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Review of Red Hood

Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    357 pp. 2/20    978-0-06-274253-3    $18.99 After a consensual (and vividly described) sexual encounter with her boyfriend that, to her surprise, ends in her beginning to menstruate for the first time, sixteen-year-old Bisou is attacked by a wolf on her...

Review of The Phantom Twin

The Phantom Twin by Lisa Brown; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    206 pp. 3/20    978-1-62672-925-4    $24.99 Paper ed.  978-1-62672-924-7    $17.99 In this dark graphic novel with an unconventional cast and setting — an ode to outsiders, “freaks,” and misfits everywhere — Jane and Isabel...

Review of Mañanaland

Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    254 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-338-15786-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-15788-8    $11.99 Growing up in Santa Maria, a (fictional) country “somewhere in the Américas,” Maximiliano Córdoba is familiar with the legends of the Guardians and the Hidden Ones they led to safety —...

Review of In the Role of Brie Hutchens...

In the Role of Brie Hutchens… by Nicole Melleby Middle School    Algonquin    265 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-61620-907-0    $16.95 When the novel opens, thirteen-year-old Brie’s mother almost stumbles upon Brie looking at a soap opera star’s Playboy photos online. Brie distracts her mom by claiming (falsely) that she’s been chosen to...

Review of Redwood and Ponytail

Redwood and Ponytail by K. A. Holt Middle School    Chronicle    417 pp. 10/19    978-1-4521-7288-0    $18.99 Seventh grader Kate’s (“Ponytail”) life is largely defined by pressure from her mom to become captain of the cheerleading squad and by her friends’ similar expectations; less popular, gangly girl Tam (“Redwood”) has had a...

Review of The Black Flamingo

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    409 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-299029-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-299031-0    $9.99 Winner of the 2020 Stonewall Book Award, this British verse novel by a poet and drag performer offers a welcome exploration of the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality....

Review of What About Worms!?

What About Worms!? [Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!] by Ryan T. Higgins; illus. by the author; with additional illustrations by Mo Willems Primary    Hyperion    64 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-368-04573-5    $9.99 Tiger is BIG. Tiger is BRAVE. Tiger is afraid of nothing...“except worms.” Tiger, a plush Calvin and Hobbes-ian animal with...

Review of The Midnight Lie

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski High School    Farrar    358 pp. 3/20    978-0-374-30638-0    $18.99 As a member of the Half Kith (the lowest, most oppressed caste in society), Nirrim is focused on avoiding the notice of the militia, who extract tithes of blood, hair, and teeth from Half Kith they...

Review of We Dream of Space

 We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly Intermediate, Middle School    Greenwillow    392 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-274730-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-274732-7    $9.99 In the foreground of this novel are three siblings. Twelve-year-old Fitch lives for video games and is angry through and through. His twin sister Bird is an amiable,...

Review of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim Intermediate, Middle School    Kokila/Penguin    314 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-525-55497-4    $16.99 Eleven-year-old Yumi is spending the summer helping her family’s struggling Korean barbecue restaurant in L.A. and studying to earn an academic scholarship to the private school where she has just spent her sixth-grade...

Review of Parachutes

Parachutes by Kelly Yang High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    485 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-294108-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-294113-8    $10.99 Claire lives in Shanghai with her wealthy, image-obsessed, and unhappy family. When Claire’s parents send her to prep school in America, she boards with a fellow student (who’s on scholarship), Filipina American teen...

Review of The Crossover

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Dawud Anyabwile Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    218 pp. 9/19    978-1-328-96001-6    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-1-328-57549-4    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-358-12816-8    $8.99 Alexander's Newbery Medal–winning verse novel of the same name (rev. 5/14), about African American twins and middle-school b-ballers Josh and JB Bell, is an ideal choice for graphic-novel adaptation, with its on-court action, swaggering narrative voice, and poignant emotional pitches. Anyabwile's (of Alexander's Rebound,...

Review of Clean Getaway

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone; illus. by Dawud Anyabwile Intermediate    Crown    229 pp. 1/20    978-1-9848-9297-3    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-9298-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9299-7    $9.99 When G’ma asks Scoob to go on “a little adventure” during spring break, he doesn’t hesitate to say yes (especially since he’s been grounded for fighting...

