“Something Rich and Strange” by Patricia McKillip

Some 30 years ago, I picked up an unassuming paperback copy of Patricia McKillip’s “The Riddle-Master of Hed” at a library book sale. When I finished it, I held the closed book in my hands, paused, then turned to the first page to begin again. I’ve been a fan of that series, and of standalone […]

“Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword” by Barry Deutsch

Subtitle: Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl

Recommended to me by: Barry Deutsch’s Alas, A Blog

A graphic novel set in an Orthodox Jewish town called Hereville, in a blended family with many girls and one little brother. The facial expressions and other details in the drawings are captivating – I read the […]

“National Velvet” by Enid Bagnold

I received this book, originally published in 1935, with a childhood gift of six classic Young Adult novels. I’ve carried the set from home to home ever since, but hadn’t reread any of the books in many years.

Before I send the set off to my niece and nephew, I decided to reread […]

“Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes” by Chris Crutcher

Recommended to me by: Tess Alfonsin

A hard-edged book for teens that takes on multiple tough issues:

Children’s cruelty to each other for being fat or disfigured What it’s like to grow up fat or disfigured Surviving parental abuse and abandonment Abortion Hypocrisy Religious intolerance by some Christians

While I applaud the author’s courage […]

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman

This story of young Bod Owens growing up in a graveyard sparkles with inviting details and action on every page, drawing me into reading it while I was supposed to be doing other things. I enjoyed the gradual revelations about his caretakers, and the sturdy, matter-of-fact ethics that Bod learns from them.

Like any […]

“Stay with me” by Garret Freymann-Weyr

Recommended to me by: Marissa Lingen

Narrated by oddly mature sixteen year old Leila (“Lee-la”) Abranel, this coming-of-age novel shows her both grappling with her much older sister’s suicide, and embarking on her second romantic relationship. The story is absorbing, but harrowing events and difficult emotions are described so quietly that the characters seem flat […]