Review: Doll Bones, by Holly Black

The pitch: In a last-ditch attempt to save their friendship, Zach, Poppy, and Alice go on a road trip led by a ghost. A relatable friendship story with a lot of adventure and just a little bit of creepiness. The review: I loved this! Like When You Reach Me, it can be … Continue reading

Review: The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Every five years the futuristic enclosed city of Palmares Tres, in what was Brazil, elects a summer king. He is beautiful and beloved — and at the end of his year, he is sacrificed to choose a new Queen. Best friends June and Gil have never questioned this custom until … Continue reading

Review: The Piper’s Son, by Melina Marchetta

This is a sequel (companion?) to Saving Francesca, though it can entirely stand alone. This time the story is from Tom’s point of view. After his uncle got blown up in the London Tube, he and his family fell apart. His  dad became an alcoholic and drove his mom away. … Continue reading

Review: Teenie, Christopher Grant (2010)

Teenie’s best friend Cherise has always been a little wild. Now that she’s accepting money from a guy she met online (who goes by the totally non-sketchy name “Big Daddy”), though, Teenie is really worried. Teenie herself is much more straight-laced and studious, but when a few new clothes get … Continue reading

Review: The Girls, Amy Goldman Koss (2000)

A classic middle-school clique situation: five friends, including one queen bee, one follower, and three quieter hangers-on… And then there were four. The queen bee, Candace, decides she doesn’t want to hang out with Maya anymore. Who knows why? But the rest have to go along with it, lest they … Continue reading

Review: Hush, Eishes Chayil

Gittel is a Chassidic Jew in modern Brooklyn, but in many ways her life looks — by design — like something out of Fiddler on the Roof. Everything is prescribed by law and tradition: what to wear, what to read, how her husband will be chosen.* To Gittel this feels … Continue reading

Review: After Tupac and D Foster, by Jacqueline Woodson

The afternoon D Foster roams onto the narrator’s street in Queens, the two girls and the narrator’s best friend Neeka start up a tight friendship. It lasts through the shooting of their idol Tupac, through visiting Neeka’s brother in jail, as all three girls turn thirteen… and then D’s real … Continue reading

8th Grade Superzero, by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

5 out of 5! Reggie has big dreams for his school, but Clarke Junior School isn’t stepping up. His classmates are more interested in helping themselves than helping each other, and besides, nobody listens to Reggie anyway after an unfortunate incident on the first day of school left him with … Continue reading

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier

This autobio-graphic novel chronicles the toothy trials of Raina’s adolescence, during which she basically had her entire mouth reconstructed. I loved it! She gets middle school girl relationships perfectly, the way a group of friends chooses one to pick on. They don’t even know they’re doing it, necessarily, but enough … Continue reading