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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

The New Look of Adult Books 4 Teens

Adult Books 4 Teens began its life as the Adult Books for High School Students print column in SLJ, which provided 15-20 reviews a month.  Two years ago the print column was replaced by this blog, which continued to provide 3-4 reviews a week, with the benefit of added context.

Starting today, though, AB4T is going to look a bit more like . . . well, a blog. We still intend to provide as many reviews of great adult books as we can — our current plan is to write three posts a week, at least one of which will contain multiple reviews — but we’re going to add to our mission by offering thoughts on new and upcoming trends, ideas about using particular books in curriculum, news, awards, original author interviews, and more.

As always, with very few exceptions, we only publish positive reviews, so you may take the appearance of a review here as a strong recommendation. Now we look forward to offering more thoughts on why particular books *didn’t* make the cut. And don’t worry, we will continue to provide our popular Best of the Year So Far and Best of the Year lists in June and December (the 2012 list is already at the printer — can’t wait to unveil it soon!).

As part of this transition, please welcome a new co-editor to the blog, Mark Flowers. Mark is a public librarian in Solano County, CA, and has been reviewing for the blog from the start.  He reviews for a variety of library journals and blogs and recently contributed a chapter to The Complete Summer Reading Program Manual: From Planning to Evaluation (YALSA, 2012).

I am looking forward to working with this terrifically talented book reviewer/librarian on a regular basis, especially the chance to share and challenge ideas on trends, appeal, read-alikes, you name it. Please help us make this blog as good as it can be by telling us what we’re doing right and how we can make it even better. Comments welcome!

Now for the book news of the morning. Last night the National Book Awards were announced at the end of a long, long ceremony held here in New York City at Cipriani. (The Twitter comments about the long wait were hilarious — #nbaward12). In any event, the winners are:

Young People’s LiteratureGoblin Secrets by William Alexander (take a look at the review by fellow SLJ blogger, Liz Burns)

PoetryBewilderment: New Poems and Translations by David Ferry

NonfictionBehind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

FictionThe Round House by Louise Erdrich

Both the nonfiction and fiction winners are great recommendations for strong teen readers, books that perfectly combine appeal and excellence.

Behind the Beautiful ForeversBehind the Beautiful Forevers has long seemed like the inevitable nonfiction frontrunner, given the great love and admiration this book has received from all quarters. Our review, by Jamie Watson, reads in part: “As much crime novel as nonfiction is imparted in the opening line–“Midnight was closing in, the one-legged woman was grievously burned, and the Mumbai police were coming for Abdul and his father.” Abdul is 16, and he’s been accused of driving his neighbor to suicide, a crime in India. Abdul and the one-legged woman are just two of the many people readers meet in the Annawadi slum behind the Mumbai airport and hotel district…Boo frames the story around the accusations against Abdul, but informs readers about a multitude of social conditions. This book belongs on reading lists as a work that allows high schoolers to see the incredible hardships of life in a developing country.”

The Round HouseOf The Round House, AB4T reviewer John Sexton wrote, “Nothing will be the same in the life of 13-year-old Native American Joe Coutts after his mother barely survives a brutal sexual assault on tribal land…This novel of layered mystery will appeal to teens who appreciate literary fiction or have an interest in contemporary Native American culture. Teachers looking for a novel that will stimulate thoughtful discussions about justice and morality similar to To Kill a Mockingbird will discover a contemporary classic in Round House.” See the full review and post here.

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.


  1. Congratulations on snagging such a great co-editor!

  2. Ah, and my only suggestion: ask the web master to add the link that says “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.” I use those two features all the time on Heavy Medal and Someday My Printz Will Come, and I think they allow for richer (and longer) discussions.

  3. I love seeing AB4T evolve as our discussion about YA literature and teen readers evolves too. Great work!