Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (1998 Newbery Medal Winner) is a young adult novel in poetry about the difficulties of dust bowl living in the 1930s. A changing industry, magnified by severe drought and the Great Depression, meant that farming in rural Oklahoma was more difficult than ever. But Billie’s difficulties are compounded. It’s hard enough being on the brink of womanhood, but when tragedies strike, nothing will ever be the same again.
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The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene (Dutton Books, 2014) is both an existential novel about the meaningless of life as well as an sensitive exploration of the importance of friendship in the midst of the seemingly meaningless.

Hazel is a 16-year-old girl with cancer, miraculously kept alive by a “miracle” drug that could stop working at any time for her. Stuck at home for years, Hazel has learned to distance herself from many relationships and friends, all the while reading her favorite books, studying hard, and taking courses at the local college. She is content, but as she has pointed out, a side-affect of cancer is often depression, so she has her moments.Continue Reading

Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Nest by Esther Ehrlich (Random House Children’s Books; published today!) is an emotionally charged novel about a young girl facing stark change after her mother develops a serious disease. Naomi, “Chirp” to her family and friends, is a bird-loving sixth grader on Cape Cod in the early 1970s. Her life is full of nature and her loving family. As her family struggles with her mother’s degenerative condition, she must grow up faster than she intended. Continue Reading

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

Do you see all the award stickers on there? Yes, this book is a good one!

I love history but given my busy schedule these days, I feel I have limited time to read. A 400+ page book about history just is not going to get read in a timely manner. A Young Adult book, however, is often just the thing I need!

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook Press, 2012) is just such a book. It reads like a fun novel, with spies and intrigue. The author does not shy away from the complexities of the people involved, and I love hearing the first hand accounts from the people involved. Continue Reading