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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
2019
The Poet X
Book Jacket   Acevedo, Elizabeth
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062662804 This coming-of-age story from the streets of Harlem centers on Xiomara Barista, a teenage poet seeking to express herself. X has loved writing down her thoughts from an early age. Unfortunately, she doesn't get to share them with her family, due to her mother's strict dedication to making sure X is focused on being a good Catholic girl. When X starts questioning her faith and realizes her brother is hiding his own secrets from their mother, she starts figuring out how she can stand up for herself and her beliefs. The story, though centered around the family drama, explores other poignant themes facing girls today, diving into human sexuality, the psychological impacts of going through an early puberty, and how girls have to fend off advances from men as well as the slut-shaming stigma that simultaneously can come from women. Ultimately, though, this is a powerful, heartwarming tale of a girl not afraid to reach out and figure out her place in the world.--Bratt, Jessica Anne Copyright 2017 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062662804 Gr 7 Up-Magnificently crafted, Acevedo's bildungsroman in verse is a stunning account of a teen girl's path to poetry. Sophomore Xiomara Batista is simultaneously invisible and hyper visible at home, school, and in her largely Dominican community in Harlem-her body is "unhide-able" she tells readers early on, yet she bristles at how others project their desires, insecurities, failures, patriarchal attitudes toward her. Though she is quick to battle and defend herself and her twin brother Xavier, Xiomara's inner life sensitively grapples with these projections and the expectations of her strict, religious mother. Acevedo's depiction of a faith in crisis is exceedingly relatable and teens, especially those going through the sacrament of Confirmation, will deeply appreciate Xiomara's thoughtful questioning of the Church and how it treats women. Forbidden kisses with a crush and an impromptu performance at an open mic prove to be euphoric, affirming moments for Xiomara: "it's beautiful and real and what I wanted." Acevedo's poetry is skillfully and gorgeously crafted, each verse can be savored on its own, but together they create a portrait of a young poet sure to resonate with readers long after the book's end. -VERDICT Truly a "lantern glowing in the dark" for aspiring poets everywhere. All YA collections will want to share and treasure this profoundly moving work.-Della Farrell, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062662804 Harlem sophomore Xiomara Batista isn't saintly like her virtuous twin brother. And her tough exterior-she's always ready to fend off unwelcome advances and unkind words-hides questions and insecurities. As her confirmation nears (after two failed attempts), Xiomara begins to voice her uncertainties about the Catholic faith and patriarchal piety pressed on her by her mother and the church. Both intrigued and disgusted by the advances of her peers and older men, she begins a secret relationship with her lab partner Aman, who seems interested in more than her curves ("who knew words,/ when said by the right person,/ by a boy who raises your temperature,/ moves heat like nothing else?"). Xiomara pours her innermost self into poems and dreams of competing in poetry slams, a passion she's certain her conservative Dominican parents will never accept. Debut novelist Acevedo's free verse gives Xiomara's coming-of-age story an undeniable pull, its emotionally charged bluntness reflecting her determination and strength. At its heart, this is a complex and sometimes painful exploration of love in its many forms, with Xiomara's growing love for herself reigning supreme. Ages 13-up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019
Leah on the Offbeat
Book Jacket   Albertalli, Becky
 
2019
The Cruel Prince
 Black, Holly
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316310277 Gr 9 Up-Human Jude has been raised along with her twin, Taryn, and half-sibling, Vivi, in Faerieland by Madoc, the faerie who murdered her parents. This intricate realm is filled with beautiful, blood-thirsty, playful, and powerful faeries who seem to have no patience or use for humans beyond enslaving them with magic. Despite this, Jude is determined to earn respect and a place in it all by becoming a knight. First in a planned trilogy, this YA fantasy features a political scramble reminiscent of Game of Thrones, with spies, manipulation, romance, swordplay, betrayal, and an intoxicating darkness that manages to enrapture Jude and readers. Black has created a brutal and captivating world, filled with complex characters and their intricate and layered relationships. Jude is a mighty heroine; strong, smart, cunning, and yet completely vulnerable. Teens meet her as she's no longer interested in restraining her emotions and actions and is willing to give up anything in order to work for what she wants, which makes for a powerful and dangerous damsel getting herself out of distress. VERDICT Another fantastic, deeply engaging, and all-consuming work from Black that belongs on all YA shelves.-Emily Moore, Camden County Library System, NJ © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316310277 *Starred Review* When Jude and her twin sister, Taryn, were seven, their parents were murdered by their half-sister Vivian's fae father, and all three girls were stolen away to the High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, raised by the very man who killed her parents, Jude has adjusted to the life as much as she can and struggles to earn her place in a world whose inhabitants scorn, and even despise, humans. While Taryn hopes to marry into a place at court, Jude wants to seize hers by becoming a warrior, and she chafes against the attentions of Cardan, the youngest and cruelest faerie prince, who hates Jude and viciously bullies her daily. Disgusted at her own human weakness, Jude finds herself accepting a dangerous role offered by his brother and is soon tangled in a complex political plot. Though the faerie world is a familiar setting, in this case, it is by no means stale; Black employs the same detailed world building, chilling suspense, and whiplash-inducing plot twists that allowed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (2013) to make even vampires fresh again. Jude, who struggles with a world she both loves and hates and would rather be powerful and safe than good, is a compelling narrator. Whatever a reader is looking for heart-in-throat action, deadly romance, double-crossing, moral complexity this is one heck of a ride. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Black got her start writing about faeries (Tithe, 2002) and both her talent and her fan base have only grown; this return to the faerie world will surely be met with thunderous enthusiasm.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316310277 When Jude Duarte was seven, she watched Madoc, general to the high king of Elfhame, slaughter her parents. Madoc then dragged Jude and her two sisters off to Faerieland, where he raised them as his own. Ten years later, Jude remains an outcast who is cruelly bullied by the other children of Faerie-the king's youngest son, Prince Cardan, chief among them. Jude dreams of becoming a member of the High Court and the power that it confers, so when the opportunity arises for her to enter into the service of one of Cardan's brothers, she seizes it, inadvertently placing herself at the center of a bloody coup and endangering the lives of everyone she loves. First in a trilogy, this spellbinding fantasy from Black (The Darkest Part of the Forest) reflects on the cost of ambition and explores the bomb-strewn border between love and hate. Breathtaking set pieces, fully developed supporting characters, and a beguiling, tough-as-nails heroine enhance an intricate, intelligent plot that crescendos to a jaw-dropping third-act twist. Ages 15-up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019
A Heart in a Body in the World
 Caletti, Deb
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481415200 Gr 9 Up-Seventeen-year-old Annabelle Agnelli needs to run away from tragedy. She starts in her hometown of Seattle with the intention to run 2,700 miles to Washington, D.C. As she crosses the vast and lonely terrain, she has flashbacks that gradually reveal what she is trying to flee. She runs to punish herself for the crime she thinks she has committed; she runs to feel the pain she thinks she deserves. Annabelle unwittingly becomes a spokesperson for a greater cause and a reluctant role model. Caletti tackles two big topics-gun violence and violence against women-with enormous skill. Annabelle's story never seems forced or heavy-handed; Caletti realistically mines the gray areas of the teen's conscience. Portrayals of complex, multifaceted secondary characters and vivid descriptions of the protagonist's surroundings permeate this story and make it come to life. Readers can almost smell the pine trees, see the glimmering lake water, and feel the steamy heat rising off of the pavement as Annabelle runs across the country. They can also feel her confusion and pain, which makes her hard-won self-redemption most rewarding. -VERDICT A moving novel centered on -timely issues that deserves a place in all libraries serving young adults.-Melissa Kazan, Horace Mann School, NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781481415200 It's been nine months since an unnamed act of violence left runner Annabelle "broken and guilty and scared." When an incident at a restaurant triggers bad memories for the high school senior, she takes off running, forming a plan to go 2,719 miles, from Seattle to Washington, D.C. In a powerful story of a survivor trying to regain a sense of justice and power, Caletti (Honey, Baby, Sweetheart) details a young woman's harrowing psychological and physical journey across the United States. Thanks to support-written with tender detail, her younger brother and friends create a GoFundMe website, her grandfather trails her in his well-equipped RV, and a growing fan base cheers her on-Annabelle's trek quickly evolves into a cause. What happened to Annabelle and why she feels compelled to run to the nation's capital remain undefined until the book's end, when a series of flashbacks playing in the heroine's mind reveal clues as she battles exhaustion, dehydration, and pain during her 16-mile-a-day run. Caletti expresses familiar themes about what it can be like to live as a woman in U.S. society, constantly guarding against threat ("What are you supposed to do when you're also required to be kind and helpful as well as vigilant?"). Annabelle's determination to make a difference in spite of her fears sends an inspiring and empowering message. Ages 14-up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781481415200 *Starred Review* A guy in a parking lot leers at her, and Annabelle Agnelli takes off running. Eleven miles later, she stops, only to realize that running is exactly what she needs to do. Not just an impromptu, panic-stricken bolt, but an outlandishly extreme run that will take her from Seattle to Washington, D.C. It might help with her PTSD, and it might help her come to terms with her body. It will surely give her time to mourn the terrible losses of the previous year, and atone for the role she was never meant to play. This remarkable book traces Annabelle's cross-country adventure while gradually peeling apart the events that led to the trauma she's running from. Annabelle was on the rebound from a disrupted relationship when she befriends a socially awkward boy, now known only as The Taker. Annabelle couldn't decide if he was weird or cute and tried not to encourage him, but looking back, she is tormented by her every smile and kindness. Through Annabelle, Caletti rips apart the contradictions of a society that commands women to be compliant and pleasing and then blames them for male responses to their attractiveness, however violent they might be. This timely, well-written novel is crucial reading in the days of #metoo.--Colson, Diane Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2019
Dread Nation
Book Jacket   Ireland, Justina
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062570604 *Starred Review* Ireland delivers a necessary, subversive, and explosive novel with her fantasy-laced alternate history. America is changed forever when the dead begin to prowl battlefields during the Civil War. The horror births a new nation and a different type of slavery, in which laws force Native and Negro children to attend combat schools and receive training to put down the dead. Jane McKeene attends Miss Preston's School for Combat in Baltimore. She studies to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette, to protect the white well-to-do. For Negro girls like Jane, it's a chance for a better life; however, as she nears the completion of her education, she longs simply to return to her Kentucky home. But when families around Baltimore go missing, Jane finds herself entangled in a conspiracy that results in a fight for her life against powerful enemies. Ireland crafts a smart, poignant, thrilling novel that does the all-important work of exploring topics of oppression, racism, and slavery, while simultaneously accomplishing so much more. It explores friendship, love, defying expectations, and carving out your own path instead of submitting to the one thrust upon you. From page one, Jane is a capable, strong heroine maneuvering through a world that is brilliant and gut-wrenching. This will take readers on a breathless ride from beginning to end.--Davenport, Enishia Copyright 2017 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062570604 In this alternate-history horror tale, shortly after Jane McKeene was born, the dead rose and attacked the living, effectively ending the Civil War. A reunified army fought the shambling hordes until Congress passed the Negro and Native Reeducation Act, requiring adolescent children of color to train for battle. At age 14, Jane-who is mixed race-enrolled at Miss Preston's School of Combat for Negro Girls, hoping to avoid conscription by becoming a socialite's bodyguard. Three years later, Jane is close to earning her attendant certificate when she, her ex, and her rival stumble across a dastardly plot hatched by Baltimore's elite. First in a duology, Ireland's gripping novel is teeming with monsters-most of them human. Abundant action, thoughtful worldbuilding, and a brave, smart, and skillfully drawn cast entertain as Ireland (Promise of Shadows) illustrates the ignorance and immorality of racial discrimination and examines the relationship between equality and freedom. Mounting peril creates a pulse-pounding pace, hurtling readers toward a nail-biting conclusion that inspires and will leave them apprehensive about what's to come. Ages 14-up. Agency: Donald Maass Literary. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062570604 Gr 9 Up-Slavery comes to a halt when the dead on Civil War battlefields begin to rise and eat their compatriots. The north and south put aside their philosophical differences and join forces against the undead. They are aided in their efforts by the passage of the Native and Negro Reeducation Act which forces African American boys and girls into combat schools. Graduates from these schools are a buffer between the living and the undead. Jane McKeen is a biracial girl sent to Ms. Preston's school of combat to obtain an attendant certificate. Jane is about to graduate when her friend, Red Jack, asks for help locating his sister Lily. Jane's attempts to discover Lily's whereabouts land her in a survivalist colony. Survivalists advocate a disordered view of natural selection that places Jane firmly under the thumb of a vicious sheriff and his psychopathic family. Jane is tasked with finding a way out of Summerland not only for herself, but also for those she loves. She must make some unlikely alliances of her own if she is to survive long enough to find her own path to freedom. This is a fictional exploration of the chattel slavery and American Indian boarding school systems. Ireland skillfully works in the different forms of enslavement, mental and physical, into a complex and engaging story. VERDICT A perfect blend of horrors real and imagined, perfect for public and school libraries and fans of The Walking Dead.-Desiree Thomas, Worthington Library, OH © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019
Mondays Not Coming.
Book Jacket   Jackson, Tiffany D.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062422675 Gr 9 Up-Galvanized by real-life accounts of black girls whose disappearances went unnoticed, the author depicts a young African American teen unwilling to let her best friend fall through the cracks. Claudia frets when Monday misses the first day of eighth grade, and her worries increase when weeks, and then months, go by with no sign of the girl. Both outsiders, the two have always tried to protect each other: academically gifted Monday keeps teachers from realizing that Claudia has learning disabilities, and Claudia's stable family gives Monday a respite from her often erratic home life. Monday's mother and older sister offer conflicting stories about where she is, and even sympathetic adults are little help-Claudia alone becomes Monday's champion. Just as Jackson's suspenseful debut, Allegedly, explored the corrupt justice system, this thought-provoking thriller examines issues such as abuse, gentrification, and the marginalization of people of color with nuance and sensitivity. The narrative deftly moves back and forth between past and present, building to a devastating conclusion. The Washington, DC, setting is superbly rendered, and the author presents a rich portrayal of the girls' bond, displaying an intuitive understanding of adolescent friendship. VERDICT A spellbinding, profoundly moving choice for YA collections.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062422675 In her sophomore effort (Allegedly, 2017), Jackson offers up a suspenseful new mystery. Claudia and Monday have been friends since childhood. When Claudia returns from summer vacation, Monday isn't at school, and she's not returning calls. No one seems to know where she is. Claudia knows something is wrong, but what reason would anyone have to lie about Monday's whereabouts? Jackson hits all the right notes in this compelling mystery. Claudia has a strong voice that will resonate; she struggles with bullying, dyslexia, loss, and the pains of growing up. The plot weaves through time, slowly piecing together clues, until the painful truth is revealed. Jackson doesn't hold anything back when it comes to the pain of abuse and the ramifications of turning a blind eye. This is a powerful and emotional novel that is gripping and heartbreaking and hits upon serious topics. It's a frank, devastating read filled with real and flawed characters, and it's a story that needs to be read.--Konkel, Elizabeth Copyright 2018 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062422675 Jackson's sophomore novel, following 2017's acclaimed Allegedly, features another ripped-from-the-headlines premise that will keep readers guessing through the final pages. After a summer in Georgia with her grandmother, Claudia returns to Washington, D.C., ready to take on eighth grade with her best friend, Monday, even though Monday didn't respond to any of Claudia's letters over the past two months. Claudia soon finds, though, that Monday is gone. Stories about where she is don't add up and no one seems concerned, but Claudia can't shake the feeling that Monday might be in real trouble. Time shifts-in chapters such as "Before the Before," "The Before," and "The After"-create a measured and intense buildup as Claudia realizes that Monday was keeping painful and potentially dangerous secrets. Claudia's mother's frequent reminder to check in at home-"Breadcrumbs, Claudia. Always good to leave breadcrumbs"-prompts both Claudia and the reader to remain vigilant. Jackson's characters and their heart-wrenching story linger long after the final page, urging readers to advocate for those who are disenfranchised and forgotten by society and the system. Ages 13-up. Agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary Agency. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019
Darius the Great is Not Okay
 Khorram, Adib
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525552963 First-time author Khorram's coming-of-age novel brings to life the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of a culture steeped in tradition. After learning that her Iranian father is ailing, high school sophomore Darius's mother decides to take the family to visit her father and relatives in Iran. Suffering from chronic depression and bullied at school in America, Darius isn't sure how he'll fare in a country he's never seen. It doesn't take him long to adjust as people welcome him with open arms, however, especially after he meets Sohrab, his grandparents' teenaged neighbor, who invites him to play soccer and quickly becomes Darius's first real friend ever. While the book doesn't sugarcoat problems in the country (unjust imprisonment and an outdated view of mental illness are mentioned), it mainly stays focused on the positive-Iran's impressive landscape and mouthwatering food, the warmth of its people-as it shows how a boy who feels like an outcast at home finds himself and true friendship overseas. Ages 12-up. Agent: Molly O'Neill, Waxman Leavell. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525552963 Gr 8 Up-Darius is a bullied American teenager dealing with numerous stigmas. His mom is Persian and his "Übermensch" dad is white. He is overweight. He takes medication for depression. He is a devotee of artisanal tea, Star Trek (all seasons), and Tolkien. And there is an unspoken awareness that Darius is gay. He is certain that he is a constant disappointment to his father who also takes antidepressants, which they both consider a weakness. When his family travels to Iran to see his mother's parents because his grandfather (Babou) is dying, Darius experiences shifting perceptions about the country, his extended family, and himself. Debut author Khorram presents meticulous descriptions and explanations of food, geography, religion, architecture, and English translations of Farsi for readers unfamiliar with Persian culture through characters' dialogue and Darius's observations. References to Tolkien, Star Trek, and astronomy minutiae, on the other hand, may be unclear for uninitiated readers. Despite the sometimes overly didactic message about the importance of chronic depression treatment, Darius is a well-crafted, awkward but endearing character, and his cross-cultural story will inspire reflection about identity and belonging. VERDICT A strong choice for YA shelves. Give this to fans for Adam Silvera and John Corey Whaley.-Elaine Fultz, Madison Jr. Sr. High School, Middletown, OH © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525552963 Darius Kellner has more than his share of teen troubles to manage: racist bullies, clinical depression, complications with his father, and feeling like a misfit. So he does not expect much when his family travels to Iran to visit his maternal grandparents. Darius is a keen observer of life and very much aware of his emotional mechanisms. He is loving, sensitive, and a connoisseur of tea: steeping, drinking, sharing with family. He views the world through analogies to Star Trek and the Lord of the Rings trilogy in ways that are sometimes endearing and other times cumbersome. The trip to Iran opens new places of tenderness as Darius connects with people, places, and history that feel simultaneously familiar and new. But most significant is his friendship with Sohrab, which is tinged with an intimacy that suggests it is something more than platonic. This is a refreshing bildungsroman and an admirable debut novel that will leave readers wanting more. Hand to readers of Sara Farizan's Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel (2014) and soul-searching teens.--Amina Chaudhri Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019
Foolish Hearts.
 Mills, Emma
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781627799379 Gr 8 Up-Claudia is at the last party of the summer before senior year when she overhears the breakup of two girls and finds herself on the wrong side of prickly student Iris, who is difficult and knows just how to use her words as knives. Claudia herself has recently gone through a breakup with a young man who explains that he just "feels regular" with her (no sparks) and she has no desire to expose herself to any sort of further romantic drama. And yet drama is where she lands when she and Iris both have to work on the school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream along with increasingly attentive, cute as a button, goofy Gideon. While Claudia's developing romance with Gideon is textbook high school hyperbole, the backdrop of her school interactions, family events, (including her sister's dangerous premature delivery), gaming, part-time job, developing interest in a hot new band, and personal growth in her circle of friends is exceptional and drives the story forward on a level beyond the average derivative teen novel. VERDICT Purchase where Shakespeare-centered and theater-inspired books, and Mills's earlier titles circulate well.-Susan Riley, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781627799379 "Redemption arc?" asks Claudia's best friend, Zoe, curious about Claudia's unexpected new friendship with Iris, her private school's class president and infamous mean girl. It all starts when Claudia is forced to spend time with Iris for a class project, just as Iris is reeling from a breakup with her longtime girlfriend, Paige. Claudia discovers that Iris is more complicated and vulnerable than everyone assumes, and the evolution of their relationship-from enemies to intimate friends who respect and rely on each other-is compelling and real. Mills (This Adventure Ends) thoughtfully explores the nuances of all kinds of relationships, both friendly and romantic, via Claudia and her circle of friends. Also in the mix: Zoe is falling in love with Claudia's brother, Iris longs to get back together with Paige, and Claudia faces her own insecurities and hopes for a romance with popular Gideon. Through these friendship struggles and romances old and new, Mills evokes the high stakes and vast rewards of trust, intimacy, and honesty. Ages 14-up. Agent: Bridget Smith, Dunham Literary. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781627799379 Claudia, who generally flies under the radar at her all-girls school, isn't planning on being there for the difficult breakup of it-couple Paige and Iris. But alas, she hears every brutal word and is confronted by angry, difficult Iris Huang herself, who threatens to ruin her if Claudia breathes a word to anyone. It doesn't seem likely to be a problem Claudia's not much of a gossip, and her best friend goes to another school but as their senior year starts, Claudia keeps finding herself paired with Iris. When they're both forced to be a part of the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, they develop a tentative friendship against all odds. Even as her friendship with Iris blossoms, Claudia resists growing closer to Gideon, a boy involved in the show. Mills (This Adventure Ends, 2016) offers up another realistic depiction of teen relationships. Claudia's friendship with Iris takes center stage more than her budding romance with Gideon, and her pragmatic voice shines. A fun, thoughtful portrayal of different kinds of vulnerability.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist
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2019
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe
Book Jacket   Norton, Preston
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781484790625 *Starred Review* At six feet six and 250 pounds, self-hating 16-year-old Cliff is cruelly called Neanderthal by his bête noire, a golden boy named Aaron. When Aaron is injured in an accident, he goes into a coma from which he awakens to claim he has seen God, who has given him a list of five things he must do to improve life at Happy Valley High School. The kicker is that he must do them in concert with a highly dubious Cliff, who reluctantly goes along and slowly becomes Aaron's friend. Cliff's best friend, however, was his older brother, Shane, who killed himself a year earlier but not before insisting that Cliff watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, focusing on the Monolith, which Shane claimed was the Door of Life. Cliff, he said, must find out what is on the other side. Meanwhile, one of the more difficult tasks Aaron and Cliff must complete is to get repentance from the JTs, a group of self-righteous Christian students who make life miserable for Noah, the only openly gay student at HVHS. There is much more going on in the crowded but compelling narrative. Ambitious almost to a fault, the book nevertheless cogently explores large issues that plague and perplex teens. Though occasionally it suffers from hints of contrivance, overall the novel will appeal to all teens who are, themselves, seeking doors to the universe.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781484790625 Gr 9 Up-Cliff Hubbard aka Neanderthal, a 250-pound and super tall kid, is the target of bullies and crippling self-doubt until the day school football hero Aaron, newly surfaced from a coma, claims that in a near-death experience, God told him that their school needs drastic improvement, and that Cliff is Aaron's divinely appointed sidekick. Cliff's acceptance of the challenge leads them into direct conflict with everyone-the "Jesus" teens, an angry teacher, the local drug dealers, and a mysterious hacker poised to publish everyone's dirty laundry online. There's character development aplenty in this novel about what it takes to make the world a better place. While the debate about the reality of God is never resolved, there might just be a little divine intervention as the boys affect changes that make life better at sucky Happy Valley High School. Cliff is a wry, self-deprecating narrator whose spot-on observations about the "loser" side of high school life are frequently laugh-out-loud. Funny, well-plotted and sneakily thought-provoking, the only off-note here is the overabundance of expletives that, while evidently being offered to show how teens really talk, actually slow the story down. Still, fans of humorous realistic fiction will find a lot to enjoy in Norton's first foray into the genre. VERDICT A strong purchase for all libraries serving older teens.-Elizabeth Friend, Wester Middle School, TX © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781484790625 What if someone told you he was on a mission from God and you had to help him? What if that someone was the star quarterback and part-time bully at your high school, a guy who routinely calls you Neanderthal? That's exactly what happens to 16-year-old Cliff Hubbard, and Norton (Marrow) takes this unlikely premise, loads it with even more unlikely events, and makes it work in this funny and sweetly oddball book. Cliff, who is huge-250 pounds and 6'5"-has been angry since his brother committed suicide. But when the quarterback, named Aaron, returns from a near-death experience with a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High School happier-which includes getting rid of bullies like him, drug dealers, and the sanctimonious Christian students who think they're better than everyone else-Cliff signs on. Their utter cluelessness notwithstanding, the two make inroads on the list, improving not just their high school but themselves, and even finding love along the way. At the story's core is an unsentimental treatment of a bullied kid and his one-time bully discovering their commonalities. That Norton accomplishes this without moralizing and in inventively rhythmic and pop-culture-saturated language only adds to the fun. Ages 14-18. Agent: Jenny Bent, the Bent Agency. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019
Frankie
Book Jacket   Plozza, Shivaun.