Review of Indian No More

Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell Intermediate    Tu/Lee & Low    209 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-62014-839-6    $18.95 This novel (based on McManis's childhood) is set against the background of U.S. government actions beginning in the 1940s that terminated the status of many Native Nations and forced relocation of families living on reservations. With a stroke of the pen, in 1954, eight-year-old Regina Petit...

Review of The Dragon Thief

The Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliott; illus. by Geneva B Primary, Intermediate    Random    170 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-5247-7049-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-7050-1    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7051-8    $9.99 According to Aunty, "every problem has a solution." But what if your problem is a dragon that won't stop growing? This sequel to Dragons in a Bag (rev. 9/18) alternates between Jaxon, the previous book's protagonist, and Kavita, sister of Jaxon's best friend Vikram....

Review of Stella Díaz Never Gives Up

Stella Díaz Never Gives Up by Angela Dominguez; illus. by the author Intermediate    Roaring Brook    196 pp. 1/20    978-1-250-22911-3    $16.99 This sequel to Stella Díaz Has Something to Say (rev. 5/18) finds Stella wanting to do something big: save the oceans. After a family vacation to Mexico, Stella (less shy...

Review of Charlie & Mouse Outdoors

Charlie & Mouse Outdoors by Laurel Snyder; illus. by Emily Hughes Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-4521-7066-4    $14.99 Their fourth outing (most recently Charlie & Mouse Even Better, rev. 5/19) takes the siblings into the Great Outdoors for a family camping trip…but first a “Boring” (the title of chapter 1)...

Review of The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories

The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories [Fox + Chick] by Sergio Ruzzier; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    56 pp. 3/19    978-1-4521-5289-9    $14.99 Ruzzier presents three more brief adventures, in hybrid picture-book/early-chapter-book/comic form, about friends Fox and Chick (The Party and Other Stories, rev. 3/18). The first...

Review of Snail & Worm All Day

Snail & Worm All Day by Tina Kügler; illus. by the author Primary    Houghton    32 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-358-06364-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16846-1    $12.99 The two inveterate invertebrate pals (Snail & Worm, rev. 5/16; Snail & Worm Again, rev. 5/17) return in another set of adventures in three easy-reader-style chapters. “Best Day Ever,” as described by...

Review of This Place: 150 Years Retold

This Place: 150 Years Retold by various authors; illus. by various artists Middle School, High School    HighWater    265 pp. 5/19    Paper ed.  978-1-55379-758-6    $36.00 
e-book ed.  978-1-55379-782-1    $29.00 This comics anthology celebrates Indigenous peoples and stories of Canada past, present, and future. In a foreword, writer Alicia Elliott asserts that Indigenous people have...

Review of SLAY

SLAY by Brittney Morris High School    Simon Pulse    323 pp. 9/19    978-1-5344-4542-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4544-4    $10.99 "By day, I'm an honors student at Jefferson Academy. At night, I turn into the Nubian goddess most people know as Emerald." Seventeen-year-old narrator Kiera is not just a gamer; she is (secretly) the creator of the hugely popular multiplayer gaming community SLAY, which is...

Review of Wicked as You Wish

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco High School    Sourcebooks Fire    371 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-4926-7266-1    $17.99 Tala and Alexei are refugees from the magical kingdom of Avalon, living in the troublingly conservative Royal States of America. Alexei, the crown prince of Avalon, can use magic, while Tala has the...

Review of Love from A to Z

Love from A to Z by S. K. Ali High School    Salaam/Simon    342 pp. 4/19    978-1-5344-4272-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4274-0    $10.99 Zayneb, a Muslim American high school senior, leaves for spring break in Doha, Qatar, a week early when she is suspended for a note she wrote in class about her Islamophobic history...

Review of The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan

The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas Middle School, High School    Tu/Lee & Low    348 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-62014-804-4    $19.95 Mulan has studied martial arts since childhood to prepare for her generation’s duel against a rival family for possession of two legendary swords. But the duel is postponed...

