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California dreamin’

A few unseasonably hot days (but climate change is just a hoax, right?) fooled us into believing warm weather was just around the corner. Now that we’re back to much more reasonable (read: freezing cold) temperatures for Boston in March, this California girl is living vicariously through these summery, oh-so-trendy new YA covers: Don’t you […]

“All YA Need Is Love” panel

On the heels of Valentine’s Day, I attended an event sponsored by the Boston Teen Author Festival aptly called “All YA Need is Love.” The panel, which discussed all kinds of love in YA fiction, featured Kim Savage, author of After the Woods and Beautiful Broken Girls; Rebecca Maizel, author of Between Us and the […]

Review of History Is All You Left Me

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera High School    Soho Teen    293 pp. 1/17    978-1-61695-692-9    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-61695-693-6    $10.99 Seventeen-year-old Griffin loses Theo, his best friend and first love, twice: first when the young men break up, and again, as the book opens, when Theo drowns. Dual timelines carry readers simultaneously […]

Review of Well, That Was Awkward

Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail Middle School    Viking    314 pp. 2/17    978-0-670-01308-1    $16.99    g As eighth grade comes to a close and her fourteenth birthday approaches, Gracie Grant discovers she has a problem. Out of the blue, Gracie realizes she like-likes longtime and suddenly very attractive classmate AJ Rojanasopondist. But that’s not the […]

Dystopian teen heroes

These four novels envision authoritarian societies, some in the future, some not-so-futuristic, that cause their teenage protagonists to take revolutionary action. Under Little Town’s strict Regime, no one crosses the border to or from Old Country — until the Duda family arrives as refugees. Protagonist Charlie befriends teenager Pavel Duda and tries to teach him […]

Patricia Hruby Powell on Loving vs. Virginia

In our January/February 2017 issue, our editors asked author Patricia Hruby Powell about approaching a landmark historical event through a novelistic lens in Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case. Read the full review. Horn Book Editors: Why did you choose to write the Lovings’ story as a “documentary novel”? […]

Review of Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case

Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case by Patricia Hruby Powell; illus. by Shadra Strickland Middle School, High School    Chronicle    260 pp. 2/17    978-1-4521-2590-9    $21.99 Organized chronologically, the alternating first-person narratives, written in free verse, begin in 1952 as Mildred Jeter enters sixth grade at the “colored” school; six years […]

YA Trivia Night at Trident Booksellers and Café

Trident Booksellers & Café kicked off its new YA Passport series last night with a YA trivia night. Katie, Cindy, and I represented The Horn Book, though I’m not sure we represented very well. (I’m also not sure whether Horn Book founder Bertha Mahony Miller would’ve liked our team name — Bertha’s Bitches — or […]

Review of Almost Autumn

Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin; trans. from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger High School    Levine/Scholastic    281 pp. 1/17    978-0-545-88965-0    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-88966-7    $10.99 Ilse Stern, a typical rebellious, lovelorn adolescent, lives with her Jewish family in 1942 Nazi-occupied Oslo, where her father, Isak, runs a tailor shop. A present-tense narration creates immediacy, while […]

Embracing cultural identity

The following YA stories feature teens struggling with family, friendship, and cultural identity in ways that feel organic to their experiences and are relatable to a variety of readers. Alternating between the voices of two seventeen-year-olds — a contemporary biracial (her mother is black, her father is white) young woman named Rowan Chase, and Will […]