 
2018
What Girls Are Made Of
 Arnold, Elana
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781512410242 Gr 10 Up-Nina has had a crush on Seth since fifth grade, but it wasn't until the summer after her 16th birthday that he finally acknowledged her feelings for him. Now, Nina will do whatever is necessary to maintain his affection. She is fully aware that all love comes with conditions; her mother, in particular, has made that very clear. But as the only child of dysfunctional parents, Nina craves the attention that Seth offers. Thoughts of him occupy her every waking hour, so when she unwittingly fails his unexpected test of her loyalty, she finds herself alone and adrift, especially after she makes a startling realization. When even her best friend fails to support her, Nina looks for help and solace in unlikely places, including at a dog shelter. In an afterword, Arnold explains that this story is the result of her anger at and complicity in the rules that society applies to girls. Her overarching theme is the fallacy of believing in unconditional love. The author presents a hopeful conclusion as Nina learns that self-love and fulfillment can be found through helping others. VERDICT Because of its complex symbolism and graphic imagery, this well-written novel is best suited to mature YA readers.-Cary Frostick, formerly at Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781512410242 Arnold's latest reveals how capricious first love and our trust in it can be. Nina, 16, is trying to make sense of the obsession she feels for her first boyfriend. I know it isn't okay to care this much about a boy. I know it's not feminist, or whatever, to make all my decisions based on what Seth would think, she chastises herself. Besides, she has grown up being told by her mother that all love has limits; it can't just surge forth unbridled. Then, just as Nina and Seth's relationship turns more intimate, he abandons her without explanation. In Nina's grief, she explores the origins of her longing for love, recalling a trip she took with her mother to Italy to study statues of saints, intertwining the saints' suffering with what she views as her own. Nina's honest musings about her vapid relationship with Seth, as well as the relationship of her fickle parents, demonstrate a keen sense of introspection and self-respect. Smart, true, and devastating, this is brutally, necessarily forthcoming about the crags of teen courtship.--Walters Wright, Lexi Copyright 2017 Booklist
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2018
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic.
 Bardugo, Leigh
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250122520 *Starred Review* With this lushly designed and wonderfully rendered offering, Bardugo (Six of Crows, 2015) returns to her Grishaverse with a collection of six stories. In an ending note, Bardugo mentions that her intention was to craft stories her characters might have heard as children, and indeed, no knowledge of her previous works is necessary for enjoying this. The stories are framed as coming from four of her Grishaverse nations three from Ravka and one each from Kerch, Fjerda, and Novyi Zem and flavors and morals change from culture to fictional culture. At their heart, these are tales built from the eeriest elements of fairy tales we know. Though readers may recognize certain components a girl with a wolfskin cape, a house that smells like gingerbread, a mermaid with a silver voice the stories here are entirely, luminously new. Bardugo doesn't twist familiar tales so much as rip them open, and the magic of the collection is enhanced by Kipin's otherworldly artwork: borders that grow ominously longer and more detailed with each page, and culminate in a final double-page spread for each story. Bardugo may be best known for her exemplary world building, but here more than anything, it is her language, lovely and unsettling, that is on display, as well as the accompanying characters who, like the stories themselves, are never what they seem. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Bardugo's already got two acclaimed, best-selling Grishaverse series under her belt, and this release in the same world isn't likely to slow the momentum.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist
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2018
The Gentlemans Guide to Vice and Virtue.
Book Jacket   Lee, Mackenzi
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062382801 Eighteen-year-old Henry "Monty" Montague-scandal prone, acid tongued, and a bit too fond of boys, girls, and gin-is embarking on a grand tour of Europe, a last hurrah before taking up the mantle of lordship. The tour quickly veers off course for Monty, his longtime friend (and not-so-secret crush) Percy, and his headstrong sister Felicity when Monty and a young lady are caught in a compromising situation at Versailles, after which Monty absconds with a small trinket. Pursued by the Duke of Bourbon, Monty learns that the object may hold the key to unlocking powerful alchemical secrets. Without funds or connections, the three haphazardly make their way across the continent, crossing paths with secretive Spanish siblings, an inexperienced pirate crew, and others. It's a gloriously swashbuckling affair, but Lee (This Monstrous Thing) doesn't shy from addressing the era's overt racism, sexism, homophobia, and prejudice regarding illness. Percy, a biracial epileptic, and Felicity, a young woman dreaming of medical school, are well-rounded and fascinating supporting characters, and the romantic relationship that develops between Monty and Percy is sure to leave readers happily starry-eyed. Ages 13-up. Agent: Rebecca Podos, Rees Literary. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062382801 Gr 9 Up-A trio of high-born, determined, and wildly charismatic teenagers get more than they bargained for in this rollicking 18th-century Grand Tour of the Continent gone awry. Endearing rake Lord Henry Montague (or Monty) and his biracial best friend (and unrequited love), the infinitely patient Percy, leave England to drop Monty's fiercely intelligent sister Felicity off at finishing school. The friends then spend a year traveling. After the Grand Tour, Monty will return home to help his demanding father run their estate and Percy will go to Holland to law school. If Monty's dad catches wind of him still "mucking around with boys," Monty will be cut off from the family. The trip is intended to be a cultural experience. However, no one could have predicted that one seemingly petty theft would set off an adventure involving highwaymen, stowaways, pirates, a sinking island, an alchemical heart, tomb-raiding, and a secret illness. From the start, readers will be drawn in by Monty's charm, and Felicity and Percy come alive as the narrative unfolds. The fast-paced plot is complicated, but Lee's masterly writing makes it all seem effortless. The journey forces Monty and friends to confront issues of racism, gender expectations, sexuality, disability, family, and independence, with Monty in particular learning to examine his many privileges. Their exploits bring to light the secret doubts, pains, and ambitions all three are hiding. This is a witty, romantic, and exceedingly smart look at discovering one's place in the world. VERDICT A stunning powerhouse of a story for every collection.-Amanda MacGregor, formerly at Great River Regional Library, Saint Cloud, MN © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062382801 *Starred Review* Henry Montague is the son of a lord, and as such, his behavior is entirely inappropriate. A lover of vice and hedonism, Monty prefers to spend his time drinking (acceptable) and trysting, both with girls and boys (decidedly not acceptable). Still, Monty is in high spirits as he prepares for his grand tour of the Continent. At his side is his best friend: polite, gentlemanly Percy is the orphaned product of an English lord and a woman from Barbados. Monty, of course, is hopelessly in love with him and plans to make the most of the tour, until his distinct flair for trouble gets in the way. Several miscommunications, one truly terrible party, and an act of petty thievery later, Monty and Percy find themselves on the run across Europe with Monty's sister Felicity in tow. Tongue-in-cheek, wildly entertaining, and anachronistic in only the most delightful ways, this is a gleeful romp through history. Monty is a hero worthy of Oscar Wilde (What's the use of temptations if we don't yield to them?), his sister Felicity is a practical, science-inclined wonder, and his relationship with Percy sings. Modern-minded as this may be, Lee has clearly done invaluable research on society, politics, and the reality of same-sex relationships in the eighteenth century. Add in a handful of pirates and a touch of alchemy for an adventure that's an undeniable joy.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist
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2018
Sparrow
Book Jacket   Moon, Sarah
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781338032581 Gr 7 Up-Fourteen-year-old Sparrow Cooke is believed to have nearly taken her own life on her school's roof. She begins to see a therapist. The teen refuses to open up during her initial sessions with Dr. Katz, but the therapist slowly gets through to Sparrow by introducing her to rock music. However, Sparrow wants to fly away from dealing with issues, such as the death of her favorite school librarian Mrs. Wexler, the loss of her kindergarten best friend Chocolate, popular mean girls like Monique, nearly flunking the eighth grade, her inability to socialize with other kids, and her distance from her mom. Their relationship becomes more strained after a parent-teacher conference with Sparrow's teachers. With Dr. Katz's help, the girl's world is opened up and she gets the opportunity to attend the Gertrude Nix Rock Camp for Girls for the summer. She reluctantly leaves her comfort zone and befriends three unlikely dorm mates. Readers will quickly identify with this protagonist; Sparrow speaks to those who may have difficulty dealing with loss, making friends, and feeling alienated. Librarians will appreciate the nod to the Brooklyn Public Library and the significant role Mrs. Wexler played in Sparrow's life. Moon brilliantly weaves the intersections of race, class, sexual orientation, body image and women's contributions to rock and pop music histories into the narrative. Rock music fans will love the homage to the diverse artists, musicians, and bands within the genre. VERDICT This novel will inspire readers to find their own voices through literary and musical expression. A good choice for most YA collections.-Donald Peebles, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781338032581 When eighth-grader Sparrow wakes up in the hospital, she can't convince the doctors or her mother that she wasn't attempting suicide on the roof of her school. Once she starts seeing her therapist, she reveals that when she experiences anxiety, she becomes a real sparrow and flies with other birds. Moon's debut novel deftly normalizes therapy and prioritizing one's mental health. In lyrical, minimalist prose that resounds with authenticity, Moon tracks Sparrow's relatable experience with trauma and anxiety. The recurring therapy sessions never come across as manufactured or heavy-handed, nor do they present a singular, correct way to cope with anxiety. After opening up to her therapist, Sparrow takes a brave step and enrolls in a month-long music camp. There she finds unexpected validation and a community of women who build her up. An elegantly told and important novel about learning to cope, live, and be happy with depression and anxiety.--Kling, Caitlin Copyright 2017 Booklist
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2018
Long Way Down
 Reynolds, Jason
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481438254 Gr 8 Up-Fifteen-year-old Will's big brother has been shot and killed. According to the rules that Will has been taught, it is now his job to kill the person responsible. He easily finds his brother's gun and gets on the elevator to head down from his eighth-floor apartment. But it's a long way down to the ground floor. At each floor, a different person gets on to tell a story. Each of these people is already dead. As they relate their tales, readers learn about the cycle of violence in which Will is caught up. The protagonist faces a difficult choice, one that is a reality for many young people. Teens are left with an unresolved ending that goes beyond the simple question of whether Will will seek revenge. Told in verse, this title is fabulistic in its simplicity and begs to be discussed. Its hook makes for an excellent booktalk. It will pair well with Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give and Reynolds's previous works. The unique narrative structure also makes it an excellent read-alike for Walter Dean Myers's Monster. VERDICT This powerful work is an important addition to any collection.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781481438254 Will, 15, is following his neighborhood's well-established rules-don't cry, don't snitch, but do get revenge "if someone you love/ gets killed"-when he leaves his apartment, intent on killing whoever murdered his older brother, Shawn. He's emboldened by the gun tucked into his waistband: "I put my hand behind my back/ felt the imprint/ of the piece, like/ another piece/ of me/ an extra vertebra,/ some more/ backbone." As Will makes his way to the ground floor of his building, the elevator stops to accept passengers, each an important figure from his past, all victims of gun violence. Are these ghosts? Or is it Will's subconscious at work, forcing him to think about what he intends to do and what it will accomplish? The story unfolds in the time it takes for the elevator to descend, and it ends with a two-word question that hits like a punch to the gut. Written entirely in spare verse, this is a tour de force from a writer who continues to demonstrate his skill as an exceptionally perceptive chronicler of what it means to be a black teen in America. Ages 12-up. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781481438254 *Starred Review* Spanning a mere one minute and seven seconds, Reynolds' new free-verse novel is an intense snapshot of the chain reaction caused by pulling a trigger. First, 15-year-old Will Holloman sets the scene by relating his brother Shawn's murder two days prior gunned down while buying soap for their mother. Next, he lays out The Rules: don't cry, don't snitch, always get revenge. Now that the reader is up to speed, Will tucks Shawn's gun into his waistband and steps into an elevator, steeled to execute rule number three and shoot his brother's killer. Yet, the simple seven-floor descent becomes a revelatory trip. At each floor, the doors open to admit someone killed by the same cycle of violence that Will's about to enter. He's properly freaked out, but as the seconds tick by and floors count down, each new occupant drops some knowledge and pushes Will to examine his plans for that gun. Reynolds' concise verses echo like shots against the white space of the page, their impact resounding. He peels back the individual stories that led to this moment in the elevator and exposes a culture inured to violence because poverty, gang life, or injustice has left them with no other option. In this all-too-real portrait of survival, Reynolds goes toe-to-toe with where, or even if, love and choice are allowed to exist. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A noisy buzz always surrounds this critically acclaimed author's work, and the planned tour and promo campaign will boost this book's to a siren call.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2017 Booklist
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2018
Strange the Dreamer
 Taylor, Laini
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316341684 Gr 9 Up-Lazlo Strange is a foundling who has grown up alone and unloved, sustained only by his fantasies and stories of a city known as Weep. As an adult, Lazlo finds his way to the Great Library of Zosma and becomes a librarian, tasked with supporting scholars in their work. His fixation with Weep continues, and he searches for scraps of information about it and its inhabitants and even teaches himself its language from books in the library. Then Eril Fane, the liberator of Weep, pays a surprise visit to Zosma. Lazlo seizes the chance to join an expedition to the city he has dreamed of for so long, and he is caught up in an old conflict between Weep's mortal residents and blue godlike beings who had terrorized the city until Eril Fane slew them. Unbeknownst to the inhabitants of Weep, five children of these magical beings have survived and live in the giant seraph that hovers over the city, blocking the light. When Sarai, one of these Godspawn, visits Lazlo in his dreams, their growing relationship leads to the revelation of long-hidden secrets and opposition from other Godspawn, who desire revenge on mortals. This is the first in a pair of planned companion novels by the "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" author, and it has all the rich, evocative imagery and complex world-building typical of Taylor's best work. There is a mythological resonance to her tale of gods and mortals in conflict, as well as in Lazlo's character arc from unassuming, obsessed librarian to something much more. VERDICT This outstanding fantasy is a must-purchase for all YA collections.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316341684 In the first book of a duology, Taylor (the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy) again creates a complex and layered world of battling gods and humans. The tale begins 200 years after humans wiped out the powerful Mesarthim in a war so devastating that the city where it took place was said to have vanished and became known only as Weep. Lazlo Strange, an orphaned young librarian raised by monks, is obsessed with Weep and dreams of traveling across a dangerous desert to find it. Almost miraculously, the opportunity comes his way, and Taylor's story takes shape in Weep itself where, unbeknownst to humans, five "godspawn"-each with a special power-and the ghosts that serve them still endure, waiting to take revenge. While the pace is initially slow, momentum and tension build as love blossoms between two young people from warring factions, mysteries of identity develop, and critical events unfold in dreams, thanks to the gifts of a blue-skinned godspawn named Sarai. Gorgeously written in language simultaneously dark, lush, and enchanting, the book will leave readers eager for the next. Ages 15-up. Agent: Jane Putch, Eyebait Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316341684 *Starred Review* By now, fans of Laini Taylor know what to expect: beautiful prose, strange and whimsical fantasy worlds, sympathetic monsters, and wrenching, star-crossed romance. Her latest, first in a two-book set, certainly delivers on that, and there's something quietly magical at play here. Lazlo Strange, an orphaned infant who grew up to be a librarian, has had a quiet first two decades of life. But Lazlo, reader of fairy tales, longs to learn more about a distant, nearly mythical city, called Weep after its true name was stolen. When a group of warriors from that very place come seeking help, Lazlo, never before a man of action, may actually see his dream fulfilled. Weep, though, is a city still reeling from the aftermath of a brutal war, and hidden there is a girl named Sarai and her four companions, all of whom have singular talents and devastating secrets. What follows is the careful unfolding of a plot crafted with origamilike precision. This has distinct echoes of Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone (2011), though ultimately it's a cut above even that: characters are carefully, exquisitely crafted; the writing is achingly lovely; and the world is utterly real. While a cliff-hanger ending will certainly have readers itching for book two, make no mistake this is a thing to be savored. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Taylor's long-anticipated latest arrives with a six-figure marketing plan, including a tour, promo swag, and plenty of publicity magic.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist
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2018
The Hate U Give
Book Jacket   Thomas, Angie
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062498533 Gr 8 Up-After Starr and her childhood friend Khalil, both black, leave a party together, they are pulled over by a white police officer, who kills Khalil. The sole witness to the homicide, Starr must testify before a grand jury that will decide whether to indict the cop, and she's terrified, especially as emotions run high. By turns frightened, discouraged, enraged, and impassioned, Starr is authentically adolescent in her reactions. Inhabiting two vastly different spheres-her poor, predominantly black neighborhood, Garden Heights, where gangs are a fact of life, and her rich, mostly white private school-causes strain, and Thomas perceptively illustrates how the personal is political: Starr is disturbed by the racism of her white friend Hailey, who writes Khalil off as a drug dealer, and Starr's father is torn between his desire to support Garden Heights and his need to move his family to a safer environment. The first-person, present-tense narrative is immediate and intense, and the pacing is strong, with Thomas balancing dramatic scenes of violence and protest with moments of reflection. The characterization is slightly uneven; at times, Starr's friends at school feel thinly fleshed out. However, Starr, her family, and the individuals in their neighborhood are achingly real and lovingly crafted. VERDICT Pair this powerful debut with Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely's All American Boys to start a conversation on racism, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062498533 *Starred Review* Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two very different worlds: one is her home in a poor black urban neighborhood; the other is the tony suburban prep school she attends and the white boy she dates there. Her bifurcated life changes dramatically when she is the only witness to the unprovoked police shooting of her unarmed friend Khalil and is challenged to speak out though with trepidation about the injustices being done in the event's wake. As the case becomes national news, violence erupts in her neighborhood, and Starr finds herself and her family caught in the middle. Difficulties are exacerbated by their encounters with the local drug lord for whom Khalil was dealing to earn money for his impoverished family. If there is to be hope for change, Starr comes to realize, it must be through the exercise of her voice, even if it puts her and her family in harm's way. Thomas' debut, both a searing indictment of injustice and a clear-eyed, dramatic examination of the complexities of race in America, invites deep thoughts about our social fabric, ethics, morality, and justice. Beautifully written in Starr's authentic first-person voice, this is a marvel of verisimilitude as it insightfully examines two worlds in collision. An inarguably important book that demands the widest possible readership. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: From the moment this book sold, it has been high-profile. An in-the-works movie adaptation will further push this to the head of the class.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062498533 At home in a neighborhood riven with gang strife, Starr Carter, 16, is both the grocer's daughter and an outsider, because she attends private school many miles away. But at Williamson Prep, where she's among a handful of black students, she can't be herself either: no slang, no anger, no attitude. That version of herself-"Williamson Starr"-"doesn't give anyone a reason to call her ghetto." She's already wrestling with what Du Bois called "double consciousness" when she accepts a ride home from Khalil, a childhood friend, who is then pulled over and shot dead by a white cop. Starr's voice commands attention from page one, a conflicted but clear-eyed lens through which debut author Thomas examines Khalil's killing, casual racism at Williamson, and Starr's strained relationship with her white boyfriend. Though Thomas's story is heartbreakingly topical, its greatest strength is in its authentic depiction of a teenage girl, her loving family, and her attempts to reconcile what she knows to be true about their lives with the way those lives are depicted-and completely undervalued-by society at large. Ages 14-up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Bent Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2018
Piecing Me Together
Book Jacket   Watson, Renee
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781681191058 Who owns the river and the line, and the hook, and the worm? wonders Jade, a scholarship kid at Portland's prestigious St. Francis High. Through her first two years of school, she's had to balance her home life in a poor neighborhood with her life at a school populated mostly by rich white kids. When offered a mentorship for at-risk girls (which includes a full college scholarship), she jumps at the opportunity to learn how to be a successful black woman. However, she soon suspects that her mentor, Maxine, may only have a superficial understanding of Jade's challenges and that there may be things Jade can teach her. Watson is unafraid to show Jade as a young woman who is resilient and mature for her age, but also plagued by self-doubt. The book itself is a balancing act between class, race, and social dynamics, with Watson constantly undercutting stereotypes and showing no fear in portraying virtues along with vices. The book's defiance of a single-issue lens will surely inspire discussion and consideration.--Suarez, Reinhardt Copyright 2016 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781681191058 Gr 7 Up-High school junior Jade is an "at-risk" student from a rough neighborhood in Portland, OR. She is also a talented collage artist, and she attends an elite private school on scholarship. More than anything, she wants to go on a study abroad week offered at her school to use her Spanish skills. Instead, she is given an invitation to join Woman to Woman, a mentorship program for young women like her: poor and black. Her mentor, Maxine, is from a more privileged background, and Jade doesn't see what she can learn from her. But in spite of her early resistance to Maxine, Jade begins to open up and gain confidence, and, eventually, she is able to express the importance of her family, her community, and her art. The two strong female characters and the ways in which they struggle with and support each other form the center of this tale. Most young people will relate to Jade's search to find her voice and learn to advocate for herself in appropriate ways. The lack of a romantic lead may leave some young teen readers disappointed, but there is a real, refreshing strength in a fully fleshed-out female character whose story is her own. This is a memorable novel that demonstrates that a happy ending doesn't require a romantic subplot. VERDICT This unique and thought-provoking title offers a nuanced meditation on race, privilege, and intersectionality. A first purchase for YA collections.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781681191058 Jade Butler, an African-American artist-in-the-making, lives with her mother in Portland, Ore., and travels by bus to private school, where she is both grateful for and resentful of the opportunities presented to her. In short, poetic chapters, Jade ponders her family, school, and neighborhood relationships, wondering where she fits in: "How I am someone's answered prayer but also someone's deferred dream." Watson (This Side of Home) weaves collage imagery throughout the story as Jade ruminates over historical figures such as York, the slave who traveled with Lewis and Clark, and distressing current events, including police violence against a neighborhood girl: "I am ripping and cutting. Gluing and pasting. Rearranging reality, redefining, covering, disguising. Tonight I am taking ugly and making beautiful." Jade's narrative voice offers compelling reflections on the complexities of race and gender, class and privilege, and fear and courage, while conveying the conflicted emotions of an ambitious, loyal girl. Teeming with compassion and insight, Watson's story trumpets the power of artistic expression to re-envision and change the world. Ages 12-up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2018
