Review of Tommy

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Tommy: The Gun that Changed America by Karen Blumenthal Middle School, High School     Roaring Brook     223 pp. 6/15     978-1-62672-084-8     $19.99     g In this biography of a gun and the times in which it lived, Blumenthal traces the Thompson submachine gun, a.k.a. the Tommy. After the Spanish-American War, an Army officer, John […]

Review of Finding Audrey

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Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella Middle School, High School     Delacorte     287 pp. 6/15     978-0-553-53651-5     $18.99 e-book ed. 978-0-553-53652-2     $10.99 Audrey wears dark glasses all of the time, “even in the house.” But it’s not out of excessive devotion to her movie-star namesake; it’s because she’s afraid. Of everyone. We learn, incompletely, that “some […]

Mysterious ways

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Full of thrills, chills, secrets, and lies, these new high-stakes mysteries for middle- and high-school readers will get hearts racing. Teen detective Scarlett is wary when nine-year-old Gemma appears at her office and tells her that she thinks her brother murdered someone. Scarlett accepts the case, and she’s soon launched into a dangerous mystery that […]

Review of Stonewall

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 Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum Middle School, High School     Viking     120 pp. 5/15     978-0-670-01679-2     $16.99 Bausum begins her history of the gay rights movement with a careful, detailed exposition of the June 1969 Stonewall riots, laying out the events leading up to the clash between the […]

Brain-bending books

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Lately, I’ve read several books that blew me away with their beautiful and sometimes anarchic originality. I’ve written before about the creepy dreaminess of the almost-song We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and I was equally bowled over by the lyrical oddity of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, which […]

Review of Hit Count

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Hit Count by Chris Lynch High School   Algonquin   362 pp. 5/15   978-1-61620-250-7   $17.95   g e-book ed. 978-1-61620-490-7   $17.95 As a lowly freshman, junior varsity football player Arlo Brodie sets his future goals: varsity linebacker by sophomore year, then college ball for a Division One team, then the pros. After freshman year, Arlo works out like […]

Why schools still need libraries (and librarians)

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I felt like a scavenger. There I was, in a prestigious private school’s library, picking through books they were getting rid of in order to make space for a new tech area. The staff was extremely kind, but I still resented what their students had and mine didn’t. As I’ve explained in previous posts, the […]

Review of Nimona

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson; illus. by the author Middle School, High School   HarperTeen   266 pp. 5/15   978-0-06-227823-4   $17.99 Paper ed. 978-0-06-227822-7   $12.99 Ballister Blackheart — ex-knight and current 
supervillain — is focused on the destruction of the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics. He also wouldn’t mind getting even with Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, a knight-school […]

Teaching and reading in a YA movie world

The Giver movie poster

The first time I read The Giver, I was astounded. I got to the last page, sat for a moment in wonder, and then flipped back to page 1 to begin again, in the hopes I could hold that moment for just a little longer. The images that the book conjured for me were permanent, even today, many years and reads later.

Five questions for Ann Bausum

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Ann Bausum has written nonfiction about U.S. presidents and first ladies, muckrakers, Freedom Riders, suffragists, immigrants, and world wars. Her latest book Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights (Viking, 11–15 years) focuses on the 1969 Stonewall riots, which helped kick things off (spectacularly; there was a kick-line) in NYC and galvanize the […]