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August 2018 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: High School

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo HarperTeen     361 pp 3/18     978-0-06-266280-4     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-266282-8     $9.99 Fifteen-year-old Xiomara, a self-described “brown and big and angry” Dominican girl from Harlem, finds peace in writing poetry. The slow-burning suspense of what will transpire when devoutly Catholic Mami discovers Xiomara’s clandestine relationship with a classmate is eclipsed only […]

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter audiobook

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez; read by Kyla Garcia High School    Listening Library    Rev. 3/18 8 CDs    9.7 hrs.    978-1-5247-8224-5    $60.00 When her older sister, Olga, dies, Julia discovers Olga was not the “perfect Mexican daughter” everybody thought she was. Julia, who longs to be a writer and leave […]

The art of deception

The protagonists of the following new YA fantasies all face complex societal structures which force them to hide, lie, or deceive others in some fashion. Along the way, this leads each character to re-examine her or his own identity and prior beliefs…and also makes for compelling reading. Rachel Hartman returns to her fantastical medievalesque world […]

Review of Votes for Women: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot audiobook

Votes for Women: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling; read by Christina Moore Middle School, High School    Recorded Books    Rev. 3/18 6 CDs    7.25 hrs.    978-1-5019-7193-8    $20.99 Narrator Moore has a deep, resonant alto with a no-nonsense quality that perfectly embodies the resolve of America’s first feminists. When quoting Susan […]

Review of We’ll Fly Away

We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss High School    Greenwillow    408 pp. 5/18    978-0-06-249427-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-249429-0    $8.99 When best friends Luke and Toby were kids, they tried to fix up a crop duster they found abandoned in the woods outside their rural North Carolina town, fantasizing it could one day fly them out of […]

Review of House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery

House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg; illus. by Julie Morstad Middle School, High School    Candlewick    339 pp.    g 6/18    978-0-7636-6057-4    $17.99 The author best known for Anne of Green Gables left behind extensive letters and journals; Rosenberg has gathered information from these and other sources to create a detailed […]

Truth and duty

Reading about difficult circumstances can be cathartic — and may enhance readers’ feelings of empathy. The following YA novels tackle complex subject matter in authentic, thought-provoking ways. In Eric Gansworth’s Give Me Some Truth, set in 1980 on the Tuscarora Indian Nation (the “Rez”), the alternating first-person narratives of two teens — seventeen-year-old Carson Mastick […]

Review of Give Me Some Truth

Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth; illus. by the author High School    Levine/Scholastic    432 pp.    g 5/18    978-1-338-14354-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-14355-3    $11.99 Seventeen-year-old Carson Mastick has lived his whole life on the reservation, while fifteen-year-old Maggi (short for Magpie) Bokoni had been living in the city since she was eight and has only […]

Review of I Have Lost My Way

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman High School    Viking    258 pp.    g 3/18    978-0-425-29077-4    $18.99 A chance meeting leads to intimate connections for three struggling nineteen-year-olds in Forman’s (If I Stay, rev. 7/09; I Was Here, rev. 1/15) latest novel. Freya is an up-and-coming singer who has lost her voice, to her controlling […]

Review of Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots

Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots by Margarita Engle; illus. by Rudy Gutierrez Middle School, High School    Atheneum    179 pp.    g 5/18    978-1-5344-0943-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0945-3    $10.99 In 1942 Los Angeles, after working all day at the canneries, teen sisters Lorena and Marisela can’t wait to put on their sharpest swing […]