Maximilian & the Curse of the Fallen Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller

Maximilian & the Curse of the Fallen Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller [Max’s Lucha Libre Adventures] by Xavier Garza; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Cinco Puntos    213 pp.    g 1/20    978-1-947627-30-7    $19.95 Paper ed.  978-1-947627-31-4    $12.95 e-book ed.  978-1-947627-32-1    $12.95 This fourth series entry is another entertainingly...

Review of Again Again

Again Again by E. Lockhart High School    Delacorte    293 pp.    g 6/20    978-0-385-74479-9    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-99185-1    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-0-385-39139-9    $10.99 In this novel set in the same world as The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (rev. 5/08), Lockhart explores the intersection between love and the multiverse. The summer...

Review of Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley; illus. by the author; color by Whitney Cogar Intermediate, Middle School    RH Graphic/Random    223 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-593-12524-3    $20.99 Paper ed.  978-1-9848-9684-1    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9686-5    $9.99 This tender graphic novel by Alex Award winner (for Relish) Knisley illuminates the challenges of finding oneself in...

Review of The Enigma Game

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein Middle School, High School    Little, Brown    426 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-368-01258-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-368-01651-3    $9.99 In this companion novel to Code Name Verity (rev. 5/12) and its prequel The Pearl Thief (rev. 5/17), and featuring characters from both, Wein takes her turn at...

Review of Kent State

Kent State by Deborah Wiles Middle School, High School    Scholastic    132 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-338-35628-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-35630-4    $10.99 On May 4, 1970, four students were killed by the National Guard on the campus of Kent State University during a protest against the Vietnam War and the bombing of...

Review of The Blossom and the Firefly

The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith Middle School, High School    Putnam    311 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-5247-3790-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-3791-7    $10.99 Almost buried alive in a bombing by Allied forces in 1945 Chiran, Japan, fifteen-year-old Hana feels as though she is already dead, just going through the...

Review of When Stars Are Scattered

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed; illus. by Victoria Jamieson; color by Iman Geddy Intermediate, Middle School    Dial    264 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-525-55391-5    $20.99 Paper ed.  978-0-525-55390-8    $17.99 This poignant graphic novel about growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp is based on co-author Mohamed’s experiences...

Review of Leaving Lymon

Leaving Lymon by Lesa Cline-Ransome Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    199 pp. 1/20    978-0-8234-4442-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4633-9    $10.99 Lymon Caldwell, a secondary character in Finding Langston (rev. 9/18), tells his story in this companion novel that explores the question, “Are bullies born or are they made?” Lymon lives with his...

Review of Village of Scoundrels: Based on a True Story of Courage During WWII

Village of Scoundrels: Based on a True Story of Courage During WWII by Margi Preus Middle School, High School    Amulet/Abrams    294 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-4197-0897-8    $16.99 In 1940s Vichy France, a remote mountain-plateau village known for sheltering refugees fleeing Nazi persecution houses a unique and innovative high school that draws...

Review of Fing's War

Fing’s War by Benny Lindelauf; trans. from the Dutch by John Nieuwenhuizen Intermediate, Middle School    Enchanted Lion    411 pp. 6/19    978-1-59270-269-5    $16.95 This sequel to Nine Open Arms (rev. 9/14) falls into two parts. In the early chapters we follow the fortunes and adventures of the Boon family, in 1938...

Review of Catherine's War

Catherine’s War by Julia Billet; illus. by Claire Fauvel; trans. from French by Ivanka Hahnenberger Intermediate, Middle School    HarperAlley/HarperCollins    168 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-291560-3    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-0-06-291559-7    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-291561-0    $10.99 This graphic novel (adapted from a novel by Billet and inspired by her mother’s life) follows teenage Rachel...

Review of Ways to Make Sunshine

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson; illus. by Nina Mata Intermediate    Bloomsbury    178 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-5476-0056-4    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0057-1    $11.89 African American fourth grader Ryan Hart approaches challenges in her life with bravery, common sense, and humor. When the house her family rents is sold and her...

