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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 […]

Last class, works in verse | Class #6, 2018

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson Adolescent novels in verse have steadily increased in popularity since Virginia Euwer Wolff’s groundbreaking Make Lemonade was published in 1993. The best of these marry form and subject in a way that enriches both. Jacqueline Woodson’s eloquent free-verse memoir traces her family history and the earliest development of a […]

Review of Long Way Down

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds High School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    306 pp.    g 10/17    978-1-4814-3825-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3827-8    $10.99 Fifteen-year-old Will, immobilized with grief when his older brother Shawn is shot and killed, slowly comes to mull The Rules in his head. There are three: don’t cry, don’t snitch, and “if someone you love / gets […]

Review of Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green Intermediate    Pajama    239 pp. 5/17    978-1-77278-033-8    $15.95 Paper ed.  978-1-77278-017-8    $9.95 Macy is fed up with all the changes impinging upon her: she’s finishing sixth grade and will have to move on to a new school and a new sign language interpreter; her mother is getting […]

Review of Forest World

Forest World by Margarita Engle Intermediate    Atheneum    195 pp.    g 8/17    978-1-4814-9057-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-9059-7    $10.99 Eleven-year-old Edver wishes his cryptozoologist mother would pay attention to him, instead of traveling the world looking for rare creatures in danger of becoming extinct. Even when she’s home in Miami, she doesn’t seem to notice that Edver […]

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 […]

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 Izzy Kline Has Butterflies: A Novel in Small Moments

Izzy Kline Has Butterflies: A Novel in Small Moments by Beth Ain Intermediate    Random    167 pp. 3/17    978-0-399-55080-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-399-55081-2    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-399-55082-9    $10.99 Fourth grader Izzy has her share of common woes — mean girls, school anxiety, auditions for a play, a dad […]

Review of Garvey’s Choice

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes Intermediate, Middle School    WordSong/Boyds Mills    108 pp. 10/16    978-1-62979-740-3    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-1-62979-747-2    $7.99 In a little book of little poems, Grimes tells a big-hearted story of Garvey (named after Marcus Garvey), an overweight boy tormented by name-calling at school: “lard butt, fatso, Mister Tubs.” Of his size, he says, […]

Review of Moo

Moo by Sharon Creech Intermediate, Middle School    Cotler/HarperCollins    278 pp. 8/16    978-0-06-241524-0    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-241525-7    $17.89    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-241527-1    $6.99 Sick of city life and having recently lost their jobs, Reena’s parents decide to move to Maine, to a small coastal town. It’s summer, and twelve-year-old Reena and younger brother Luke are free […]