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

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

Review: All These Things I’ve Done, Gabrielle Zevin (Sept. 2011)

Anya Balanchine has a lot of responsibilities. As the orphaned oldest daughter of a mafiya boss, with only her bedridden grandmother for a guardian, she is surrogate mother for her brain-damaged older brother Leo and younger sister Natty. She tries to keep all of them out of the family business, … Continue reading

Review: A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, Emily Horner (2010)

After her best friend Julia’s accidental death, Cass is at loose ends. She hangs out on the edges of the Julia’s theater crowd but feels like she doesn’t belong. Cass only reluctantly agrees to participate when they throw themselves into producing Julia’s final effort, a half-finished musical called Totally Sweet … 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: Bumped, Megan McCafferty (Apr. 26, 2011)

In our near future, a virus wipes out the ability of adult women to carry children to term. Teen pregnancies become revered, trendy, and lucrative. Melody’s adoptive parents have groomed her to be the perfect Surogette who will “bump” for the highest bidders, with whatever genetically perfect stud the wealthy … Continue reading

Review: Quaking, Kathryn Erskine

Orphaned Matt (not Matilda!) has reached the end of a string of distant relatives: a Quaker couple in a small Pennsylvania town who have also adopted a special-needs boy. It doesn’t pay to get attached, Matt has learned, so she keeps every potential family at arm’s length. But Sam and … Continue reading

“Save the Muslim girl!”

A colleague sent me this article from Rethinking Schools: “Save the Muslim girl!”, about the presentation of Afghan and Pakistani girls in modern YA lit. The most popular and critically acclaimed include Deborah Ellis’ Breadwinner trilogy and Suzanne Fisher Staples’ Under the Persimmon Tree, both written by white women and … 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