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

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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 […]

Review of Alien Encounter

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Alien Encounter [Sasquatch and Aliens] by Charise Mericle Harper; illus. by the author Intermediate    Ottaviano/Holt    205 pp. 4/14    978-0-8050-9621-7    $12.99    g Minutes after fourth graders Morgan and Lewis meet for the first time (underpants are involved), they share an alien sighting. This is obviously a solid basis for friendship, because they are practically inseparable in […]

Review of Caminar

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Caminar by Skila Brown Middle School    Candlewick    200 pp. 3/14    978-0-7636-6516-6    $15.99 “Forest sounds / all around / but on the ground / the sound / of Me / grew. Echoed. / I heard a path I could not see.” Exquisitely crafted poems are the basis of an unusually fine verse novel set in 1981, in […]