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Review of The Rest of Us Just Live Here

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness High School   HarperTeen   320 pp. 10/15   978-0-06-240316-2   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-06-240318-6   $10.99 Ness’s latest offering is a fantasy novel — and simultaneously a fantasy-novel send-up — whose true focus is on its cast of innocent bystanders. Mikey’s town is “just like your town,” except […]

Come fly with me

Jupiter

This coming Saturday evening, I’ll be interviewing Gary Schmidt about his new novel, Orbiting Jupiter, at the Peabody School in Cambridge, sponsored by Porter Square Books. It’s a very different kind of book from this author, and I am eager to talk with him. I hope you can join us!

Pick your poison

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A chilling short story collection, two suspenseful novels, and one book that’s a bit of both: there’s something here for every young adult horror fan. Each of the fourteen short tales of horror in Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, selected by April Genevieve Tucholke, is inspired by at least one other story, film, or song: […]

From the Guide: YA Horror

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This year’s “Horn BOO!,” our annual roundup of Halloween-y books, will satisfy the spook-loving picture-book set. Teen readers — those with a more mature taste in fright, greater immunity to fear, and, in some cases, seriously strong stomachs — should check out these horror novels from the spring and fall 2015 issues of The Horn […]

Review of Symphony for the 
City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and 
the Siege of Leningrad

anderson_symphony for the city of the dead

Symphony for the 
City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and 
the Siege of Leningrad by M. T. Anderson High School   Candlewick   424 pp. 9/15   978-0-7636-6818-1   $24.99   g Accomplished novelist Anderson presents an ambitious work of nonfiction encompassing the life of composer Dmitri Shostakovich, the early political history of the U.S.S.R., and the nation’s horrific suffering […]

YA Meets the Real: Fiction and Nonfiction That Take On the World

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It began with hot summer nights. It was on hot summer nights — when it was far too hot to go outside, when all I wanted to do was sit under the throttle of a noisy air conditioner — that I got my best reading done as a teenager. There were two kinds of books […]

Review of Lair of Dreams: A Diviners Novel

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Lair of Dreams: A Diviners Novel by Libba Bray High School   Little, Brown   691 pp. 8/15   978-0-316-12604-5   $19.00   g e-book ed. 978-0-316-36488-1   $9.99 Seventeen-year-old flapper Evie O’Neill (The Diviners, rev. 11/12) and friends confront another supernatural threat. As before, Bray follows multiple characters, many of them also paranormally gifted; while Evie (now a radio star […]

Intentions and He Said, She Said

alexander_he said, she said

I have written before about our summer program* with Boston Green Academy, and we just finished our two-week institute with ninth and tenth graders from BGA and my students from Boston University. For this summer’s core text, we chose the book He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander, and it has been fun to watch […]

THIS, my dears, is censorship.

reathing

We talk a lot in this field (and on this blog, I guess) about censorship. And most of the time we use the term loosely, describing those who challenge a book’s distribution by a library, for example, as “censors.” I’ve always found the term in this context alarmist–it’s not the challengers who are censors, the censor is […]

My weekend reviews

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Friday night–When Robert C. O’Brien’s 1975 YA Z for Zachariah made it onto the silver screen forty years later, you’d think its post-apocalyptic setting and sturdy heroine would have been enough to give it currency but NO: the famous two-hander is now a lurve triangle, and–spoiler alert–the attempted rape, so controversial in its time, is glossed over […]