Review of Go with the Flow

Go with the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann; illus. by Lily Williams Middle School, High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    $14.99 1/20    978-1-250-30572-5    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-1-250-14317-4    $14.99 After noticing bloodstains on new-girl Sasha’s white pants, longtime friends Abby, Christine, and Brit swoop in and save the day. It’s...

Review of The List of Things That Will Not Change

 The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead Intermediate    Lamb/Random    218 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-101-93809-6    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93810-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93811-9    $9.99 From the outside it appears that Bea lives a charmed life. She has loving (albeit divorced) parents; an involved extended family; a kindly, funny teacher; a loyal...

Review of Vow of Thieves

Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson High School    Holt    484 pp. 8/19    978-1-250-16265-6    $19.99 Jase and Kazi (from Dance of Thieves, rev. 11/18) are on their way back to Hell’s Mouth with news that Tor’s Watch is to be recognized as a kingdom and that Jase’s family, the Ballengers,...

Review of The Empire of Dreams

The Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson High School    Greenwillow    442 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-06-269190-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-269192-7    $10.99 Set in the world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, this engrossing fantasy follows two threads about protagonist Red. In the present, the teenager is devastated when her planned...

Review of The Queen of Nothing

The Queen of Nothing [Folk of the Air] by Holly Black High School    Little, Brown    293 pp.   g 11/19    978-0-316-31042-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-31040-6    $12.99 In a stunning act of betrayal, the High King, Cardan, exiled Jude (secretly his wife and the ostensible Queen of Faerie) to the mortal world...

Review of Kingdom of Souls

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron High School    HarperTeen    490 pp. 9/19    978-0-06-287095-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-287097-1    $8.99 Arrah was born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, though magic has always evaded her. But when children are abducted and omens of death appear in the market streets, Arrah doesn’t need...

Review of Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi High School    Holt    405 pp. 12/19    978-1-250-17099-6    $19.99 In Orïsha, where magic has recently been restored (Children of Blood and Bone, rev. 5/18), Princess Amari tries to unite the kingdom to prevent it being torn apart by the magic-using rebels called the...

Review of York: The Clockwork Ghost

York: The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby Middle School    Walden Pond/HarperCollins    449 pp. 5/19    978-0-06-230696-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-230698-2    $7.99 Despite the destruction of their beloved apartment building at the end of the previous book (York: The Shadow Cipher, rev. 5/17), codebreaking twins Theo and Tess Biedermann, along with artistic...

Review of The Peacock Detectives

The Peacock Detectives by Carly Nugent Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    282 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-289670-4    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-289672-8    $7.99 Cassie is enlisted by her neighbors to find their missing peacocks — again — because of her skill at noticing details. But there are plenty of other things for the Australian...

Review of The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story

The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story by Kate Milford; illus. by Jaime Zollars Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion    456 pp. 1/20    978-1-328-46689-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16427-2    $9.99 In the Liberty, a part of Nagspeake (Greenglass House, rev. 9/14, and sequels) where retired rogues and smugglers find sanctuary from the long...

Review of Prairie Lotus

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park Middle School   Clarion    260 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-78150-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33083-7    $9.99 In 1880, fourteen-year-old Hanna and her father settle in the (fictional) town of LaForge, in Dakota Territory. Papa is white; Hanna’s late mother immigrated from China and had both Chinese and...

Review of Yes No Maybe So

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    440 pp.    g 2/20    978-0-06-293704-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-293705-6    $11.99 In alternating chapters, teens Maya (a Muslim girl) and Jamie (a Jewish boy) narrate a story set amidst a longshot Georgia state senate campaign. Pushed...

Review of Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano

Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn; illus. by Isabelle Follath Intermediate    Tundra    325 pp.    g 2/20    978-0-7352-6546-2    $15.99 e-book ed.  978-0-77352-6547-9    $9.99 In 1902 Torquay, England, twelve-year-old Aggie befriends a Belgian refugee, Hector Perot, and investigates a murder roiling the town. When Mrs. Eversham,...

