Review of The Impossible Knife of Memory

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The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson High School     Viking     371 pp. 1/14     978-0-670-01209-1     $18.99     g Hayley Kincain has spent the last five years riding shotgun in her father’s rig, discussing fractions and evolution — an on-the-road version of home schooling. Constant movement has helped keep the past at bay for […]

Review of Why We Took the Car

herrndorf_why we took the car

Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf; trans. from the German by Tim Mohr Middle School, High School    Levine/Scholastic    250 pp. 1/14    978-0-545-48180-9    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-58636-8    $17.99 Two teens abandon their lackluster lives and hit the Autobahn in this audacious tragicomedy. Mike Klingenberg, boring and unpopular, lives a life of quiet desperation […]

Rule-breakers and rising stars

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Joining Rookie Yearbook Two (“HORMONES SUCK. But being a young person doesn’t always”) are two recent teen-centric anthologies, each with a different focus but both with teen appeal. Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself, edited by Luke Reynolds (Chicago Review Press, September 2013), includes short-story anecdotes from […]

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Some years ago, my optimistic neighbor told me that he considers Valentine’s Day to be the unofficial start of spring. Given the ridiculous winter we are having in the northeast, this year I am holding him to it! So, in desperate hope for the start of spring, I am dedicating this post to Valentine’s Day. […]

Hello and a book recommendation

Rapture Practice

By way of introduction, a story and a book recommendation. When I was in school, I had an experience that many people have and one I think about often as a teacher — I felt like I rarely saw myself in a book (though disclaimer — I had some excellent teachers). I always feel that […]

YA love stories for Valentine’s Day

anderson_impossible knife of memory

Looking to get swept away or to think about love’s deeper meaning? Lighthearted or serious, set in the U.S. or Iran, these four books will leave older YAs breathless for love. For more recommendations, see “What Makes a Good YA Love Story?” from the May/June 2013 Horn Book Magazine. When high school senior Hayley Kincain […]

Don’t forget the chocolate sprinkles!

whipped cream wriggle

Last night I dreamed that Arthur A. Levine Books (of Harry Potter fame) was publishing a young readers’ edition of The Sensuous Woman, a sex manual published in ’69 (heh) by a “liberated woman” known only as “J” who taught women how to please their man and–and this was revolutionary–themselves. My dream makes sense in […]

Review of The Midnight Dress

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The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee High School    Knopf    281 pp. 10/13    978-0-375-85645-7    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-95645-4    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-449-81821-3    $9.99 Self-contained, morose fifteen-year-old Rose and her alcoholic father arrive in Australian beach town Leonora, and it seems like they may actually stay put for a spell, for once. Rose enrolls in school and […]

Jeune filles fatales

reeves_slice of cherry

As Elissa and Shara have both noted, YA themes tend to be cyclical. Vampires, zombies, mermaids, cyborgs, even Emily Dickinson devotees have all had — are still having — major upswings in YA. Dia Reeves’s 2011 Slice of Cherry (Simon Pulse) starred sisters Kit and Fancy, who took after their serial killer father. Now with […]

What’s New 
About New Adult?

moon and me

Coming of age. Sexuality. Relationships. All are part of the teen experience, and all are part of literature for and about teens. Recently, though, there’s been an uptick in books published for the eighteen-and-up readership — labeled “New Adult” (NA) — that traverse these issues with more drama and explicit sexuality than even the most […]