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Review of The Memory of Things

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner High School    St. Martin’s Griffin    275 pp. 9/16    978-1-250-09552-7    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-250-09553-4    $9.99 It’s the morning of September 11, 2001, in Manhattan, and the first tower has just fallen. Sixteen-year-old Brooklynite Kyle, fleeing toward home, stumbles upon a teenage girl wearing a pair of costume wings […]

Family ties

Maya Angelou wrote, “Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.” For many teens, adolescence includes contending with changing sibling relationships. Four new novels explore the joys and challenges of these shifting dynamics. Suzette and Lionel, the protagonists of Brandy Colbert’s Little & Lion, are close teen step-siblings in a happy, blended, […]

Just the two of us

Four funny, episodic books for emerging readers feature dynamic duos — human, invertebrate, and everything in between. Laurel Snyder’s beginning chapter book Charlie & Mouse is filled to the brim with sincere, slice-of-life sibling moments. In four chapters, the two eponymous brothers have a party on the playground, attempt to sell rocks to the neighbors, […]

Review of Barkus

Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan; illus. by Marc Boutavant Primary    Chronicle    56 pp. 6/17    978-1-4521-1182-7    $14.99 When globetrotting Uncle Everton sets off on a new voyage, he leaves Barkus — the “smartest dog in the world” — with Nicky and her family. In five brief chapters, Barkus and Nicky change the classroom dynamics at school, host […]

Five questions for Mitali Perkins

Mitali Perkins‘s latest novel You Bring the Distant Near (Farrar, 12–16 years) is a sprawling family epic that follows three generations of women in the Das family — matriarch Ranee; her daughters Tara and Sonia; and each of their daughters, Anna and Chantal. The story begins in 1965 and ends in 2006; as the family […]

Review of The Emperor’s Ostrich

The Emperor’s Ostrich by Julie Berry Intermediate, Middle School    Roaring Brook    276 pp. 7/17    978-1-59643-958-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-59643-959-7    $9.99 A beloved farm animal, a perpetually messy young man, a missing boy emperor, and a sturdy heroine are at the center of Berry’s lively literary fairy tale, a loving homage to Lloyd Alexander and his […]

Review of Saints and Misfits

Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali Middle School, High School    Salaam/Simon    328 pp. 6/17    978-1-4814-9924-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-9926-2    $10.99 Sophomore Janna Yusuf, a hijab-wearing Flannery O’Connor devotee, knows that the world is full of “saints,” “monsters,” and “misfits.” She considers herself the last, not quite sure where she belongs within her post-divorce family […]

Review of This Impossible Light

This Impossible Light by Lily Myers Middle School, High School    Philomel    343 pp. 6/17    978-0-399-17372-1    $17.99 Fifteen-year-old Ivy Lewis is a straight-A student who takes comfort in the familiar predictability of her sophomore year. Her father has moved out, her mother is slipping further into depression, her brother has left for college, and her best […]

Review of Charlie & Mouse

Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder; illus. by Emily Hughes Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 4/17    978-1-4521-3153-5    $14.99 This beginning chapter book is filled to the brim with sincere, slice-of-life sibling moments. In four chapters, brothers Charlie and Mouse spend a day together in their home and neighborhood. Adults are present, but the focus is on […]

Review of The Fashion Committee

The Fashion Committee: A Novel of Art, Crime, and Applied Design by Susan Juby High School    Viking    311 pp. 5/17    978-0-451-46878-9    $18.99 From the world of artsy teens in small-town British Columbia first introduced in Juby’s The Truth Commission (rev. 3/15) comes another sly, boldly narrated contemporary tale. Two public high school students — relentlessly […]