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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. […]

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 […]

Review of Warcross

Warcross by Marie Lu High School    Putnam    357 pp. 9/17    978-0-399-54796-6    $18.99 One minute Emika Chen is a hacker and bounty hunter in a futuristic New York City, struggling to make ends meet, and the next minute — after she’s hacked into Warcross, the phenomenally popular virtual reality game — she’s on a private jet […]

Review of Louis Undercover

Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt; illus. by Isabelle Arsenault; trans. from the French by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou Middle School    Groundwood    160 pp. 10/17    978-1-55498-859-4    $19.95 e-book ed.  978-1-55498-860-0    $16.95 The collaborators behind Jane, the Fox & Me (rev. 1/14) have crafted another poignant picture book–sized graphic novel, this time about alcoholism, family separation, […]

With friends like these…

Like Malinda Lo’s A Line in the Dark, each of these YA mysteries masterfully employs structure to keep readers guessing as to characters’ true natures — and on the edges of their seats — until the shocking final reveal. Eighteen-year-old Jule, protagonist of E. Lockhart’s intoxicating psychological thriller Genuine Fraud, is cold, tough, and in […]

Five questions for Malinda Lo

In Malinda Lo’s new YA thriller A Line in the Dark (Dutton, 14 years and up), four teenage girls — narrator Jess, her best friend and longtime secret crush Angie, Angie’s brand-new girlfriend Margot, and Margot’s bestie Ryan — must carefully navigate volatile dynamics of friendship and romance. And that’s before somebody winds up dead. […]