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August 2017 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: High School

Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos (Holt) This biography begins with the D-Day landing, then flashes back and follows Capa and Taro through the development of photojournalism, including their documentation of the Spanish Civil War. Carefully selected and positioned photographs create […]

Review of And Then There Were Four

And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin High School    Dial    416 pp. 6/17    978-0-8037-4072-3    $18.99 After a three-book detour through the fantasy genre (Impossible, rev. 9/08, and sequels), Werlin (The Rules of Survival, rev. 9/06) returns to her mystery/thriller roots for another psychological page-turner. Five students at a private boarding school are called together […]

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 […]

Review of The Fashion Committee

The Fashion Committee: A Novel of Art, Crime, and Applied Design by Susan Juby High School    Viking    311 pp. 5/17    978-0-451-46878-9    $18.99 From the world of artsy teens in small-town British Columbia first introduced in Juby’s The Truth Commission (rev. 3/15) comes another sly, boldly narrated contemporary tale. Two public high school students — relentlessly […]

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 […]