Subscribe to The Horn Book

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 […]

Review of This Impossible Light

This Impossible Light by Lily Myers Middle School, High School    Philomel    343 pp. 6/17    978-0-399-17372-1    $17.99 Fifteen-year-old Ivy Lewis is a straight-A student who takes comfort in the familiar predictability of her sophomore year. Her father has moved out, her mother is slipping further into depression, her brother has left for college, and her best […]

Review of Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth; illus. by Ekua Holmes Intermediate, Middle School, High School    Candlewick    50 pp. 3/17    978-0-7636-8094-7    $16.99 The title of this innovative poetry collection comes from Lucille Clifton, who wrote, “Poems come out of wonder, not out of […]

Life under siege

Growing up amidst political turmoil and war can have profound effects on any individual. These memoirs and biographies offer nuanced explorations of lives in such uncertain places and times. In How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child, Congolese refugee Sandra Uwiringiyimana recounts life before, during, and after war. Growing up in the […]

Review of The One Memory of Flora Banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr High School    Philomel    296 pp. 5/17    978-0-399-54701-0    $17.99 Ever since, as she’s been told, Flora had a brain tumor removed when she was eleven, she’s been unable to make new memories. She can remember things for only a few hours and must negotiate her life by […]

Review of Thick as Thieves

Thick as Thieves [Queen’s Thief] by Megan Whalen Turner Middle School, High School    Greenwillow    339 pp.    g 5/17    978-0-06-256824-3    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-256825-0    $18.89 e-book ed.  978-0-06-256827-4    $9.99 Turner’s eagerly awaited fifth Queen’s Thief novel (beginning with The Thief, rev. 11/96) displays in full her many fortes: ingenious […]

Using picture books to teach adolescents about genre

I teach a course every spring about methods in teaching writing, and one topic we learn about is teaching genre. Adolescents need a fairly broad understanding of a variety of genres, both reading and writing them, though often English classrooms focus heavily on reading novels and writing analytical essays. So every year, I make the […]

Review of The Truth Commission

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby High School    Viking    310 pp. 4/15    978-0-451-46877-2    $18.99     g Presented as narrator Normandy Pale’s spring creative nonfiction project, the story recounts the excavation of truth — and its unanticipated after-effects — by three students at a super-artsy Vancouver Island high school. Norm and her two best friends, Neil and […]

Love stories with Pride

Two intense, nonlinear explorations of love and loss; one surprising, sweet romance; and one high-stakes, swoon-worthy romp. What these very different (in genre and tone) love stories have in common are nuanced portrayals of a spectrum of sexual identities and experiences, making them welcome new additions to the canon of queer YA. Happy Pride Month! […]

Review of Ronit & Jamil

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    183 pp. 2/17    978-0-06-245854-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-245855-1    $9.89 This Romeo and Juliet–inspired story unfolds in five acts of verse, swapping the setting of Renaissance-era Italy with present-day Israel. Teenagers Ronit (an Israeli girl) and Jamil (a Palestinian boy) are […]