Eliza and Her Monsters
 Zappia, Francesca
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062290137 *Starred Review* Eliza's eponymous monsters are twofold: they are the stars of her viral webcomic, but they are also the anxiety and depression that keep her identity as the webcomic's creator shielded behind a wall of anonymity. As LadyConstellation, she has written and illustrated Monstrous Sea, inspiring a devoted online fandom worldwide. At school, however, she's just cripplingly shy Eliza Mirk: an average student who prefers a digital social life to a real one. She meets her match when Monstrous Sea fan-fiction writer Wallace transfers to her school and is too shy to even speak out loud. Through simple, tender notes passed back and forth, the two form a fast bond. But Eliza keeps her identity as LadyConstellation a secret even from Wallace, a decision that could cost her his trust forever. In her sophomore novel, Zappia (Made You Up, 2015) gracefully examines Eliza's complicated struggle with anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts, as she recognizes, The thought is still there, but the seriousness of it comes and goes. In addition to a vibrant fictional fandom akin to the Simon Snow following in Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl (2013), this is peppered with detailed illustrations from Eliza's webcomic, drawn by Zappia herself. A fervent celebration of online fandom, sure to leave readers craving an actual Monstrous Sea comic.--Kling, Caitlin Copyright 2017 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062290137 Eliza Mirk, 18, has a secret-one that only her immediate family knows: she is LadyConstellation, the creator of the hugely popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza's plan is to quietly finish high school (and the comic), then head off to college where she won't be known as the weird, friendless girl. Things don't go as planned after she meets Wallace, a diehard fan of Monstrous Sea and an equally broken fan fiction writer. Zappia (Made You Up) uses her own illustrated Monstrous Sea panels to punctuate elements of the narrative and to show how Eliza and Wallace find solace in fandom. LadyConstellation is eventually outed, painfully and publicly, causing Eliza to spiral into depression, self-harm, and thoughts of suicide. Zappia's lighter approach to these topics doesn't diminish the strength of this sensitive and compassionate story or the message mirrored in the themes of the webcomic: there are monsters in the world, both real and imaginary, and without support systems, those monsters can cause great harm. Ages 14-up. Agent: Louise Fury, Bent Agency. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062290137 Gr 9 Up-Eliza's parents have no understanding of her online life, from her friendships to the scope of the world she created. As a result, Eliza feels like an outsider, unless she's talking with her cyberfriends or working on her popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Wallace, a new boy at school, has been the first person to bring her out of her shell in ages. As their friendship grows, he confides his chilling secret, but Eliza still can't bring herself to share her web identity with him. When the truth comes out, will this secret shatter their relationship? Told in a series of letters, instant messages, comics, and prose, this book focuses on relationships and identity. It tackles social anxiety and asks serious questions: What makes a relationship valid in this era of social media? Are online interactions as meaningful as those in real life? Zappia's work will resonate with teens who write, create art, and love fandoms. Introverted readers will connect with the protagonist. VERDICT A must-have for all YA collections, especially where geek culture is celebrated.-Jennifer Rummel, Cragin Library, Colchester, CT © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2018
Goodbye Days
 Zentner, Jeff
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553524062 Carver Briggs already feels responsible when his three best friends are killed in a car accident after he sent a "Where are you guys?" text message to the driver. Now it seems as though the whole town wants him to be prosecuted, and he's having debilitating panic attacks. When one friend's grandmother suggests they pay tribute to the deceased by spending a "goodbye day" swapping stories and doing what he loved, Carver finds a cathartic way to atone for his perceived sins. From the opening line, Zentner (The Serpent King) expertly channels Carver's distinctive voice as a 17-year-old writer turned "funeral expert" who argues with himself about girls and retains glimmers of easy wit despite the weight of his grief and guilt. Flashbacks and daydreams capture the jovial spirit of the four members of the so-called Sauce Crew, glimpses of sophomore shenanigans interspersed with poignant admissions only best friends would share. Racial tensions, spoiled reputations, and broken homes all play roles in an often raw meditation on grief and the futility of entertaining what-ifs when faced with awful, irreversible events. Ages 14-up. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780553524062 Gr 9 Up-It was just a text: Carver wanted to know when his three best friends were going to pick him up. But those three best friends got into a car accident and never made it to him. Carver can't stop blaming himself and his text for their deaths, and things get worse after a judge is also interested in pointing the finger at him. Carver juggles his own feelings of guilt and the blame others direct at him as he decides to honor the memory of his friends through cathartic "goodbye days." Saving Carver (and the readers) from complete despair is Jesmyn, the former girlfriend of one of his deceased friends, and Dr. Mendez, a new therapist who help him wade through life after the funerals. Zentner is yanking heartstrings here in this painful but compelling narrative. Although sprinkled with lighter stories of the friends in happier times, this is a weighty, well-crafted novel-the kind of intelligent, intense, and life-affirming tale that will resonate with teens seeking depth and honesty. VERDICT Recommended as a first purchase for school and public libraries. Hand this to readers looking to explore the somber and complex realities of life, especially responsibility, fractured relationships, and the butterfly effect of consequences.-Emily Moore, Camden County Library System, NJ © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780553524062 *Starred Review* I may have killed my three best friends, 17-year-old Carver agonizes. How so? He sent a text to his friend Mars, knowing the boy was driving at the time; distracted by replying to the text, Mars crashed into a stopped truck, killing himself and Carver's two other best friends, Blake and Eli. Now Mars' father, a judge, has called on the district attorney to open an investigation and weigh charges of criminally negligent homicide against Carver. Bereft and virtually friendless, riddled by guilt, and overwhelmed by stress, Carver begins having panic attacks, which send him into therapy. Interestingly, he makes an unlikely new friend in Eli's girlfriend, Jesmyn, but when he tells her that he desires more than friendship with her, she rejects him. Meanwhile, Carver's attempts at atonement with Blake's grandmother, Eli's parents, and Mars' father meet with mixed success, feeding his subconscious desire for punishment. Zentner does an excellent job in creating empathetic characters, especially his protagonist Carver, a budding writer whose first-person account of his plight is artful evidence of his talent. The story builds suspense while developing not only empathetic but also multidimensional characters in both Carver and Jesmyn. The result is an absorbing effort with emotional and psychological integrity.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist
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2017
The Passion of Dolssa
Book Jacket   Berry, Julie
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780451469922 *Starred Review* Publishers say that historical fiction is a hard sell, and books with religion at their core are few and far between. Kudos, then, to Berry (All the Truth That's in Me, 2013) for creating a sweeping saga that not only deeply entwines both but also dissects its characters' humanity as it looks at the often troubling beliefs that underlay their actions. The story-within-a-story begins in 1290. A friar is gathering papers and testimonies that will show how the inquisitions here on the border of France and Spain were God's holy work. But one tale troubles him, so much so that he begins to stitch the strands together, and that is where the main story begins. Botille is a sassy teenager who makes money in her seaside village of Bajas by matchmaking. A disruptive childhood and a drunken father has bound Botille and her sisters closely together, but their lives are good: Plazensa runs the tavern, Botille makes her matches, and Sazia tells fortunes with uncanny accuracy. To the north, in Tolosos, there is another girl, Dolssa. Aristocratic by birth and a mystic by the grace of God, she spends her days with her beloved, Jesus, who wraps her in his murmurs and consumes her with his love. That much love cannot be contained, and Dolssa begins telling others how much her beloved cherishes all people. The simplicity of her message is seen by the inquisitors as a threat to the church, a devil's deception, and there is only one place it can end: in a public burning. Miraculously, Dolssa escapes the pyre. She wanders until she meets Botille, who saves and shelters her. This beautifully crafted plot would be enough on its own, but Berry does so much more. First, she establishes a convincing setting, in part by peppering the dialogue with Old Provençal language. Using many voices, some of which, including Botille and Dolssa, relate their own stories, she picks beneath words and actions to expose the motives of the heart, revealing how lofty ideas can turn into terrorizing actions, and how fear and self-preservation can make friends and neighbors turn on one another. Yet despite the book's gravity, Berry also manages to infuse her story with laughter and light welcome surprises. The final surprise awaiting readers at the book's conclusion adds yet another layer to the storytelling. Also at the book's end, Berry has included a wealth of back matter, a glossary, a list of characters (possibly of more help if placed at the book's beginning), and an author's note explaining the roots of the religious discord, inquisitions, and wars, and touching on such female mystics as Hildegard of Bingen, who is referenced in the novel. The beauty of historical fiction is that it brings to life long-ago times and places even as it shows how hopes, fears, and dreams remain constant across the ages. The strength of religious-centric novels is their revelation of the myriad ways people grapple with their faith and spirituality. The Passion of Dolssa's rich brew will leave readers thinking about all of these things, even as it profoundly influences their own struggles and questions.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780451469922 When Botille Flasucra finds Dolssa de Stigata lying on a riverside close to death, she takes the stranger to her family's tavern. Botille, a young matchmaker, and her sisters nurse Dolssa back to health in secret-a Dominican friar obsessively hunts Dolssa, whom he condemned as a heretic to be burned at the stake. The year is 1241 in Provensa (now Provence), where the aftereffects of the Albigensian Crusade have led to an inquisition meant to rid the Christian world of heretics. Dolssa, however, feels called to heal the sick in the name of her beloved Jhesus, and her miracles eventually bring danger to the small town of Bajas. Berry (All the Truth That's in Me) again delivers an utterly original and instantly engrossing story. Drawing from meticulous historical research (highlighted in extensive back matter), she weaves a tense, moving portrait of these two teenage girls and their struggle to survive against insurmountable odds. Love, faith, violence, and power intertwine in Berry's lyrical writing, but Botille's and Dolssa's indomitable spirits are the heart of her story. Ages 12-up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780451469922 Gr 7 Up-Two young women-Botille, a tavern wench, and Dolssa, a noblewoman possibly in communion with God-form a deep bond in a world that seeks to destroy them. Berry has reimagined 13th-century France with vigor, from the small intricacies of daily village life to the brutal ruthlessness of the Inquisition. Readers looking for a work steeped in female friendship, mysticism, and blood, with extensive back matter to boot, will be well rewarded. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780451469922 Gr 7 Up-Botille is a matchmaker in the small seaside town of Bajas in medieval France. She struggles to run the family's tavern and keep her sisters and herself afloat. Dolssa is a young woman with a secret that she can't help but share-her lover is God, and she speaks to him regularly. When the two young women cross paths, both deep friendship and mortal peril await them. A beautifully rendered portrait of a little-known portion of history, this work is a meticulously researched piece of fiction. Yet it is not just in the accurate details that the novel shines. The strength and humanity of the almost entirely female set of characters are inspiring and well drawn. The panic and suspicion of post-Inquisition France is omnipresent, giving the story of a supposed heretic a constant edge of danger. As the novel slips in and out of magical realism, readers will be transported into Dolssa and Botille's world. VERDICT An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries.-Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter's Prep, Jersey City, NJ © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017
The Reader G.P. Putnams Sons Books for Young Readers
Book Jacket   Chee, Traci
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399176777 After 15-year-old orphan Sefia is separated from her aunt, she sets out on a rescue mission. Determined to learn the truth about her past and the rectangular object she's spent her life hiding, Sefia eventually discovers that the item-bound paper covered in symbols-is a book. Books, reading, and writing are unheard of in the land of Kelanna, but Sefia is certain that this book holds the answers she seeks. She is joined in her quest by a mute, nameless boy, whom she rescues from a life of forced cage fighting. The book Sefia carries, which initially seems to be filled with stories and myths, becomes increasingly mysterious when she learns that the people and accounts detailed within are true. Chee's debut is an intricate, multilayered reading experience, but the author avoids leading readers along too transparently, trusting them to puzzle together the pieces surrounding the mystery of Sefia's past. An exploration of self-determination and the magic of the written word, Sefia's story is an absorbing introduction to the Sea of Ink and Gold series. Ages 12-up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399176777 *Starred Review* Sefia's father drilled her on what to do if they were ever in danger, but she never expected to return home one day and find him brutally murdered. She escapes with one vital thing: a heavy square wrapped in cloth, containing bound pages with intricate symbols. It's a book, but reading in Sefia's kingdom is a skill limited to an elite few, and now that this precious volume is in her possession, she's in grave danger. Sefia spends years on the run with her aunt, Nin, until the day when the murderer catches up to them and violently steals Nin away. With the help of a mute boy she saves from a slave ring and the magic she finds in the words of the book, she seeks out her parents' killer. Chee's debut, the first in a projected series, is a stunning piece of storytelling. She deftly weaves together disparate elements, such as magic, fighting rings, swashbuckling pirates, assassins, and a kingdom beset by war, where books are illegal. Additionally, she seamlessly integrates a book within a book, as Sefia learns to read and discovers the powers of her precious cargo, and astute readers will notice hidden messages in the novel's clever design. With evocative language, fascinating world building, multifaceted characters, and a compelling plot, this is a series fantasy lovers will want to sink their teeth into.--Tomsu, Lindsey Copyright 2016 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399176777 Gr 8 Up-"Two curves for her parents. A curve for Nin. The straight line for herself. The circle for what she had to do." This is the seal branded onto the book that was passed down to Sefia by her parents right before they were murdered by an assassin whose blade reeked of copper. Under the guidance of Aunt Nin, who is a thief, the teen learns to hide and hunt before her mentor is brutally torn away. In solitude, Sefia vows to rescue Nin. She is eventually joined by a strange, mute, and brutalized boy she saves. In a world where books and the very act of reading are limited to a select, powerful few, Sefia begins to understand the weight of her heirloom and what might transpire should it fall into the wrong hands. Sefia digs deep within herself and slowly begins to unlock the power of the written word. This work is deftly rendered in beautiful prose, narrated through three shifting time lines woven into an interconnected history of duty, honor, and magic. Chee provokes some resounding questions: What is there left to be remembered of us after death, and what must we do to be worthy of remembrance? This is a must-have for all those who value a good read with genuine character growth, mystery, unique world-building, adventure, unyielding bonds of loyalty, and pirates. Savvy teens will notice a message scattered through the page numbers. VERDICT A fresh, diverse fantasy; highly recommended for fans of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and female-powered adventures.-Zeying Wang, School Library Journal © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399176777 Gr 8 Up-Sefia, who lives in a world without books and reading, is on the run for her life, desperate to avenge the murder of her father and rescue her aunt. The only clue she has is a strange rectangular object-a book-whose secrets she's slowly learning to uncover. With layers upon layers of tales woven throughout the narrative, Chee's debut novel establishes a fantastically populated world with a diverse cast of characters. Meticulous storytelling and a memorable adventure. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017
The Lie Tree.
 Hardinge, Frances
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781419718953 In Hardinge's (Cuckoo Song) superb tale of overarching ambition and crypto-botany, which recently won the Costa Book Award in the U.K., the Reverend Erasmus Sunderly, an eminent if unpleasant Victorian, has suddenly moved his family to a remote island, ostensibly to participate in a paleontological dig, but actually to escape scandal. Noticing that he is acting strangely, his 14-year-old daughter, Faith, a budding scientist whose intellectual curiosities are dismissed and discouraged, offers her aid and soon finds herself party to a terrifying discovery, a mysterious tree that apparently feeds on lies, rewarding the liar with astonishing visions. This so-called "Mendacity Tree" gives the tale an oddly allegorical feel, like something out of Spenser's The Faerie Queene. When Sunderly is found dead, an apparent suicide, it is up to Faith to clear his name, expose the murderer, and perhaps endanger her very soul. Hardinge's characteristically rich writing is on full display-alternately excoriating, haunting, and darkly funny-and the novel also features complex, many-sided characters and a clear-eyed examination of the deep sexism of the period, which trapped even the most intelligent women in roles as restrictive as their corsets. The Reverend's murder is a compelling mystery, grounded not just in professional envy and greed, but in the theological high-stakes game of Darwinian evolution and its many discontents. It's a ripping good yarn, one that should hold particular appeal for readers who are attracted to philosophically dense works like those of David Almond and Margo Lanagan. Ages 13-up. Agent: Nancy Miles, Miles Stott Agency. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781419718953 Gr 7 Up-Faith Sunderly is intensely curious about her famous father's scientific research. When he is suddenly found dead, she is convinced that he was murdered, and pieces together clues and uncovered secrets, like the reverend's prized specimen-a tree that thrives on lies and bears a fruit that, when eaten, reveals a hidden truth. In this dark and haunting mystery, Hardinge creates her own truth-telling magic. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781419718953 *Starred Review* On the small island of Vale, something unnatural this way comes. Is it wicked? Perhaps, but it is quickly evident in Hardinge's newest tale following her acclaimed Cuckoo Song (2015) that things are not what they seem, and the answers to such questions are rarely black and white. As 14-year-old Faith Sunderly and her family arrive at their new home, many questions swirl in the girl's head. It isn't long before she learns that their exodus from Kent has less to do with an ongoing excavation on Vale than it does with escaping scandal. After catching a glimpse of one of her father's private letters, she understands that he, Reverend Erasmus Sunderly, a renowned naturalist, has been accused of faking his most famous fossil discovery. Faith meets this news with incredulity: His bleak and terrible honesty were the plague and pride of the family. She bears a fierce love for her stern and distant father, which is underpinned by an unrequited yearning for his affection and approval. Despite possessing a highly intelligent and inquisitive mind, the reverend's daughter is never permitted to be anything but dutiful and demure; unlike her six-year-old brother, Howard, who ignites his father's pride simply by being a boy. Throughout the novel, Faith is thwarted by limits placed on her gender. In 1868, the roles of women, science, and religion are under scrutiny and often at odds with one another; Darwin's The Origin of Species is only nine years old, and its ideas of evolution are beginning to knock against the teachings of the church. Faith, who has spent hours reading the scientific volumes of her father's library, longs (in vain) to be part of these heated debates, even as the local doctor informs her that the small female skull makes it impossible for women to be intellectuals. As these injustices are bandied about, Faith feels not only incensed and confused but also ashamed for masking her own cleverness so that she might be thrown a scrap of worthwhile conversation: Rejection had worn Faith down. . . . Even so, each time she pretended ignorance, she hated herself and her own desperation. These concerns are interwoven with a story of intrigue and, possibly, murder. From the outset, Reverend Sunderly's behavior is strange. He is secretive and disappears for hours to care for a plant no one is permitted to see. When Faith interrupts her father one evening, he is forced to take her into his confidence. Thrilled by this moment of bonding, Faith agrees to help him relocate his precious plant in the dead of night, but come morning, the reverend's body is discovered with a broken neck. She is positive that someone is behind his death, and she takes it upon herself to discover who. Faith finds some answers in the reverend's journal, but it contains even more mysteries prime among them the plant she recently helped him to hide: the Mendacity Tree. According to her father, a man of science and reason, this rare specimen feeds not on sunshine but on lies, from which it bears a fruit that will reveal great truths to the person who consumes it. Faith can't help but wonder whether this tree, seemingly the stuff of fairy tales, might show her what happened to her father. And so she follows in the reverend's footsteps: she conducts scientific research on the plant and nurtures it with lies, the ramifications of which outstrip both logic and imagination. There is an effortless beauty to Hardinge's writing, which ranges from frank to profound. Though layered, the plot refuses to sag, driven as it is by mystery, taut atmosphere, complex characters, and Faith's insatiable curiosity. The 2015 winner of the UK's Costa Book of the Year Award, this novel is the first children's book since Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass (2000) to receive the honor, and both books use the lens of fantasy to observe a young girl caught in the cross fire of science and religion though Hardinge's touch is more nuanced. It is a book in which no details are wasted and each chapter brings a new surprise. Readers of historical fiction, mystery, and fantasy will all be captivated by this wonderfully crafted novel and the many secrets hidden within its pages.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2016 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781419718953 Gr 7 Up-In a time when a young woman's exterior life can be stifling and dull, Faith Sunderly's interior life is cavernous. She has a sharp mind; a keen interest in the scientific research that has made her father, the formidable Reverend Sunderly, famous; and an irresistible impulse for sneaking, spying, and skulking around. Faith's curiosity about the world around her, which she must keep hidden, is a source of personal shame and the one thing about herself she longs for people, especially her father, to notice. When the Reverend is invited to take part in an archaeological dig on the insular island community of Vane, the whole family packs up and moves with him. It doesn't take long for Faith to suspect there are darker reasons the family left London in such a hurry, and just as she's starting to put things together, her father is found dead. Setting out to prove her father's death was a murder, Faith uncovers a web of secrets the Reverend has been keeping, all centered on one of his specimens-a small tree that thrives on lies and bears a fruit that tells the truth. Faith believes she can use the tree to find her father's killer and begins feeding it lies. As the tree grows, so do Faith's lies and her fevered obsession with finding out the truth. Hardinge, who can turn a phrase like no other, melds a haunting historical mystery with a sharp observation on the dangers of suppressing the thirst for knowledge, and leaves readers to wonder where science ends and fantasy begins. VERDICT Smart, feminist, and shadowy, Hardinge's talents are on full display here.-Beth McIntyre, Madison Public Library, WI © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017
The Female of the Species.
