The mystery at the heart of Marcus Sedgwick’s labyrinthine Midwinterblood is so well hidden, it’s not even initially clear what the mystery is at all. Seven stories—from a young journalist in 2027 to a vampire in the 10th century—unfold in reverse chronological order on this magical island, revealing a dark and complex tale that is expertly told. Our young adult literature expert Jill Ratzan predicted Midwinterblood would earn the 2014 Printz Award, and indeed it won. British author Sedgwick answered a few questions for us about what it’s like to win the Printz.
In Broken Tooth, Maine, there is the legend of the Grey Man, a spirit who haunts the old lighthouse on Jackson Rock. But the Grey Man is more than a ghost. He’s a cursed man who must gather the souls of those who die under his light. The Grey Man knows there’s a girl out there who might be his savior if only he can convince her to take his place.
Cy Williams is not a slave, but his life is far from his own. Growing up in Georgia in the 1890s, he knows that the cruel white plantation owner his father works for could throw him in jail or even kill him in a second.
In the opening scene of unflinching thriller Before My Eyes—eminiscent of the shooting at Gabby Giffords’ political rally in 2011a gunman pulls out a weapon at a Labor Day campaign rally for New York state senator Glenn Cooper. Who is the target? What is the motive? And how will the crowd react to and fare the tragedy? To answer these questions, author Caroline Bock takes readers back to the Friday that kicks off this holiday weekend on Long Island and the events that lead up to the gunman’s appearance.
Madeline Landry’s role in life has always been made clear: As the eldest (and only) child in the leading gentry family in society, she must have a successful debut, marry and beget an heir. It doesn’t matter that Madeline wants a university education. Her father isn’t interested in her arguments that knowing business will make her a better owner of the Landry Park estate, that understanding science will allow her to appreciate her grandfather’s invention of the nuclear technology behind the Cherenkov lantern, or that appreciating history will give her insights into the Last War, when America lost all its land west of the Rockies to the Eastern Empire.
Harbinger “Harry” Jones was in a childhood accident that left him externally scarred and broken inside. When he meets Johnny, their friendship leads to a spontaneous decision to form a band, which brings Harry out of his shell. Their burgeoning popularity is a pleasant surprise, but it opens up a subtle rift with his best friend. As The Scar Boys gain in popularity, their future grows ever less certain.
Remembering the sacrifices and successes of African Americans—from unexpected champions of civil rights to talented performers who dreamed big—is one of the most inspiring ways to celebrate Black History Month. If we keep teaching our children well, racism just may someday be a thing of the past.
In the winter of 2001, the tragedy of 9/11 is still fresh, especially for 16-year-old Aidan Donovan. There’s something to fear everywhere, and with this fear comes isolation. Only charismatic and vibrant Father Greg offers certainty, and maybe even love, in a world that seems to be falling apart. As Aidan turns to drugs, alcohol and a new set of friends, he begins to question his relationship with Father Greg. Faced with the possibility of a girlfriend for the first time and a classmate who may share Father Greg’s dirty secrets, Aidan has more to ponder, including his own sexuality and his belief system.
The Tyrant’s Daughter is the existential story of a teenage girl living on the periphery of war, where she straddles the blood-soaked country she’s always called home and the new American land of bittersweet promise where she has since been exiled.
Jenny Hubbard’s outstanding debut novel, 2011’s Paper Covers Rock, was set at a boys’ boarding school in the 1980s, where a young man struggled to find his poetic voice while overcoming a personal tragedy. Hubbard’s second novel, And We Stay, explores many of the same themes from a female perspective.