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Review of The Prince and the Dressmaker

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    282 pp. 2/18    978-1-250-15985-4    $24.99 Paper ed.  978-1-62672-363-4    $16.99 With a setting and palette reminiscent of Disney’s Cinderella and a setup involving a royal ball, this graphic novel has all the trappings of a rags-to-riches romance. […]

Review of Between the Lines

Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes Middle School, High School    Paulsen/Penguin    213 pp.    g 2/18    978-0-399-24688-3    $17.99 “Just step up, step up to the mike / and let your truth fly, loud, / proud, raw.” That’s what students are preparing to do in Mr. Ward’s high school class in the Bronx. Through poetry, they are […]

Review of Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi High School    Holt    533 pp. 3/18    978-1-250-17097-2    $18.99 When magic suddenly disappears from the kingdom of Orïsha, King Saran seizes the chance to murder all the maji (rare and powerful magic-wielders), leaving alive only the divîners (children born to be maji but too young to have yet […]

Bad blood

All teens grapple with family dynamics as they define their individual identities. But the protagonists of these YA fantasy novels must also contend with magic, secrets, and misdeeds in their bloodlines. In Frances Hardinge‘s A Skinful of Shadows, orphan Makepeace (an illegitimate relation) becomes a servant to the aristocratic Fellmotte family. She soon realizes that […]

Review of Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam

Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge Middle School, High School    Viking    212 pp.    g 4/18    978-0-670-78506-3    $22.99 e-book ed.  978-0-425-29178-8    $11.99 The Vietnam War was a time of virulent political divisiveness, profound cultural upheaval, and horrific events. It can be challenging to understand, especially for young people born decades afterward, […]

Review of Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court

Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 
and Raymond Obstfeld Middle School, High School    Little, Brown    291 pp. 11/17    978-0-316-55538-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-55533-3    $9.99 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the NBA record for most points scored (38,387), and his college basketball career at UCLA under Coach John Wooden is legendary, his […]

Review of Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918

Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 by Albert Marrin Middle School, High School    Knopf    198 pp. 1/18    978-1-101-93146-2    $21.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93147-9    $24.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93148-6    $11.99 Between 1918 and 1920, three waves of a very aggressive influenza virus swept around the globe, killing tens of millions of people. World War I […]

Review of The Poet X

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo High School    HarperTeen    361 pp.    g 3/18    978-0-06-266280-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-266282-8    $9.99 Fifteen-year-old Xiomara, whose name means “one who is ready for war,” has been fighting her whole life. The self-described “brown and big and angry” Dominican girl from Harlem furiously confronts catcalling boys, chafes under her Catholic […]

“Disturbed girls” save themselves (and one another)

The protagonists of these feminist YA novels do not let their “imperfections” stand in the way of taking action as they work to save themselves and, oftentimes, other young women. Lita Judge’s verse novel Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein provides insight into the complex author of the gothic horror classic. […]

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

Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and 
the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling Middle School, High School    Algonquin    310 pp.    g 2/18    978-1-61620-734-2    $18.95 This is a fascinating account of the bumpy road to women’s suffrage in the U.S., beginning in earnest with the Women’s Rights Convention in 1848 and culminating with the ratifying […]