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Unreviewed but not Forgotten
“Hey Mark” (a hypothetical reader asks) “how do you choose what you review around here?” Unfortunately, chance and timing play a big role. There are of course hundreds of books every year that could be reviewed on this blog that we simply never hear about or never get a copy of. But what about books that we are actively expecting, but authors we know and trust? Sometimes we don’t even get to those. In some cases, there are sequels to long or short running series that we simply can’t find anything new to say about. Other sequels we know will be popular but don’t live up to the originals. Then there are authors who have written some teen-friendly adult books but their new books don’t quite have the same appeal. And of course, sometimes, we just can’t get to a book in time for a timely review.
But the point of this post is not to lament this blog’s failures, but to celebrate the bounty of books available. Here are eleven books from ten authors that you should know about: none of them is for every teen, but there are definitely teen readers out there for every one of these.
I reviewed the second of the four Junior Bender mysteries, and I read and quite enjoyed the third as well, but I didn’t see enough difference between the two to merit another review, so I skipped this most recent title. Nevertheless, I think there’s a lot of teen appeal in these mysteries, especially for young film buffs, and I would recommend any of them unreservedly.
Mead, Richelle, The Immortal Crown (Dutton)
We ended our review of Gameboard of the Gods by declaring that fans would be “waiting for the sequels” but we nevertheless managed to miss this, the first sequel. If your teens love Mead and loved Gameboard, be sure to pick this one up.
Mishani, D.A., A Possibility of Violence (Harper)
I was quite enamored of Mishani’s first Avraham Avraham mystery, The Missing File, and was particularly excited by the idea of a Hebrew mystery novelist. Unfortunately, I didn’t see quite enough teen interest in the first book to review the second, but if you’ve had a different experience, by all means take a look at this second in an ongoing series.
Wooding, Chris, Iron Jackal (Titan)
We absolutely loved the first two volumes in Woodin’s steampunky Ketty Jay series, and it’s kind of inexcusable that we managed to miss reviewing this third volume. But miss it we did, as it came out over six months ago here in the US (not to mention three years ago in Britain). Do yourself a favor and pick this one up, and keep your eyes peeled for the forthcoming Ace of Skulls, which came out in Britain last year.
Waters, M.D., Prototype (Dutton)
The first half of this two part series, Archetype, got a starred review and a place on our Best Books of the Year, so far list. We chose not to review this, the second half, because it simply does not live up to its predecessor. However, teens who loved Archetype will want to follow-up with this sequel.
The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature, ed. Russ Kick (Seven Stories)
We’re way behind on this series. Russ Kick’s Graphic Canon came out in three parts, moving chronologically through the Western Canon from Gilgamesh to Infinite Jest, and now he’s back with a look at the canon of children’s lit. We reviewed the first volume, and (like Archetype) gave it a star and a place on our Best of the Year, so far list. But we missed volumes 2 and 3 completely, and this year we’re missing this volume on children’s lit. Don’t let our silence be your guide. Take a look at these fabulous renditions of some of the greatest stories in history!
Authors We Love:
Oates, Joyce Carol, High Crime Area: Tales of Darkness and Dread (Grove)
One novel and one story collection this year: about par for the course for Oates. I haven’t had a chance to crack open either of these books, but as I said in my review of Evil Eye last year, I pretty much recommend any and all Oates to mature readers. There is always sure to be something provocative and creepy.
Powers, Kevin, Letters Composed During a Lull in the Fighting (Little, Brown)
Powers’s The Yellow Birds was one of my favorite books of 2012, and we gave it a starred review and a place on our Best of the Year list. It was also a National Book Award finalist. Powers returns to his war experience for this poetry collection, which got good reviews and I expect to be great, but which I couldn’t quite fit into my reading schedule.
Speaking of favorites, Jo Walton’s Among Others was a favorite of both myself and Angela–I can’t speak for Angela but I continue to recommend it to anyone and everyone I meet. A truly magical book, and another that made our Best of the Year list, this time in 2011. So we were both pretty excited to hear that Walton had a new novel out this year. And yet, no review. Angela read and loved it but found its teen appeal to be limited. For my part, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. But fans of Among Others should know that it’s out there and please let us know if you think it has teen appeal.
Webb, Wendy, The Vanishing (Hyperion)
We reviewed Webb’s second novel, The Fate of Mercy Alban, last year and this one sounds fabulously creepy, but yet again lost out to the vicissitudes of time–a January release and now too many other books piled on top to get to it.
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About Mark Flowers
Mark Flowers is the Young Adult Librarian at the John F. Kennedy Library in Vallejo, CA. 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). Contact him via Twitter @droogmark
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