Asher, Jay. Thirteen Reasons Why.

[Apologies for getting behind in my posting. . . .]

NY: Penguin, 2007.

This is a story that will absolutely pin your ears back, I guarantee it. It’s gripping and horrible (in the original sense of the word), and it all starts when Clay Jensen, high school junior, receives a shoebox in the mail filled with seven audiotape cassettes and no return address and no explanation. It takes him awhile to even find a way to play old tech like that, but when he does, the quiet voice he hears belongs to Hannah Baker, his classmate, the girl for whom he carried a torch for years, the girl he didn’t think he could ever establish a connection with. The girl who committed suicide a few weeks before.



Armentrout, Jennifer L & Dhonielle Clayton. Meet Cute.

NY: Houghton Mifflin, 2018.

This is an anthology of fourteen YA short stories on the theme of how young couples meet and embark on relationships. (The terrible title was probably the bright idea of someone in marketing. Just ignore it.)


Albertalli, Becky. The Upside of Unrequited.

NY: HarperCollins, 2017.

I’m a retired big-city public librarian, and I started reading YA books back in the ’60s, simply as part of my job. (I sort of skipped that whole genre, what there was of it, when I actually was a young adult.) I’ve followed the evolution of the field, the shifts in topics and assumptions about the changing world teenagers inhabit, because every decade of young readers over the past half-century has been rather different from the previous decade. Changes have accelerated substantially since I was that age. And this book simply couldn’t have been written, much less published, as little as thirty years ago.


Reck, Jared. A Short History of the Girl Next Door.

NY: Knopf, 2017.

Matt Wainwright is fifteen years old and a high school freshman in south-central Pennsylvania, and he’s also six-foot-three (he comes from a tall family), so he plays basketball. He’s good at it, too, and one of his two big goals is to make the varsity team his sophomore year, after Liam Branson, the current star, has graduated. Right across the street in their cul-de-sac from Matt lives Tabby Laughlin, the same age as him, and whom he has basically grown up with, ever since they were infants and Matt’s mom babysat Tabby.


Holm, Jennifer & Matthew Holm. Swing It, Sunny.

NY: Scholastic, 2017.

This is a sequel to this sister/brother team’s Sunny Side Up (2015), and it’s pretty good. It’s set in the closing months of 1976 and Sunny, now starting middle school, misses her older brother, Dale, who has been sent away to a military boarding school for his own (and everyone else’s) good. The story is episodic, going from the start of school to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s — all the landmarks in an adolescent’s calendar


Grafton, Sue. Y Is for Yesterday.

NY: Putnam, 2017.

I read a lot of mystery series but this one is the longest I’ve ever committed myself to by a significant margin — beginning back in 1982, when A Is For Alibi came out. And I’ve managed to stick with it, even though I came close to quitting in annoyance more than once. So this is volume 25 and, as usual, there are two main plot lines, one of which more or less continues from the previous two volumes.


Published in: on 17 February 2018 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Montclare, Brandon & Amy Reeder. Rocket Girl. (Vol. 1)

Berkeley: Image Comics, 2015.

I outgrew superhero comic books decades ago, at least those that just reshuffle the classic clichés and the same tired old cast of characters, but now and then someone comes up with an interesting variation. And this one is certainly original.


Hicks, Faith Erin. Friends with Boys.

NY: First Second, 2012.

After being homeschooled all her life, Maggie is dealing pretty well with her first day at the public high school. She’s found her classes, and the Grade 9 bathrooms, but she hasn’t yet found “her people.” Even her three older brothers aren’t much help. Her dad is busy being the new small-town police chief. And the ghost from the nearby cemetery is just annoying.


McEwan, Ian. The Cement Garden.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 1978.

Like all novelists who make a name for themselves and win awards, McEwan was once a mere beginner, trying to get noticed. This first, rather brief novel certainly helped him do that.


Published in: on 4 August 2013 at 7:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lippman, Laura. To the Power of Three.

NY: Morrow, 2005.

In an upper-middle-class suburb in north Baltimore County, Kat Hartigan and Perri Kahn have been best friends since preschool, and on the first day of Third Grade, newcomer Josie Patel makes it a threesome — and forever after she quietly resents being the junior partner by those three years.