 McGinnis, Mindy
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062320896 Gr 10 Up-After her sister was brutally murdered, Alex Craft sought revenge when her killer walked free. Alex cuts herself off from everyone in her small backwoods town, until Peekay, the shy preacher's kid, and Jack Fisher, the most popular guy in school, force their way into her life as friends, with unintended consequences for all of them. An unsettling and stark exploration of small-town life and the secrets that we all keep. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062320896 Three high school seniors come together in McGinnis's harrowing rumination on and the power of friendship in a small town. Three years ago, Alex Craft's older sister, Anna, was raped and murdered, but there wasn't enough evidence to convict the killer. Someone took matters into his or her own hands and killed the perpetrator, and McGinnis (A Madness So Discreet) doesn't make it hard to guess who. Once a girl on the periphery, Alex attracts the attention of jock Jack Fisher, who's more than just a guy who can put a ball through a net. Despite differing personalities, Alex and Peekay-shorthand for preacher's kid, though her real name is Claire-bond while volunteering at the local animal shelter, with Peekay in awe of Alex's stoicism. McGinnis gracefully avoids the pitfalls of creating a teenage vigilante, instead maintaining a sense of piercing realism. Alex is a pained girl in dangerous free fall, whose fierce independence is challenged by newfound friendships, even love, though neither may be enough to stave off the inevitable. Ages 14-up. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062320896 Gr 9 Up-McGinnis presents readers with a darkly captivating look at the lives of small-town teens seeking escape through drinking, drugs, and sex. Alex Craft prefers to be untouchable, thinking of herself as a caged and dangerous wolf who should not be allowed around others for the sake of their own safety. Following the grisly rape and murder of her beloved older sister, however, her cage is unlocked and she is set loose on the students, befriending a few but scaring many others in her quest for justice. Is Alex a danger to their ideals and benefits, or a savior from the pervasive evil leering through unlocked doors at night? This is an astoundingly dark but beautifully written tragedy, brimming with sexual assault, violent murders, and accounts of animal abuse that will be difficult for most individuals, but also tempered with glimpses of genuine human emotion and extremely touching displays of kindness that cross social barriers and species. Sexual abuse and assault are treated with sensitivity here but also portrayed with the necessary weight and power, and the dangerous repercussions of poor self-esteem, limiting social expectations, and secret-keeping are discussed openly and frankly. VERDICT Highly recommended for collections serving teenagers, this book will likely be especially well received by those who enjoyed any of Gillian Flynn's novels.-Emily Grace Le May, Providence Community Library, RI © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062320896 *Starred Review* What would you do if your sister were raped and murdered, but the killer went free? Alex delivers her own brand of swift, ferocious justice for her sister Anna, and then hides in plain sight from the close-knit, rural Ohio town where everyone thinks they know everything. The community is surrounded by woods that serve as a great place to party or, in her case, run from her mother, her memories, and the fellow classmates she can't trust herself to be around. While volunteering at the local animal shelter, she meets Claire, known as Peekay (preacher's kid), who becomes her first friend, and as a result, Alex begins to participate in senior-year activities. Chapters shift between these characters and the local Casanova, Jack, creating three distinct perspectives as the story unfolds. Alex may not be polite or even law-abiding, but she is truthful and loyal; she won't settle for an unwelcome advance toward her or her friends, and she protects those she loves with an unwavering vigilante fervor, matching violence with violence. Whether a catcall, an unwelcome touch, or more, sexual aggression towards females happens daily; McGinnis explores how one teen uses violence for justice in this gripping story that should be read and discussed by teens, as well as those who work with them.--Ginman, Karen Copyright 2016 Booklist
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2017
Burn Baby Burn.
Book Jacket   Medina, Meg
2017
Salt to the Sea.
Book Jacket   Sepetys, Ruta
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399160301 Gr 8 Up-With the same lyrical prose, eye for detail, and breath-stopping ability to unfold delicate layers of characterization and theme with skillfully paced revelations, the author of Between Shades of Gray (2011) and Out of the Easy (2013, both Philomel) presents a fictionalized World War II story based on a true tragedy. In alternating narratives, four different teens grapple with the bitter cold, the ever-present danger of falling bombs, and their own dark secrets. There's Joana, a pretty and empathetic Lithuanian nurse who harbors a heavy guilt; Florian, a mysterious young man struggling to hide his true identity; Amelia, a pregnant Polish girl; and Alfred, a sociopathic Nazi sailor with an inferiority complex. Along with a fully realized cast of secondary characters who comprise the small band of refugees slowly making their way through the frozen and battle-scarred Prussian countryside, Joana, Florian, and Amelia are determined to get aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German military ship evacuating civilians and wounded soldiers at the tail end of the war. Alfred, meanwhile, a low-ranking officer stationed aboard the ship, avoids work by hiding in the toilets, composing imaginary and boastful letters to a girl back home. Each voice is distinct, and Sepetys unwinds their individual backstories slowly and with care. As the relationships among the refugees strengthen and they begin to trust one another, vulnerabilities are revealed-some of them life-threatening. Observations of war and loss, human cruelty, and hatred are unflinching. But through the horror and heartbreak shine rays of hope: love, kindness, courage, and sacrifice. VERDICT Artfully told and sensitively crafted, Sepetys's exploration of this little-known piece of history will leave readers weeping.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399160301 Sepetys delivers another knockout historical novel, after Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy, that offers insight into the ugly realities of WWII and culminates with a forgotten event, the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Set in East Prussia during the brutal winter of 1945, in the waning days of the conflict, and tautly narrated by four strong, distinct voices, the narrative highlights the plight of refugees as Germany tries to evacuate soldiers and civilians: "The brutality was shocking. Disgraceful acts of inhumanity. No one wanted to fall into the hands of the enemy. But it was growing harder to distinguish who the enemy was." The narrators include Florian, a Prussian boy carrying a secret parcel; traumatized 15-year-old Amelia, a Polish girl without papers who hides a mysterious pregnancy; Joana, a repatriated 21-year-old Lithuanian nurse, who believes she's a murderer; and Alfred, a German soldier who imagines writing self-important missives to a girl back home. Their stories collide-first as the three refugees travel through the countryside with a larger group, and then as they try to gain passage on Alfred's ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff, which is doomed to maritime disaster with casualties exceeding those of the Titanic and Lusitania combined. Sepetys excels in shining light on lost chapters of history, and this visceral novel proves a memorable testament to strength and resilience in the face of war and cruelty. Ages 12-up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399160301 *Starred Review* Shipwrecks and maritime disasters are of fathomless fascination, with ships such as the Titanic and the Lusitania household names. It's interesting that the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during WWII, which led to the largest loss of life on a single ship in history, goes largely unremarked upon at least in America. The numbers are staggering: far over capacity, the ship was carrying approximately 10,582 passengers when it was struck by Soviet torpedoes, and more than 9,400 of those passengers perished in the ensuing wreck, a death toll that dwarfs the Titanic's assumed losses (around 1,500). Part of the neglect might be due to timing. The ship was evacuating refugees and German citizens from Gotenhafen, Poland, when it was sunk in the Baltic Sea in the winter of 1945. Astounding losses defined WWII, and this became yet another tragedy buried under the other tragedies after all, even 9,400 is dwarfed by 60 million. But it was a tragedy, and, like all tragedies, it broke the people involved down to their barest parts. Sepetys has resurrected the story through the eyes of four young characters trying to reach safety as the Russian army advances: Joana, a Lithuanian nurse; Emilia, a pregnant Polish 15-year-old; Florian, a Prussian artist carrying dangerous cargo; and Alfred, a German naval soldier stationed on the Wilhelm Gustloff. Each has been touched by war and is hunted by the past, and, determined to get on a boat in any way possible, hurtling unknowingly toward disaster. With exquisite prose, Sepetys plumbs the depths of her quartet of characters, bringing each to the breaking point and back, shaping a narrative that is as much about the intricacies of human nature as it is about a historical catastrophe. Nominated for the Morris Award for her first novel, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys returns to those roots with another harrowing, impeccably researched story of hardship and survival in Eastern Europe. When reading a book so likely to end in tears, one inclination is to avoid getting attached to any of the characters, but that's next to impossible here, so thoroughly does Sepetys mine their inner landscapes. That doesn't mean they are all likable as it breeds heroes, so, too, does calamity breed cowards and opportunists but it does make it difficult to think of them as anything other than real people. After all, the ship was very real. It does the people aboard a disservice not to reflect them the best one can. In many ways, the greatest punishment and the greatest of all tragedies is to be forgotten. This haunting gem of a novel begs to be remembered, and in turn, it tries to remember the thousands of real people its fictional characters represent. What it asks of us is that their memories and their stories not be abandoned to the sea.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2015 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399160301 Gr 8 Up-In East Prussia at the end of World War II, a group of refugees are desperately making their way toward the one chance they have at survival: passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff. Braving the unforgiving elements, violent soldiers, and an uncertain future, Joana, Emilia, and Florian narrate their harrowing journey, along with unsettling chapters from Alfred, a Nazi sailor. Sepetys brings to vivid life the events and repercussions of this little-known piece of 20th-century history. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399160301 January 1945. The war in Europe is in its end stages as German forces are beaten back by the Allied armies. To escape the Soviet advance on the eastern front, thousands of refugees flee to the Polish coast. In this desperate flight for freedom, four young people-each from very different backgrounds and each with dark secrets-connect as they vie for passage on the Willhelm Gustloff, a former pleasure cruiser used to evacuate the refugees. Packed to almost ten times its original capacity, the ship is hit by Soviet torpedoes fewer than 12 hours after leaving port. As the ship sinks into the icy waters of the Baltic Sea, what was supposed to be an avenue for escape quickly becomes another fight to survive the randomness of war. VERDICT YA author Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray; Out of the Easy) describes an almost unknown maritime disaster whose nearly 9,000 casualties dwarfed those of both the Titanic and the Lusitania. Told alternately from the perspective of each of the main characters, the novel also highlights the struggle and sacrifices that ordinary people-children-were forced to make. At once beautiful and heart-wrenching, this title will remind readers that there are far more casualties of war than are recorded in history books. Sure to have crossover appeal for adult readers.-Elisabeth Clark, West Florida P.L., Pensacola © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017
Scythe.
 Shusterman, Neal
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781442472426 *Starred Review* In the year 2042, humans conquered death. Now, in the postmortal society of MidMerica, people can live for millennia, either reanimated from fatal accidents or turning the corner when they get old by resetting themselves to a younger age. But Earth remains the only habitable planet and so exist the Scythes, tasked with keeping the population in check: those who a Scythe gleans stay dead. Citra and Rowan are two teenagers in this world, chosen to apprentice the Honorable Scythe Faraday (Scythes abandon their own names and take the names of historical innovators). Neither teen wants to learn the ways of a Scythe, and neither wants to begin gleaning lives, although Faraday tells them that, actually, only the uneager have any business accepting the mantle of a Scythe. The plot, which follows Citra's and Rowan's year-long apprenticeships, is certainly interesting enough: the two are both allies and competitors, as only one will be given the dubious prize of Scythedom, and there's an inevitable hint of forbidden love. More fascinating, though, are the questions that Shusterman raises in his exploration of this seemingly perfect future. Murdering teens are nothing new, but this is not the brave new world of The Hunger Games (2008). This society isn't a totalitarian regime masquerading as a paradise, nor is it a postapocalyptic wasteland. It's an actual utopia, a place where a sentient Cloud, known as the Thunderhead, has wiped out poverty, racial inequality, and mental and physical disease a place where lives are long and death, even with the Scythes, is virtually nonexistent. (The statistics: Everyone knows the chance of being gleaned in this or even the next millennium is so low as to be ignored.) The world is at peace and tragedy has been minimized and, honestly, it's kind of boring. There have been, of course, other future-facing books that deal with the eradication of death, like Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (2005), and others that explore the bounds of immortality, as in Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting (1975), and this pairs wonderfully with both. But few endeavors ask the questions Shusterman faces head-on: in a world without death, what becomes of life? On a field trip of sorts, Faraday takes Rowan and Citra to a museum, and Rowan notes that postmortal art lacks the urgency and turbulence of art created before the eradication of death. Similarly, Scythes are required to keep journals, and frequent musings from Scythe Curie (The Granddameof Death) appear throughout the narrative. We are not the same beings we once were, she says. Consider our inability to grasp literature and most entertainment from the mortal age. To us, the things that stirred mortal human emotions are incomprehensible. Only stories of love pass through our postmortal filter, yet even then, we are baffled by the intensity of longing and loss that threatens those mortal tales. And then the more troubling question: If we are no longer human, what are we? Static and stale, for one. Many of Shusterman's secondary characters here come across flat and bland because their world has made them that way. There's no struggle, no desire, no vibrancy. It's not to say there's no tension in this world Citra and Rowan face increasingly higher stakes as they race toward the end of their apprenticeship. A rogue group of Scythes begins killing beyond their quota, corrupting the power they possess to take a life, and a sequel is heralded by the explosive ending. But the world around them spins contentedly on. Shusterman is no stranger to pushing boundaries. Scythe owes an obvious debt to Unwind (2007) and its sequels, and this succeeds as a sort of shadow companion to Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy: instead of exploring the ways in which men are monsters, this deals in what happens to men when there are no monsters. When our reach does not exceed our grasp, when comfort is more easily obtained than struggle, when our essential humanity doesn't burn out but becomes slowly irrelevant, what becomes of us? Readers will find many things in these pages. Answers to such unsettling questions will not be among them.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2016 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442472426 Gr 8 Up-In a world where humanity has conquered death and a fraternity called Scythes are the only ones allowed to kill people in order to curb overpopulation, Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch must cope with their newfound and terrible responsibilities as apprentices in killing. A brilliant and gripping sci-fi thriller that acutely explores the consequences of worldwide immortality and asks readers to think critically about the nature of morality. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442472426 Gr 8 Up-In a world in which humanity has conquered death (no aging, no disease, no poverty, no war), ruled by the Thunderhead, an omniscient evolution of today's cloud, Scythes are the only ones who are allowed to take a human life. They are considered to be the best humanity has to offer, and they roam the world "gleaning" people in order to keep the population in check. Scythes are treated like royalty and feared. The last thing Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch want is to become Scythes, but when they are chosen by Scythe Faraday to become his apprentices, they are thrown into a life in which they need to master the art of death. They prove to be apt pupils, but when Scythe Faraday mysteriously gleans himself and Citra and Rowan are apprenticed to two other fearsome Scythes, they will have to put their skills to the test against each other. Intertwined with the fascinating concept of humanity conquering death and the idea of Scythes is the prospect that perhaps this is not the ideal world in which to live. Humanity has perfected itself-so what does that leave it to accomplish? Shusterman starts off this series in dramatic fashion as he creates an engrossing world that pulls readers in and refuses to let them go. VERDICT A truly astounding, unputdownable read and a fast-paced beginning to an excellent sci-fi series. A must-have.-Tyler Hixson, School Library Journal © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781442472426 In the future Earth of this grim novel from National Book Award-winner Shusterman (Challenger Deep), the digital cloud has transformed into the self-aware Thunderhead, whose benevolent totalitarian rule has turned the planet into a utopia. There's no poverty or crime, and everyone is guaranteed immortality. Well, almost everyone. Because babies are still being born, population growth must be limited. Thus evolved the Scythes, an organization whose members are charged with "gleaning" citizens at random. Sixteen-year-old Citra and Rowan are chosen by a Scythe named Faraday to train as apprentices. Neither likes the idea, but they're given no choice. Later, Citra becomes an apprentice to Curie, a legendary Scythe, but Rowan is apprenticed to Goddard, who kills for sadistic pleasure. Calling to mind Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," Shusterman's story forces readers to confront difficult ethical questions. Is the gleaning of a few acceptable if it maximizes the happiness of all? Is it possible to live a moral life within such a system? This powerful tale is guaranteed to make readers think deeply. Ages 12-up. Agent: Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2017
The Sun is Also a Star.
 Yoon, Nicola
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780553496680 *Starred Review* On a summer morning in New York City, Daniel and Natasha wake up as strangers. This is a day that could catapult their lives into entirely new directions that neither of them wants to take. Natasha has only hours left to prevent her family's deportation to Jamaica, after a minor legal infraction jeopardizes their stay in the U.S. Daniel dreads sealing his fate with an alumni interview that will pave his way to a career in medicine, as his Korean family expects. Despite a day packed with Natasha's desperate race against time and a tangled system, and Daniel's difficult tug-of-war between familial pressures and autonomy, love finds a way in, takes hold, and changes them both forever. Yoon's sophomore effort (Everything, Everything, 2015) is carefully plotted and distinctly narrated in Natasha's and Daniel's voices; yet it also allows space for the lives that are swirling around them, from security guards to waitresses to close relatives. It's lyrical and sweeping, full of hope, heartbreak, fate, and free will. It encompasses the cultural specifics of diverse New York City communities and the universal beating of the human heart. Every day like every book begins full of possibility, but this one holds more than others. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Yoon's debut became a best-seller, so the publisher is giving this a strong push that includes a national author tour.--Booth, Heather Copyright 2016 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553496680 Is it fate or chance that brings people together? This is the question posed in this impressively multilayered tale of a one-day romance featuring practical Natasha, whose family is facing deportation to Jamaica, and Daniel, a first-generation Korean American with a poet's sensibility. The teens' eventful day begins at a New York City record store, where they see someone shoplifting. It's the first of many significant moments that occur as Natasha desperately seeks aid to stay in America and Daniel prepares for a college interview with a Yale alum. Drawn together, separated, and converging again, both teens recognize with startling clarity that they are falling in love. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of every character she introduces, Yoon (Everything, Everything) weaves an intricate web of threads connecting strangers as she delves into the personal histories of her protagonists, as well as the emotions and conflicts of others who cross their paths. A moving and suspenseful portrayal of a fleeting relationship. Ages 12-up. Agent: Sara Shandler and Joelle Hobeika, Alloy Entertainment. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780553496680 Gr 8 Up-It is Natasha's last day in New York City, where she has lived for 10 years. Her family, living as undocumented immigrants in a small Brooklyn apartment, are being deported to Jamaica after her father's arrest for drunk driving. Natasha is scouring the city for a chance to stay in the United States legally. She wants the normal teen existence of her peers. Meanwhile, poetic Daniel is on his way to an interview as part of his application process to Yale. He is under great pressure to get in because his parents (who emigrated from South Korea) are adamant that he become a doctor. Events slowly conspire to bring the two leads together. When Daniel and Natasha finally meet, he falls in love immediately and convinces her to join him for the day. They tell their stories in alternating chapters. Additional voices are integrated into the book as characters interact with them. Both relatable and profound, the bittersweet ending conveys a sense of hopefulness that will resonate with teens. VERDICT This wistful love story will be adored by fans of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park and by those who enjoyed the unique narrative structure of A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017
The Serpent King
Book Jacket   Zentner, Jeff
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780553524024 Gr 9 Up-The son of a snake-handling preacher imprisoned for possessing child pornography, Dill escapes his controlling mother and social ostracism with the help of his two friends, Lydia and Travis. As the trio round out their senior year, it becomes overwhelmingly apparent the different paths their lives are going to take-Travis is content working in a lumberyard and diving into a fantasy world from a book series in his spare time, while Lydia runs a popular fashion blog and is intent on attending New York University. As for Dill, he yearns for more than Forrestville, TN, can offer, but he feels compelled to honor his father's legacy and his mother's domineering wishes. As Dill grapples with a crush on Lydia and a mother who wants him to drop out of high school, a YouTube clip of Dill singing and playing guitar begins to garner attention. Dill must decide among what his heart wants, what his family needs, and his own desire for a life outside of their small town; "If you're going to live," he says, "you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things." Zentner offers a contemporary young adult novel that explores many issues common with teenagers today-bullying, life after high school, and the coming together and breaking apart of high school friendships. Thorough characterization and artful prose allow readers to intimately experience the highs and lows of these three friends. VERDICT Recommended for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell.-Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553524024 Forrestville, Tenn., named after Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, isn't exactly a welcome place for slightly ouside-the-mainstream folks like friends Dillard, Lydia, and Travis. Dill is a high school senior whose snake-handling preacher father is currently incarcerated; Lydia, a successful fashion blogger, plans on attending NYU after graduation; and Travis, large of body and gentle of soul, loses himself (and the pain of his father's physical and emotional abuse) in a fantasy series called Bloodfall. While Dill finds comfort and beauty in music, Travis's innate kindness belies his circumstances, and Lydia's incandescent, gleefully offbeat personality draws them together. As the novel, Zentner's debut, builds to a shocking act of violence that shatters the friends' world, this sepia-toned portrait of small-town life serves as a moving testament to love, loyalty, faith, and reaching through the darkness to find light and hope. Zentner explores difficult themes head on-including the desire to escape the sins of the father and the fragility of happiness-while tempering them with the saving grace of enduring friendship. Ages 14-up. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780553524024 In small-town Forrestville, Tennessee, broody musician Dill Early begins his senior year with a general feeling of dread because it means his best friend, Lydia, will be leaving for college once they graduate. As the son of a snake-handling Pentecostal preacher currently in prison, Dill is unable to escape his father's shadow. Lydia, on the other hand, is an outspoken blogger and fashionista, who can't wait to get out of Dodge. Completing their trio is Travis, a gentle giant who carries a staff and is obsessed with fantasy novels. In chapters that shift among the teens' perspectives, Zentner effectively shows the aspirations, fears, and dark secrets they harbor during their final year together. A musician himself, Zentner transitions to prose easily in his debut, pulling in complex issues that range from struggles with faith to abuse to grief. Refreshingly, this novel isn't driven by romance though it rears its head but by the importance of pursuing individual passions and forging one's own path. A promising new voice in YA.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2015 Booklist
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2016
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Book Jacket   Becky Albertalli
