Boston Teen Author Festival turns 3!

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Emerson College students Renee Combs and Marisa Finkelstein (both former Horn Book interns, might I add) founded the Boston Teen Author Festival in 2012 as a smallish signing-and-panel event dedicated to “embracing YA.” Baby, look at you now: for its third year, BTAF will feature an unbelievable twenty-four guest YA authors from the Boston area, […]

Review of Beetle Boy

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Beetle Boy by Margaret Willey High School    Carolrhoda Lab    200 pp. 9/14    978-1-4677-2639-9    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-4677-4626-7    $12.95 As eighteen-year-old Charlie Porter slowly and painfully convalesces from a ruptured Achilles tendon at his girlfriend Clara’s house, bits of his past — years of being paraded around in a bug costume by his exploitive father as […]

Abhorsen read-alikes

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Like me, my friend Marie (hi Marie!) is a huge fan of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen YA fantasy trilogy. And like me, she’s been patiently(ish) anticipating Clariel, the prequel publishing in October, for years. A lot of them. Unlike me, however, she doesn’t have an ARC…so I’m mailing her my reviewer copy. Here are some Abhorsen […]

Five questions for Christine Heppermann

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Poet Christine Heppermann is a young adult book reviewer, a backyard chicken enthusiast, and the author of several nonfiction books for children and young adults. With her first YA poetry collection, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty (Greenwillow, 14 years and up), Heppermann reveals herself to be a thoughtfully astute observer of — and […]

Girls on the edge

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The protagonists of these pull-no-punches YA novels experience the dark side of adolescence, from mental illness to abuse to trauma to religious intolerance to the death of a loved one — but each one is given what she needs to overcome her challenges. After she is caught cutting herself in the school bathroom, fifteen-year-old Kenna, […]

Happiness and high school humanities

The Spectacular Now

I got a request this past year from my friends at Boston Green Academy (BGA) to help them consider their Humanities 4 curriculum, which focuses on philosophies, especially around happiness. This was a tough request for me, and certainly not one I had considered before. There aren’t any titles I can think of that say […]

Sometimes, reading the book just isn’t enough – LeakyCon Lit

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Well, after the glorious, gleeful exhaustion brought on by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, your intrepid intern still had a whole conference to attend. For those of you who haven’t heard of LeakyCon, it originally started as a Harry Potter–themed fan conference in 2009, but has since morphed into an all-out geek-fest in which […]

Just a girl from where nothing really happens

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Hipster teens rejoice! Here is your new poster child (though she would probably reject the title — which is, of course, the hipster thing to do). With The Isobel Journal: Just a Girl from Where Nothing Really Happens (Switch Press, August 2014; first published in her native UK by Hot Key Press, 2013), nineteen-year-old art […]

Review of A Creature of Moonlight

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A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn Middle School, High School    Houghton    314 pp. 5/14    978-0-544-10935-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-544-11009-0    $17.99 Marni is the daughter of a princess and the powerful dragon who presides over the kingdom’s magicked woods. When she was a baby, her grandfather surrendered his throne to his son to save her […]

Go your own way

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Teen boys go on journeys both physical (road trip!) and psychological in these affecting YA novels. Finn Easton, protagonist of Andrew Smith’s 100 Sideways Miles, has unusual scars on his back, products of the freak accident that also killed his mother when he was a kid. He has a pretty good life otherwise: his sci-fi […]