Sabaa Tahir/Photo courtesy of the author

Dystopian Debut: An Ember in the Ashes

In her excellent young adult book An Ember in the Ashes, debut novelist Sabaa Tahir has created an unforgettable, brutal world and, in it, a heroine named Laia, who shines as bright as an ember and holds on to her humanity and hope despite living in a time and place that values these things so little.

May 10, 2015

More to the Tough Guy in This YA Debut

Remember that kid in high school who was super tough, pretty much kept to himself, and everyone tried to avoid? Did you ever wonder why he acted like that? If not, this young adult debut novel Still Waters, by Ash Parsons, may cause you to think on it a bit.

May 3, 2015

The Stuff of Teen Dreams: Meredith Stroud's Portal 24

Meredith Stroud's Portal 24 is the stuff of teens' dreams: A seemingly ordinary kid gets plucked off the street one day by a secret government agency to handle dangerous and important missions, along with other young adult agents.

April 26, 2015

A YA Debut in the Mommie Dearest Vein

At the heart of Meredith Moore’s debut YA novel are a vengeful mother and the daughter she controls.

April 19, 2015

Death Be Not Proud: Denton Little's Deathdate

You'll love this book. You'll hate this book. You'll yell "NOOOOO!" at the end of it and want more. I'm talking about Lance Rubin's new young adult novel, Denton Little's Deathdate.

April 12, 2015

Diversity in Teen Literature: None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

In I. W. Gregorio’s debut Young Adult novel, None of the Above, Kristin Lattimer has a great life: she has a wonderful, handsome boyfriend, Sam; best friends, Faith and Vee; and she’s off to State next year on a running scholarship to study child development. As she decides to lose her virginity, her life takes a very interesting turn.

April 5, 2015

A Young Adult View into Pakistani Culture

Parents and caregivers will want to read Written in the Stars by Aisha Seed along with their young adults, as this novel’s sure to spark questions and conversation.

March 29, 2015

Painless and Inspiring: New YA from S. A. Harazin

Have you had your fill of painful coming-of-age books about teens? Then try out Painless by S. A. Harazin, whose main character, David Hart, has a rare medical condition called CIPA (congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis) that doesn’t allow him to feel physical pain.

March 22, 2015

Lost + Portnoy's Complaint + Teens = Grasshopper Jungle

If you squished together the TV show “Lost,” the spilled seed in Portnoy’s Complaint, and the adulation of teens and librarians into one big ball of a book, I’m pretty sure you’d get Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle. Oh wait, there are six-foot insects, too.

March 15, 2015

Welcome to Camp Merrie-Seymour: The Alex Crow

Incredible, twisted and funny: A boy clown, the melting man and Camp Merrie-Seymour. Plus a reanimated crow named Alex, all in The Alex Crow, new from Andrew Smith.

March 8, 2015

Oft-Overlooked Women's History: Melanie Crowder's Audacity

Perfect for Women’s History Month, Melanie Crowder’s Audacity is a novel inspired by the life of immigrant-turned-activist Clara Lemlich Shavelson – and like the match on its cover, it starts out quietly before building up to a loud and bright blaze.

March 1, 2015

Newbery Medal Winner The Crossover by Kwame Alexander: Not Just for Kids

The most coveted award in children’s literature – the Newbery Medal – is announced each January, and in 2015 it was presented to Kwame Alexander for his novel, The Crossover. The Crossover is a book about basketball, love, and family – not necessarily in that order.

February 22, 2015

Taking Flight: Michaela DePrince's True Story

Last year, I watched a documentary called “First Position.” The film followed the stories of a handful of young dancers as they tried to land a coveted spot at the American Ballet Theater. One of the dancers, Michaela DePrince, stood out in the film. Taking Flight is her story.

February 8, 2015

A Unique Malcolm X Re-Telling from His Daughter

Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, provides young adults with a unique telling of a leader’s story every young adult should know.

February 1, 2015

From the Author of If I Stay: Gayle Forman's I Was Here

In Gayle Forman’s new YA novel, I Was Here, the author of If I Stay addresses loss and the repercussions of it.