Teen Book Reviews

BALANCING ACT by Margaret Gurevich
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A delight for fashionistas everywhere. (Fiction. 9-13)"
Superfashionista Chloe, having won the Teen Design Diva reality TV show in series opener Making the Cut (2014), begins her internship at the New York offices of one of her favorite designers.Read full book review >
THE MYSTERY OF LIFE by Jan Paul Schutten
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A glib and occasionally spotty picture but eminently readable and generally on target. (end references, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13)"
A lighthearted view of the universe's progress, from the Big Bang to the evolution of bacteria, bonobos—and "Joe Schmo from Buffalo." Read full book review >

THE SHADOW BEHIND THE STARS by Rebecca Hahn
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Shattering and transcendent. (Fantasy. 14 & up)"
From the author of the radiant A Creature of Moonlight (2014), a heartbreaking fantasy tackles life's big questions.Read full book review >
THE TROUBLE IN ME by Jack Gantos
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Readers will laugh, possibly uneasily, at Jack's reckless antics and lack of impulse control, but they will probably also sympathize with his deep itch to make a change. (preface, afterword) (Historical fiction. 13-15)"
A misbegotten effort to reinvent himself leads young "Jack" to burn his notebooks and clothes, though not quite his bridges, in Gantos' latest burst of confessional fiction. Read full book review >
OUT OF DARKNESS by Ashley Hope Pérez
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A powerful, layered tale of forbidden love in times of unrelenting racism. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 14 & up)"
A Mexican-American girl and a black boy begin an ill-fated love in the months leading up to a catastrophic 1937 school explosion in East Texas. Read full book review >

WHIPPOORWILL by Joseph Monninger
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A sweet story about a lucky dog that reveals itself to be a deeper story about a lucky human. (Fiction. 12-15)"
Can a girl, a dog, and a boy overcome the disadvantages of circumstance? Read full book review >
THE KING AND THE SEA by Heinz Janisch
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"This gem's childlike warmth, whimsy, and wisdom bring to mind The Little Prince. (Picture book. 7 & up)"
The titular king, a smallish character made of paper and featuring crayoned features and crown, converses with many creatures and inanimate objects in a series of double-page "chapters," each title beginning, "The King and…." Read full book review >
INFORMATION INSECURITY by Brendan January
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Listen up, warns January in this arresting work: everyone is watching, and nothing is deleted for keeps. (Nonfiction. 12-18)"
Some sound advice: assume everything you do on the Internet is seen or collected by someone other than your intended audience, out of malice or opportunism, pure and simple. Read full book review >
STATE OF GRACE by Hilary Badger
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Most intriguing and provocative. (Science fiction. 14-18)"
Would people truly be happy if they could return to the Garden of Eden before the Fall? A girl lives blissfully within such a world, convinced she and everything else was created by Dot, her beloved deity. Read full book review >
SMART AND SPINELESS by Ann Downer
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Science facts more surprising than science fiction for teen readers. (endnotes, glossary, bibliography, further reading) (Nonfiction. 12-16)"
The lack of a spine, or even a brain, doesn't keep invertebrates from learning, remembering, and solving problems. Read full book review >
THE FLINKWATER FACTOR by Pete Hautman
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Fast, funny episodes featuring creative takes on close-to-reality science. (Science fiction. 8-14)"
Hautman's latest features wacky adventures in a near-future small town packed with engineers. Read full book review >
ANNE & HENRY by Dawn Ius
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Clever and compelling storytelling from a promising writer. (Fiction. 14 & up)"
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn are reimagined as private school hooligans (of course). Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >