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Review of Jane, Unlimited

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore Middle School, High School    Dawson/Penguin    451 pp.    g 9/17    978-0-8037-4149-2    $17.99 When her guardian, Aunt Magnolia, dies, Jane is left untethered and financially insecure. Then Kiran, an old acquaintance, invites Jane to Tu Reviens (“you return”), Kiran’s family’s island mansion. Aunt Magnolia had told Jane unequivocally that “if you’re invited […]

How to deal

For the protagonists of these recent YA novels, school variously serves as a source of anxiety and a means to cope (healthily or otherwise) with turmoil in other parts of their lives. In Posted by John David Anderson, the administration of Branton Middle School bans cell phones, and a new, old-fashioned idea comes along: sticky […]

Of scientists and samurai

These nonfiction audiobooks, recommended for middle-school listeners and up, highlight a variety of memorable moments and important figures throughout human history. Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune is the bloody, heroic saga of an iconic twelfth-century samurai. Author Pamela S. Turner combines meticulous historical detail with conversational modernity and wry asides. Her narrative […]

Review of Landscape with Invisible Hand

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M. T. Anderson Middle School, High School    Candlewick    149 pp.    g 9/17    978-0-7636-8789-2    $16.99 Parable, satire, dystopic sci-fi — Anderson’s take on a near future in which alien “vuvv” have colonized America’s economy, land, and airspace has so many shiveringly close resemblances to the contemporary world that it might also […]

August 2017 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: High School

Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos (Holt) This biography begins with the D-Day landing, then flashes back and follows Capa and Taro through the development of photojournalism, including their documentation of the Spanish Civil War. Carefully selected and positioned photographs create […]

Review of And Then There Were Four

And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin High School    Dial    416 pp. 6/17    978-0-8037-4072-3    $18.99 After a three-book detour through the fantasy genre (Impossible, rev. 9/08, and sequels), Werlin (The Rules of Survival, rev. 9/06) returns to her mystery/thriller roots for another psychological page-turner. Five students at a private boarding school are called together […]

Review of The Memory of Things

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner High School    St. Martin’s Griffin    275 pp. 9/16    978-1-250-09552-7    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-250-09553-4    $9.99 It’s the morning of September 11, 2001, in Manhattan, and the first tower has just fallen. Sixteen-year-old Brooklynite Kyle, fleeing toward home, stumbles upon a teenage girl wearing a pair of costume wings […]

Family ties

Maya Angelou wrote, “Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.” For many teens, adolescence includes contending with changing sibling relationships. Four new novels explore the joys and challenges of these shifting dynamics. Suzette and Lionel, the protagonists of Brandy Colbert’s Little & Lion, are close teen step-siblings in a happy, blended, […]

Five questions for Mitali Perkins

Mitali Perkins‘s latest novel You Bring the Distant Near (Farrar, 12–16 years) is a sprawling family epic that follows three generations of women in the Das family — matriarch Ranee; her daughters Tara and Sonia; and each of their daughters, Anna and Chantal. The story begins in 1965 and ends in 2006; as the family […]

Review of Saints and Misfits

Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali Middle School, High School    Salaam/Simon    328 pp. 6/17    978-1-4814-9924-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-9926-2    $10.99 Sophomore Janna Yusuf, a hijab-wearing Flannery O’Connor devotee, knows that the world is full of “saints,” “monsters,” and “misfits.” She considers herself the last, not quite sure where she belongs within her post-divorce family […]