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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Where the Dystopian Craze meets Literary Fiction

On Such a Full Sea

On Such a Full Sea was published in January, so we are a bit behind here. Truth be told, we did not receive a copy for review, nor did we assign the book to a reviewer. I mention this because it’s such a great example of two of the strengths of presenting book reviews in [...]

The Weight of Blood

The Weight of Blood

Laura McHugh‘s debut novel is set in rural, small-town Missouri, deep in the Ozarks. This dark coming-of-age mystery follows a 17-year-old girl determined to investigate the murder of a friend from school, a search which leads to the earlier murder of her own mother. Told from multiple perspectives, the novel’s strengths include its setting (the [...]

Family Drama and Mental Illness

What I Had Before I Had You

Today’s books are about family, relationships, secrets, and coming-of-age. Both move back and forth in time, and include characters suffering from mental illness. Sarah Cornwell‘s debut novel, What I Had Before I Had You follows a mother’s memories back into her own turbulent adolescence. The thread that connects past and present is bipolar disorder, which [...]

The Last Days of California

The Last Days of California

You’ve probably already heard about Mary Miller‘s debut — it’s received some very nice starred reviews (LJ, PW, Booklist) and is popping up in more popular magazines like Vogue, Redbook and Elle. The Last Days of California is the first person narration of a naive 15-year-old girl on a road trip with her family. We [...]

Life After Death

what she left behind

Two young women with recently deceased fathers find themselves immersed in relics of the past: these are the striking parallels between the two novels reviewed below.  In Ellen Marie Wiseman’s What She Left Behind, the teenaged heroine is sucked into the past by the journals of another young woman who had been committed to an [...]

Radiance of Tomorrow

Radiance of Tomorrow

Ishmael Beah took bestseller, best of the year, and school reading lists by storm in 2007 with his memoir of being swept up in Sierra Leone’s civil war as a child soldier. It almost seems anti-climactic to mention that A Long Way Gone won an Alex Award. Seven years later it is still a popular suggestion for [...]

Meet the Costa First Novel Award winner

Where the Moon Isn't

The Costa Book Award winners were announced earlier this week. We were thrilled when a review of the winner for First Novel arrived from Diane Colson on the very same day! The Costa Book Awards “honour some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland.” The [...]

Truth & Responsibility

At the Bottom of Everything

All three of today’s books are concerned with learning the truth and/or facing responsibility. In Ben Dolnick‘s At the Bottom of Everything, young Adam is trying to avoid facing the mistake he and his best friend made as teenagers. If he could only take responsibility for it, he would be better off. So would his [...]

Family, for Better or Worse

Mother, Mother

Today we review three very different novels about families, none of them easy. The families, that is! Koren Zailckas is well-known for her memoir Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood (Viking, 2005). Mother, Mother is her first novel, and it introduces a doozy of a family dynamic. The story includes elements of suspense, psychological thriller and [...]

The Recent Past

Songs of Willow Frost

Three novels set in the recent past all center on adolescents betrayed or abandoned by the adults in their lives. Jamie Ford‘s debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, was a hugely successful debut. At the time of publication it was recommended for teen readers, and justifiably so. More recently, it was [...]