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 Diary of B. B. Bright, Possible Princess, by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams (2012)

The pitch: Girl-power middle grade fantasy about a black girl! That was enough to get me to read it, honestly; it’s so rare. BeeBee is the orphaned daughter of the king and queen of Raven World. To keep her safe, she lives on a magical island with only three Godmommies … Continue reading

Review: The Whisper, by Emma Clayton (2012)

The pitch: This sequel to The Roar picks up right where the first book leaves off. The “chosen” children have discovered the Secret and know they need to take over the Northern Government before their parents also discover the Secret and start a war. Wow, I did that all without … Continue reading

Review: Hope Was Here, Joan Bauer (2000)

The bones of this story are pretty standard YA. Unable to deal with a baby, Hope’s mom Deena dumps her with Deena’s big sister Addie. Addie is a transient diner cook, so Hope grows up working in restaurants up and down the east coast. At the beginning of the book, … 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

The Teashop Girls, by Laura Schaefer

It’s the end of 8th grade, and Annie and her BFFs-4-eva Genna and Zoe appear to be growing apart. They’ve always hung out in Annie’s grandma’s tea shop, the Steeping Leaf, where Annie works after school. Since they were little they’ve called themselves the Teashop Girls. But Genna and Zoe … Continue reading

Monsoon Summer, by Mitali Perkins

Jazz runs a business in Berkeley with Steve, her best friend and longtime pine-object. (They sell personalized postcard photos of local landmarks to ex-hippies, which I think is hilarious.) She’s psyched to spend the summer growing their business and doing some more quality pining over Steve. Until her mom, do-gooder … Continue reading

My Most Excellent Year: a Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, & Fenway Park, by Steve Kluger

Three three-dimensional best friends, families that genuinely love each other, disability and homosexuality just tossed in like the normal parts of life they are, and it’s even set in Boston! Sold. The plot is complicated — there’s a deaf kid, a theater production, a wacky road trip to New York … Continue reading