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

foxlee_midnight dress

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 […]

Review of All the Truth That’s in Me

all the truth that's in me

All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry High School Viking 274 pp. 9/13 978-0-670-78615-2 $17.99 g Berry’s (The Amaranth Enchantment, rev. 5/09) novel is set in fictional Roswell Station, a village that in its appearance and claustrophobic atmosphere seems to resemble an early American colonial settlement. Bit by bit, readers gradually learn “all […]

From the Guide: Teen Problem Novels

revenge of a not-so-pretty girl

In his “What Makes a Good YA Urban Novel?” column, Horn Book Guide reviewer Randy Ribay discusses books about teens growing up in cities and the issues they face. On a larger scale, the problem novel can be a way for all teens, in any environment and of any background, to find their struggles explored […]

Gene Luen Yang on Boxers & Saints

boxers & saints

In the September/October 2013 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Sam Bloom asked Gene Luen Yang about the process of creating the two volumes of Boxers & Saints. Read the starred review here. Sam Bloom: Did you write both volumes at the same time, or did one come before the other? How did you decide to split […]

Review of Boxers & Saints

boxers & saints

Boxers & Saints Boxers by Gene Luen Yang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien Middle School, High School     First Second/Roaring Brook     328 pp. 10/13     978-1-59643-359-5     $18.99 Saints by Gene Luen Yang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien Middle School, High School     First Second/Roaring Brook     172 pp. 10/13     978-1-59643-689-3     $15.99 Boxed set […]

You are what you read

bella reading

From The Outsiders to The Perks of Being a Wallflower to the Twilight saga, teen fiction has long used protagonists’ reading taste as a characterization device. It’s a fast way to say a lot about a character with very little information (or effort, depending on the novel). For instance, avid Jane Austen fans show up […]