Review of There Will Come a Darkness

There Will Come a Darkness [Age of Darkness] by Katy Rose Pool High School    Holt    485 pp. 9/19    978-1-250-21175-0    $19.99 A prophecy foretells that an “age of darkness” will come down upon the land unless a new prophet can prevent it. This time of reckoning throws the story’s diverse cast...

Review of The Dark Lord Clementine

The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz Intermediate, Middle School    Algonquin    329 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-61620-894-3    $17.95 Clementine’s father, the Dark Lord Elithor Morcerous, has been cursed by the Whittle Witch and is unable to fulfill his dastardly duties. Clementine takes it upon herself to run Castle Brack, with...

Review of Deathless Divide

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland Middle School, High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    554 pp. 2/20    978-0-06-257063-5    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-257065-9    $10.99 Irascible Jane McKeene and posh Katherine Deveraux, zombie-dispatching graduates of Miss Preston’s School of Combat for Negro Girls, are back in this suspenseful, satisfying sequel to Dread Nation (rev....

Review of Not So Pure and Simple

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles High School    HarperTeen    391 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-234919-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-234921-7    $9.99 Del’s forever crush on schoolmate Kiera comes to a head when she finally becomes single in their junior year of high school. Del is poised to do whatever it takes...

Review of The Whispering Wars

The Whispering Wars by Jaclyn Moriarty Intermediate    Levine/Scholastic    408 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-338-25587-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-25588-1    $11.99 Moriarty returns to the magical universe of The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone (rev. 9/18) in this companion novel. The town of Spindrift, in the Kingdom of Storms, is under siege...

Review of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite High School    Inkyard    428 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-335-77709-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-488-05133-3    $9.99 To avoid being expelled after a school presentation accidentally lands a classmate in the hospital, Alaine Beauparlant is sent to Haiti, her parents’ birthplace, to participate in...

Review of The Revolution of Birdie Randolph

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert High School    Little, Brown    327 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-316-44856-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-44857-4    $9.99 African American sixteen-year-old Dove Randolph, Birdie to her family, is on the “right” track, with good grades and a clear plan for her life after high school. The...

Review of Jackpot

Jackpot by Nic Stone High School    Crown    341 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-9848-2962-7    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-2963-4    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-2964-1    $10.99 School, work, home; repeat. Such is the life of Rico, high school senior, part-time convenience-store clerk, and full-time caregiver to her nine-year-old brother. In Rico’s life, there is not...

Review of Someday We Will Fly

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin Middle School, High School    Viking    360 pp.    g 1/19    978-0-670-01496-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-61788-5    $10.99 In 1940, Lillia’s Jewish family plans to escape the Nazi threat in Warsaw for Shanghai. Her parents are acrobats, and when their circus is raided, Lillia and her...

Review of Frankly in Love

Frankly in Love by David Yoon High School    Putnam    414 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-9848-1220-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-1221-6    $10.99 High school senior Frank Li is the son of two first-generation Korean immigrant parents, and he knows that they have made sacrifices all their lives in order to give him opportunities....

Review of Stargazing

Stargazing by Jen Wang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien Intermediate    First Second/Roaring Brook    218 pp. 9/19    978-1-250-18387-3    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-1-250-18388-0    $12.99 In Wang’s (The Prince and the Dressmaker, rev. 3/18) middle-grade graphic novel, Christine follows the rules and tries to live up to her strict Chinese-immigrant...

Review of Here in the Real World

Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    309 pp. 2/20    978-0-06-269895-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-269897-1    $10.99 After his grandmother’s fall derails the family’s summer plans, eleven-year-old Ware’s parents sign him up for the town’s summer rec program. Ware, who loves medieval history and...

Review of I Hope You Get This Message

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi High School    HarperTeen    420 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-06-274145-5    $17.99 e-book ed. 978-0-06-274147-9 $9.99 When the world learns that omnipotent aliens will decide humanity’s fate in eight days, chaos erupts, and three teens strive to make their (potentially) final days count....

Review of King and the Dragonflies

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    263 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-338-12933-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-12935-9    $10.99 In their second middle-grade novel (Hurricane Child, rev. 5/18), set in contemporary small-town Louisiana, Callender masterfully balances resonant themes of grief, love, family, friendship, racism, sexuality, and coming-of-age. Twelve-year-old...

