Best of Teens 2010 - Historical Novels

View the Complete List of Best of Teens 2010 - Historical Novels

Kirkus Q&A: Jennifer Donnelly

by Karen Calabria on November 15, 2010 | Young Adult

A sprawling novel that crosses oceans, cultures and centuries, Revolution is a painstakingly detailed look at growing up a troubled teenage girl. Weaving back and forth between the lives of Andi Alpers, a typical Brooklyn private-school student, and Alexandrine, an aspiring French actress who comes of age during the French Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly’s transcendent prose allows readers to shuttle through time with the greatest of ease. The author doesn’t shy away from the meaty issues we grapple with in adolescence: the nature of sorrow and grief, the formation of political consciousness and the power of art. Here, Donnelly talks to Kirkus about her love of James Joyce, spying on teenagers in Paris and the petrified heart that began it all.

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2010 Best for Teens: Yummy, by G. Neri & Randy DuBurke

by Peter Lewis on November 15, 2010 | Young Adult
This is the sad, true story of an abbreviated life. Robert “Yummy” Sandifer grew up—if that’s what you can call it when you die at 11—on Chicago’s South Side. Abused and abandoned, he was an angry kid, and he shared that anger unreservedly. But Yummy packed a teddy bear as well as a gun, and G. Neri plants him squarely in ambiguity. Victim or criminal? Fact is, he was both. Another fact—he killed a young girl during a shooting spree to impress the older members of his gang. “Both politicians and media were having a field day sensationalizing this tragedy,” says Neri. “But the truth was hard to find amongst the rhetoric.” Randy DuBurke’s artwork is shadowy and ominous, Yummy’s chaotic, emotionally discombobulated life tumbling from panel to panel. With this graphic form, Neri hopes to “[show] these harsh realities to urban boys who don’t read, before they get sucked into gangs.

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2010 Best for Teens: Crossing the Tracks, by Barbara Stuber

by Faye Grearson on November 15, 2010 | Young Adult
An emotional opening finds young Iris playing under her mother’s coffin—a scene drawn from Barbara Stuber’s own family history—and upsetting her shoe-salesman father. Stuber says that the “combination of forces—that colossal loss and the [father’s] reprimand—shape the core longing and ache within Iris.” Sent as a teen to care for elderly Mrs. Nesbitt and her bachelor son, Iris is restored through the simple acts of dusting and solving word puzzles. Hobo “really means ‘homeward bound,’ ” Mrs. Nesbitt says, and Iris is not the only wanderer in a rural 1920s community that Stuber describes as filled with “life’s rich pageant…whether anyone speaks openly about it or not.” Loneliness, tragic deaths, illness and abuse surround her. Iris is desperately in need of “what the Nesbitts offer,” says Stuber, “the pure healing power of patience and their undivided attention.”

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Laurie Halse Anderson, Forge

Multiple–award-winning author and perennial teen favorite Laurie Halse Anderson sat down to chat with Kirkus about her newest book, Forge, and the trilogy it centers, her writing process and how she handles book challenges. See it here.