The twin sisters Clara and Hailey in Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee (Simon & Schuster, 2016) are not your average 17-year-old twins. As conjoined twins, they are attached at the base of the spinal cord, and as such have never been apart. Their personalities could not be more different, though. And although their life has been

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OCDaniel by Wesley King is a much needed added addition to Young Adult collections, as it puts a frequently taboo subject (mental illness) at the center of the story. OCDaniel is about a middle school boy suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but he does not quite know what it is. He feels progressively frustrated with

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Tru and Nelle by G. Neri is a book about a young Harper Lee and a young Truman Capote. In this book, however, Harper Lee is known as Nelle and young Truman is Tru. I often heard that the book To Kill a Mockingbird and the characters in that book were based on the childhood friendship of Harper

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Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo (translated by Ann Leonori) is a young adult novel based on the true story of a boy who, as a child slave in Pakistan, changed the outlook for the hopeless children who work at the rug-making factory he has been transferred to. As told from the fictionalized perspective of a young girl

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Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1962, The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (originally published 1961) is an amazing story about a boy in Galilee during the time of Jesus. Daniel bar Jamin is an angry teenager, looking for revenge on the Roman soldiers who occupy his land. As a politically charged novel, then, The

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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.

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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

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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

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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)

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I’ve mentioned before that I love the nonfiction books I’ve read by Sally M. Walker. Ghost Walls (Lerner, 2014) is no exception. With Ms. Walker’s conversational style of writing and clear explanations of both science and history, Ghost Walls digs into the anthropological history of a seventeenth-century house in Maryland, giving life to a house that fell into

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