Review of Light It Up

Light It Up by Kekla Magoon Middle School, High School    Holt    359 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-250-12889-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-12890-4    $9.99 In this follow-up to How It Went Down (rev. 11/14), Peach Street is seething. Two years after a young man was gunned down by police on the same street,...

Review of The Year We Fell from Space

The Year We Fell from Space by Amy Sarig King Intermediate, Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    264 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-338-23636-1    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-23646-0    $10.99 Twelve-year-old “amateur creative astronomer” Liberty Johansen, having memorized all the constellations, makes up her own and meticulously maps them. Her love of the cosmos comes from...

Review of Lalani of the Distant Sea

Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly; illus. by Lian Cho Intermediate    Greenwillow    388 pp. 9/19    978-0-06-274727-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-274729-7    $9.99 Kelly turns from the contemporary realistic settings of the Newbery-winning Hello, Universe (rev. 3/17) and of You Go First (rev. 3/18) to a tropical island–set fantasy...

Review of The Secret Commonwealth

The Secret Commonwealth [The Book of Dust] by Philip Pullman Middle School, High School    Knopf    635 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-553-51066-9    $22.99 Library ed.  978-0-553-51067-6    $25.99 e-book ed.  978-0-553-51068-3    $11.99 Don’t start here. While bibliographically this second entry in Pullman’s Book of Dust trilogy follows La Belle Sauvage (rev. 10/18), biographically...

Review of Penny and Her Sled

Penny and Her Sled by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Primary    Greenwillow    56 pp. 10/19    978-0-06-293453-6    $14.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-293454-3    $15.89 In her first easy-reader outing in six years (most recently Penny and Her Marble, rev. 3/13), Penny waits for snow. It’s winter, and the young mouse wants nothing...

Review of Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    193 pp. 10/19    978-1-4814-3828-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3830-8    $10.99 Ten blocks. Ten stories. Lots of middle-school kids doing many different things after school. Jasmine and TJ walk home together, wondering what they’re made of—dust...

Review of Pet

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi Middle School    Make Me a World/Random    204 pp. 9/19    978-0-525-64707-2    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-64708-9    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-64709-6    $10.99 A haunting and poetic work of speculative fiction—the first for young readers by adult author Emezi. Jam, the adolescent protagonist, is a transgender hearing person who communicates...

Review of Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    367 pp. 10/19    978-0-06-231764-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-231766-7    $10.99 At first, this seems to be the story of Frankie, a girl in a Catholic orphanage in Chicago in the 1940s. She and her sister and brother...

Review of Queen of the Sea

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis; illus. by the author Middle School    Walker U.S./Candlewick    396 pp. 5/19    978-1-5362-0498-8    $24.99 In a graphic novel loosely inspired by sixteenth-century British history “during the reigns of King Henry VIII and his daughters, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I,” young Margaret has...

Review of A Place to Belong

A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata; illus. by Julia Kuo Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    405 pp. 5/19    978-1-4814-4664-8    $17.99    e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4666-2    $10.99 They had been such proud Americans—working hard at their San Francisco restaurant and hopeful for the future. Then came Pearl Harbor, and Hanako, her little brother,...

Review of The Fountains of Silence

 The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys High School    Philomel    498 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-399-16031-8    $18.99 Sepetys’s riveting historical epic examines the enduring effects of the Spanish Civil War through the perspectives of four young people living under the shadow of Franco’s fascist dictatorship in 1957 Madrid. Ana and Rafael...

Review of Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot!

Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot! by Cece Bell; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    70 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-7636-7936-1    $12.99 Gone are the days of Dick and Jane easy readers, with their boring characters and their notably unthreatening dog. Bell’s (El Deafo, rev. 11/14; the Rabbit & Robot books)...

Review of Butterfly Yellow

Butterfly Yellow by Thanhhà Lai Middle School, High School    Harper/HarperCollins    296 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-06-222921-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-222923-6    $9.99 During the 1975 fall of Saigon, twelve-year-old Hang determines that she and her younger brother, Linh, should escape to America. They attempt to impersonate orphans to join Operation Babylift, but...

