Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Boston Globe

Violent Ends edited by Shaun David Hutchinson

“The point that Violent Ends so beautifully makes isn’t just that there are answers we will never have and human actions we will never understand. It also demonstrates this: We cannot 100 percent know the depth of another person’s heart. We cannot know the whys and whats of his soul.

“This idea could be sad, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of rendering human beings powerless, it could render them more compassionate. Knowing that the stranger who just bumped you in the hall or that the awkward loner who sits behind you in class each have a story, makes it easier to chose kindness — again, again, and again.”

There Is No Dog, Chopsticks & The Fault in Our Stars

“Green’s writing is raw and feels so very real. Illness can be undignified. Suffering does not have a purpose, and relationships are complicated. In the most painful way a person can, Hazel comes to realize, that love does not, cannot, conquer death. What it can do, however, is transcend it.”

Hostage Three, Ketchup Clouds & This Song Will Save Your Life

“When reality, with all its complications, threatens the bubble she has created, Elise comes to understand that there is no ‘Handbook for Being a Real Person.’ It turns out that a song alone cannot save a life — but a great playlist can be part of what makes it worth living.”

The Gospel of Winter, Grasshopper Jungle & The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean Telt by Hisself

“Even in the scenes where ‘Unstoppable Soldiers’ are biting people’s heads off, the rhythm of Smith’s sentences and his masterful use of repetition create poetry.”

The Walls Around Us & Read Between the Lines

“There is something very violent and nasty about flipping another person off. Perhaps it’s because the lines of a single lifted digit so perfectly represent the sharp ugliness of the words they stand in for. Nonetheless, Knowles makes the middle finger more than a lazy insult. Just as Suma shows how sweat, blood, and decay mean greater things than exertion and destruction, Knowles demonstrates how ‘the finger’ can be a metaphor for empathy. A reminder that behind every rude gesture is a person with a story and that hearing that story will help each of us better understand our own.”

A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me

“Schmidt asks readers to press their imaginations against the sharp edges of his memories to try to understand what it was like growing up in a house made of shattered glass.”

Lies in the Dust, Conversion, The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone & I’ll Give You the Sun

“Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun is a daydream: hazy, otherworldly, and mesmerizing.”

Out of the Easy & Navigating Early

“In order to fully fall into the novel, you have to turn off that part of the brain that questions — the part that, whether we are 10 or 60, wants magic somehow explained. But do it. Believe that eighth-graders can build racing skulls and navigate the Maine wilderness; believe that numbers can tell a story and that ‘[s]ometimes, it’s best not to see your whole path laid out before you,’ as Jack’s mother once told him. ‘Let life surprise you . . . There are more stars out there than just the ones with names. And they’re all beautiful.'”




Cleveland Plain Dealer

Riveting ‘Blink and Caution’ Will Appeal to Both Boys and Girls

“Edgar Award-winner Tim Wynne-Jones’ 12th novel for teens has all the elements of a classic noir.”




New York Times

Chimeras, Angels and a Girl in Prague

“Karou’s first story ends with an anguished epiphany, the promise of a new adventure and, of course, what Emily Dickinson called “the thing with feathers” and what Brimstone calls ‘the real magic,’ hope.”

What You’re Made Of: ‘The Real Boy,’ by Anne Ursu

“Anne Ursu, the author of Breadcrumbs, has written a lovely and sophisticated new middle-grade fantasy that asks readers to wrap their heads around abstractions and accept a lack of absolutes. There is no one bad guy, people are simultaneously greedy and miraculous, and even a monster deserves understanding.”