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Review of On a Sunbeam

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden; illus. by the author High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    537 pp. 10/18    978-1-250-17814-5    $32.99 Paper ed.  978-1-250-17813-8    $21.99 This serial webcomic turned epic graphic novel tells Mia and Grace’s story in two alternating, far-future timelines, each initially distinguished by a different limited palette. In the first timeline, depicted in […]

Review of Piecing Me Together audiobook

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson; read by the author Middle School, High School    Recorded Books    Rev. 7/17 5 CDs    5.5 hrs    978-1-5019-9779-2    $51.75 Watson (winner of the 2018 Coretta Scott King Author Award and a 2018 Newbery Honor for this novel) movingly conveys the emotions of her thoughtful, bright, artistic, African American protagonist Jade. […]

Foreseeable futures

Speculative fiction can provide an effective vehicle for authors to comment on and critique the state of our own world. The following new YA novels examine timely social issues in new settings, whether far-flung galaxies or uncomfortably close-to-home dystopian societies. (And by the way, did you know The Hunger Games just celebrated its tenth publication […]

Review of If You Come Softly audiobook

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson; read by Jorjeana Marie, Guy Lockard, and Jacqueline Woodson High School    Listening Library 3 CDs    3.72 hrs    978-0-525-63790-5    $45.00 The twentieth anniversary audiobook of Woodson’s novel opens with her heartfelt introduction about the persistent relevance of this tragic story about an interracial teen couple, Jeremiah (Miah) and Ellie. […]

Review of Give the Dark My Love

Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis Middle School, High School    Razorbill/Penguin    451 pp.    g 9/18    978-1-595-14717-2    $17.99 When Nedra leaves home for Yûgen Academy to study medical alchemy, she’s most focused on curing the Wasting Death, a plague that begins with blackened necrotic extremities, only sometimes responding to the amputation of the affected […]

Review of Hey, Kiddo

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    Graphix/Scholastic    320 pp.    g 10/18    978-0-545-90247-2    $24.99 Paper ed.  978-0-545-90248-9    $14.99 e-book ed.  978-0-545-90249-6    $9.99 Krosoczka offers a graphic memoir that is altogether more mature in style, theme, and content than his previous work for younger audiences (the Lunch Lady series; […]

Girls, ghosts, and ghouls

In four new shiver-inducing middle-school and YA novels perfect for the Halloween season, young women come face-to-face with the restless dead, who are variously mindless and hungry or self-aware and in need of assistance — and not so different from their living counterparts. For more, see this recommended YA reading list, and don’t miss these […]

Review of Between the Lines audiobook

Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes; read by Cherise Boothe, Lori Gardner, Almarie Guerra, Sisi Aisha Johnson, Edward Lopez, Ruffin Prentiss, and James Shippy Middle School, High School    Recorded Books Rev. 3/18    4 CDs    4 hrs.    978-1-5019-6261-5    $13.99 Nine high school students take turns giving readers their impressions of a poetry class they’re all taking, […]

Review of Tess of the Road audiobook

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman; read by Katharine McEwan High School    Listening Library    Rev. 3/18 13 CDs    16.27 hrs.    978-1-5247-7955-9    $70.00 Narrated by McEwan in a crisply enunciated English accent, this fantasy (a companion to Hartman’s Seraphina, rev. 7/12) follows the anarchic Tess as the seventeen-year-old misfit almost ruins her twin sister’s wedding, […]

Review of The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    Houghton    105 pp. 9/18    978-1-328-81015-1    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-328-56104-6    $13.99 There are over five million Syrian refugees around the world today, and each one has a unique story. Brown returns to the comics format of Drowned City […]