Books by Karen Romano Young

Released: Jan. 7, 2020

"The magic of reading is given a refreshingly real twist. (reading list) (Fantasy. 10-12)"
This is the way Pearl's world ends: not with a bang but with a scream. Read full book review >
SHARK QUEST by Karen Romano Young
Released: Sept. 1, 2018

"Rich information borders on overload, but passion cuts through the density. (guide, notes, glossary, and bibliography) (Nonfiction. 11-13)"
A remarkably thorough tour of the world of sharks and marine scientists' efforts to educate the public about our ocean's apex predators. Read full book review >
WHALE QUEST by Karen Romano Young
Released: Aug. 1, 2017

"An informative, well-researched, and engagingly written look at global efforts to protect Earth's largest mammals. (maps, photos, source notes, glossary, bibliography, further reading) (Nonfiction. 12-16)"
Threats to whale populations are abundant, but there are many human allies working together around the world to protect their fragile populations. Read full book review >
HUNDRED PERCENT by Karen Romano Young
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"A lovely, lovely tale full of warmth, humor, and intelligence that validates its readership. (Fiction. 10-12)"
Two white, female best friends enter sixth grade, and their friendship becomes complicated. Read full book review >
SPACE JUNK by Karen Romano Young
Released: Jan. 1, 2016

"Between her well-tempered writing style and her atypical subject, Young will have readers enthralled. (Nonfiction. 12-18)"
Humans have polluted the land, the seas, the top of Mount Everest—next stop: outer space. Read full book review >
TRY THIS! by Karen Romano Young
Released: Aug. 5, 2014

"Science fun, with both terms emphasized equally. (general and materials indices) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
Pretested by a crew of young assistants, these dozens of science demonstrations are both doable and worth doing. Read full book review >
DOODLEBUG by Karen Romano Young
Released: July 1, 2010

Those who might be tempted to dismiss this heavily illustrated saga of middle-school angst and family upheaval as a Wimpy Kid knock-off will miss an engaging, original heroine, a satisfying story and lots of great pictures. Seventh grader Doreen Bussey, aka Dodo, decides to take the nickname Doodlebug when she starts at a new school. It's a perfect choice, as she tells the tale of her family's move from Los Angeles and their experiences in San Francisco in words, scribbles, Venn diagrams, dialogue balloons and ornate lettering. Clever touches include using different shapes for each member of her family (allowing readers to recognize who is speaking despite the simplicity of the drawings) and several illustrated aphorisms. Some details, like the fact that the family is interracial, are shown but not stated, rewarding careful examination of the artwork. And the fact that Dodo has figured out for herself how to manage her attention problems offers not just a heartening view of a resourceful child but also a telling testament to the power of creativity. Charming and thoughtful. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2007

Young combines arrays of charts, color photos and diagrams with descriptive captions, general comments, notes on technical gear and short interviews to explore the many ways all who travel on or in the ocean keep track of their courses and locations. Referring occasionally to five particular examples—a hatchling loggerhead turtle, a huge container ship, a sailboat, a shark and a nuclear sub, all in the Atlantic—she covers not only navigational methods, from echolocation to GPS systems, but a host of related topics as well, from currents and storms to deep-ocean dwellers, whale tracking, map-reading skills and the history of submarines. Though backgrounds on some pages make the text hard to read, young fans of all things nautical will happily immerse themselves in this seagoing omnium gatherum. (index, multimedia resource lists) (Nonfiction. 9-11) Read full book review >
COBWEBS by Karen Romano Young
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

Nancy lives with her mother in gentrified Brooklyn in the downstairs apartment of her grandparents' brownstone. Her father lives up the hill on the roof of a building in Park Slope, across the Gowanus Canal. Her family is odd. She spends half the time at her father's and the other half with her agoraphobic basement-dwelling mother. Although she has enormous freedom to come and go as she pleases, she's prohibited, with no explanation, from shaving her legs. As this is told from Nancy's point of view, readers will be as mystified by her family as she—although she's remarkably tolerant of their bizarre behavior. Spider puns and inferences abound, e.g., her dad, Ned (arachnid), is waiting for Nancy (Anansi, i.e., "egg"), as he affectionately calls her, to develop an unspoken talent. Nancy is drawn to a neighborhood boy, Dion, who seems to be following her, his own father trying to discover the "Angel of Brooklyn," who readers will almost immediately suspect is Nancy's father. That his family is supernaturally intertwined with her own is soon evident. Young draws readers into the story, thread by thread, until clues are woven together into a convoluted yet predictable conclusion. (Fiction. 12-14)Read full book review >
OUTSIDE IN by Karen Romano Young
Released: May 1, 2002

It's 1968, a year of tumultuous change in the world that Chérie knows. In first-person narrative, she describes that year in a voice that is thoughtful and self-aware. She knows she hates to see the headlines about Bobby Kennedy's assassination and people dying in Vietnam. She becomes obsessed with the sinister disappearance of a girl about her own age with long braids like hers. Her parents are quarreling about moving out of the house that's become too small, especially with a baby on the way. Her sister, Aimée, is abnormally afraid of many things and sometimes Chérie can sympathize. But she can't quite cope with her conflicting feelings for Dave, who should be her friend but whose brother does mean and vicious things. What's lovely about this fresh and compelling tale is how vibrant the characters are; Chérie isn't defined just by her quirks, nor is Aimée reduced to her fears. A rich and complicated cast of parents completes the picture. Readers will cheer when Aimée finally takes the training wheels off her bike and with each constructed addition Chérie makes to Elfland (elf-sized furniture and accoutrements for elf-sized dolls). "Everything that you are waiting for is different when it finally arrives," muses Chérie. It's small shards of life—a haircut, a move away, a headline—that propel the story from April to November of that intense year. Those shards are defined always by Chérie's sweet, sharp voice, one that readers will find comfortably familiar. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
VIDEO by Karen Romano Young
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

Romano (The Beetle And Me, p. 638) uses a nonlinear narrative and multiple points of view to paint a challenging, perspicuous character portrait. Clinging stubbornly to the illusion that her elementary school clique hasn't left her behind for new interests and alliances, tough, bossy Janine leads a solitary life, standing alone at the bus stop in the morning, shoehorning her way into conversations at school, and poking around a marshy old mill pond in her free time. For an assignment designed to sharpen observational skills, Janine opts to keep a record of herself—unaware that she is also being watched by Eric, a new classmate with the same assignment, a broken leg, and a ready video camera. Although the cast is large enough to cause occasional confusion, Romano's teenagers reveal themselves without resorting to tedious self-analysis. Janine, whose utter lack of social skills will not win much sympathy from readers initially, comes to realize that there are other ways to communicate besides browbeating, and shows her mettle in a genuinely frightening climax, courageously (if foolishly) launching a furious verbal attack on a fisherman who has been masturbating openly at the isolated pond. In a compelling show of solidarity, neighbors and police race to back her up, led by Eric, who catches the whole encounter on tape. Unflinching, well told, rich in character. (Fiction. 13+) Read full book review >