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062348678 Gr 8 Up-Simon Speir, high school junior, walks away from his computer at school for just a moment, and that is when his biggest secret is discovered. He has been emailing a boy in his grade anonymously ever since a poetic waxing on his high school's gossip Tumblr caught his eye, and now Martin Addison has taken a screenshot and has a powerful way to blackmail Simon into getting his friend, Abby, to date him. Although it is filled with trendy pop-culture and digital-age references (Tumblr, Justin Beiber, The Bachelor, etc.) that may not stand the test of time, the message will resonate. Rife with realistic, high school relationships and drama, with a laugh or two at every turn, this is a coming-of-age, coming-out, and defying-the-odds story with which many teens will identify. With a very tidy, feel-good ending, the book will appeal to readers who enjoyed Tim Federle's Better Nate Than Ever (2013) and Five, Six, Seve, Nate! (2014, both S. & S.) and will find a familiar, slightly more mature home with Simon.-Brittany Staszak, St. Charles Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062348678 After a "goobery nerd" named Martin discovers Georgia teen Simon Spier's secret email relationship with a boy who calls himself "Blue," Martin blackmails Simon into helping him romance Abby, a new girl who has been welcomed into Simon's lunchroom clique. The threat of being outed by Martin forces Simon to come to terms with his sexuality, and his wise insights-Why do only gay people have to come out? Why is that the default?-add heft to a plot that is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Debut novelist Albertalli writes believably in the voice of a confused, openhearted 16-year-old. The large cast of companionable and well-developed characters contains a heroic drama teacher and Simon's embarrassing but well-meaning parents. Page-turning tension comes from the anonymous quality of Simon's emails with Blue, which are interspersed with chapters written in Simon's first-person voice that chronicle Simon's increasing frustration with Blue's reluctance to divulge his identity, as well as the deepening nature of the boys' relationship. Blue may hesitate, but readers will fall madly in love with Simon. Ages 14-up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Bent Agency. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062348678 *Starred Review* Simon's pretty sure no one will be upset when he comes out as gay. Though he lives in Georgia and kids at his high school can be cruel, his friends and family are all very accepting. But announcing that he likes guys is still a huge transformation. That's why he is so spooked when classmate Martin stumbles on secret, flirty e-mails Simon has been sending to Blue, a mysterious boy at his school, and gently threatens to reveal his secret. As the e-mail correspondence heats up, however, Simon is less concerned with keeping his sexuality a secret than he is with meeting the enchanting Blue. In Simon's affecting and authentic voice, debut author Albertalli supplies an exceptionally nuanced account of his coming-of-age. For Simon, coming out is less about negative repercussions as it is about what such a statement will change. After telling everyone he is gay, will he still be the same Simon? Though Martin's blackmail threats and Simon's dreamy romance with Blue are pivotal, compelling plot points, Albertalli shrewdly gives much more weight to Simon's emotional journey. Though they are certainly tied to his sexual orientation, Simon's worries will resonate with many readers coming to terms with something new about themselves. Albertalli's sensitive, incisive novel expertly gets at the complexity of identity, the difficulty of change, and the importance of growth.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist
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2016
Six of Crows
 Leigh Bardugo
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781627792127 Gr 7 Up-Bardugo has created a wildly imaginative story of six young people who have been commissioned to pull off the greatest heist of all time. They are to nab the creator of jurda parem, a highly addictive product that enhances the innate paranormal powers of the Grisha peoples, in the hopes of creating weapons of war that will upset the balance of power and destroy the economies of rival governments. Kaz, the hero of the story and mastermind of the plot, recruits five others to aid in his quest for revenge for the loss of his brother and the promise of vast wealth. Taking what could have been stock characters of young adult fiction-the loner, the rebel, the outcast, and the con artist, the author has fashioned fully fleshed out, dynamic protagonists who will engage and enchant readers. What a thrill it is to return to the world she created with her popular "Grisha Trilogy" (Holt). While the unresolved ending may frustrate some teens, the promise of a sequel will give them hope that this unsettling, captivating, magical journey will continue.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781627792127 Bardugo returns to the gritty Grishaverse, the setting for her popular Shadow and Bone series, with a thrilling tale of double-crosses, buried secrets, and one fantastic heist. Kaz Brekker runs a tight ship as lieutenant of his street gang, and when a high-class merchant offers him a dangerous job breaking a scientist out of a notoriously secure prison he initially balks, but 30 million kruge is tough to turn down. It's an incredibly risky gambit, but with a highly skilled, if ragtag, team behind him and his own boundless daring driving them headlong toward their goal, Kaz is sure they can pull it off. Bardugo drops readers right into the midst of her richly layered fantasy world and the lives of Kaz's dynamic team, artfully weaving details and backstories throughout the speedy plot. Though the story gets off to a relatively slow start, once Kaz's team embarks on their quest, the twists and turns are dizzying. The whirlwind pace, along with some witty banter, burgeoning romance, and high-stakes action, makes this series opener a surefire crowd-pleaser. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Banking on the success of Bardugo's Shadow and Bone trilogy, this new Grishaverse series will have fans lined up around the block.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781627792127 When the score of a lifetime presents itself, criminal mastermind Kaz Brekker assembles a crack team of talented outcasts. Their mission: to rescue a prisoner from the most secure prison in the world, so that the secrets he holds can be exploited by the right people. As Kaz and his compatriots put together a daring plan, they contend with old grudges, mistrust, lingering secrets, and deadly rivalries. Naturally, things go wrong once they start their mission, and now they must escape the very prison they sneaked into. Bardugo expands on the world of her Grisha trilogy with this series opener, which marries heist and action conventions with magic and mystery. Her characters are damaged, complex, and relatable, and her worldbuilding is ambitiously detailed. As various characters' backstories unfold, Bardugo reveals intriguing new depths and surprises. This has all the right elements to keep readers enthralled: a cunning leader with a plan for every occasion, nigh-impossible odds, an entertainingly combative team of skilled misfits, a twisty plot, and a nerve-wracking cliffhanger. Ages 12-up. Agent: Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2016
The Bunker Diary
 Kevin Brooks
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781467754200 *Starred Review* When this latest book from controversy-stirrer Brooks won the 2014 Carnegie Medal in the UK, up piped a familiar chorus of damnation from the frequently scandalized. It was too bleak, too dark, not for kids. The naysayers almost got it right: it is, rather, for everyone, playing just as well as can't-stop-reading entertainment as it does an allegorical passage into darkness. Linus, 16, is duped to assist an apparent blind man, then chloroformed, then abducted. He awakes in a small underground bunker: a kitchen, bathroom, meeting room, and six bedrooms. Why six? As with much in this book, the answer is a stark inevitability. One by one, five more abductees arrive via an elevator: a little girl, an old man, a rich woman, a businessman, and a junkie. But hopes of building a coalition across social lines is quashed after initial attempts to escape fail. The elevator door is electrified. The vents in the ceiling emit pepper spray. Deafening sirens make disabling the cameras impossible. From there, the games only become more insidious, from subtle manipulations of the group's sense of time to outright drugging of the food. And, finally, a note, which suggests to the inmates a deal too horrible to comprehend. It may sound like a horror film, but it comes across as existential dread. Linus, writing the book in his journal, begins to refer to the abductor as He, with a capital H. It's chillingly appropriate, for He has become a godlike figure issuing covenants on slips of paper and, by His own inscrutability, demanding blind worship and pleas for forgiveness from His flock. Despite His capricious cruelty, the humans fear being abandoned by Him. Given Brooks' past work, it's no stretch to think that this piercing interpretation of religion is intentional. But that's just for starters. The blank canvas of the bunker acts as a screen upon which one can project almost anything. Is Bird, the businessman, so named because he is the canary in the coal mine, his breakdown signaling the coming toxicity? Is the self-cannibalizing group a metaphor for old Russell's brain cancer, or vice versa? Or is this, quite simply, hell, a place of stillness where one can only ruminate over a life of regrets and shudder at the g-dung, g-dunk noise of the elevator bringing down the next torture? What will fascinate (or, yes, disturb) readers is Brooks' refusal to provide any off-ramps from his one-way street. That doesn't make Brooks Him he's not toying with us for perverse kicks. He is, in fact, doing the opposite, telegraphing the end long before it arrives, thereby granting us the opportunity, at a safe distance, to put lives upon the microscope and gauge their density. By extension, we look at our own lives, and consider our worth when removed from familiar settings, trapping, vices. What if there was a seventh room, and it had your name on it?--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781467754200 The fragmented, occasionally incoherent diary of 16-year-old Linus Weems, trapped with five strangers in an underground bunker, offers a disturbing window into the mind of a boy struggling to find sense in a senseless situation, as the possibility of escape or rescue-and the ability to cling to any semblance of hope-diminishes by the day. Each inmate has a tale of being snatched and drugged, awakening in an elevator that opens into the bunker. Every room is surveilled by camera and microphone; the bedrooms are equipped with a Bible, pen, and notebook. Requests sent to their captor via elevator are sometimes answered, sometimes ignored, and sometimes terribly perverted. There's little by way of character development; Linus at the end is the same boy he was at the beginning, with a lot more experience of suffering. The Man Upstairs, literally and figuratively (Linus begins to think of him as He), is never revealed. Relentlessly bleak, this recent Carnegie Medal-winner fascinates, provokes, and horrifies as Brooks (iBoy) stays true to his nihilistic aims, pushing readers toward an inexorable conclusion. Ages 13-up. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781467754200 Gr 10 Up-Linus is a 16-year-old runaway living on the harsh English streets who wakes up one day in an unfamiliar underground bunker with no water or food while under constant surveillance by an unknown kidnapper. As each day passes, more people are kidnapped and are subjected to the same brutal conditions. When Linus and the rest try to escape and find out more about their situation and their kidnapper, they realize that, with their options dwindling, they may have to resort to the ultimate horror to survive. Brooks's controversial Carnegie Medal-winner is truly a psychologically disturbing book that will leave readers with a deep sense of unease. Linus's first-person narrative will make teens ask themselves what they would do in his situation. It's not a title for everyone: some may be unsettled by the harsh realities the protagonist faces, while others will be fascinated by the simple complexity of Brooks's prose and truly effective storytelling. A unique choice that will get teens talking.-Christopher Lassen, Brooklyn Public Library (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2016
Audacity
Book Jacket   Melanie Crowder
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399168994 Gr 7 Up-Written in verse, this novel is loosely based on the life of Clara Lemlich Shavelson, the leader of New York shirtwaist strike of 1909. Clara and her family are Jewish Russians who flee the anti-Semitism of turn-of-the-century Russia to find a better life in America. However, Clara still experiences gender and religious oppression in New York. She is unable to gain the education she desires, because she is forced to work in a sweatshop, and she can't rise above her given status as an immigrant worker because foreign women are taught only rudimentary English. But "Inside I am anything/ but fresh off the boat./ I have been ready for this/ possibility/ all my life," Clara declares, and she proves that she has the audacity to do the impossible for a female and a Jew: organizing a woman's union and ultimately having her voice heard. The verse form of the narrative lends lightness to an otherwise bleak topic and moves the story along quickly, while artful formatting of the text creates and sustains mood. This book stands alone in its topic and time frame, with only Michelle Markel's picture book Brave Girl (HarperCollins, 2013) as a nonfiction companion. With historical notes, interviews with Clara's family members, and a glossary of Yiddish terms, Audacity is an impactful addition to any historical fiction collection.-Brittany Staszak, Glencoe Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399168994 Crowder's (Parched) use of free verse in this fictionalization of Russian-Jewish immigrant Clara Lemlich's life brings a spare poignancy to a familiar history: a poor family's flight from Russia following the 1903 pogrom, an arduous journey to Ellis Island, survival in the tenements of New York's Lower East Side, and Clara's grueling work in garment industry sweatshops. The only daughter in a strict Orthodox family, forbidden to learn Russian, read, or write, Clara secretly defies her father's decrees, hungry for education and determined to become a doctor. As she endures horrific working conditions in America, her dream changes, and she becomes a tireless leader of the union movement. Fighting to organize the women workers, she is locked out of jobs, jailed, and beaten: "They do not speak/ but their message is/ painfully/ clear/ slap scratch/ punch pummel/ kick kick spit." In addition to a closing note that provides context and biographical information, an endearing interview with Lemlich's children and grandchildren gives a glimpse into how this stubborn and fiery young woman lived out the balance of her life. Ages 12-up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399168994 From the shtetl, through the Russian Empire pogroms and steerage, Clara Lemlich and her family finally arrive in teeming New York City. Crowder's verse novel tells the eastern European immigrant story at the turn of the last century. Here, whether in the Old or New World, the men study Torah and the women work. Clara not only endures her hard labor in abysmal conditions but feels deeply for those women and children suffering around her. After the workday, Clara studies English, always reaching for her destiny. In short order, it is the labor movement that will be her calling and unionizing that will be her vehicle. Crowder develops Clara's education from the mean streets through persuasive verse: I have only been in this country two years but quickly, I learned you have to fight for what you want you have to take what you need. It is Clara who claims that all she has is audacity. Thanks to audacious Clara, this fictional narrative, based on Lemlich's real-life experiences, illuminates the labor-union movement, especially the women's strike known as the Uprising of the 20,000.--Bush, Gail Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2016
Shadowshaper
Book Jacket   Daniel Jose Older
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780545591614 *Starred Review* When Sierra's grandfather warns her to finish her mural because the paintings are fading, she is puzzled, but the only person willing to help her find answers is talented artist Robbie, and even he is reticent. Determined, Sierra finally learns the truth: her grandfather was a powerful shadowshaper, able to animate art with the spirit of a departed soul, and now an interloper, anthropologist Dr. Wick, is trying to steal these powers for himself. As Sierra investigates the shadowshapers, she discovers her own shockingly powerful role in the disappearing community. Apart from being an awesome power, shadowshaping becomes a resonant metaphor for the importance of cultural heritage, as Puerto Rican Sierra and Haitian Robbie draw on and amplify their ancestors' spirits, and their primary concern is keeping their honorable tradition alive in their community. Older's world building echoes that, too, weaving in timely commentary on gentrification, cultural appropriation, and even the shifting social mores of immigrant communities (especially evident in Sierra chafing against her grandfather's machismo). Even if readers don't recognize Older's crafty commentary, they will find plenty to like in the unique fantasy elements, entertainingly well-wrought characters, and cinematic pacing. Smart writing with a powerful message that never overwhelms the terrific storytelling.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780545591614 Gr 7 Up-Summer has just started, and Sierra plans to enjoy it, hanging out with her friends in their Brooklyn neighborhood and painting a mural at the local junklot. Then things start to get weird. While she is talking to fellow artist Robbie at the first party of the summer, a zombielike creature disrupts things, Robbie disappears, and she is left to discover that she lives in a world full of magic that she knows nothing about. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of her heritage, Sierra discovers her own powers of ancestral magic and battles the evil professor who is trying to steal them. Robbie is a clear love interest, but he isn't there to rescue Sierra. Sierra is a tough, confident, body-positive female protagonist of Puerto Rican descent, proud of her 'fro and curves. The fact that she and Robbie seem to be connecting romantically is portrayed as more of a happy coincidence than the culmination of a lifelong dream of romance. Dialogue is fast paced and authentic to Sierra's Brooklyn neighborhood, which is vividly described. Readers will find someone to whom they can relate in her diverse group of friends. VERDICT Excellent diverse genre fiction in an appealing package.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH © Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780545591614 Gr 7 Up-The 2015 SLJ Best Book follows Afro-Latina Sierra Santiago as she discovers that she's part of a long line of shadowshapers, people with the ability to infuse magic into their art in order to fight off demons. The Brooklyn teen embraces her Blackness and defends it against the critique of her family members-a powerful statement in YA lit. Fresh dialogue and exceptional world-building will have readers anticipating further adventures in the upcoming Shadowhouse Fall slated for September 2017. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780545591614 In Older's (Half-Resurrection Blues) YA debut, Sierra Santiago is from Bedford-Stuyvesant, parties in Park Slope, and crashes Columbia University with ease. Sierra's roots in her neighborhood are three generations deep, but no part of the city is alien to her. She loves art, and painting a mural on an abandoned building is the focus of her summer. Abruptly, her stroke-disoriented grandfather urges her to hurry the project-and then she is attacked by what looks like a walking corpse. What follows is a well-executed plot of the exceptional child with a mysterious history standing forth to save her world, aided by a similarly gifted romantic interest. What makes Older's story exceptional is the way Sierra belongs in her world, grounded in family, friends, and an awareness of both history and change. Her goal is to go deeper into that history and, by so doing, effect change of her own. Sierra's masterful adaptability is most apparent in her language, which moves among English and Spanish, salsa and rap, formality and familiarity with an effortlessness that simultaneously demonstrates Older's mastery of his medium. Ages 14-up. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary Agency. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2016
The Boy in the Black Suit
 Jason Reynolds
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442459502 Gr 7 Up-Matt's mother just died, and his dad isn't coping well, hanging out with the local drunk and downing whiskey, which results in his getting hit by a car and landing in the hospital. Matt is also grieving his mom's death and now he's on his own, until he lands a job at the local funeral home: $15 an hour and Mr. Ray as his boss. Attending other people's funerals helps the teen come to grips with his own grief. Hearing mourners express their real thoughts of suffering at each funeral allows Matt to figure out his own feelings. Mr. Ray is wise and shows up at all the right times to help out the struggling young man, and when Mr. Ray's secrets come to light, he appears even cooler in Matt's eyes. Amid all this, Matt meets Lovey, the girl of his dreams, who is smart, funny, gorgeous, and tough. A mystery intersecting Lovey's life and that of Matt's best friend, Chris, deepens the plot. Written in a breezy style with complex characters who have real lives, this is another hit for Reynolds, fresh off the success of his When I Was the Greatest (S. & S., 2014). The author's seemingly effortless writing shines in this slice-of-life story, which covers a lot of the protagonist's emotional ground. The realistic setting and character-driven tale keeps readers turning the pages of this winner.-Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, San Leandro, CA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781442459502 When high school senior Matt realizes that working at the local chicken joint might mean cleaning up vomit, he reluctantly accepts a job at the neighborhood funeral parlor-the same one where his mother's funeral was just held. To Matt's surprise, he finds relief in watching funerals and seeing how mourners handle their grief, and he begins to grow closer to the funeral home's owner, a local character. As he did in When I Was the Greatest, Reynolds portrays Brooklyn's largely African-American Bed-Stuy neighborhood convincingly; Matt and his family are lower middle-class, as are their neighbors, but gangs and violence are a presence, as well. Coincidences and plot twists (including a car accident that conveniently helps Matt's grieving father address his drinking problem) detract from the impact of the story as it develops. Romantic interest Lovey, a very appealing girl Matt meets at her grandmother's funeral, doesn't come on the scene until halfway through the book, and the wait feels long. An affecting story of a teenager's path through pain, but one whose faults offset its strengths. Ages 12-up. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781442459502 His mother recently dead from breast cancer, 17-year-old Matt feels his life is backwards and that he has become invisible at school. Then, ironically, he secures a work-study job at the local funeral home, owned by Mr. Ray, a respected fixture in their Bed-Stuy neighborhood, and discovers, to his surprise, that he enjoys attending funerals. Somehow, he thinks, it made me feel better knowing my pain isn't only mine. It is at a funeral that he meets a beautiful girl with the improbable name of Lovey and feels an instant attraction. The two become friends and gradually their friendship, rooted in trust, becomes something deeper that may redeem both of them from their losses and loneliness. Though it gets off to a slightly slow start, Reynolds' second novel quickly becomes a superb, character-driven story. His protagonist Matt is a wonderfully sympathetic, multidimensional character whose voice is a perfect match for the material and whose relationships with Lovey and Mr. Ray also a fascinating character are beautifully realized. This quiet story is clearly a winner.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2015 Booklist
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2016
Bone Gap
 Laura Ruby
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062317605 Gr 10 Up-It is a rare book that sits comfortably on the shelf with the works of Twain, McCullers, Conroy, Stephen King, and D'Aulaires' Greek Myths--rarer still that a novel combines elements of these authors together. Bone Gap does just this, to superb effect. We start with a boy named Finn and his brother, Sean. Sean is the classic hero: strong, silent, great at everything he does. Finn is a pretty boy whose otherworldly goofiness has earned him the nicknames Spaceman, Sidetrack, and Moonface. Along comes Rosza, a beautiful and damaged young woman, fleeing from some unknown evil. When she disappears, only Finn witnesses her abduction and he is unable to describe her captor. He is also unsure whether she left by force or choice. The author defies readers' expectations at every turn. In this world, the evidence of one's senses counts for little; appearances, even less. Heroism isn't born of muscle, competence, and desire, but of the ability to look beyond the surface and embrace otherworldliness and kindred spirits. Sex happens, but almost incidentally. Evil happens, embodied in a timeless, nameless horror that survives on the mere idea of beauty. A powerful novel.-Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062317605 *Starred Review* For all appearances, Bone Gap is a sluggish farming town that most people want to escape, a place with gaps just wide enough for people to slip away . . . leaving only their stories behind. That's what folks assumed happened when Roza disappeared from the state fair, but 17-year-old Finn knows better. He's the only one who sees her leave, but his description of her abductor that he moves like a shivering cornstalk doesn't help the police, and the people of Bone Gap resentfully believe that Finn helped the beloved girl disappear because she wanted to. She arrived just as enigmatically as she left: she appeared one night in Finn and Sean's barn, beaten and cagey and unwilling to see a doctor, but the brothers didn't leer at her like most men, so she stuck around. Even though the people of Bone Gap are suspicious of outsiders, they were quickly taken by the beautiful Polish girl with an uncanny feel for dirt and plants and livestock, but none so much as Finn's brother, Sean, who seems to lose a piece of himself when she disappears. Her departure drives a wedge between the brothers Finn feels like Sean isn't doing enough to look for her, and Sean thinks Finn is hiding something about the night she left. Most of Bone Gap sides with Sean, and Finn, who has always been strange, feels like more of an outsider than ever. Finn keeps searching, however, and odd-looking Petey, the fiery daughter of the local beekeeper, is the only who believes him. She's just as much of an outsider as Finn, especially after ugly, untrue rumors about Petey and a boy at a party spread in that pernicious small-town way. But in spite of the rumors, Finn is deeply drawn to her and her wide-set, bee-like eyes. Even after the strange way Finn stares at her, Petey still thinks he's beautiful. Their endearing romance is free of sticky sweetness, and together they discover that there's more to their town and Finn than meets the eye. It's the gaps in Bone Gap that give it its name, but there are no cliffs or ravines there. Rather, there are gaps in the world. In the space of things. Those gaps in the town are loose enough that a person can fall clear through to the other side of reality, and that's precisely where the cornstalk man took Roza. At first, he keeps her in a normal suburban house, but after she attempts an escape, she wakes up in a cavernous castle and later, a too-perfect re-creation of her village in Poland, all while the sinister cornstalk man waits for her, the most beautiful woman he's ever seen, to fall in love with him. Roza's history is full of such men. As a young girl in Poland, she was constantly pursued, but she soon realized that those men merely wanted to possess her, sometimes violently, for her beauty and nothing more. Her capture is a twisted version of a fairy tale, the kind that prizes a princess for her ethereal beauty and rescues her from a lifetime toiling in the soil. But Roza loves toiling in the soil, and when Finn plumbs the depths of the underworld to rescue her, he does so not as a brawny hero but as someone who believes in Roza's strength and independence. Ruby weaves powerful themes throughout her stunning novel: beauty as both a gift and a burden; the difference between love and possession; the tensions between what lies on the surface and what moves beneath; the rumbling threat of sexual violence; the brutal reality of small-town cruelties. She imbues all of it with captivating, snowballing magic realism, which has the dual effect of making the hard parts of the story more palatable to read while subtly emphasizing how purely wicked and dehumanizing assault can be. But in Ruby's refined and delicately crafty hand, reality and fantasy don't fall neatly into place. She compellingly muddles the two together right through to the end. Even then, after she reveals many secrets, magic still seems to linger in the real parts of Bone Gap, and the magical elements retain their frightening reality. Wonder, beauty, imperfection, cruelty, love, and pain are all inextricably linked but bewitchingly so.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist
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  Book Jacket
 
2016
X: A Novel
Book Jacket   Ilyasah Shabazz
