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The Sun Is Also a Star movie review

In Nicola Yoon’s YA novel The Sun Is Also a Star (Delacorte, 2016), Natasha Kingsley and her family are a day from being deported to Jamaica after nine years living in New York City. Natasha is doing everything she can to get that decision overturned — and then she meets Daniel Jae Ho Bae. An […]

Review of Where the Heart Is

Where the Heart Is by Jo Knowles Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    294 pp.    g 4/19    978-1-5362-0003-4    $16.99 On Rachel’s thirteenth birthday, new neighbors move in, affluent dilettante “farmers” who engage her, at minimum wage, to look after their animals while they’re away during the week. She comes to love the menagerie, even Lucy, the surly […]

Game of Thrones read-alikes

Welp, I dunno about you, but I was Not Happy with the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. And given that it was the penultimate episode — ever — I’m getting pretty nervous about the finale on Sunday. Whether you’re sticking out the season and looking for something to help fill the void afterwards, […]

Review of Harold & Hog Pretend for Real!

Harold & Hog Pretend for Real! [Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!] by Dan Santat; illus. by the author; with additional illustrations by Mo Willems Primary    Hyperion    64 pp.    g 5/19    978-1-368-02716-8    $9.99 Santat takes the already-meta Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series to new heights of self-awareness in this easy reader starring Harold and Hog, […]

Review of With the Fire on High

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo High School    HarperTeen    392 pp. 5/19    978-0-06-266283-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-266285-9    $9.99 High school senior Emoni Santiago, whose “Puerto Rican side is as Black as [her] Black American side,” is many things — an aspiring chef, a proud North Philly native, a reserved student who keeps to […]

Review of The Vanishing Stair

The Vanishing Stair [Truly Devious] by Maureen Johnson High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    373 pp. 1/19    978-0-06-233808-2    $17.99 In this absorbing continuation of Truly Devious (rev. 1/18), amateur gumshoe and anxiety sufferer Stevie Bell is still trying — from afar, her parents having removed her from Ellingham Academy at the end of the first book — to […]

Review of Dealing in Dreams

Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera High School    Simon    328 pp.    g 3/19    978-1-4814-7214-2    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7216-6    $10.99 Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez) presents an action-filled dystopian novel about loyalty, power, and losing and finding oneself. Nalah, a.k.a. Chief Rocka, is the leader of the all-girl gang Las Mal Criadas, which owns the […]

Review of The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake Intermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown    373 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-316-51553-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-51550-4    $9.99 After receiving a heart transplant, twelve-year-old Sunny decides it’s time for a “New Life” with specific components — including finding a boy to kiss and finding a new best […]

Review of Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott High School    Houghton    191 pp.    g 3/19    978-1-328-98759-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-04915-9    $9.99 In this verse novel, “voices” refers to Joan of Arc’s messages from the saints; to the various people who testified for and against her; to Joan herself; and to the objects […]

Journeys through grief

Though each of the protagonists of these middle-grade and middle-school stories navigates grief in her or his own way, their paths to healing are all poignant and relatable. In Kwame Alexander‘s Rebound, the 1988-set prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, twelve-year-old Charlie Bell is spending the summer with his grandparents following the sudden death […]