Review: All the Truth That’s in Me, by Julie Berry

The pitch: After enduring two years of abuse, Judith escapes her kidnapper and returns home. Damaged and shunned by her community, including the man she’s always loved, she must find a way to start to heal. The review: Outstanding. The spare prose carries along this creepy tale of a town … Continue reading

Review: Cleopatra’s Moon, by Vicky Alvear Shecter (Aug. 2011)

The pitch: Cleopatra Selene, daughter of the late Cleopatra and Marc Antony, has been cast out of Rome by Octavian and is sailing to meet her fate, a new husband she doesn’t know. Her beloved twin brother is dead; she is desperate to bury him in the Egyptian fashion, which … Continue reading

Review: My Mother the Cheerleader, by Robert Sharenow (2007)

The pitch: No, not that kind of cheerleader. Louise’s mother Pauline is one of the women who stands outside William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans and throws tomatoes and insults at Ruby Bridges, its first African-American student. When a handsome stranger from New York shows up at Pauline and … Continue reading

Review: Wentworth Hall, by Abby Grahame (May 2012)

This slight Downton Abbey knock-off takes place at Wentworth Hall, home of the Darlingtons, a down-on-their-luck noble family with nothing much left but their title. The book is full of the same sort of scandals that haunt the Granthams of Downton: illegitimate children, love between the classes, unfortunate matches with … Continue reading

Nerds Heart YA, 2nd Round 2011: Toads and Diamonds, Heather Tomlinson (2010)

Happy second round of Nerds Heart YA! After much deliberation, Allegra of My Library Card Wore Out and I chose Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson as our winner. It was a tough call, of course, as I loved many things about Tall Story. But ultimately we decided Toads and … Continue reading

You keep using that word… (On “strong female characters”)

Carina Chocano’s New York Times article “A Plague of Strong Female Characters” gets at most of my issues with this trope: “Strong female character” is one of those shorthand memes that has leached into the cultural groundwater and spawned all kinds of cinematic clichés: alpha professionals whose laserlike focus on … Continue reading

Reviews: Al Capone Does My Shirts (2004); Anything But Typical (2009)

I’ve just read three books about kids with different ways of perceiving the world, and because they’re thematically linked (also to catch up on reviews quicker) I’ll review two together: Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko, and Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin. Al Capone, my favorite … Continue reading

Review: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Laurie R. King (1994)

Sherlock Holmes, contentedly retired to Sussex to keep bees (which Giddygeek and JanetCarter assure me is canon), meets his intellectual match in Mary Russell, the wealthy orphaned teenager up the road. They fight crime! One of you lovely people (sorry, I forget who) recommended this for our 8th grade summer … Continue reading