Some years I approach the new crop of Hanukkah picture books with trepidation: What new stories could possibly be told about the Jewish Festival of Lights, an ancient holiday that’s become a staple of December festivities? Happily, though, this year’s Hanukkah books include three titles that reimagine the genre in ways that are rich, fresh and delicious.
Fantasy lovers proceed with caution when publishers promise a book will be “the next Harry Potter,” as so many new titles given that moniker ultimately disappoint. But Lauren Oliver’s latest—billed as co-written by the shadowy H.C. Chester—may be the closest thing to another Potter book to hit shelves in a long time.
Leah Westfall can sense the presence of gold. It sings to her, thrumming and tingling. This secret talent helps keep her family afloat in their fading mining town in 1849 Georgia. When news of boundless California gold reaches town, her best friend Jefferson dreams of joining the burgeoning gold rush.
Every once in a while a book comes along that inspires readers to rethink everything they thought they knew about how fiction works. Given author A.S. King’s talent for writing boundary-pushing YA lit, it’s no surprise that her latest offering does exactly that.
Chloe was born a teenager and will always be one. Like her sisters, the middle-aged Serena and the elderly Xinot, she exists only to spin, measure and cut the threads of human lives. Chloe and her sisters are the Fates of Greek mythology, living and working on an island far from human entanglements—until a desperate teenage girl, Aglaia, seeks shelter in the Fates’ home.
I admit it: In junior high I had the soundtrack from Les Misérables on permanent replay. I saw the musical on Broadway and even read the unabridged book by Victor Hugo, all 1,500 pages of it. So when I heard that adult author Susan Fletcher’s debut YA novel would retell this classic novel from Eponine’s point of view, I jumped at the chance to review it.
Novels- and memoirs-in-verse are always welcome additions to the young adult canon, especially those that show world history through diverse voices. In Enchanted Air, poet Margarita Engle introduces readers to her “Two countries / Two families / Two sets of words” and her own “two selves.”
In her new memoir-in-verse, Newbery Honor-winning poet Margarita Engle introduces readers to her “Two countries / Two families / Two sets of words” and her own “two selves.” We spoke with the author about Enchanted Air and how traveling between her two countries has turned the "chasm [of biculturalism] into a bridge."
Three intersecting narratives combine in this spinoff to Morgan Rhodes’ best-selling Falling Kingdoms series.
Eccentric mastermind Garrison Griswold, founder of the popular Book Scavenger website, is about to launch an elaborate new game when his plans are violently interrupted. The only clue he leaves behind is a specially printed copy of an Edgar Allan Poe short story, “The Gold-Bug.”