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Recommended School Stories: High School

alsenas_beyondclueless

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

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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 […]

“What are you doing after graduation?”

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What high-school senior doesn’t dread that question? Young adulthood is full of change and daunting decisions; even those with solid post-graduation plans may feel as much uncertainty as excitement. The protagonists of these new novels are on the cusp of similarly life-changing moments. In Bryan Bliss’s Meet Me Here, Thomas watches his classmates celebrate graduation […]

Ribbon writing

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Cover art fads are such fun to watch. There have been Headless Torsos; Girls in Red; Girls in Flowy Dresses; Girls Looking Over their Shoulders; Teens on the Edge; Apples; and so, so many more. Another one I’ve noticed recently: ribbon writing.       I like it, I think. It looks sassy but classy. And, […]

Recommended Page-Turners: Middle School Fiction and Nonfiction

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Bancks, Tristan  On the Run 229 pp.     Farrar/Ferguson     2015     ISBN 978-0-374-30153-8 On the run from police, twelve-year-old Ben’s parents leave him and younger sister Olive on their own in a cabin in the Australian bush. Ben finds a copy of My Side of the Mountain, appropriate — and useful — reading since he and Olive […]

Review of A World Without You

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A World Without You by Beth Revis High School    Razorbill/Penguin    371 pp. 7/16    978-1-59514-715-8    $17.99    g Two alternating and emotionally entangling first-person narrations present different versions of reality and of the novel’s events. Bo tells readers that he attends the Berkshire Academy for Children with Exceptional Needs, an exclusive boarding school for students with supernatural […]

Recommended Page-Turners: High School Fiction and Nonfiction

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Bow, Erin  The Scorpion Rules 368 pp.     McElderry     2015     ISBN 978-1-4814-4271-8 Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-4273-2 Pan Polar Confederacy princess Greta and the world’s other royal children are held hostage: if a leader goes to war, his or her child is killed; if that child survives to eighteen, he or she is released. There’s a welcome spin […]

Five questions for Elizabeth Wein

Photo: David Ho

As two-time Boston Globe–Horn Book honoree Elizabeth Wein reminds us below, a page-turner isn’t necessarily about plot twists and cliffhangers. For more books you can’t put down, see our 2016 Summer Reading recommendations. 1. Your books give readers the impulse to both turn pages quickly (what’s going to happen?!) and linger on the descriptions. How […]

RIP Lois Duncan

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I was sorry to hear about Lois Duncan’s death yesterday. Lois had been writing for young people for a long time–her first novel, Debutante Hill, was published in 1958 (and republished in 2013 by Lizzie Skurnick Books). She is someone whose work I always point towards as a reminder that YA fiction did not begin […]

Five questions for Tim Federle

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Tim Federle, well known for his middle-grade novels Better Nate Than Ever and its sequel Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (both Simon, 8–12 years), recently published his YA debut The Great American Whatever (Simon, 14 years and up). We asked the versatile writer and Broadway veteran about his reading past and his characters’ futures, and we […]