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Review of We Come Apart

We Come Apart by Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan High School    Bloomsbury    312 pp.    g 6/17    978-1-68119-275-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-68119-276-5    $12.99 Two troubled UK teens forge an unlikely romance in this novel in verse. Jess, a jaded tough girl, nicked some cosmetics with friends who let her take […]

Review of Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle Middle School    Houghton    260 pp. 3/14    978-0-544-10941-4    $17.99    g Of the thousands of people from around the world who helped build the Panama Canal, the voices of the dark-skinned workers have been seldom heard. Known as the “silver people” because they were paid in silver […]

Review of Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words

Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words by Margarita Engle Middle School    Atheneum    163 pp. 8/16    978-1-4814-6112-2    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6114-6    $10.99 In this last chapter in her series of verse novels about the struggle “against forced labor in nineteenth-century Cuba” (The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano, rev. 7/06, and […]

Five questions for David Elliott

“Whaddup, bitches?” says Poseidon at the start of David Elliott’s Bull (Houghton, 14 years and up) a verse-novel retelling of the Minotaur story from ancient Greek mythology that keeps readers on their toes with whip-smart dialogue, narrative double-crosses, changing poetic forms (seven main characters each has his or her own), and, of course, the stormy, […]

Review of To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party

To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown Middle School, High School    Candlewick    292 pp. 10/16    978-0-7636-7811-1    $17.99 In this compelling verse novel, Brown (Caminar, rev. 3/14) imagines the Donner Party’s harrowing survival tale as experienced by nineteen-year-old Mary Ann Graves, a real-life member of the […]

Five questions for Skila Brown

Skila Brown’s verse novel To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party (Candlewick, 14 years and up) tells the gripping story of the Donner Party’s doomed 1846 expedition west to California. Brown’s narrator is based on an actual member of the group: nineteen-year-old Mary Ann Graves, who was traveling […]

Review of You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by Jeffery Boston Weatherford Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    82 pp. 5/16    978-1-4814-4938-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4940-3    $10.99 Thirty-two poems written in the second person bring to life the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Pilots, bombardiers, instructors, maintenance workers, and navigators […]

Review of Ask Me How I Got Here

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann High School    Greenwillow    229 pp. 5/16    978-0-06-238795-0    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-238797-4    $9.99 Catholic-school sophomore Addie loves running cross-country, writing poetry, and having sex with her thoughtful, artsy new boyfriend, Nick. Then Addie gets pregnant. Her decision to have an abortion is unwavering, and she has […]

Review of American Ace

American Ace by Marilyn Nelson Intermediate   Dial   122 pp. 1/16   978-0-8037-3305-3   $17.99   g Nelson’s talent for undergirding her poetry with historical empathy (Fortune’s Bones, rev. 1/05; A Wreath for Emmett Till, rev. 5/05) is once again present in this verse novel. In forty-five poems, Nelson tells the story of Connor Bianchini, who finds out that […]

Review of Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle Middle School   Atheneum   195 pp. 8/15   978-1-4814-3522-2   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4814-3524-6   $10.99 Well known for her portrayals of historic Cubans in verse novels such as The Surrender Tree (rev. 7/08) and The Poet Slave of Cuba (rev. 7/06), Engle explores her own past […]