Young Adult & Children’s Reviews.

Reading young adult and middle-grade books when you’re fully grown is a multi-tiered experience. If they hit the mark like they’re supposed to, they not only bring you back to that time when you were young and insecure, but they also give you a sense of what has changed and how much has remained the same.

To review a novel for younger readers is a tricky art, but one that can be easily tackled by asking yourself two simple questions. First: Did I believe? If so, no matter what the subject matter is or who the main characters are—from slutty vampires to misunderstood geeks to teens from another culture entirely—the book will be (or should theoretically be) a resounding success. Secondly (and, maybe, more importantly): Will they believe? As a reviewer, it’s important to be able to conceptualize what an author is trying to do. But if the book is way over the heads of its intended audience—the words are too sophisticated, the metaphors too obtuse or embarrassingly dated, the subject too rote or unnecessarily complicated—it will miss its mark entirely. The same can be said for nonfiction.

Truth be told, I have read a few duds in my time. But there have been some real showstoppers too. Those types of books can move mountains . . . and I’ve seen them transform the lives of their readers for the better.

A selection of past reviews (links and pdf files):

Young Adult


***Plus, take a look at my weekly post on “Letter Blocks”—a blog for parents and educators—here. If you’re looking for recommendations of meaty, well-written books for middle-graders and teens or news about what’s going on in the publishing world that might affect your teen or pre-teen, you’ll find all that and more on the blog.

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