Review: Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff (1993)

I still have a handful of books that are on my recommended summer reading list due to general acclaim even though I haven’t read them yet. Sometimes I read one and am embarrassed about putting my stamp of approval on it. But Make Lemonade is staying on the list forever, unless I can get … Continue reading

Review: Starting From Here, by Lisa Jenn Bigelow (Sept. 2012)

The pitch: Funny, touching lesbian coming-of-age story. Plus there’s a dog! The review: There are precious few good lesbian YA novels. Thanks for writing an awesome one, Lisa Jenn! Let me count the things I love: I love that Colby’s orientation is only part of her story. The book is … 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: A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness (Sept. 2011)

Conor has had the same nightmare every night since his mother began her treatments. But one night he wakes up to a different dream: a monster has come calling. The monster wants to tell him three stories, and in exchange Conor must tell the true story of his nightmare. Conor … Continue reading

Review: Academy 7, Anne Osterlund (2009)

Aerin Renning, fugitive from a slave planet, gets an unbelievable chance to attend Academy 7, “the most prestigious school in the universe.” Dane Madousin, son of the Alliance’s top military man, also scores high enough on his entrance exam to attend Academy 7. She is terrified and withdrawn; he has … Continue reading

Review: The Sweetheart of Prosper County, by Jill S. Alexander

Austin’s decided this is the year she’s going to stop watching the town Christmas parade and join in — on the hood of a truck as the Sweetheart of Prosper County. The Sweetheart is elected by the Future Farmers of America (FFA), so Austin joins up, along with her brand-new … Continue reading

Saving Francesca, by Melina Marchetta (2003)

It’s an eventful year for Frankie: she starts a new school (the formerly all-boys St. Seb’s, at which girls are welcome officially if not in practice), her normally outgoing mother becomes so depressed she won’t get out of bed, and… y’know, boy stuff. It’s YA, after all. I didn’t love … Continue reading