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RIP Lois Duncan

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I was sorry to hear about Lois Duncan’s death yesterday. Lois had been writing for young people for a long time–her first novel, Debutante Hill, was published in 1958 (and republished in 2013 by Lizzie Skurnick Books). She is someone whose work I always point towards as a reminder that YA fiction did not begin […]

Five questions for Tim Federle

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Tim Federle, well known for his middle-grade novels Better Nate Than Ever and its sequel Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (both Simon, 8–12 years), recently published his YA debut The Great American Whatever (Simon, 14 years and up). We asked the versatile writer and Broadway veteran about his reading past and his characters’ futures, and we […]

Fathers, sons, and grandfathers

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The bonds between a son and his father or grandfather can be strong yet complicated. The following books offer middle schoolers a glimpse into some tricky, loving family relationships. In Kwame Alexander‘s verse novel Booked (a companion in structure and theme to his 2015 Newbery Award–winning The Crossover), eighth grader Nick Hall is quite a […]

YA with pride

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June is LGBT Pride Month. Before, during, and after the parades have been attended and the rainbow cakes baked, readers can find queer-centric tales of love, struggle, and discovering one’s identity in the following books. It’s Pride Week in San Francisco in Nina LaCour and David Levithan’s You Know Me Well, and high-school seniors Mark […]

Books in bloom

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It’s almost summer! The weather is getting warmer, the daydreams are kicking in, and the flowers are blooming — outside and on YA covers. Take a look:    

Review of Draw the Line

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Draw the Line by Laurent Linn; illus. by the author High School    McElderry    520 pp. 5/16    978-1-4814-5280-9    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5282-3    $10.99 Adrian’s junior year in high school is not going well. A self-loathing closeted teen stuck in small-town Texas, he’s surrounded by “Bubbas” whose primary values are football and beer. Although he finds […]

Review of Ask Me How I Got Here

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Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann High School    Greenwillow    229 pp. 5/16    978-0-06-238795-0    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-238797-4    $9.99 Catholic-school sophomore Addie loves running cross-country, writing poetry, and having sex with her thoughtful, artsy new boyfriend, Nick. Then Addie gets pregnant. Her decision to have an abortion is unwavering, and she has […]

2016 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Middle School

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Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2015–2016 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion. For a handy take-along list of […]

2016 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: High School

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Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2015–2016 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion. For a handy take-along list of […]

Trending: cults in YA

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Lately the YA sci-fi/fantasy market has been dominated by Strong Female Protagonists who take down corrupt regimes or lead groups of survivors in the post-apocalypse. Meanwhile, Strong Female Protagonists in realism have been dealing with more day-to-day issues: boyfriends, girlfriends, dead parents, mental illness, etc. These young ladies, while being emotionally courageous, have not been […]