Choose your own teenage dream

clark_maybe tonight

The model made popular by the Choose Your Own Adventure middle-grade books comes to a teen audience in two new paperback series with massive appeal for reluctant-reader girls. Bridie Clark’s Snap Decision series, which debuted last summer with Maybe Tonight? (Roaring Brook, August 2013), places the reader in the driver’s seat to navigate life at […]

Review of We Were Liars

lockhart_we were liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart High School    Delacorte    228 pp. 5/14    978-0-385-74126-2    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-98994-0    $20.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-375-98440-2    $10.99 Cadence Sinclair Eastman, eldest grandchild in a Kennedy-esque clan, narrates this story about her wealthy family, one that’s rife with secrets and is broken under the hood. Cady begins the book by […]

Open mic and the classroom

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I confess that I have been known to say that many, many books are my absolute favorites, to the extent that sometimes people roll their eyes and avert their attention. And I think that as a reader, this is true — I fall in love a little with story after story. But it is not […]

Review of A Volcano Beneath the Snow

marrin_volcano beneath the snow

A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery by Albert Marrin Middle School, High School    Knopf    234 pp. 4/14    978-0-307-98152-3    $19.99 Library ed.  978-0-307-98153-0    $22.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-385-75340-1    $10.99 According to the prologue, John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry helped “set the stage for the Civil War.” His violent actions raise an […]

Review of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

kwaymullina_interrogation of ashala wolf

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina Middle School, High School    Candlewick    371 pp. 4/14    978-0-7636-6988-1    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7225-6    $17.99 In this Australian import, Ashala Wolf is head of the Tribe, a group of refugees deemed Illegals because of their supernatural abilities, which the government claims threaten the world’s fragile Balance. Some […]

Review of Feral Curse

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Feral Curse [Feral] by Cynthia Leitich Smith High School    Candlewick    259 pp. 2/14    978-0-7636-5910-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7040-5    $17.99 Secret werecat Kayla chooses Valentine’s Day to reveal her true nature to her boyfriend, Ben. He reacts badly, to put it mildly: he runs away from Kayla, is hit by lightning on the antique carousel in […]

YA fantasy you’ve been waiting for

moriarty_cracks in the kingdom

Every fantasy fan knows the exquisite agony of anticipating the next entry in a favorite series — particularly if that entry will be the last. These four new novels continue (and in some cases, complete) popular series. In The Cracks in the Kingdom, the follow-up to Jaclyn Moriarty‘s BGHB Fiction Award Honor book A Corner […]

Divergent movie review

divergent poster

In the world of Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, the dystopian city of Chicago is run through a personality-based system of grouping. The five factions, to one of which every person belongs, are Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Abnegation, with its focus on humility and selflessness, acts as the political power; Amity, the good-natured, peaceful […]

Night of Cake & Puppets

taylor_night of cake and puppets

The last book in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, publishes today. In honor of that occasion — and in case you need something to tide you over (and excite you further) until you can get your copy of Dreams — here’s a review of Taylor’s digital original […]

Review of Caminar

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Caminar by Skila Brown Middle School    Candlewick    200 pp. 3/14    978-0-7636-6516-6    $15.99 “Forest sounds / all around / but on the ground / the sound / of Me / grew. Echoed. / I heard a path I could not see.” Exquisitely crafted poems are the basis of an unusually fine verse novel set in 1981, in […]