Review of The Smell of Other People’s Houses

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock Middle School, High School   Lamb/Random   228 pp. 2/16   978-0-553-49778-6   $17.99 Library ed. 978-0-553-49779-3   $20.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-553-49780-9   $10.99 Through sensory details that viscerally evoke the story’s physical and emotional landscapes, readers are transported to 1970s Birch Park, Alaska, where hunting and fishing are both livelihood […]

Two historical fiction books | Class #3, 2016

One Crazy Summer

     One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia Supplemental readings: Rita Williams-Garcia’s profile in July/August 2007 Horn Book Magazine No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie Historical fiction is a balancing act of storytelling and character development with […]

Three nonfiction books | Class #3, 2016

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        Bomb: the Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steven Shenkin Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose Marching For Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge Good nonfiction shares many of the qualities of good fiction; the best writers pay as much attention to narrative, style, and characterization as to careful research of the facts. […]

Review of Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow

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Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell High School   St. Martin’s Griffin   522 pp. 10/15   978-1-250-04955-1   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4668-5054-5   $9.99 In Fangirl (rev. 11/13), protagonist Cath wrote fanfiction for the fictitious “Simon Snow” fantasy series. Now Rowell has written a novel set in Simon Snow’s universe and using many […]

Review of City of Halves

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City of Halves by Lucy Inglis Middle School, High School   Chicken House/Scholastic   361 pp. 11/15   978-0-545-82958-8   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-545-83054-6   $17.99 While on reconnaissance for her lawyer father in the City of London, sixteen-year-old Lily is viciously attacked by a two-headed dog and discovers the existence of the other half of the City she […]

Review of Dark Shimmer

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Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli High School   Lamb/Random   358 pp. 9/15   978-0-385-74655-7   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-385-90892-4   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-375-98917-9   $10.99 Napoli’s latest fairy-tale revisioning is set amongst the beautiful homes and mysterious waters of fifteenth-century Venice. Dolce grew up on a tiny island believing that she was a monster: larger than everyone else, […]

Review of A Song for Ella Grey

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A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond High School   Delacorte   268 pp. 10/15   978-0-553-53359-0   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-553-53360-6   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-553-53361-3   $10.99 A celebration of the wonderful madness of youth, and of the bemusing, soul-confusing power of aesthetic experience, lies at the heart of Almond’s lyrical, contemporary-set take on the myth of Orpheus […]

Reviews of The Hunger Games trilogy

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The Hunger Games [Hunger Games] by Suzanne Collins Middle School, High School     Scholastic      374 pp. 10/08     978-0-439-02348-1      $17.99 Survivor meets “The Lottery” as the author of the popular Underland Chronicles returns with what promises to be an even better series. The United States is no more, and the new Capitol, high in the Rocky […]

Review of My Seneca Village

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 My Seneca Village by Marilyn Nelson Middle School, High School   Namelos   88 pp. 11/15   978-1-60898-196-0   $21.95 Paper ed. 978-1-60898-197-7   $11.95 e-book ed. 978-1-60898-198-4   $9.95 Seneca Village in Manhattan was founded in 1825 by free African Americans; by 1857 it had been razed to make way for the construction of Central Park. In forty-one poems Nelson […]

Review of Calvin

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Calvin by Martine Leavitt High School   Ferguson/Farrar   182 pp. 11/15   978-0-374-38073-1   $17.99   g Seventeen-year-old Calvin has recently been diagnosed as schizophrenic. Calvin believes that his life is inextricably linked to Bill Watterson, the famously reclusive artist behind the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes — a belief reinforced by the constant presence of the voice of […]