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763669676 *Starred Review* Malcolm X's third daughter collaborates with award winner Magoon (The Rock and the River, 2009) to offer a fictionalized biography of Shabazz's late father, the powerful human rights leader. The authors depict an impoverished childhood of turmoil and trouble marked by the death perhaps the murder of Malcolm's proud father and the forced institutionalization of his mother, followed by the dissolution of the family as Malcolm and five of his seven siblings are placed in foster homes. Shifting backward and forward through time, the story follows Malcolm from his home in Lansing, Michigan, to Boston, where he becomes a self-described creature of the street. Then it's on to drug abuse, getting caught in the numbers racket, and, ultimately, at age 23, landing in prison, where he discovers the Nation of Islam and comes to terms with his father's oft-quoted lines from Marcus Garvey, Up, up, you mighty race; you can accomplish what you will. Shabazz and Magoon bring energy, immediacy, and emotional power to Malcolm's first-person, present-tense voice. Often painfully candid, the authors effectively depict Malcolm's lifetime of racial slurs and casual injustices, symbolized by the image of a lynched man hanging from a tree. It's a satisfyingly complete, never simplistic story of one young man's journey through trouble to the promise of a life of purpose and meaning.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2015 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763669676 This fictionalized account of the boy who became Malcolm X maintains a suspenseful, poetic grip as it shifts among moments in his life between the years 1930 and 1948. The first-person, present-tense narrative emphasizes the experiences that affected Malcolm from early childhood to his eventual imprisonment. Memories, such as a favorite teacher telling him, "Be as good as you want in the classroom, but out those doors, you're just a nigger," or his sighting of a lynched man, trigger a sense of hopelessness that leads to self-destructive choices. Significant people in Malcolm's life offer different messages: his white lover, Sophia, fears being seen with him, while his siblings believe he has the potential for greatness. Shabazz (Growing Up X), one of Malcolm X's daughters, and Magoon (How It Went Down) capture Malcolm's passion for new experiences, the defeatism that plagued him, and the long-buried hope that eventually reclaimed him. Author notes expand on historical context and the facts behind this compelling coming-of-age story. Ages 14-up. Agent: (for Shabazz) Jason Anthony, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin; (for Magoon) Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763669676 Gr 8 Up-Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little. The story opens with his departure from Michigan as a teen, though there are flashbacks to his younger years. It follows Malcolm through his time in Boston and Harlem, culminating with his conversion to Islam and his decision to change his name while in prison in 1948. The story does contain some gritty situations, most notably the use of the "n" word, non-graphic sex, drug and alcohol abuse, and criminal behavior. This was the reality of Malcolm X's early life, and make the later scenes that more authentic. While the novel stops prior to his rise as a civil rights leader, the excellent back matter provides historical context, bibliography, time line, family tree, and a note from the author (who is also the third of Malcolm X's five daughters). This is an eye-opening look at an important historical figure. The author's honesty about his early troubles serves to convey that it is possible to rise through adversity to make a positive difference in this world. A worthwhile addition to any collection.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763669676 This fictionalized account of the boy who became Malcolm X maintains a suspenseful, poetic grip as it shifts among moments in his life between the years 1930 and 1948. The first-person, present-tense narrative emphasizes the experiences that affected Malcolm from early childhood to his eventual imprisonment. Memories, such as a favorite teacher telling him, "Be as good as you want in the classroom, but out those doors, you're just a nigger," or his sighting of a lynched man, trigger a sense of hopelessness that leads to self-destructive choices. Significant people in Malcolm's life offer different messages: his white lover, Sophia, fears being seen with him, while his siblings believe he has the potential for greatness. Shabazz (Growing Up X), one of Malcolm X's daughters, and Magoon (How It Went Down) capture Malcolm's passion for new experiences, the defeatism that plagued him, and the long-buried hope that eventually reclaimed him. Author notes expand on historical context and the facts behind this compelling coming-of-age story. Ages 14-up. Agent: (for Shabazz) Jason Anthony, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin; (for Magoon) Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2016
Challenger Deep
Book Jacket   Neal Shusterman
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780061134111 *Starred Review* Award-winning author Shusterman returns to realistic fiction with a breathtaking exploration of one teen's experience with schizophrenia. Caden Bosch thinks there is somebody at his high school who wants to kill him. But that's not all. There are things happening outside of the typical space and time constraints that he can't understand. He feels at once all-powerful and frighteningly powerless. Caden slowly drifts away from friends and family and deeper into his mind, until his parents admit him to a mental hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Shusterman beautifully deploys dual narratives that become increasingly intertwined in this remarkable story. In addition to the grounded-in-reality narrative, he introduces another world, where Caden is out at sea with the Captain, a girl named Calliope, a parrot, and more. All of these characters eventually match real-world counterparts in the hospital and beyond. In confessional back matter, Shusterman explains his inspiration for this powerful story: his own son Brendan's experience in the depths of mental illness. Brendan Shusterman's illustrations, interspersed throughout, contribute significantly to the reading experience. With the increasing demand for understanding mental illness, this is a must-purchase for library collections. Haunting, unforgettable, and life affirming all at once. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An author tour and powerhouse promotional plan will mean lots of attention for best-selling Shusterman's latest endeavor.--Barnes, Jennifer Copyright 2015 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780061134111 Gr 9 Up-Caden Bosch lives in two worlds. One is his real life with his family, his friends, and high school. There he is paranoid for no reason, thinks people are trying to kill him, and demonstrates obsessive compulsive behaviors. In his other world, he's part of the crew for a pirate captain on a voyage to the Challenger Deep, the ocean's deepest trench. There he's paranoid, wary of the mercurial captain and his mutinous parrot, and tries hard to interpret the mutterings of his fellow shipmates as they sail uncharted waters toward unknown dangers. Slowly, Caden's fantasy and paranoia begin to take over, until his parents have only one choice left. Shusterman's latest novel gives readers a look at teen mental illness from inside the mind of Caden Bosch. He is a credible and sympathetic character, and his retreat into his own flawed mind is fascinating, full of riddles and surrealism. Shusterman based the novel on his son's mental illness, and Brendan's input regarding his diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and psychiatric care makes the novel ring true. Teens, especially fans of the author's other novels, will enjoy this book. VERDICT This affecting deep dive into the mind of a schizophrenic will captivate readers, engender empathy for those with mental illnesses, and offer much fodder for discussion.-Heather Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, AL (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780061134111 With lyricism and potent insight, Shusterman (Unwind) traces the schizophrenic descent and return of Caden Bosch, an intelligent 15-year-old and a gifted artist. His internal narratives are sometimes dreams, sometimes hallucinations, and sometimes undefinable, dominated by a galleon and its captain, sailing with an enormous, sullen crew to the deepest point of the Marianas Trench, Challenger Deep. The metaphor's not exactly subtle, but Shusterman finds unexpected resonance in its details-the tarry seams in the wood, the human ballast. External reality still registers: people around Caden run the gamut of humor, scolding, threats, and avoidance to pressure him into changing behavior he no longer controls. Shusterman has mined personal experience of mental illness with his son Brendan, whose line drawings mirror Caden's fragmentation in swirling lines eerily reminiscent of Van Gogh. It's a powerful collaboration, and crucial to the novel's credibility. As Caden says, "There is no such thing as a 'correct' diagnosis," and though his story doesn't necessarily represent a "typical" experience of mental illness, it turns symptoms into lived reality in ways readers won't easily forget. Ages 14-up. Agent: Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2016
More Happy Than Not
 Adam Silvera
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781616955601 Aaron Soto, 16, lives in the projects in a Bronx similar to the real one except for the existence of the Leteo Institute, a neighborhood facility where patients can have painful memories erased (the most fantastical element of this procedure perhaps being that it is covered by Aaron's insurance). If anyone deserves to have his past wiped clean, it's Aaron, who has experienced poverty, his father's suicide, and the violent death of friends in his short life. But what Aaron wants most to forget is that he's gay, especially because the boy he loves is no longer able to be with him, and because his own inability to fly under the radar has made him a target. Silvera's debut is vividly written and intricately plotted: a well-executed twist will cause readers to reassess what they thought they knew about Aaron's life. It's also beyond gritty-parts of it are actually hard to read. Silvera pulls no punches in this portrait of a boy struggling with who he is in the face of immense cultural and societal pressure to be somebody else. Ages 14-up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Bent Agency. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781616955601 *Starred Review* A smiling scar marks the inside of 16-year-old Aaron Soto's wrist, both a souvenir of the time he tried to follow in his father's footsteps by checking out of life early and a reminder not to be such a dumbass again. Though his mom has become overprotective and the suicide attempt shambles beside him like an elephant into every room, Aaron is making a comeback, in no small part due to his group of friends and awesome girlfriend, Genevieve. When Gen takes a three-week summer trip, however, Aaron meets Thomas, from the neighboring housing project, and things start to unravel. Sensitive, attractive, and looking for direction, Thomas is unlike any of Aaron's tough-as-nails friends, and the two connect on a deep level. Aaron grapples with burgeoning feelings of homosexuality, which, heartbreakingly, are not reciprocated by the straight Thomas and are bone-shatteringly rejected by his friends, who try to beat being gay out of him. Emotionally and physically broken, Aaron turns to the nearby Leteo Institute, which offers a procedure to erase painful memories. If he can just forget he's gay, everything will be OK, right? First-novelist Silvera puts a fresh spin on what begins as a fairly standard, if well executed, story of a teen experiencing firsts first love, first sex, first loss and struggling with his identity and sexuality. Aaron's first-person narration is charmingly candid as he navigates these milestones and insecurities, making him both relatable and endearing. The book is flush with personal details, and the reader inhabits Aaron's world with ease. A fantasy and comic-book geek to the core, he often filters his own life through a comic lens threatening to Hulk out if someone spoils the end of a movie and wondering what Batman would do in certain situations. Game of Thrones references mingle with veiled Harry Potter allusions (Scorpius Hawthorne and the Convict of Abbadon, anyone?), which many teens will relish. Though some scenes verge on twee and dialogue occasionally strays into precociously-witty-teen territory, it never stays there long, nor does it become self-indulgent. These tender and philosophical moments stand in counterpoint to life in the tough Bronx neighborhood Aaron calls home. There is a borderline gang mentality at work here, where fierce neighborhood loyalty mingles with groupthink to create friends who are as likely to defend as pummel each other, if the code of conduct is challenged. And being a dude-liker is an offense punishable by extreme violence. This prejudice is illustrated with gut-wrenching brutality, and its effects are scarring, but Silvera tempers it with the genuine love and acceptance Aaron receives from a few important friends and family members. Dividing his book into parts by degree of happiness (Happiness, A Different Happiness, Unhappiness, Less Happy Than Before, More Happy Than Not), Silvera examines this state of being from multiple angles to reveal its complexity and dependency on outside forces and internal motive. Is being happy for the wrong reasons real happiness? Can forgetting problems or trauma actually fix your life? The ingenious use of the Leteo procedure allows Silvera to write two versions of Aaron (gay and straight), which proves a fascinating means of drawing attention to the flaw in taking shortcuts past life's major roadblocks. The process of reinvention hinges on memory, on surviving and understanding the sometimes unbearable why of being and that's what Aaron initially misses. Timing is everything in this story, and Silvera structures his novel beautifully, utilizing careful revelations from Aaron's past and consciousness to create plot tension and twists that turn the narrative on its ear. It is not a story of happy endings, but this complexity allows it to move in new, brave directions that are immeasurably more satisfying. Resting somewhere between Ned Vizzini's A Kind of Funny Story (2006) and John Corey Whaley's Noggin (2014), More Happy Than Not will resonate with teens tackling life's big questions. Thought-provoking and imaginative, Silvera's voice is a welcome addition to the YA scene.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781616955601 Gr 9 Up-Debut author Silvera pulls readers into the gritty, (near-future) Bronx world of 16-year-old Puerto Rican, Aaron Soto, with a milieu of tight-knit, sometimes dysfunctional relationships. Aaron struggles to find happiness despite the presence of his mother, older brother, and girlfriend, as well as a set of childhood buddies and a new, intriguing friend, Thomas. He is haunted by painful physical and emotional scars: the memory of his father's suicide in their home, his own similar failed attempt with its resulting smiley face scar, not to mention his family's poverty and his personal angst at an increasingly strong attraction for Thomas. This first-person narrative raises ethical, societal, and personal questions about happiness, the ability to choose to eradicate difficult memories (through a scientific procedure), and gender identity. The protagonist is as honest with readers as he is able to be, and it is only after Aaron is brutally beaten by friends attempting to set him "straight," that he remembers the entirety of his life story through shocking, snapshotlike revelations. More surprising is the knowledge that his family and girlfriend have known his backstory all along. VERDICT A gripping read-Silvera skillfully weaves together many divergent young adult themes within an engrossing, intense narrative.-Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, IL © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
The Carnival at Bray
 by Jessie Ann Foley
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780989515597 Gr 9 Up-This promising debut, set in the heyday of grunge, tells the story of Maggie Lynch, a displaced Chicagoan and grunge music fan, living in a quiet town (Bray) on the Irish Sea. Maggie was uprooted from her friends, her music scene, and her beloved Uncle Kevin when her romantically fickle mother married her latest boyfriend, resulting in a move to his hometown. During her time of difficult adjustment to Ireland, Maggie falls in love with Eion the very moment a devastating loss hits her family, leading to rebellion and a journey to Rome to see Nirvana and fulfill Uncle Kevin's wish for her. Foley sets the scene vividly, writing that Bray has a "soggy sort of grandeur" and weaving in the tiny cultural differences that Maggie has to navigate as an American. The narrative voice is clear and compelling, but Maggie often makes decisions that feel incongruous to her character. She has an independent spirit, but Eion only joins her on the journey because she needs a rescue. A self-professed Nirvana fan, which is critical to the plot, she never seems to like the band as much as she is trying to impress Uncle Kevin. However, the secondary characters are complex and sympathetic: Foley has also populated Bray with a host of quirky, loving, and memorable background characters, which enriches the story. Recommended for teens who enjoy travelogue romance stories or novels about rock music.- Susannah Goldstein, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780989515597 It's the eve of 1994, and the grunge movement has reached its fevered height. On Ireland's east coast, 16-year-old Maggie, disgruntled and displaced from her native Chicago, after her flighty mother's recent marriage, listens to Nirvana and misses the uncle in America who snuck her into rock concerts. Her plan is to keep her head down and wait for her mother's relationship to implode, but she finds herself drawn into her new town of Bray and its generations of inhabitants. When her first real loss comes on the heels of her first love, she undertakes a pilgrimage to the mecca of grunge music: a Nirvana concert in Rome. Rock-savvy readers might recognize the time line as the story hurtles towards that infamous April of 1994, but, with or without that knowledge, they will be drawn into the sometimes seedy, sometimes madcap atmosphere of this first novel. A mostly fleshed-out cast of supporting characters and rich storytelling make this appealing both to teens and to the contingent that still has copies of Nevermind on vinyl.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2015 Booklist
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2015
The crossover
Book Jacket   by Kwame Alexander
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780544107717 Josh Bell, known on and off the court by the nickname Filthy McNasty, doesn't lack self-confidence, but neither does he lack the skills to back up his own mental in-game commentary: "I rise like a Learjet-/ seventh-graders aren't supposed to dunk./ But guess what?/ I snatch the ball out of the air and/ SLAM!/ YAM! IN YOUR MUG!" Josh is sure that he and his twin brother, JB, are going pro, following in the footsteps of their father, who played professional ball in Europe. But Alexander (He Said, She Said) drops hints that Josh's trajectory may be headed back toward Earth: his relationship with JB is strained by a new girl at school, and the boys' father health is in increasingly shaky territory. The poems dodge and weave with the speed of a point guard driving for the basket, mixing basketball action with vocabulary-themed poems, newspaper clippings, and Josh's sincere first-person accounts that swing from moments of swagger-worthy triumph to profound pain. This verse novel delivers a real emotional punch before the final buzzer. Ages 9-12. Agent: East West Literary Agency. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780544107717 Gr 6-10-Twins Josh and Jordan are junior high basketball stars, thanks in large part to the coaching of their dad, a former professional baller who was forced to quit playing for health reasons, and the firm, but loving support of their assistant-principal mom. Josh, better known as Filthy McNasty, earned his nickname for his enviable skills on the court: ".when Filthy gets hot/He has a SLAMMERIFIC SHOT." In this novel in verse, the brothers begin moving apart from each other for the first time. Jordan starts dating the "pulchritudinous" Miss Sweet Tea, and Josh has a tough time keeping his jealousy and feelings of abandonment in control. Alexander's poems vary from the pulsing, aggressive beats of a basketball game ("My shot is F L O W I N G, Flying, fluttering.. ringaling and SWINGALING/Swish. Game/over") to the more introspective musings of a child struggling into adolescence ("Sit beside JB at dinner. He moves./Tell him a joke. He doesn't even smile..Say I'm sorry/but he won't listen"). Despite his immaturity, Josh is a likable, funny, and authentic character. Underscoring the sports and the fraternal tension is a portrait of a family that truly loves and supports one another. Alexander has crafted a story that vibrates with energy and heart and begs to be read aloud. A slam dunk.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780544107717 The Bell twins are stars on the basketball court and comrades in life. While there are some differences Josh shaves his head and Jordan loves his locks both twins adhere to the Bell basketball rules: In this game of life, your family is the court, and the ball is your heart. With a former professional basketball player dad and an assistant principal mom, there is an intensely strong home front supporting sports and education in equal measures. When life intervenes in the form of a hot new girl, the balance shifts and growing apart proves painful. An accomplished author and poet, Alexander eloquently mashes up concrete poetry, hip-hop, a love of jazz, and a thriving family bond. The effect is poetry in motion. It is a rare verse novel that is fundamentally poetic rather than using this writing trend as a device. There is also a quirky vocabulary element that adds a fun intellectual note to the narrative. This may be just the right book for those hard-to-match youth who live for sports or music or both.--Bush, Gail Copyright 2014 Booklist
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2015
The gospel of winter : a novel
Book Jacket   by Brendan Kiely
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781442484894 *Starred Review* Kiely's gutsy debut addresses abuse in the Catholic Church. The year is 2001, the events of 9/11 are only two months old, and 16-year-old Aidan's family is falling apart. His father, Old Donovan, is holed up in Europe with his mistress, while his mother is mainly concerned with throwing the perfect party in their affluent Connecticut town. Aidan finds comfort in snorting lines of Adderall, swiping drinks from his father's wet bar, and forming a friendship with Father Greg of Most Precious Blood, the town's Catholic church. Father Greg uses words like love and faith and virtue like they mean something, and for a long time, Aidan trusts him completely. But when he realizes that Father Greg's affections are sickening, and damaging other boys, he is left reeling. A crew of three friends Josie, whom Aidan is attracted to; fun-loving Sophie; and Mark, whose secrets dovetail with Aidan's are the only people he can count on. The scandal among the Boston archdiocese in early 2002 gets Aidan's town's attention, and when it does, Aidan's feelings of rage and denial and fear come to a head. This is challenging, thought-provoking material, presented in beautiful prose that explores the ways in which acts rendered in the name of love can both destroy and heal.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442484894 Gr 9 Up-Aidan's priest is sexually abusing him, and the 16-year-old has been convinced that what Father Greg does is because of the love they share. The abuse makes Aidan feel unbalanced at best, and when his father leaves the family and his mother tries to maintain appearances in their tony Connecticut town, Aidan reaches for solace from a new set of friends. The teens spend time drinking, getting high, and trying to connect. Aidan is pushed over the edge when he catches Father Greg abusing another boy. He confronts the priest but gets nowhere; soon the Catholic Church's sex scandal blows up in the papers, and Aidan must try to find the strength to speak out. The story is heart wrenching, slow moving, and somewhat oppressive, which is entirely fitting considering the subject matter. Aidan has been terribly wounded, and it takes time for him to be able to trust someone with what happened. Kiely's writing is rather formal, with elaborate turns of phrase and dense descriptions that call to mind the words for the rites of the church. This style keeps readers at a distance from the horrific acts described. The author tries to cover many issues in this ambitious first novel: sexual abuse, abandonment, neglect, the disparity between the wealthy and the poor, and drug abuse. Readers may find themselves as overwhelmed as Aidan. The book feels like an adult novel that is of interest to older teens.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781442484894 Kiely's impressive debut takes a controversial topic-sexual abuse in the Catholic Church-and addresses it head-on with sensitivity and finesse. Sixteen-year-old social outcast Aidan Donovan is from a privileged but broken family. While his philandering father has decamped to Europe and his mother is planning her latest high-society bash in their suburban Connecticut neighborhood, Aidan is busy snorting Adderall and getting wasted with a trio of new friends. Aidan's discontent builds to a masterfully disquieting roar as he buckles under the weight of the secret he no longer wants to keep, but is too afraid to tell: that he was repeatedly abused by a priest he had grown to love and trust. Setting his story against the shaky aftermath of 9/11 and the scandals that surfaced in the Boston archdiocese in early 2002, Kiely hits his mark with a sickening portrayal of Father Greg and those who let his behavior continue. But it's the combination of Aidan's vulnerability, denial, and silent rage that makes the novel so distressingly vivid and real. Ages 14-up. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2015
Ill give you the sun
 by Jandy Nelson
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780803734968 *Starred Review* When Noah's mom suggests that he and his twin sister, Jude, apply to a prestigious arts high school, he is elated, but Jude starts simmering with jealousy when it becomes clear that their mother favors Noah's work. Noah soaks up the praise, though a little callously, happy to hone his painting skills and focus on the guy across the street, who could be more than a friend. Fast-forward three years, and everything is in pieces. Their mother has died in a car crash, and Noah, who wasn't accepted to art school, has given up painting, while Jude, who was accepted but is no longer the shimmering, confident girl she once was, is struggling in her sculpture class. All her clay forms shatter in the kiln; is her mother's ghost the culprit? Determined to make a piece that her mother can't ruin, Jude seeks out the mentorship of a fiery stone carver (and his alluring model, Oscar). Nelson structures her sophomore novel brilliantly, alternating between Noah's first-person narrative in the years before the accident and Jude's in the years following, slowly revealing the secrets the siblings hide from each other and the ways they each throw their hearts into their artwork. In an electric style evoking the highly visual imaginations of the young narrators, Nelson captures the fraught, antagonistic, yet deeply loving relationship Jude and Noah share.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2014 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780803734968 Twins Noah and Jude are inseparable until misunderstandings, jealousies, and a major loss rip them apart. Both are talented artists, and creating art plays a major role in their narratives. Both also struggle with their sexuality-Noah is gay, which both thrills and terrifies him, while Jude is recovering from a terrible first sexual experience at age 14, one of two important reasons she has sworn off dating. Nelson (The Sky Is Everywhere) unravels the twins' stories in long chapters that alternate between their perspectives. Noah's sections are set when the twins are 13, Jude's at age 16, giving readers slanted insights into how their relationship deteriorated and how it begins to mend. The twins' artistic passions and viewpoints suffuse their distinctive voices; Noah tends toward wild, dramatic overstatements, and Jude's world is wrapped up in her late grandmother's quirky superstitions and truisms. Readers are meant to feel big things, and they will-Nelson's novel brims with emotion (grief, longing, and love in particular) as Noah, Jude, and the broken individuals in their lives find ways to heal. Ages 14-up. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780803734968 Starred Review. Gr 9 Up-A resplendent novel from the author of The Sky Is Everywhere (Dial, 2010). Fraternal twins and burgeoning artists Jude and Noah are inseparable until puberty hits and they find themselves competing for boys, a spot at an exclusive art school, and their parents' affections. Told in alternating perspectives and time lines, with Noah's chapters taking place when they are 13 and Jude's when they are 16, this novel explores how it's the people closest to us who have the power to both rend us utterly and knit us together. Jude's takes are peppered with entries from her bible of superstitions and conversations with her grandmother's ghost, and Noah continuously imagines portraits (complete with appropriately artsy titles) to cope with his emotions. In the intervening years, a terrible tragedy has torn their family apart, and the chasm between the siblings grows ever wider. Vibrant imagery and lyrical prose propel readers forward as the twins experience first love, loss, betrayal, acceptance, and forgiveness. Art and wonder fill each page, and threads of magical realism lend whimsy to the narrative. Readers will forgive convenient coincidences because of the characters' in-depth development and the swoon-worthy romances. The novel's evocative exploration of sexuality, grief, and sibling relationships will ring true with teens. For fans of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl (St. Martin's, 2013) and Melina Marchetta's realistic fiction. See author Q&A, p. 152.- Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
Noggin
 John Corey Whaley
