s death, Jam Gallahue is shipped off to The Wooden Barn, a boarding school for “emotionally fragile, highly intelligent” teens. There she’s placed in a widely coveted, extremely selective course called Special Topics in English, one of just five […]

Review of My True Love Gave to Me

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My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins High School   St. Martin’s Griffin   323 pp. 10/14   978-1-250-05930-7   $18.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4668-6389-7   $9.99 Holiday romance is the connecting link for the twelve tales included in this highly enjoyable anthology by a dozen well-known young adult authors, including Rainbow Rowell, Matt […]

Five questions for Lizzie Skurnick

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Since 2013, Lizzie Skurnick Books (LSB; an imprint of Ig Publishing) has been handpicking and reissuing “the very best in young adult literature, from the classics of the 1930s and 1940s to the social novels of the 1970s and 1980s.” The list gained a passel of built-in followers with the release of Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind-Family series, […]

Review of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

farizan_tell me again how a crush should feel

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan High School    Algonquin    296 pp. 10/14    978-1-61620-284-2    $16.95    g e-book ed.  978-1-61620-435-8    $16.95 Sixteen-year-old Iranian American Leila Azadi is, in her own words, a “Persian scaredy-cat.” Afraid to tell her best friends and her conservative family that she is gay, Leila finds herself in […]

Review of Gracefully Grayson

polonsky_gracefully grayson

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky Intermediate, Middle School    Hyperion    247 pp. 11/14    978-1-4231-8527-7    $16.99 Grayson, a sixth grader at Porter Middle School, passes the time doodling and daydreaming about what it would be like to go through life as a girl, despite being seen by everyone else as male. Struggling with the total isolation that […]

Review of Nuts to You

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Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author Intermediate    Greenwillow    260 pp. 8/14    978-0-06-009275-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-226220-2    $8.99 Jed the squirrel’s odyssey begins dramatically when he is captured by a hawk and carried far away from his community. Using an “ancient squirrel defensive martial art,” he escapes and so begins his […]

Review of The Spiritglass Charade

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The Spiritglass Charade [Stoker & Holmes] by Colleen Gleason Middle School, High School    Chronicle    356 pp. 10/14    978-1-4521-1071-4    $17.99    g In the second Stoker & Holmes mystery (The Clockwork Scarab, rev. 9/13), the royal family enlists the teenage protagonists to investigate whether a young lady, Willa Ashton — who believes she can communicate with her […]

Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

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Gail Carriger introduced readers to her alternate Victorian London — chock-full of steampunk technology and supernatural characters — in 2009 with Soulless, the first volume of her five-book adult series The Parasol Protectorate. The Finishing School series, a YA prequel series set in the same world, soon followed, beginning with Curtsies & Conspiracies. Espionage lessons, […]

Around the world

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Reading can take children on journeys outside of their everyday realms. The following stories — some humorous, some tender — allow independent readers to spend time with characters from all over the globe. When Naomi Shihab Nye’s The Turtle of Oman opens, Aref and his mother are preparing to leave their home in Muscat, Oman, […]

Review of The Red Pencil

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The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illus. by Shane W. Evans Middle School    Little, Brown    324 pp. 9/14    978-0-316-24780-1    $17.00 e-book ed.  978-0-316-24781-8    $9.99 The first part of this vivid novel, set from September 2003 to March 2004, celebrates twelve-year-old Amira’s life on her family farm in Darfur, Sudan. Her first-person prose poems and […]