Subscribe to The Horn Book

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 […]

Historical horror stories

berry_passion of dolssa

History buffs and horror fans alike will appreciate these YA books about characters facing their own demons — of the metaphysical, metaphorical, or, most disturbingly, human varieties. In The Passion of Dolssa, author Julie Berry tells the story of (fictional) Catholic mystic Dolssa de Stigata after she escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 […]

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 […]

Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science 
from Sherlock Holmes to DNA


Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science 
from Sherlock Holmes to DNA by Bridget Heos Middle School, High School    
Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    259 pp. 10/16    978-0-06-238762-2    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-238764-6    $9.99 Each of eleven chapters chronologically traces the development of one branch of forensic science and the experts who practice it. Methods […]

Books for Bisexual Awareness Week/Celebrate Bisexuality Day


It’s Bisexual Awareness Week, an annual celebration and awareness-raising campaign which includes Celebrate Bisexuality Day (also called Bisexual Visibility Day; this year’s is today, September 23rd). The following YA novels and series span genres and tone, but each features main and/or secondary characters who are bisexual or whose sexual attraction is fluid. All were recommended […]

Listening in on the past


These engaging audio productions of four excellent historical nonfiction titles give teens another entry point into the profound (and profoundly personal) tales of courage and determination they relate. Steve Sheinkin‘s Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War uses Ellsberg as a focal point to tell the story of the Vietnam […]

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

end of the world books

I was just looking something up in the November/December 2015 HB Mag and spotted these two YA novels — with their matchy-matchy titles and covers — on facing pages: Yikes. Think the authors know something we don’t?

Hbook Podcast 1.27 – Spoilery Spoils


Podcast the 27th in which Siân and Roger talk about (and engage in) “spoiling.” BGHB Awards Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium Books we talk about Laura Amy Schlitz, Hired Girl J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series Jennifer Mathieu, Afterward Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak E. Lockhart, We Were Liars Anne Nesbet, Cloud and Wallfish Louisa May […]

Recommended School Stories: High School


Alsenas, Linas Beyond Clueless 249 pp. Abrams/Amulet 2015. ISBN 978-1-4197-1496-2 Ever since fifth grade, Martha “Marty” Sullivan has been happy with just one friend: flamboyantly gay Jimmy. But now she’s attending an all-girls’ Catholic high school, which expands her social horizons both among girls (rebellious new friend Xiang) and guys. This mostly light comedy of […]

Recommended School Stories: Middle School


Alexander, Kwame Booked 314 pp. Houghton 2016. ISBN 978-0-544-57098-6 Nick is a wordsmith, thanks to his linguistics-professor father, but he would rather be shining on the soccer field. He’s blindsided when his parents separate; things worsen at school, too, as he and best friend Coby are targeted by the racist Eggleston twins. With accessible forms […]