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442458727 Gr 9 Up-Travis Coates, 16, is dying of cancer, so he accepts an offer from a cryogenic group to have his head removed and frozen with the hope that it would be attached to another body in the future and he could be reanimated. Five years later, he "wakes up" with a new body and is still 16. There are a few minor problems with his new life-he is a celebrity/freak and gets more attention than he wants, he has to get used to a body that has different abilities than his old one, and he has to go to school with kids he doesn't know. The biggest problem is that Travis's best friend and his girlfriend are now 21 years old and have moved on with their lives while he feels like he has simply taken a nap. Cate is engaged and not interested in in a relationship with a teenager. Travis is obsessed with the idea that he can win her back and won't accept her repeated "no." He tries various means to convince her that he's still the one for her: some hilarious, some touching, some inappropriate, but all definitely sophomoric. The premise of the story is interesting although far-fetched. The author does a good job of describing the emotions and reactions of all of the characters, but Travis's fixation on Cate becomes tiresome and a plot twist at the end feels like it was thrown in just to make the story longer.-Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781442458727 *Starred Review* Travis Coates has lost his head literally. As he dies from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, his head is surgically removed and cryogenically frozen. Five years pass, and, thanks to advances in medical science, it becomes possible to reanimate his head and attach it to a donor body. Travis Coates is alive again, but while his family and friends are all 5 years older, Travis hasn't aged he is still 16 and a sophomore in high school. Awkward? Difficult? Puzzling? You bet. In the past, the two people he could have talked to about this were his best friend, Kyle, and his girlfriend, Cate. But now they're part of the problem. Kyle, who came out to Travis on his deathbed, has gone back into the closet, and Cate is engaged to be married. Stubbornly, Travis vows to reverse these developments by coaxing Kyle out of the closet and persuading Cate to fall in love with him again. How this plays out is the substance of this wonderfully original, character-driven second novel. Whaley has written a tour de force of imagination and empathy, creating a boy for whom past, present, and future come together in an implied invitation to readers to wonder about the very nature of being. A sui generis novel of ideas, Noggin demands much of its readers, but it offers them equally rich rewards. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Whaley's sleeper debut, Where Things Come Back (2011), won both the Michael L. Printz Award and the William C. Morris Award, so readers will be eagerly awaiting this second effort.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781442458727 Like baseball great Ted Williams, Travis Coates has his head surgically removed and cryogenically frozen after he dies (of leukemia at age 16). Unlike Williams, Travis is a fictional character, and five years after his death, technological advances allow doctors to attach his head to a donor body that's taller and more muscular than the original. Whaley's second novel (following his Printz-winning Where Things Come Back) is far more concerned with matters of the heart than with how head reattachment surgery would work. Travis awakens to restart where he left off-sophomore year-but everyone he knew has moved on. Best friend Kyle is struggling through college; former girlfriend Cate is engaged to someone else. As only the second cryogenics patient successfully revived, Travis is in uncharted territory; he's "over" high school, but not ready to be anywhere else. Travis's comic determination to turn back the hands of time and win Cate's love is poignant and heartbreaking. His status in limbo will resonate with teens who feel the same frustration at being treated like kids and told to act like adults. Ages 14-up. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2015
Jackaby
Book Jacket   R William Ritter
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781616203535 Toss together an alternate 19th-century New England city, a strong tradition of Sherlockian pastiche, and one seriously ugly hat, and this lighthearted and assured debut emerges, all action and quirk. In the best Doyle tradition, the first-person narrator is pragmatic yet naive Abigail Rook, native of Britain and seeker of adventure. Thwarted in Ukraine, she catches ship for the U.S. and lands in New Fiddleham, penniless and with few employable skills. This matters not to R.F. Jackaby, the peculiar stranger with the awful hat, who is more interested in the kobold (household spirit) Abigail has unknowingly picked up on her travels. Jackaby is a detective in need of an unflappable assistant-literally, as his last one "is temporarily waterfowl." Abigail's keen eye for detail and complete ignorance of the paranormal make her observations invaluable to him, and she's soon caught up in the eccentric mayhem that is Jackaby's workaday world. Ritter is also capable of tenderness and pathos, as his description of a suffering banshee demonstrates, leaving room for development in any future cases Abigail may chronicle. Ages 12-up. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781616203535 Gr 9 Up-Fans of Jonathan Stroud's The Screaming StaircaseÅ(Disne-Hyperion, 2013) will appreciate Ritter's initial foray into the realm of supernatural. When Abigail Rook abandons university, and her parents' hopes, she arrives at the fictional New England town of New Fiddleham. There, she promptly meets R. F. Jackaby, a paranormal detective, and is flung into the investigation of a serial killer suspected of being nonhuman.ÅWhere Ritter excels is in the fast and furious plotline-events unfold rapidly while satisfying tastes for mystery and a small amount of gore. Unfortunately, so much attention is paid to the unfolding circumstances that the two main characters remain mysteries themselves. While readers know Abigail is fleeing the expectations society and her parents have placed on her, little is done to explain why. The protagonist is also a mystery-he just appears, as if a ghost himself, with much fanfare but scant backstory. Ultimately, however, avid lovers of fantasy will enjoy this quick read.-Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781616203535 In 1892, girls in their late teens from good English families don't wander the world, but Abigail Rook seeks adventure. She sails to New England and is hired on a trial basis by R. F. Jackaby, an investigator specializing in unexplained phenomena. Before long, she is deep in a murder investigation that includes a banshee, a shape-changer, and a malevolent goblin known as a red cap. Smooth writing and inventive but underutilized background touches (like Jackaby's pocket contents) characterize this supernatural riff on the typical Sherlockian murder mystery. Although the perpetrator is a red cap, a mythological creature whose life depends on keeping its hat soaked in fresh blood, the crime scenes are not garish, and occasional touches of humor lighten an otherwise earnest tone. For a lighter read-alike, try Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer's Sorcery and Cecilia (2004); for a darker tone, perhaps Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart mysteries.--Welch, Cindy Copyright 2014 Booklist
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2015
The story of Owen : dragon slayer of Trondheim
Book Jacket   E K Johnston
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781467710664 Debut novelist Johnston envisions an Earth nearly identical to our own, with one key difference: dragons, whose attraction to carbon emissions-whether from campfires or cars-makes them a persistent threat. Everything from pop music to industry, literature, and the historical record has been influenced. The Sahara desert has its roots in a botched dragon slaying after Rome conquered Carthage; centuries later, the logo for the Detroit Red Wings symbolizes the loss of an entire state: "the wheel, for the car that had brought Michigan up, and the wing, for the dragons that had brought it down." After 16-year-old Siobhan McQuaid agrees to become the bard for dragon-slayer-in-training Owen Thorskard, who has moved with his famous dragon-slaying family to her small Ontario town, she winds up at the center of a grassroots effort to understand an odd spike in dragon numbers. Siobhan's narration sings thanks to her dry wit, intelligence, and ability to see the inherent musicality of life, while also commenting on the unreliability of history (and storytelling) and the power of a community to rally to save itself. Ages 11-up. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781467710664 *Starred Review* When Owen's legendary dragon-slayer aunt is too injured to continue her vocation, she starts teaching him the ways of the family business. And when Owen meets Siobhan, their friendship becomes part of an epic saga, as Siobhan turns into Owen's bard and tells the tale of his adventures to help him change the future of dragon slaying forever. Johnston's masterful book is a refreshing blend of alternative history, high fantasy, and contemporary teen life. Johnston has done careful research for her intricate world building, and the result is strikingly original and believable. Elements from our world are delicately shaped to fit this alternative, such as the Romans taking dragon slayers from their hometowns and conscripting them into service for the state. Even less illustrious historical elements the songs of Gordon Lightfoot, for example are now dragon related. But for all the emphasis on her world, Johnston does not neglect the depth of her characters: Owen and Siobhan's friendship is a beautiful, solid thing, and the authenticity of their relationship goes a long way to making this strange world more familiar. Siobhan's narration, in particular, perfectly blends her dry humor with her musical talent. Johnston, like Siobhan, knows how to spin a tale.--Wildsmith, Snow Copyright 2014 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781467710664 Gr 7 Up-Siobhan is a typical teenager. Her hobbies include composing music, hanging out with friends, and driving her first car. Her biggest conflict is whether or not to tell her parents that she would rather pursue music than go to a university. All of that changes when she meets Owen Thorskard, currently failing algebra and potentially the nation's next great dragon slayer. Owen, nephew of famous Slayer Lottie Thorskard, goes to high school by day and trains to protect the rural town of Trondheim by night. The two teens become friends when it becomes painfully evident that Owen needs a math tutor. Little does Siobhan know that she's signing up for a lot more than tutoring. Soon she finds herself working as Owen's personal Bard. While he slays, she documents; together they work to show the country that dragon slayers are needed in more than just the big cities. Johnston seamlessly blends fantasy with realistic fiction; readers will have a hard time remembering that dragons aren't an everyday aspect of life. Suggest this title to reluctant readers as the fast-paced plot and witty dialogue will keep them turning pages until the tale's exciting conclusion. A great addition for any library with a strong fantasy following.-Jennifer Furuyama, Pendleton Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
Vango : between sky and earth.
 by Timothee de Fombelle and Sarah Ardizzone
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763671969 Gr 7 Up-A thrilling historical adventure set in the mid-1930s, this novel opens with a dramatic scene in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris where 19-year-old Vango is about to become a priest. Just before he is ordained, he is falsely accused of a murder. After scaling the Cathedral, the teen's exploits unfold across rooftops, on land and sea, and even by the Graf Zeppelin airship. Vango's journey takes him from the Sicilian Islands, where he was raised by a nanny under mysterious circumstances, to Germany where Nazi power is on the rise. He remains just one step ahead of a determined-and somewhat comedic-police superintendent and several other characters whose obsession with capturing Vango leads to more questions than answers. Among the historical figures who make appearances are Hugo Eckener, commander of the Graf Zeppelin, Stalin, and the composer Sergei Prokofiev. Just as memorable are minor characters such as Giuseppina Trossi, a woman who lives on the isolated island where Vango was born and supplies important information about his past; a beautiful Scottish heiress, a priest who lives in an "invisible monastery," and a girl called "The Cat" who, like Vango, is comfortable spending the nights on Paris rooftops. With numerous characters and a winding and often complicated story, this breathtaking tale is guaranteed to keep teens on the edge of their seats, and will appeal to confident readers who enjoy intricately plotted tales.-Shelley Sommer, Inly School, Scituate, MA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763671969 *Starred Review* Moments before his ordination as a priest, in the shadow of Paris' Notre Dame, Vango, a 19-year-old boy who is falsely accused of murder, must flee the police. So begins a glorious adventure story that will take Vango and his pursuers not only the police but also dark forces from Joseph Stalin's Russia across Europe by foot, train, and even the celebrated airship Graf Zeppelin. Why the Russians are after him is a mystery, but, then, Vango's whole life is a mystery. Washed ashore on a tiny island with his nurse when he was only two or three, the boy doesn't know who his parents were, where he came from, or why he is being pursued. But the devil himself seems to be after him. One hairbreadth escape after another marks his uneasy progress. A mysterious young woman named the Cat, a sequestered monastery, a Scottish heiress, a notorious arms dealer, and a French police superintendent all become inextricably entwined in Vango's life. French author de Fombelle has written a brilliant, wonderfully exciting story of flight and pursuit, filled with colorful characters and head-scratching mystery. As the novel proceeds, the suspense is ratcheted up to breathtaking levels as the boy remains only one step ahead of his relentless pursuers. This reminds even the most jaded readers of the abiding pleasures of a compelling, page-turning story. The only drawback: a frustratingly inconclusive ending that demands a sequel. Readers can only hope one will be forthcoming.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2014 Booklist
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2015
And we stay
 Jenny Hubbard
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780385740579 Seventeen-year-old Emily Beam transfers to the Amherst School for Girls in the middle of her junior year carrying two secrets: her boyfriend Paul committed suicide after she broke up with him, and their breakup was motivated by her pregnancy and her parents' pressure on her to have an abortion. Grieving and guilty, Emily discovers writing poetry to express her feelings, and Hubbard forms the novel with the same blend of prose and verse she used in her critically acclaimed debut, Paper Covers Rock. Less successfully, Hubbard forces a connection between Emily and Amherst's most famous poet, Emily Dickinson, that never quite lives up to the younger Emily's claim that "[her] brain has been hijacked," despite her composing some charming Dickinson-style poetry. Hubbard's writing is elegant and emotional in both styles, and the revelation of Emily's history carries the first half of the book, though the plot falters when there is little of the past left to discover. Mature readers who enjoy a bit of melancholy and might spark to Dickinson will be in good company on Emily's journey. Ages 14-up. Agent: Jonathan Lyons, Lyons Literary. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780385740579 *Starred Review* Like Paper Covers Rock (2011), Hubbard's sophomore novel has a boarding-school setting and a main character who writes poetry and draws inspiration from a famous writer. And also like Paper Covers Rock, this novel is accomplished, polished, and mixes prose and poetry to stunning effect. After Emily Beam discovers that she is pregnant and breaks up with her boyfriend, he walks into the school library, threatens Emily, and then shoots himself. After an abortion, Emily is sent away to the Amherst School for Girls, in Amherst, Massachusetts, which is located in the hometown of Emily's idol, Emily Dickinson. The spirit of Dickinson is everywhere even her voice echoes in Emily's head and as Emily immerses herself in Dickinson's 1,775 poems, she writes her anguish into poems of her own, which flood her brain constantly. Emily's path to healing involves moving back and forth in time, to memories of Paul, and sharing her poems with empathetic roommate, K. T. The third-person, present-tense voice is compelling. Sounding almost like stage directions ( Emily Beam is sighing all the time ), Hubbard's narrative tone will only make readers want to lean in closer. The poems themselves are insightful and poignant, illuminating the dark corners of Emily's psyche. And though Emily may be damaged and the winter of 1994 is long, happier times and spring seem on the horizon.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780385740579 Gr 9 Up-Emily Beam is a new student at Amherst School for Girls. There are rumors, of course, about why she has entered the school in January of her junior year, but none of them come close to reality. The truth remains only for Emily to replay over and over, each time revealing a bit more about the circumstances leading up to the day when her boyfriend entered the school library where she was working with her class, lured her into the stacks to talk, and then shot himself in the head. (By the way, If you're wondering why no one simply Googled Emily's mysterious past, her story is set in 1995, perhaps for that very reason.) As the teen acclimates to boarding-school life, she keeps her story close to her chest, but reveals herself little by little through the poems she writes and ultimately shares. Emily feels an affinity for her namesake, Emily Dickinson, who lived and wrote just down the street from ASG, and draws on her spirit to pour her emotions onto paper. And We Stay is a little gem of a book. Readers learn as much about Dickinson's beliefs and poetry as they do about friendship, first love, teen suicide, and even abortion-not an easy balancing act. Yet despite the heavy topics, the book feels sweet and poetic and never gratuitous. Budding poets may particularly appreciate Emily's story, but there is certainly something for anyone looking for a good read with a strong, believable female lead who is working her hardest to overcome tragedy.-Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
Young elites.
Book Jacket   by Marie Lu
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399167836 Gr 8 Up-A rollicking series opener from the author of the "Legend" series (Putnam). Imagine surviving a plague of fever, only to be marked as an abomination by your countrymen. Most survivors of the sickness that vanquished thousands in this alternative medieval world possess a strange and unique marking, whether it be a facial coloring, oddly tinged hair, or, in Adelina's case, a missing eye. Called malfettos, some are endowed with magical gifts that enable them to control wind, fire, earth, and even humans. All Adelina has ever wanted is to feel accepted and loved, but she's ignored by her father, and her sister doesn't have the power to save her. When the teen escapes an unwanted proposal, she unwittingly becomes a member of the Dagger Society, an Elite group of malfettos bent on using their supernatural abilities to escape the Inquisition's genocide and place their leader, Enzo, on the throne of Kenettra. Adelina struggles with an increasing distrust of Enzo, her fellow Elites, and herself, all while learning how to control her powers of illusion and disillusion. Lu seamlessly melds an unforgettable and intoxicating historical fantasy narrative with a strong female protagonist that grapples with an issue experienced by all young adults-acceptance of one's self. Well written, fast paced without being confusing, and enjoyable enough for teens, reluctant readers, and even adults. Brimming with engaging battles-physical and emotional-and meticulous backdrops, Lu's new series will be a surefire hit with old and new fans alike.- Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399167836 *Starred Review* Adelina Amouteru is a walking wound. A deadly fever has ravaged her country, killing many and leaving others marked in strange and dangerous ways. Adelina is a survivor who carries two marks: once-black hair has turned silver, and her left eye is gone. Known as malfettos, those scarred by the disease are considered bad luck, even dangerous. There are rumors that some survivors have magical abilities, and after a dark confrontation with her power-hungry father, Adelina discovers that the fever may have left her with more than scars after all. Thrust into a group of rebel malfettos, the Young Elites, Adelina realizes the extent of her latent powers. Those familiar with Lu's wildly popular Legend series will recognize the author's propensity to include multiple perspectives, and here those viewpoints include other members of the Young Elites and their rebel leader, as well as the queen's Inquisitor, who is hunting them all. Still, this is Adelina's tale. Part bildungsroman, part origin story, this explores the idea that what damages you gives you strength, but often with a price. Lu's careful world building does slow the plot, but the result is that Adelina's Italianesque culture is believable, and the story leads to a whopper of a finale and an even more intriguing epilogue. Fans of Legend or not, readers should prepare to be captivated and to look forward to a continuation of the Young Elites series. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A national author tour and promotions at BEA and Comic-Con will help start the buzz for this author, who has already proven she can draw a crowd.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2014 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399167836 Starred Review. In this series opener, Lu (the Legend trilogy) pivots from the "coming of age via romance" formula to pry apart the many emotions that pass under the rubric of love. Adelina Amouteru, once-privileged daughter of a merchant, is irrevocably changed by the blood fever, an epidemic that wiped out infected adults and left most child survivors permanently scarred malfettos. A handful also underwent mutations that conferred strange, often lethal powers. All malfettos are persecuted, but these mutant Young Elites are special targets. Harrowingly, Adelina discovers that she is one. Rescued by a masked firebrand from certain death under the government's Inquisition, she awakens in the custody of Raffaele, a male prostitute, and Enzo, malfetto aspirant to the throne. A beautiful woman surrounded by beautiful men, Adelina nevertheless is not defined by romance. Warped family bonds shape her consciousness and yearning for acceptance, and the men are out to get what they want from her. There's nothing easy here, for Adelina or readers-there are no safe places where the pressures of betrayal, death threats, and rejection aren't felt. Ages 12-up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2014
All the Truth That is in Me
Book Jacket   Julie Berry
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780670786152 This melancholy tale of a village outcast unfolds through the thoughts of Judith, who was kidnapped, held prisoner, and maimed by her captor. Two years later, she has returned home at age 18, but because of her severed tongue, she cannot explain her misfortunes or the crime she witnessed the night she was taken. Most of the townspeople shun her, and even her own mother acts ashamed. In some ways, Judith's silence protects her, but hiding the truth puts her and others at risk. Encouraged by an old friend, Judith is inspired to try to regain some speech. If she can find the means and courage to communicate what she knows, she and other innocent victims might find a form of salvation. Written as Judith's internal monologue directed toward Lucas, the boy she loves, Berry's (The Amaranth Enchantment) novel is suspenseful and haunting. Her poetic narrative ("There's nothing so bright as the stream by day, nothing so black on a moonless night") will draw readers in, and the gradual unveiling of secrets will keep them absorbed. Ages 12-up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780670786152 Like all things in this cunningly stylized novel, the setting is left undefined; a rough guess is mid-1800s America. The characters and plot, too, are mysteries in need of unfolding, and Berry's greatest accomplishment is jumbling the time line with confidence, thereby sprinkling every page with minor (or major) revelations. These trappings gild a not-that-unusual melodrama: 18-year-old Judith pines for Lucas, who has chosen another girl. Perhaps this is because Judith is mute, her tongue having been cut off by a madman who just happened to be Lucas' father. A few frustrating misunderstandings aside, the story gracefully incorporates everything from the right to education to the horrors of war to the freedom that comes along with acquiring language. What will stick in most readers' minds, though, is the first-person prose, which ranges from the unusually insightful (We were four people: the children we'd been, and grown strangers now) to the just plain pretty (Will her china face turn bronze beside you as you labor in your fields?). A strange but satisfying and relatively singular mix.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2014
Freakboy
 Kristin Elizabeth Clark
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780374324728 Debut novelist Clark uses free verse to write a gripping story about a complex topic: the challenges of growing up transgender or genderqueer. Brendan struggles with his occasional desires to be a girl; in her own series of poems, Brendan's devoted girlfriend, Vanessa, worries about why he is suddenly avoiding her. Meanwhile, transgendered Angel-whom Brendan meets near the teen center where Angel works-reveals her own painful journey; her intense story includes physical abuse and a hospital stay after being beaten up while working as a prostitute. Clark doesn't stray far from central theme (the back matter includes resources and further reading) as she empathically explores what it can be like to be a transgendered teen (for example, not every transitioning character considers sex-reassignment surgery to be important). The author emphasizes that there are no simple answers for her characters, especially Brendan, who wonders if the transgendered label even fits. At the same time, through Angel, she gives her story a current of hope: "Everyone feels like a freak/ until they make up their mind/ they're not." Ages 12-up. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780374324728 *Starred Review* When Brendan Chase types Want to be a girl into his Mac's search engine, one word pops up: transsexual. In Clark's raw, honest debut novel, told in verse, three voices capture a few experiences of teens on the transgender spectrum. Brendan is not one of those people / who's always wanted to wear a dress. / Who's always known / he should have been born female. Sex with girlfriend Vanessa, although confusing, feels good, and Brendan questions throughout whether or not he's trans. Fortunately, there's an angel in his life literally. Angel, trans without sex-reassignment surgery ( My junk doesn't dictate who I am ), fights against demons of her own and struggles to reconnect with her younger brother. She's a volunteer at Willows, a center for queer teens, and eventually introduces Brendan to terms like gender identity, gender attraction, genderqueer, and gender fluid. Meanwhile, the third voice belongs to Vanessa, a girl on the boy's wrestling team, who can't understand why her boyfriend, Brendan, is suddenly so distant. Unlike many novels that deal with one transgender character, this movingly explores so many gender identities, from the three main characters (each appears as a different font) to Angel's roommates. A must-have for library shelves, this will be popular with fans of Ellen Hopkins. Resources and further reading conclude.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780374324728 Gr 9 Up-Brandon, a high school wrestler, must face the fact that despite his best efforts he isn't as hyper-masculine as he feels he needs to be. Acceptance of his gender fluidity will prove to be his greatest challenge. Brandon's stepfather, a symphony conductor, appears to need regular validation of his manliness, and his mother undergoes breast enhancement surgery to appear, presumably, more womanly. Vanessa, Brandon's girlfriend, is also a wrestler; she feels she can only have a true win on the mat once her opponent lets go of the thought that she's a girl. When he's not aggressive enough in the ring, Brandon's coach calls him Brenda. Eventually, he meets Angel, an attractive young woman whose birth certificate reads "male." Angel-empowered, self-loving, and equipped to help others-can support Brandon to be at home in his body and in his craving for feminine expression. This book is a strong addition to LBGT and general collections as a compelling story for reluctant readers and an educational piece on a topic that needs discussion. The use of typography for emphasis is occasionally awkward and self-conscious, but overall this novel-in-verse presents a clear, realistic narrative in various voices. It succeeds in conveying the message that "you are not alone" to transgender youth while helping everyone else get a handle on these often-tortured teens. The author succeeds in her mission to foster "greater understanding and acceptance of gender's vast and lovely variation." -Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, Springfield, MA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Better Nate than ever
