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Review of Truly Devious

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    418 pp.    g 1/18    978-0-06-233805-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-233807-5    $9.99 Aspiring sleuth Stevie Bell has just started her junior year at Ellingham Academy — an artsy Vermont enclave for offbeat students founded in the 1930s by eccentric philanthropist Albert Ellingham — when disaster strikes. One of her […]

Love, friendship, and fashion

For Valentine’s Day, here are some new YA stories featuring friendship, romance, purported space aliens, and fabulous fashion. See also Katrina Hedeen and Rachel L. Smith’s 2013 Horn Book Magazine article: “What Makes a Good YA Love Story?” Edan, star of Cecil Castellucci’s Don’t Cosplay with My Heart, is a devotee of the (fictitious) comic […]

Review of A Skinful of Shadows

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge Middle School, High School    Amulet/Abrams    415 pp. 10/17    978-1-4197-2572-2    $19.99 Hardinge’s (The Lie Tree, rev. 5/16) latest tour de force is set during the reign of King Charles I against the backdrop of the 1600s English Civil War and is, as unlikely as it sounds, something of a […]

Review of A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919

A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield Middle School, High School    Clarion    196 pp.    g 1/18    978-0-544-78513-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-328-69904-6    $9.99 This readable, compelling history explores the longstanding and deeply rooted causes of the 1919 Chicago Race Riot, which left thirty-eight people dead and 537 wounded (two-thirds of […]

Review of Nothing

Nothing by Annie Barrows High School    Greenwillow    212 pp. 9/17    978-0-06-266823-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-266825-7    $9.99 High school BFFs Charlotte and Frankie are convinced they’d be terrible YA novel protagonists because nothing ever happens to them: their parents are still alive, they’re not suicidal, they don’t have wild sex with either boys or other girls. […]

Review of Piecing Me Together

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson Middle School, High School    Bloomsbury    264 pp. 2/17    978-1-68119-105-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-68119-106-5    $12.99 At her mother’s prodding, Jade has spent her high school career preparing herself for success. That has included taking every opportunity offered to her: a scholarship to the prestigious (and mostly white; Jade is African […]

Review of The Librarian of Auschwitz

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe; trans. from the Spanish by Lilit Žekulin Thwaites High School    Godwin/Holt    424 pp. 10/17    978-1-62779-618-7    $19.99 January 1944: “In this life-destroying factory that is Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the ovens burn corpses day and night, Block 31 is atypical, an anomaly.” It’s where the children in camp BIIb, or the […]

Fantastic(al) heroines of color

These new entries in YA speculative fiction series starring kickass young women of color explore perspectives on cultural and ethnic identity — while providing glimpses of (often frightening) potential futures and alternate realities grounded in our present. Ambelin Kwaymullina concludes The Tribe, her fantasy trilogy of what she terms “Indigenous futurism,” with The Foretelling of […]

Review of Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green High School    Dutton    290 pp. 10/17    978-0-525-55536-0    $19.99 Five years after The Fault in Our Stars (rev. 3/12), Green returns to chart a different kind of debilitating illness. When we meet sixteen-year-old Aza Holmes in the cafeteria, her thoughts are laser-focused on her body’s microbiome: “Admittedly, I […]

Review of Spinning

Spinning by Tillie Walden; illus. by the author High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    396 pp. 9/17    978-1-62672-772-4    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-1-62672-940-7    $17.99 In a graphic memoir, former competitive figure skater and synchronized skater Walden looks back at her twelve years growing up in the world of competitive sports. The shadowy, cool bluish-purples of most of […]