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: 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: Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman (July 2012)

The pitch: In Goredd, dragons and humans have kept an uneasy peace for forty years. Dragons fold into human shapes to serve as ambassadors and professors, but they are far from trusted. When young musician Seraphina takes a position at court, she is drawn into  the investigation of a murder and … 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: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

The pitch: Despite getting a few unexpected years out of a drug trial, 16-year-old Hazel is dying of cancer. That is a fact. She’s been out of the regular rhythm of teenagehood for years; her life is her parents, a few community college classes, treatments, and cancer kid support group. … Continue reading

Cybils mega-post

The Cybils winners have been announced! Go check out the list! Now that the winners are official, I get to post my reviews. (I should make explicit that these are my thoughts, not necessarily those of my committee.) It was rather a violent, f-bomb-ridden set of YA Fantasy & Sci-Fi finalists … Continue reading

Review: I Am J, by Cris Beam (Mar. 2011)

J was born Jessica, but it never felt right. Inside, he knows he’s a boy. No one in his life gets it: his mother, his father, his somewhat self-absorbed best friend Melissa. He runs away from home to live as a man, but of course he can’t hide his secret … Continue reading

Review: The Shattering, Karen Healey (Sept. 2011)

I wrote this review when I read the book back in the spring, but as I talk about some spoilers below, I wanted to wait until it comes out. Which is tomorrow! I think Karen Healey is one of the best current YA authors, period — up there with Melina … 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