 Tim Federle
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781442446892 Federle's hilarious and heartwarming debut novel follows 13-year-old musical theater-loving Nate Foster on his meticulously choreographed overnight getaway to New York City to audition for E.T.: The Musical. Catchy chapter titles framed in marquee lights ("This'll Be Fast: You Might as Well Meet Dad, Too") and running gags, like Nate's use of Broadway flops as epithets ("Moose Murders it all to tarnation!"), add to the theatrical atmosphere as Nate breathlessly narrates his backstory and real-time adventures. Federle (who has himself worked on Broadway) combines high-stakes drama with slapstick comedy as Nate travels by Greyhound bus-dying cellphone and dollars in hand-determined to get to the audition, conceal his lack of chaperone, and compete in the cutthroat world of child actors and stage parents. Nate's desperation to escape his stifling home environment, instant love affair with the city, questions about his sexuality, and relationship with his dysfunctional but sympathetic family add emotional depth. Federle's supporting characters affirm theater's "no small roles" adage, and E.T. references abound-like Elliott's bicycle in the film, this book soars. Ages 9-13. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781442446892 In this funny and insightful story, the dreams of many a small-town, theater-loving boy are reflected in the starry eyes of eighth-grader Nate. When Nate hops a Greyhound bus to travel across Pennsylvania to try out for the Broadway-bound musical based on the movie E.T., no one but his best friend, Libby, knows about it; not his athletic brother, religious father, or unhappy mother. Self-reliant, almost to an inauthentic fault, he arrives in Manhattan for the first time and finds his way into the audition with dramatic results, and when his estranged actress/waitress aunt suddenly appears, a troubled family history and a useful subplot surface. Nate's emerging sexuality is tactfully addressed in an age-appropriate manner throughout, particularly in his wonderment at the differences between his hometown and N.Y.C., a world where guys . . . can dance next to other guys who probably liked Phantom of the Opera and not get threatened or assaulted. This talented first-time author has made the classic Chorus Line theme modern and bright for the Glee generation.--Medlar, Andrew Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442446892 Gr 5-8-Irrepressible 13-year-old Nate Foster is certain that stardom awaits, as soon as he can leave his stifling life in small-town Jankburg, Pennsylvania, behind. Using his ever-loyal best friend, Libby, as an alibi, he sneaks away to New York City to audition for E.T.: The Musical. Nate and Libby have an endearing habit of using the names of Broadway flops as stand-ins for foul language. A madcap adventure featuring bossy receptionists, cutthroat fellow performers, and wacky casting directors follows. With the help of an understanding aunt, Nate remains goofy and upbeat in the face of constant criticism and rejection. A fun and suspenseful ending will leave readers guessing whether Nate scores the part or not. Federle's semiautobiographical debut explores weighty issues such as sibling rivalry, bullying, religious parents, and gay or questioning teens with a remarkably lighthearted and humorous touch totally appropriate for young audiences.-Madigan McGillicuddy, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, Atlanta, GA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Far far away
Book Jacket   Tom McNeal
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780375849725 *Starred Review* So it begins: What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost. Ghostly Jacob Grimm, of the famous Brothers, narrates this tale of Jeremy and Ginger and their near-tragic encounter with town baker Sten Blix, whose long-held grudges figure in the disappearance of several village children. Unappreciated as a youngster, Blix has elevated revenge to a sweet art, and he holds Jeremy, Ginger, and an additional victim, Frank Bailey, in a hidden dungeon under the bakery, while Jacob desperately tries to tell parents and friends of the predicament. If he fails, the three may become grist in the baker's next batch of Prince Cakes. Reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel and rife with allusions to the Brothers Grimm tales, this is a masterful story of outcasts, the power of faith, and the triumph of good over evil. McNeal's deft touch extends to the characterizations, where the ritual speech of traditional tales (Listen, if you will) establishes Jacob's phantasmagoric presence amid the modernist American West. There are moments of horror (as there were in the Brothers Grimm original tales), but they are accomplished through the power of suggestion. Details aplenty about Jacob and his famous sibling make this a fiction connector to both fairy tales and Grimm biographies, too.--Welch, Cindy Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375849725 Gr 6 Up-McNeal spins a tale fluctuating from whimsy to macabre in such a beguiling voice that-like Hansel and Gretel-readers won't realize they're enmeshed in his dangerous seduction until it's too late. The book is narrated by the ghost of Jacob Grimm (yes, that one), unhappily caught in the Zwischenraum (a plane of existence between life and death). For now, he is the nearly constant companion of Jeremy Johnson Johnson, who can hear Grimm's voice when he presses a finger to his right temple. He's also heard the voices of his dying mother and grandfather. This ability has made him an object of derision for many in his little town, though-thrillingly-not to the electrifyingly vibrant Ginger Boultinghouse, who is more than happy to lure Jeremy into more trouble than he's ever encountered. Grimm tries to be the voice of reason-to keep Jeremy safe-but few things are as they initially seem in the town of Never Better and it's difficult to know the difference between hazard and opportunity. It's also hard to know the good folk from the bad and that's because so many of McNeal's characters are complex and have conflicted motivations. When is a bully not so bad? Where's the line between justifiable grief and parental neglect? Can an older man love a teenager in a way that's not creepy? How do stories nourish us? At what point do they stifle us? All these questions, and many more, are raised in this folklore-inflected, adventurous, romantic fantasy. Whether readers connect more deeply with the suspense, the magical elements, or the gloriously improbable love story, they will come away with a lingering taste of enchantment.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Eleanor and Park
Book Jacket   Rainbow Rowell
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250012579 Gr 9 Up-In this novel set in the 1980s, teenagers Eleanor and Park are outsiders; Eleanor, because she's new to the neighborhood, and Park, because he's half Asian. Although initially wary of each other, they quickly bond over their love of comics and 1980s alternative music. Eleanor's home life is difficult; her stepfather physically abuses her mother and emotionally abuses Eleanor and her siblings. At school, she is the victim of bullying, which escalates into defacement of her textbooks, her clothes, and crude displays on her locker. Although Park's mother, a Korean immigrant, is initially resistant to the strange girl due to her odd fashion choices, his father invites Eleanor to seek temporary refuge with them from her unstable home life. When Eleanor's stepfather's behavior grows even more menacing, Park assists in her escape, even though it means that they might not see each other again. The friendship between the teens is movingly believable, but the love relationship seems a bit rushed and underdeveloped. The revelation about the person behind the defacement of Eleanor's textbooks is stunning. Although the narrative points of view alternate between Eleanor and Park, the transitions are smooth. Crude language is realistic. Purchase for readers who are drawn to quirky love stories or 1980s pop culture.-Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781250012579 Half-Korean sophomore Park Sheridan is getting through high school by lying low, listening to the Smiths (it's 1986), reading Alan Moore's Watchmen comics, never raising his hand in class, and avoiding the kids he grew up with. Then new girl Eleanor gets on the bus. Tall, with bright red hair and a dress code all her own, she's an instant target. Too nice not to let her sit next to him, Park is alternately resentful and guilty for not being kinder to her. When he realizes she's reading his comics over his shoulder, a silent friendship is born. And slowly, tantalizingly, something more. Adult author Rowell (Attachments), making her YA debut, has a gift for showing what Eleanor and Park, who tell the story in alternating segments, like and admire about each other. Their love is believable and thrilling, but it isn't simple: Eleanor's family is broke, and her stepfather abuses her mother. When the situation turns dangerous, Rowell keeps things surprising, and the solution-imperfect but believable-maintains the novel's delicate balance of light and dark. Ages 13-up. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250012579 *Starred Review* Right from the start of this tender debut, readers can almost hear the clock winding down on Eleanor and Park. After a less than auspicious start, the pair quietly builds a relationship while riding the bus to school every day, wordlessly sharing comics and eventually music on the commute. Their worlds couldn't be more different. Park's family is idyllic: his Vietnam vet father and Korean immigrant mother are genuinely loving. Meanwhile, Eleanor and her younger siblings live in poverty under the constant threat of Richie, their abusive and controlling stepfather, while their mother inexplicably caters to his whims. The couple's personal battles are also dark mirror images. Park struggles with the realities of falling for the school outcast; in one of the more subtle explorations of race and the other in recent YA fiction, he clashes with his father over the definition of manhood. Eleanor's fight is much more external, learning to trust her feelings about Park and navigating the sexual threat in Richie's watchful gaze. In rapidly alternating narrative voices, Eleanor and Park try to express their all-consuming love. You make me feel like a cannibal, Eleanor says. The pure, fear-laced, yet steadily maturing relationship they develop is urgent, moving, and, of course, heartbreaking, too.--Jones, Courtney Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2014
Midwinterblood
 Marcus Sedgwick
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781596438002 Gr 9 Up-Beginning in July 2073, Sedgwick's new novel makes its way backward through time, drawing readers into seven stories from different eras. Whether it is a 21st-century archaeologist, a World War II pilot, or a Viking king, there are subtle but tell-tale signs of the threads that bind them together over the centuries-the echoes of particular names and phrases, the persistence of a mysterious dragon orchid, and other seemingly innocuous moments that all hint at the dark mystery at the center of this lyrical yet horrifying tale. The plot is reminiscent of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (Sceptre, 2004), with its themes of love and reincarnation, as well as of the cult-movie-turned-book Robin Hardy's Wicker Man (Crown, 1978), with its setting of remote and sinister island inhabitants. The many characters are vividly real and distinct from one another, despite making only brief appearances. Each of these vignettes seem rich enough to be worthy of a novel of its own, and readers might almost wish they could pause in each fascinating, detailed moment rather than be swept through time-and the novel-on the current of a cursed love. Although fans of the author's Revolver (Roaring Brook, 2010) will likely flock to this book to relish more of Sedgwick's stark, suspenseful writing, new readers might find that there are more questions left unanswered than are resolved.-Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781596438002 "I always prefer a walk that goes in a circle.... Don't you?" a woman named Bridget says to her daughter, Merle, at one point in this heady mystery that joins the remote northern setting of Sedgwick's Revolver with the multigenerational scope of his White Crow. Sedgwick appears to share Bridget's sentiment: as he moves backward through time in seven interconnected stories-from the late 21st century to an unspecified ancient era-character names, spoken phrases, and references to hares, dragons, and sacrifice reverberate, mutate, and reappear. Set on a mysterious and isolated Nordic island, the stories all include characters with variations on the names of Eric and Merle. In a present-day story about an archeological dig, Eric is a oddly strong, brain-damaged teenager and Merle his mother; in the 10th century, when the island was inhabited by Vikings, Eirek and Melle are young twins, whose story answers questions raised by what the archeologists discover. Teenage characters are few and far between, but a story that's simultaneously romantic, tragic, horrifying, and transcendental is more than enough to hold readers' attention, no matter their age. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781596438002 *Starred Review* In the year 2073, a reporter named Eric is sent to Blessed Island to research a rare flower called the Dragon Orchid. There he finds an insular community of mysterious villagers, a delicious tea that has him losing days at a time, and a beguiling girl named Merle. In just 50 pages, we reach a shattering conclusion and then start anew in 2011. An archaeologist is digging on Blessed Island, where he meets a quiet boy named Eric and his mother, Merle. So begins this graceful, confounding, and stirring seven-part suite about two characters whose identities shift as they are reborn throughout the ages. Sedgwick tells the story in reverse, introducing us to a stranded WWII pilot, a painter trying to resurrect his career in 1901, two children being told a ghost story in 1848, and more, all the way back to a king and queen in a Time Unknown. It is a wildly chancy gambit with little in the way of a solid throughline, but Sedgwick handles each story with such stylistic control that interest is not just renewed each time but intensified. Part love story, part mystery, part horror, this is as much about the twisting hand of fate as it is about the mutability of folktales. Its strange spell will capture you.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2014
Out of the Easy
 Ruta Sepetys
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399256929 Sepetys follows her debut, Between Shades of Gray, with another taut and charged historical novel, though the setting-the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950-is a world apart from that of her previous book. Living and working in a bookshop, 17-year-old Josie Moraine dreams of attending college-anything to get away from her mother, a prostitute with Hollywood dreams and a knack for getting involved with the worst men. When Josie becomes involved in a high-profile murder investigation, she becomes even more entrenched in her circumstances. The sensual yet rigidly class-based setting is a real standout, and Sepetys has also built a stellar cast, which includes Willie, a strident but generous madam; Charlie Marlowe, the bookshop's owner; and a pair of potential love interests for Josie. Readers will find Josie irresistible from the get-go ("The only reason I'd lift my skirt is to pull out my pistol and plug you," she tells a guy early on) and will devour the sultry mix of mystery, historical detail, and romance. Ages 14-up. Agent: Writers House. (Feb.)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399256929 In a radical departure from her first novel, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys' second is partially set in a 1950s New Orleans brothel where Josie's mother works as a prostitute. Humiliated, the 18-year-old fears she is destined for nothing more than a crummy life skirting the New Orleans underworld. That underworld looms larger when a murder occurs and it appears Josie's mother may be complicit. Josie's dream is to go to Smith College, but even if she is admitted, how will she pay for it? Meanwhile, she finds herself attracted to two very different young men: her best friend, clean-cut Patrick, with whom she works at his father's bookstore, and quietly mysterious biker Jesse. Complicated? You bet! Sepetys' latest strongly evokes 1950s radio soap operas, but despite over-the-top emotional pitch and stereotypical characters, this is nevertheless a page-turner that noir romance fans will gobble up like popcorn shrimp. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The legions of fans that Sepetys earned with her best-selling debut novel will all be lining up for this.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399256929 Gr 9 Up-Against a vivid 1950s New Orleans backdrop, 17-year-old Josie Moraine is caught between the harsh reality of her negligent, prostitute mother's lifestyle and her desire to escape to a new life. Josie is smart, resourceful, and determined. Her support group includes Willie, the shrewd brothel madam who recognizes Josie's potential; Cokie, Willie's kind and devoted driver; Patrick, who runs the bookshop where Josie works; Charlotte, an upscale acquaintance who encourages Josie to join her at Smith College; and Jesse, the handsome motorcyclist neighbor who has eyes only for Josie. When a mysterious death leads police to Josie's mother and abusive boyfriend, the teen is drawn into the investigation and into an underworld of threats, violence, and retribution. After her mother skips town, Josie is targeted to repay her debt to a powerful criminal boss. As she tries to handle mounting adversity on her own, she struggles with fear, desperation, and her conscience. Stealing from Willie or hooking up with a wealthy john seem her only choices for survival. Overwhelmed, she reveals her predicament to Willie, who saves her in a final act of generosity. Josie's narrative features a Dickensian array of characters; the mystique, ambience, and language of the French Quarter; a suspenseful, action-packed story; and a coming-of-age realization that personal decisions ultimately shape one's future. With dramatic and contextual flair, Sepetys introduces teens to another memorable heroine.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Winger
Book Jacket   Andrew Smith
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442444928 Gr 9 Up-Smith takes readers inside the mind of Ryan Dean West, nicknamed Winger for his position on the rugby team of his tony private school. He's brilliant, immature (a 14-year-old junior), and anxious to prove himself to his teammates and especially to his crush, 16-year-old Annie. "You push things too far" advises his best friend and teammate Joey, who is gay and accepted for his honesty about it and his status as team captain. With only Joey, Annie, and the Tao of rugby to guide him, it's no wonder Ryan Dean has more than his share of missteps while trying to reinvent himself. Some are painfully awkward, and some are laugh-out-loud hysterical, especially his sponge bath by a hot nurse. The team's on-field camaraderie deteriorates into simmering hostility off the field, rife with drinking, crudeness, profanity, and constant verbal slurs. Still, readers will be shocked by a climactic violent act against Joey that leaves Ryan Dean changed forever. Smith's understanding of teen males is evident; nuances add depth and authenticity to characters that could have been cliches. However, Annie feels a bit idealized: one wonders what she sees in Ryan Dean. The pace moves quickly and holds readers' interest, punctuated by Bosma's charts and graphic-novel pages that cleverly depict the boy's hilarious inner turmoil. Readers don't need to know anything about rugby to appreciate this moving, funny coming-of-age novel.-M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781442444928 This brutally honest coming-of-age novel from Smith (Passenger) unfolds through the eyes of Ryan Dean West, a 14-year-old, rugby-playing junior at the exclusive Pine Mountain school. He's two years younger than his classmates, hopelessly in love with his best friend Annie, and stuck in Opportunity Hall, the residence reserved for the worst rule-breakers. As Ryan Dean struggles with football-team bullies, late-night escapades, academic pressures, and girl troubles, he also discovers his own strengths. Like puberty itself, this tale is alternately hilarious and painful, awkward and enlightening; Bosma's occasional comics add another layer of whimsy and emotion, representing Ryan Dean's own artistic bent. The characters and situations are profane and crass, reveling in talk of bodily functions and sexual innuendo, and the story is a cross between the films Lucas and Porky's, with all the charm and gross-out moments that dichotomy suggests. That's what makes the tragedy near the very end all the more shocking and sudden, changing the entire mood and impact of Ryan Dean's journey. The last-minute twist may leave readers confused, angry, and heartbroken, but this remains an excellent, challenging read. Ages 12-up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrew Brown Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781442444928 *Starred Review* After he opened a vein in YA lit with The Marbury Lens (2010) and then went completely nutso in Passenger (2012), about the only thing that Smith could do to surprise would be a hornball boarding-school romantic romp. Surprise! Well, sort of. At 14, Ryan Dean West is a couple years younger (and scrawnier) than the rest of the juniors at Pine Mountain. He is a plucky kid despite a tendency to punctuate his every thought with I am such a loser who stars in the rugby team due to his speed and tenacity. The rail ties of his single-track mind, though, are his exploits (or lack thereof) with the opposite sex, particularly his best friend Annie, who thinks he is adorable. In short, Ryan Dean is a slightly pervy but likable teen. He rates the hotness of every female in sight but also drops surprising bombs of personal depth on a friend's homosexuality, the poisonous rivalries that can ruin friendships, and his own highly unstable mix of insecurity and evolving self-confidence. Much of the story seems preoccupied with the base-level joys and torments of being a teenager, content to float along with occasional bursts of levity from some nonessential but fun minicomics by Bosma. But at its heart, it is more in line with Dead Poets Society, and by the end this deceptively lightweight novel packs an unexpectedly ferocious punch.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2014
Golden boy
Book Jacket   Tara Sullivan
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399161124 Gr 8 Up-Habo, 13, knows that his albinism makes him a zeruzeru, less than a person. His skin burns easily, and his poor eyesight makes school almost impossible. People shun or mock him. Unable to accept his son's white skin and yellow hair, his father abandoned the family, and they cannot manage their drought-ravaged farm in a small Tanzanian village. Habo and his mother, sister, and brother travel across the Serengeti to seek refuge with his aunt's family in Mwanza. Along the way, they hitch a ride with an ivory poacher, Alasiri, who kills elephants without remorse for the money the tusks bring. In Mwanza, the family learns that one commodity can fetch even higher prices: a zeruzeru. Rich people will pay handsomely for albino body parts, and Alasiri plans to make his fortune. Habo must flee to Dar es Salaam before he is killed. After a harrowing escape, he reaches the city and miraculously encounters a person to whom his appearance makes no difference: a blind woodcarver named Kweli. Slowly Habo develops a sense of self-worth as well as carving skills. When Alasiri brings ivory for Kweli to carve, the boy and old man work with the police to send the hunter to prison. Habo's gripping account propels readers along. His narrative reveals his despair, anger, and bewilderment, but there are humorous moments, too. Although fortuitous encounters and repeated escapes may seem unlikely, the truth underlying the novel is even more unbelievable. In Tanzania, people with albinism have been maimed and killed for their body parts, thought to bring good luck. Readers will be haunted by Habo's voice as he seeks a place of dignity and respect in society. An important and affecting story.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399161124 Born albino in a Tanzanian village, Habo suffers virulent prejudice for his pale skin, blue eyes, and yellow hair, even from his own family. At 13, he runs away to the city of Dar-es-Salaam, where he thinks he will find more acceptance: there are even two albino members of the government there. He finds a home as an apprentice to a blind sculptor who knows Habo is a smart boy with a good heart, and he teaches Habo to carve wood. But Habo is being pursued by a poacher who wants to kill him and sell his body parts on the black market to superstitious buyers in search of luck. Readers will be caught by the contemporary story of prejudice, both unspoken and violent, as tension builds to the climax. Just as moving is the bond the boy forges with his mentor, and the gripping daily events: Habo gets glasses for his weak eyes, discovers the library, and goes to school at last. The appended matter includes a Swahili glossary and suggestions for documentary videos.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2014
Rose under fire
 Elizabeth Wein
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781423183099 Gr 8 Up-This companion novel to Wein's Code Name Verity (Hyperion, 2012) tells a very different World War II story, with a different pilot. Rose Justice, an American, has grown up flying, and when she is given the opportunity to ferry planes to support the war effort in England in 1944, she jumps at the chance. It is during one of her missions that she purposefully knocks an unmanned V-1 flying bomb out of the sky and is captured by Nazi airmen. Once on the ground, she is taken to the infamous women's concentration camp, Ravensbruck. She is first treated as a "skilled" worker, but once she realizes that her job will be to put together fuses for flying bombs, she refuses to do it, is brutally beaten, and is then sent to live with the political prisoners. Once she's taken under the wing of the Polish "Rabbits"-young women who suffered horrible medical "experiments" by Nazi doctors-she faces a constant struggle to survive. After a daring escape, she recounts her experience in a journal that was given to her by her friend, Maddie, the pilot from Code Name Verity, weaving together a story of unimaginable suffering, loss, but, eventually, hope. Throughout her experience, Rose writes and recites poetry, and it is through these poems, some heartbreaking, some defiant, that she finds her voice and is able to "tell the world" her story and those of the Rabbits. While this book is more introspective than its predecessor, it is no less harrowing and emotional. Readers will connect with Rose and be moved by her struggle to go forward, find her wings again, and fly.-Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781423183099 This companion to Wein's Printz Honor- and Edgar-winning Code Name Verity introduces Rose Justice, a Pennsylvania teenager and volunteer civilian pilot during WWII. Rose is ferrying a Spitfire back to England from France for the Royal Air Force when she is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbruck, the women's concentration camp. Designated a "skilled" worker, Rose is assigned to a factory; when she realizes that she's making bomb fuses, she stops working. Two brutal beatings later, she is reassigned to the high-security unit at the camp, where she is taken under the wing of the "Rabbits"--Polish political prisoners whose bodies have been horrifically abused by Nazi doctors for medical experimentation. Because Rose recounts her capture and imprisonment after the fact, in a journal, initially for cathartic purposes, her story doesn't have the same harrowing suspense of Code Name Verity, but it's no less intense and devastating. Eventually, Rose realizes the true purpose of the journal is to fulfill the promise she made to her Ravensbruck sisters: to tell the world what happened there. Wein excels at weaving research seamlessly into narrative and has crafted another indelible story about friendship borne out of unimaginable adversity. Ages 14-up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781423183099 In this companion to Code Name Verity (2012), readers meet American Rose Justice, who ferries Allied planes from England to Paris. The first quarter of the book, which begins in 1944, describes Rose's work, both its dangers and its highs. It also makes the connection between Rose and the heroine of the previous book, Julie, through their mutual friend, Maddie. Despite the vagaries of war, things are going pretty well for Rose, so hearts drop when Rose is captured. It first seems Rose's status as a pilot may save her, but she is quickly shipped off to Ravensbruck, the notorious women's concentration camp in Northern Germany. The horror of the camp, with its medical experimentation on Polish women called rabbits is ably captured. Yet, along with the misery, Wein also reveals the humanity that can surface, even in the worst of circumstances. The opening diary format is a little clunky, but readers will quickly become involved in Rose's harrowing experience. Though the tension is different than in Code Name Verity, it is still palpable.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist
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