Review of Belzhar

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Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer High School   Dutton   264 pp. 9/14   978-0-525-42305-8   $17.99   g After her boyfriend Reeve’s death, Jam Gallahue is shipped off to The Wooden Barn, a boarding school for “emotionally fragile, highly intelligent” teens. There she’s placed in a widely coveted, extremely selective course called Special Topics in English, one of just five […]

Review of Unbroken

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Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from 
Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand; 
adapted by the author Middle School, High School   Delacorte   292 pp. 11/14   978-0-385-74251-1   $19.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-99062-5   $22.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-307-97565-2   $10.99 With media attention focused on the July 2014 death of Louis Zamperini, and Angelina Jolie’s upcoming movie detailing his […]

Review of My True Love Gave to Me

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My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins High School   St. Martin’s Griffin   323 pp. 10/14   978-1-250-05930-7   $18.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4668-6389-7   $9.99 Holiday romance is the connecting link for the twelve tales included in this highly enjoyable anthology by a dozen well-known young adult authors, including Rainbow Rowell, Matt […]

Review of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

farizan_tell me again how a crush should feel

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan High School    Algonquin    296 pp. 10/14    978-1-61620-284-2    $16.95    g e-book ed.  978-1-61620-435-8    $16.95 Sixteen-year-old Iranian American Leila Azadi is, in her own words, a “Persian scaredy-cat.” Afraid to tell her best friends and her conservative family that she is gay, Leila finds herself in […]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 movie review

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The team behind The Hunger Games film adaptations gets it. With plenty of explosions and covert operations to draw from in Suzanne Collins’s source material, Lionsgate Films’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 could have been just an action movie. Instead, the filmmakers’ decision to split the book into two movies allows the characters’ emotional […]

Review of The Spiritglass Charade

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The Spiritglass Charade [Stoker & Holmes] by Colleen Gleason Middle School, High School    Chronicle    356 pp. 10/14    978-1-4521-1071-4    $17.99    g In the second Stoker & Holmes mystery (The Clockwork Scarab, rev. 9/13), the royal family enlists the teenage protagonists to investigate whether a young lady, Willa Ashton — who believes she can communicate with her […]

Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

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Gail Carriger introduced readers to her alternate Victorian London — chock-full of steampunk technology and supernatural characters — in 2009 with Soulless, the first volume of her five-book adult series The Parasol Protectorate. The Finishing School series, a YA prequel series set in the same world, soon followed, beginning with Curtsies & Conspiracies. Espionage lessons, […]

Default in our stars

50 Books Every Child Should Read

This week’s Entertainment Weekly has a list of “50 Books Every Kid Should Read” (view PDF here). Given that it strives to contain both classics (Where the Wild Things Are) as well as modern favorites (The Fault in Our Stars); and pop hits (The Hunger Games) along with critics’ darlings (Roll of Thunder, Hear My […]

Social justice

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Civil rights, global warming, and crime and punishment: these complex social issues receive accessible, clear treatment in four new nonfiction books for teens. In Because They Marched: The People’s Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America, Russell Freedman documents the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march, including the horrific Bloody Sunday confrontation between marchers and Alabama state troopers. […]

Girls in Towers

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Madeleine L’Engle’s novel Camilla (titled Camilla Dickinson when first published in 1951 and recently reissued) features a bright and passionate fifteen-year-old who presents us with the essential question of the YA genre — how will this girl survive the emotional chaos of adolescence? In fairy tales, this same question is more logistical — how will […]