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Review of Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace Intermediate, Middle School    Calkins/Boyds Mills    192 pp.    g 9/17    978-1-62979-428-0    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-62979-915-5    $9.99 Ten thousand people cheered as the steamer Jeannette departed San Francisco, off to the North Pole, in 1879, seeking to expand human knowledge and […]

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 Us in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos

Us in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos by Lulu Delacre; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    242 pp.    g 8/17    978-0-06-239214-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-239216-9    $9.99 This collection opens with “The Attack,” an all-too-timely account of a young Latino man with a disability being mistreated by the police. The twelve tales are […]

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 […]

Review of Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code

Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code [Scientists in the Field] by Amy Cherrix Middle School    Houghton    73 pp. 4/17    978-0-544-41165-4    $18.99 When thirteen-year-old Angela Dresch walks out on the Staten Island Beach on the afternoon of October 29, 2012, neither she nor readers know that in a […]

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

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander Alexander turns motivational speaker in this collection organized like a basketball game, with four quarters and rules. Alexander’s narrative of his early life in sports weaves its way through a lively display of colorful graphics, black-and-white photographs, short […]

Review of It All Comes Down to This

It All Comes Down to This by Karen English Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion    368 pp.    g 7/17    978-0-544-83957-1    $16.99 The daughter of an art gallery–owning mother and a lawyer father, twelve-year-old Sophie has advantages most children her age do not. However, the summer of 1965 in Los Angeles brings challenges no amount of money can […]

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, […]