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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 […]

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 […]

Love stories with Pride

Two intense, nonlinear explorations of love and loss; one surprising, sweet romance; and one high-stakes, swoon-worthy romp. What these very different (in genre and tone) love stories have in common are nuanced portrayals of a spectrum of sexual identities and experiences, making them welcome new additions to the canon of queer YA. Happy Pride Month! […]

Review of Ronit & Jamil

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    183 pp. 2/17    978-0-06-245854-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-245855-1    $9.89 This Romeo and Juliet–inspired story unfolds in five acts of verse, swapping the setting of Renaissance-era Italy with present-day Israel. Teenagers Ronit (an Israeli girl) and Jamil (a Palestinian boy) are […]

Review of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    512 pp.    g 6/17    978-0-06-238280-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-238282-5    $9.99 Eighteen-year-old Monty, spoiled heir to a wealthy estate in eighteenth-century Britain, embarks on a year-long “Tour” of Europe, after which he will settle unhappily into respectable […]

“Will you be my reader?”

A mysterious wooden box arrived at the office. The only clue to its contents was the note initialed “SD” woven through its simple twine bow. Upon opening it, I quickly learned who was trying to win me over with this mystery box: the queen of YA romance herself, Sarah Dessen! On the inside of the […]