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Like Malinda Lo’s A Line in the Dark, each of these YA mysteries masterfully employs structure to keep readers guessing as to characters’ true natures — and on the edges of their seats — until the shocking final reveal. Eighteen-year-old Jule, protagonist of E. Lockhart’s intoxicating psychological thriller Genuine Fraud, is cold, tough, and in […]

Five questions for Malinda Lo

In Malinda Lo’s new YA thriller A Line in the Dark (Dutton, 14 years and up), four teenage girls — narrator Jess, her best friend and longtime secret crush Angie, Angie’s brand-new girlfriend Margot, and Margot’s bestie Ryan — must carefully navigate volatile dynamics of friendship and romance. And that’s before somebody winds up dead. […]

Review of A Line in the Dark

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo High School    Dutton    282 pp.    g 10/17    978-0-735-22742-2    $17.99 Jess’s feelings for her best friend Angie are strong and complicated — a mix of longstanding affection, mutual dependence, protectiveness, and unrequited longing. Jess and Angie are both queer and out, but have never been together. When Angie […]

Review of The Champions’ Game: A True Story

The Champions’ Game: A True Story by Saul Ramirez, 
as told to John Seidlitz Middle School    Canter Press    152 pp.    g 5/17    978-0-9977402-4-0    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-0-9977402-3-3    $14.99 In 2010 Saul Ramirez got a job as an art teacher at Henderson Middle School in an impoverished neighborhood in El Paso, Texas. Chess was another of […]

Five questions for Deborah Noyes

In The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead (Viking, 11–14 years), Deborah Noyes homes in on the Spiritualist movement during the turn of the twentieth century (think séances, spirit photography, ectoplasm, etc.) — and on Harry Houdini’s efforts to debunk its claims. 1. What drew you […]

Supernaturally good scares

From a collection of ghost stories-within-a-ghost-story to classic tales of the macabre reimagined for a new format, these new books offer a fresh take on the usual suspects of supernatural horror. Graphic novelist Gareth Hinds adapts three of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems (“Annabel Lee,” “The Bells,” and “The Raven”) and four stories (“The Masque of […]

Review of Genuine Fraud

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart High School    Delacorte    265 pp. 9/17    978-0-385-74477-5    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-99184-4    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-0-385-39138-2    $10.99 As soon as Lockhart’s latest intoxicating psychological thriller (We Were Liars, rev. 5/14) opens in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, readers will be perversely enamored of eighteen-year-old narrator Jule. She’s cold — sociopathic, even — […]

Intended by whom?

In the comments to a recent Heavy Medal post, there is a discussion about the eligibility and/or chances of The Hate U Give for Newbery discussion. (In case you’re new here, The Hate U Give is receiving the 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction tomorrow night.) It was a Mr. H. who brought up […]

Review of Long Way Down

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds High School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    306 pp.    g 10/17    978-1-4814-3825-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3827-8    $10.99 Fifteen-year-old Will, immobilized with grief when his older brother Shawn is shot and killed, slowly comes to mull The Rules in his head. There are three: don’t cry, don’t snitch, and “if someone you love / gets […]

Review of You Bring the Distant Near

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins High School    Farrar    305 pp.    g 9/17    978-0-374-30490-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-374-30491-1    $9.99 In 1973 the Das sisters, Tara and Sonia, with their mother Ranee, join their father in New York City. Ranee is determined that her family will take advantage of the opportunities America offers even […]