The Fault in Our Stars by John Green High School Dutton 321 pp. 1/12 978-0-525-47881-2 $17.99 g I suppose this is a cancer book, but as its inimitable heroine Hazel would say, “It’s not a cancer book, because cancer books suck.” Evoking yet transcending such teen-illness classics as Paige Dixon’s May I Cross Your Golden [...]
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler; illus. by Maira Kalman High School Little, Brown 355 pp. 12/11 978-0-316-12725-7 $19.99 Min and Ed’s differences are profound–most obviously, she’s a quirky aspiring filmmaker and he’s a popular jock. Readers see immediately, though, that it’s not simply these practical differences that caused their breakup, the event on [...]
The No. 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke; illus. by Warwick Johnson Cadwell Primary, Intermediate Kane Miller 112 pp. 9/11 Paper ed. 978-1-61067-051-7 $5.99 Oluwalase Babatunde Benson, called No. 1, is the best car spotter in his African village. His unnamed country has cities and towns with skyscrapers, hotels, offices, tap water, electricity, and televisions, but [...]
Bluefish by Pat Schmatz Middle School Candlewick 229 pp. 9/11 978-0-7636-5334-7 $15.99 e-book ed. 978-0-7636-5614-0 $15.99 “Stupid bluefish” Travis Roberts finds “lowlife trailer-trash loser” Vida “Velveeta” Wojciehowski in a lovely, understated book that celebrates the possibility of a kind and humane friendship between an eighth-grade girl and boy. Travis and Velveeta meet while both are [...]
First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci Middle School, High School Scholastic 150 pp. 11/11 978-0-545-06082-0 $17.99 “Why is the hardest question in the world to answer.” And sixteen-year-old Mal (short for Malcolm) asks why a lot: Why did his father leave? Why did his mother fall apart? Why did aliens abduct him, probe him, [...]
Mrs. Gefelty, Lily’s mom — worried now that Lily has begun appearing as a book character along with her longtime adventure-series-hero friends Jasper Dash and Katie — has figured out the perfect solution to her metafictive problem. Having noticed that mothers in children’s novels tend to die or disappear, she’s decided to retreat to a safe haven — only it’s not quite as safe as she thinks…
Upon arriving in London from Louisiana for the school year, high-school senior Rory is told that someone “pulled a Jack the Ripper” the night before. She assumes the phrase is some quaint British colloquialism she has yet to learn, not an actual reference to a gruesome murder committed on the same date—August 31—and in the same location.
“Bear had a dream. His dream was to make his friends laugh.” But poor Bear has stage fright, and his debut appearance on the Woodland Stage flops. Despondent, Bear goes to the local watering hole, orders a root beer, and says to himself: “What’s the use? I’ll never tell another joke again.” But when hummingbird Emmy, a gifted performer but lousy writer, finds Bear’s crumpled-up list of jokes, she perceives its comedic genius and regales the crowd with an impromptu performance. Bear’s friends, recognizing his work, introduce the two and thus create a symbiotic partnership between two comedians with different skills.
With Wonderstruck’s opening wordless sequence of an approaching wolf, readers might think they’ve embarked upon a Gary Paulsen novel, but this is a story not of wilderness adventure but of two young people running—to New York City—for their lives. The pictures (pencil, double-page spread, wordless) follow a young girl, Rose, living in material comfort but also emotional distress in 1927 Hoboken; the text is set in 1977 in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters region, where a boy, Ben, struggles with the death of his mother and the loss of his hearing.