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Review of Infinity Alchemist

Infinity Alchemist by Kacen CallenderHigh School    Tor Teen    400 pp.2/24    9781250890252    $19.99e-book ed.  9781250890269    $11.99Ash Woods is an unlicensed alchemist, a groundskeeper at a college that will employ him but not admit him to study and train to practice alchemy openly and legally. When Ramsay Thorne, a graduate apprentice, catches...

Review of Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution

Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender High School     Amulet/Abrams    336 pp.         g9/22     978-1-4197-5687-0     $19.99e-book ed.  978-1-6470-0412-5    $15.54 Seventeen-year-old Lark is sure that once they hit fifty thousand Twitter followers, an agent will pick up their novel, and they’ll finally be able to...

King and the Dragonflies: Kacen Callender's 2020 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Award Speech

Dreams have always fascinated me. When I was a child, I’d beg my mom to buy every “dreamology” and dream interpretation book I could find. I felt that dreams were, at the very least, my subconscious trying to communicate: reveal feelings I might not have realized I had, or help...

BGHB 2020: King and the Dragonflies

We've reached the culmination of Fiction and Poetry week in our first-ever, month-long virtual Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards celebration.   Today, chair Julie Danielson introduces the 2020 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Winner King and the Dragonflies:   The 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry is presented to Kacen...

A Note from Me (Oct 9, 2020)

Dear friends: Our 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book festivities have begun, and I was happy to see that our Fiction and Poetry winner King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender is now also a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award. BGHB’s weird calendar (June through May) puts it between normal...

Review of Felix Ever After

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    357 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-282025-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-282027-3    $10.99 At seventeen, Felix Love feels marginalized as a Black teen, an aspiring artist, and a trans male. His mom left the family when he was ten, and although his...

Rule Breakers: Never a Rule to Begin With

When I was young, I heard a family member say something that has stuck with me for all of these years: “Black people can’t be gay.” As ridiculous as this sounds, there are plenty of people who have had and still have this mindset. Beyond the unfortunately common homophobia, the...

Five questions for Kacen Callender

In King and the Dragonflies (Scholastic, 10–14 years), our grieving twelve-year-old protagonist is convinced that his recently deceased older brother has transformed into a dragonfly. He is also, reluctantly, keeping secrets for his sort-of friend, Sandy, who is gay and has run away from an abusive home. Via dreamlike imagery,...

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...

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