Reviews of the 2024 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction Award Winner and Honor Books

Fiction Winner

Remember Us
by Jacqueline Woodson
Middle School    Paulsen/Penguin    192 pp.
10/23    9780399545467    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780399545481    $10.99

Sage Durham, a basketball-obsessed Black twelve-year-old, is looking forward to a summer of pick-up games with the boys (she’s always the only girl on the court) in her close-knit 1970s Brooklyn neighborhood. Instead, it proves to be a season of screaming sirens and burned-out buildings. The newspapers dub Bushwick “The Matchbox,” and a number of the Durhams’ neighbors become victims of fire. Sage’s mom, the widow of a firefighter, is saving every possible penny to put toward a brick house and a safer future for herself and her daughter. But the idea of leaving the home where her dad grew up and all the people she has ever known is hard for Sage. A recent cruel comment (“What kind of girl are you?”) has her questioning where she fits in. This lyrical first-person upper-middle-grade novel taps into a wide array of emotional truths and preteen sensibilities. Passages on loss and memory feature palpable sadness, but there is also a tender exploration of the enduring power of friendship and love, the discovery of inner strength and resilience, and the need to balance an appreciation for what “once was” and what may be. Woodson again delivers an appealing protagonist whose voice will resonate with readers in a nuanced coming-of-age story worth remembering. LUANN TOTH

From the September/October 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Honor Books

The Blood Years
by Elana K. Arnold
High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    400 pp.
10/23    9780062990853    $19.99
e-book ed.  9780062990877    $10.99

In this historical novel set in Czernowitz, Romania, thirteen-year-old Rieke and her beautiful, headstrong older sister, Astra, live with their depressive mother and religiously observant grandfather, Opa, a jeweler and business owner. As antisemitic fervor mounts, the family is seen by those in power as being part of “the Jewish problem.” The girls are denied access to public school, Opa’s business is vandalized, and their lives and livelihood are threatened. Things go from terrible to worse as the city is occupied first by the Soviets, then by the Germans a year later. The family is forced to leave their home, and Jews from around the city are rounded up into a ghetto with no heat, electricity, or water. Rieke’s lingering cough is confirmed as tuberculosis, and she seems destined to perish until a friend of her estranged father steps in to provide financial support; horrifyingly, he rapes her in the process. The teen begins to heal, finds her voice, and strengthens her resolve, until her beloved grandfather’s murder threatens to break her spirit. Arnold’s (Red Hood, rev. 5/20) compelling and well-researched narrative is deeply personal, respectful, and redemptive; through story, she bears witness. Her depiction of Rieke’s experiences allows readers to truly feel how the horrors of war give the character many reasons to hate as well as to discover her enormous capacity to love. Front and back matter establish a connection to Arnold’s grandmother’s memories from Romania and provide photos and a reading list. LUANN TOTH

From the November/December 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Rez Ball
by Byron Graves
High School    Heartdrum/HarperCollins    368 pp.
9/23    9780063160378    $19.99

The summer before sophomore year, Tre Brun is grieving the accidental death of his older brother as well as living in his shadow — Jaxon was beloved and idolized for his varsity basketball stardom within the Brun family and throughout the entire Red Lake Reservation. Tre is also on a mission: dedicating himself to rigorous training in hopes of making varsity and, alongside Jaxon’s former teammates, bringing their rez team to the Minnesota State Basketball Championships. Ojibwe author Graves’s Morris– and AILA YA Award–winning debut is at once an exhilarating sports thriller, an underdog story, a grieving-family portrait, and a relatable high-school social dramedy. That it is set on a contemporary Native reservation is both a casual detail and a noteworthy aspect of the book, thanks to Graves’s authentic depictions of the socioeconomic, racial, and cultural specifics of Tre’s lived reality. A YA novel with massive commercial appeal that also opens windows — hell, wide, welcoming gates — to an underrepresented community. KATRINA HEDEEN EFTEKHARI

From the Guide/Reviews Database.


The 2024 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners and honors were announced on June 20th, 2024. For reviews of the other winning titles and more, click on the tag BGHB24.

Horn Book
Horn Book

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.