Review of Pumpkinheads

Pumpkinheads  by Rainbow Rowell; illus. by Faith Erin Hicks; 
color by Sarah Stern  High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    222 pp.  8/19    978-1-250-31285-3    $24.99      Paper ed.  978-1-62672-162-3    $17.99  Graduating high-school seniors Josiah and Deja have worked together at DeKnock’s World Famous Pumpkin Patch & Autumn Jamboree every fall for the past...

Review of It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories

It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories edited by Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman High School    Knopf    311 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-525-64616-7    $17.99    Library ed.  978-0-525-64617-4    $20.99    e-book ed.  978-0-525-64618-1    $10.99 In this anthology of fourteen short stories by Jewish authors and about Jewish teens, youth trips,...

Review of More to the Story

More to the Story by Hena Khan Intermediate, Middle School    Salaam/Simon    262 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-4814-9209-6    $17.99    e-book ed.  978-1-4814-9211-9    $10.99 In a novel inspired by Little Women, thirteen-year-old Pakistani American Jameela Mirza, second oldest of four sisters and an aspiring journalist, lives with her family in Atlanta. This Eid...

Review of Becoming Beatriz

Becoming Beatriz by Tami Charles High School    Charlesbridge Teen    262 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-58089-778-5    $17.99 Charles (Like Vanessa, rev. 3/18) presents the story of an Afro–Puerto Rican teen, Beatriz Mendez, who is torn between her own desire to be a dancer and the expectations of her blood and chosen families...

Review of Beverly, Right Here

 Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    243 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-7636-9464-7    $16.99 In this companion volume to DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale (rev. 3/16) and Louisiana’s Way Home (rev. 9/18) — together the books make up a trilogy in which DiCamillo introduces three girls, each meeting individual challenges...

Review of The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined

The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined by Stephanie Hemphill High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    495 pp. 6/19    978-0-06-249011-7    $17.99 In this engrossing first-person, present-tense verse novel, Hemphill (Your Own, Sylvia, rev. 3/07; Hideous Love, rev. 9/13) reimagines the fifteenth-century life of French martyr Joan of Arc. Readers follow...

Review of My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi; illus. by Anthony Piper Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    252 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-3991-8735-3    $16.99 In the summer before seventh grade, in 1984, Ebony-Grace Norfleet Freeman — also known as E-Grace Starfleet, space cadet, in the comics she imagines — is...

Review of Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia C. Pérez Intermediate, Middle School    Kokila/Penguin    367 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-425-29043-9    $16.99 In alternating chapters, readers meet lonely, artistic Lane DiSanti; bird-lover Cat Garcia; cooking whiz Aster Douglas; and aspiring journalist Ofelia Castillo. Spending an enforced summer vacation in sleepy...

Review of The Hero Next Door

The Hero Next Door edited by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    266 pp.    g 7/19    978-0-525-64630-3    $16.99    Library ed.  978-0-525-64631-0    $19.99    e-book ed.  978-0-525-64632-7    $9.99 Rhuday-Perkovich, in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, has compiled thirteen short stories (by fourteen authors) about “everyday heroes in our midst.” The entries...

Review of Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits

Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits by Anna Meriano Intermediate    Walden Pond/HarperCollins    320 pp. 2/19    978-0-06-249849-6    $16.99   Following her discovery in Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble (rev. 3/18) that she (like all the females in her family) is a bruja, Leonora Logroño is busy learning about...

Review of The Lost Coast

The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta High School    Candlewick    342 pp.    g 5/19    978-1-5362-0096-6    $17.99 High schooler Danny and her mom arrive in Tempest, California, under mysterious circumstances (Danny: “I was the one who had begged for a new life, my tears salted with guilt”). There, where the redwoods...

Review of Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson; with lyrics by Malik “Malik-16” Sharif High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    380 pp. 5/19    978-0-06-284032-5    $17.99    e-book ed.  978-0-06-284034-9    $9.99 It’s 1998, and hip-hop reigns supreme on the music charts and in the streets of Brooklyn. Unfortunately, the violence plaguing the community claims...

