To get the girl in Randa Abdel-Fattah’s YA novel, The Lines We Cross, Australian teenager Michael Blainey needs to get (and stay) “woke”—though it’s probably not the term he would use.
“I’m familiar with it,” Abdel-Fattah says of the slang usage denoting possession of a social justice consciousness, “but it’s very much an American-specific context word, although it certainly resonates with what’s happening in Michael’s situation.”
Readers of The Lines We Cross (ages 12-17) meet Michael at an ...
The Classic Novel Hits the Half-Century Mark
We humans are tribal people, organizing ourselves into bands and clans that divide the world into us and them, self and other: Goths. Bloods. Rotarians. Where blood is not the basis, something else becomes the point of division: a haircut or tattoo, a band or political issue. And for all our talk of the oneness of humankind, we seem to thrive on making such distinctions.
Theodore Geisel, Dr. Seuss, got it right in his prescient story from 1953, The Sneetches ...
A boy and girl go on a road trip to California. They visit the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. They fall in love. The plot of Rory Harrison’s debut novel, Looking for Group, sounds typical enough; the book itself is anything but.
Dylan is 17 and just found out that he is not, in fact, going to die. After years of being the kid with cancer and fed up with his barely present mom, he sets out on a quest ...
Stuff happens to most people. One thing going wrong, I mean. One family member missing a chance to help. One who cuts you off. One person with her own shit to deal with.
One of those things isn’t enough to send you falling through the cracks.
But all of them together, they accumulate. An abandoned mother here. A missing uncle there. A disappearing father two generations back. A friendship broken by fear or mistrust or addiction. Genes that make you ...
Barry Lyga photographed by Devon John Photography.
What’s Barry Lyga’s secret to writing books teen readers love?
“I don’t write for teens,” says the New York Times bestselling author of I Hunt Killers. “That’s my secret—I write about teens.
“I’m aware that my books are published as YA,” he continues, “and I love that, and there’s a magic to having teenagers tell you a book of yours has changed or saved their life....Teenagers are still in that molten lava stage, where the right book ...
Fairly recently the Facebook comments on our review of The Black Witch, by Laurie Forest, have exploded with severe condemnation of Kirkus’ enthusiastic recommendation of this doorstopper of a fantasy that is, to quote a representative comment, “filled with horrific and undisguised racism, ableism, homophobia, and misogyny.”
They are right. The book oozes all of those things—but I would argue it is not a racist, ableist, homophobic, or misogynistic book.
The story of sheltered Elloren Gardner, scion of one of ...
When Sara Zarr assessed her storied career in YA fiction (six books, seven years), she noted a trend in upward mobility.
“With each book, the characters got more and more middle- to upper-middle-class, which was not my background,” says Zarr, who grew up in San Francisco and lives in Salt Lake City. “That’s been the story of my life, starting out in an impoverished situation and then, gradually, changing—significantly, in my adulthood, with my writing career becoming more stable ...
Lamar Giles photographed by Adrienne Giles.
Lamar Giles knows how to write fun, feisty, and fully realized female protagonists.
In Overturned, poker prodigy Nikki Tate lives in a Las Vegas casino, kicks butt on and off the soccer field, and cunningly pursues a murder suspect the police don’t seem to want to find.
“The key—and this is the approach the first time I wrote a female character—is not to think of it as a thesis on what girls are,” says Giles, who Kirkus reached by ...