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Dos and Don’ts of Writing Complex Teens…by an actual complex teen

As seen on Facebook: Friend of The Horn Book Christine M. Heppermann — author, poet, and mother of one most excellent teen Audrey Hinsdale (read her Family Reading post “My Own Discretion Advised”) — posted this advice from her daughter on the “Dos and Don’ts of Writing Complex Teens.”

Review of The Memory of Things

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner High School    St. Martin’s Griffin    275 pp. 9/16    978-1-250-09552-7    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-250-09553-4    $9.99 It’s the morning of September 11, 2001, in Manhattan, and the first tower has just fallen. Sixteen-year-old Brooklynite Kyle, fleeing toward home, stumbles upon a teenage girl wearing a pair of costume wings […]

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, […]

Five questions for Mitali Perkins

Mitali Perkins‘s latest novel You Bring the Distant Near (Farrar, 12–16 years) is a sprawling family epic that follows three generations of women in the Das family — matriarch Ranee; her daughters Tara and Sonia; and each of their daughters, Anna and Chantal. The story begins in 1965 and ends in 2006; as the family […]

Oh boy

I call bullshit on Daniel Handler’s Sunday New York Times essay about the need of teenaged boys for dirty books. Of course, yes, kids read for the dirty parts, girls as well as boys. And you could make an argument, and I don’t understand why Handler didn’t, that the prurient interests of girls are better […]

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 […]

From The Guide: Darkly Funny YA

When Andrew Smith’s book Grasshopper Jungle won the 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Fiction, it was praised for its blending of catastrophic sci-fi with angsty teen-humor. The following books likewise rely heavily on dark comedy to appeal to the snarky, self-referential nature of teenagers themselves, creating an appealing subgenre for self-aware readers looking to […]

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 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 […]