Review of Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas

Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas by Juana Medina; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    89 pp. 5/19    978-1-5362-0131-4    $14.99 This sequel to Juana & Lucas (rev. 11/16) offers welcome narrative continuity for fans of Bogotá–dwelling protagonist Juana Medina Rosas and her beloved pet dog Lucas, while skillfully balancing changes...

Review of Pie in the Sky

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai; illus. by the author Intermediate    Holt    380 pp. 5/19    978-1-250-31409-3    $21.99    Paper ed.  978-1-250-31410-9    $12.99 It’s been almost two years since Jingwen lost his father in a tragic accident; he now finds himself starting over in a new country. The novel begins with...

Review of Other Words for Home

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    342 pp. 5/19    978-0-06-274780-8    $16.99    e-book ed.  978-0-06-274782-2    $8.99 Warga’s (My Heart and Other Black Holes, rev. 1/15) latest book is a middle-grade and middle-school novel written in free verse and narrated by a Syrian girl named...

"WE ARE HERE": queer books beyond subtext

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, an event that laid the groundwork for the first Gay Pride parade and celebrations that have evolved into a month-long recognition of LGBTQ+ identities and communities.During my 1990s childhood in a pervasively conservative, Christian, Southern environment, I...

Review of To Night Owl from Dogfish

To Night Owl from Dogfishby Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg WolitzerIntermediate, Middle School    Dial/Dutton    311 pp.    g2/19    978-0-5255-5323-6    $17.99At the start of this epistolary (via email) novel, twelve-year-olds Bett Devlin, an adventure-loving California girl of African American and Brazilian descent, and Avery Bloom, a tightly wound New Yorker whose single...

Review of Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Meby Mariko Tamaki; illus. by Rosemary Valero-O’ConnellHigh School    First Second/Roaring Brook    298 pp.5/19    978-1-250-31284-6    $24.99Paper ed.  978-1-62672-259-0    $17.99This relatable, heart-wrenching, and often funny graphic novel opens with seventeen-year-old Frederica (“Freddy”) Riley’s email to advice columnist Anna Vice. “For almost the past year I’ve been...

2019 BGHB Fiction & Poetry Award winners extras

Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., announced the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners on May 29th, 2019, at School Library Journal's Day of Dialog in New York City. You can watch the announcement video here and read the press release here.Read reviews of all of the...

Imaginative Spaces and Connecting Lines: SFF and the CSK

According to Nichelle Nichols, the first Black woman cast as a main character on a major television show, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Trekkie. In fact, she stated that it was his support that prompted her to continue her role as Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek even though...

BFFs back for more

Like Frog & Toad, Elephant & Piggie, and Ling & Ting, best friendship stories & easy readers are a perfect pair. These latest entries in noteworthy easy-reader series offer readers a chance to visit with some beloved sets of besties. For more recommended easy readers and articles about the format,...

Middle grade and YA for Pride Month 2019

These novels — some upper-middle grade and some young adult — reflect a range of experiences among LGBTQIA+ young people. Happy Pride! Find more recommendations for Pride Month reading in these featured lists of picture books, middle grade, and YA on the shiny and new Horn Book Guide Online.In The...

Review of The Runaways

The Runawaysby Ulf Stark; illus. by Kitty Crowther; trans. from the Swedish by Julia MarshallPrimary, Intermediate    Gecko    134 pp.4/19    978-1-77652-33-5    $17.99Paper ed.  978-1-776572-34-2    $11.88The portrait of old age and infirmity in this Swedish import is considerably more unvarnished than we’re used to in books for children. Grandpa is no lovable...

Review of The Music of What Happens

The Music of What Happensby Bill KonigsbergHigh School    Levine/Scholastic    346 pp.1/19    978-1-338-21550-2    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-338-21552-6    $10.99In order to help his unstable mother make delinquent mortgage payments, Jordan tries his hand at the food truck business, using his late father’s old truck, Coq Au Vinny. Things don’t go too well until...
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