S. R. Toliver

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Review of Abeni’s Song

Abeni’s Song by P. Djèlí ClarkIntermediate, Middle School    Starscape/Tor    336 pp.7/23    9781250825827    $19.99Paper ed.  9781250825841    $8.99e-book ed.  9781250825834    $11.99On Abeni’s twelfth birthday, a witch enters her village to give a grave warning: an evil is coming, and it’s too late to run. The adults prepare for an impossible battle as...

Review of Conjure Island

Conjure Island by Eden RoyceIntermediate    Walden Pond/HarperCollins    320 pp.6/23    9780062899613    $19.99e-book ed.  9780062899620    $10.99Because her father is in the Air Force, eleven-year-old Delphinia Baker moves to a new state every year, making it difficult to form lasting friendships. Del is grateful for the one constant in her life: her grandmother....

Review of Hamra and the Jungle of Memories

Hamra and the Jungle of Memories by Hanna AlkafIntermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    400 pp.3/23    9780063207950    $19.99e-book ed.  9780063207974    $10.99Hamra has just turned thirteen, though no one in her family seems to have noticed. Due to COVID-19, her home country of Malaysia is under quarantine, leaving her mother working long hours...

Review of Harvest House

Harvest House by Cynthia Leitich SmithHigh School    Candlewick    320 pp.4/23    9781536218602    $19.99e-book ed.  9781536227284    $19.99Theater kid Hughie Wolfe, one of the few Indigenous students at his high school, is disappointed when the fall play is cancelled. He sets his sights on a new project: a haunted house fundraiser at the...

Review of The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía

The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía by Alexandra AlessandriIntermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    224 pp.2/23    9781665917056    $17.99e-book ed.  9781665917070    $10.99As a young girl, Valentina loved the Colombian legends her father told about the magical creatures inhabiting their country. Now that she’s twelve (“almost thirteen”), however, she finds the stories childish fantasies,...

Review of Rebel of Fire and Flight

Rebel of Fire and Flight by Aneesa MarufuMiddle School, High School    Chicken House/Scholastic    384 pp.1/23    9781338802313    $19.99e-book ed.  9781338802337    $12.99Khadija is a brown-skinned sixteen-year-old girl ­living in the (fictional) realm of Ghadaea. Although her Ghadaean identity grants her a position in society’s highest racial caste, her identity as a girl...

Review of We Are All So Good at Smiling

We Are All So Good at Smiling by Amber McBrideHigh School    Feiwel    304 pp.1/23    9781250780386    $18.99e-book ed.  9781250780393    $10.99This ambitious novel in verse uses magical realism and fairy-tale elements to explore clinical depression and highlight the various stages of grief. Whimsy is back at the hospital again, where she has...

Review of MapMaker

MapMaker by Lisa Moore Ramée Intermediate, Middle School     Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    320 pp.         g9/22     978-0-06-303942-1     $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-06-303944-5    $12.99 Walt and his family relocate to the boring town of Blackbird Bay the summer before seventh grade. His friends are back in L.A., and his twin...

Review of The Weight of Blood

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson High School     Tegen/HarperCollins    416 pp.         g9/22     978-0-06-302914-9     $18.99e-book ed.  978-0-06-302916-3    $12.99 Madison Washington has always been bullied because she’s skittish and quiet and dresses in 1950s attire. She tolerates the incessant taunting because she has more to...

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