Review of Dust of Eden

nagai_dust of eden

Dust of Eden by Mariko Nagai Intermediate, Middle School    Whitman    122 pp. 3/14    978-0-8075-1739-0    $16.99 In this verse novel, we first meet Mina Tagawa and her Seattle-based family just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Shortly after, her father is imprisoned, and the rest of the family — Mina, her mother, grandfather, and older brother […]

Review of The Boundless

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The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel Intermediate, Middle School    Simon    332 pp. 4/14    978-1-4424-7288-4    $15.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4424-7290-7    $10.99 Will Everett’s father has risen high in the railroad company. He’ll be driving the Boundless, the longest train ever, on her maiden voyage, and among its 987 cars is the heavily guarded funeral car of railroad […]

From The Guide: Spy Novels

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In his article “I Spy: Harriet and I,” Jack Gantos discusses “the thrill of being sneaky” (“I just liked knowing I had discovered something that was supposed to be a secret”). It’s a universal fascination — one that Harriet the Spy tapped into — which is why the ever-popular spy-novel genre continues to entice readers. […]

Review of West of the Moon

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West of the Moon by Margi Preus Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams    216 pp. 4/14    978-1-4197-0896-1    $16.95 Preus, whose Shadow on the Mountain (rev. 11/12) was set in Nazi-occupied Norway, here takes readers to mid-nineteenth-century Norway in a tale strongly infused with myth. Fourteen-year-old Astri is determined to go to America to find her widowed father. […]

Review of We Were Liars

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart High School    Delacorte    228 pp. 5/14    978-0-385-74126-2    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-98994-0    $20.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-375-98440-2    $10.99 Cadence Sinclair Eastman, eldest grandchild in a Kennedy-esque clan, narrates this story about her wealthy family, one that’s rife with secrets and is broken under the hood. Cady begins the book by […]

Review of Half a Chance

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Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord Intermediate    Scholastic    218 pp. 3/14    978-0-545-03533-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-545-62083-3    $16.99 When twelve-year-old Lucy enters a photography contest, she must decide whether or not to send in her very best photo — a picture of her new friend Nate’s grandmother, whose life has become punctuated with moments of dementia […]

Review of Feral Curse

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Feral Curse [Feral] by Cynthia Leitich Smith High School    Candlewick    259 pp. 2/14    978-0-7636-5910-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7040-5    $17.99 Secret werecat Kayla chooses Valentine’s Day to reveal her true nature to her boyfriend, Ben. He reacts badly, to put it mildly: he runs away from Kayla, is hit by lightning on the antique carousel in […]

Life during wartime

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War wreaks havoc on civilians, soldiers, and those they leave behind. Nevertheless, the following four works of historical fiction epitomize the WWII Britain motto: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Four years ago, Alfie Summerfield’s dad, Georgie, signed up to fight in WWI. For a while, letters came regularly; then they stopped altogether. Eventually Alfie learns […]

YA fantasy you’ve been waiting for

moriarty_cracks in the kingdom

Every fantasy fan knows the exquisite agony of anticipating the next entry in a favorite series — particularly if that entry will be the last. These four new novels continue (and in some cases, complete) popular series. In The Cracks in the Kingdom, the follow-up to Jaclyn Moriarty‘s BGHB Fiction Award Honor book A Corner […]

Review of More of Monkey & Robot

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More of Monkey & Robot by Peter Catalanotto; illus. by the author Primary    Jackson/Atheneum    58 pp. 3/14    978-1-4424-5251-0    $14.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4424-5253-4    $9.99 Monkey and Robot are back (Monkey & Robot, rev. 1/13) in four stories for new readers. Monkey continues to make a mess, and Robot patiently helps him fix things. First Monkey worries […]