On a perfect day for getting lost on purpose, the story of Ms. Rapscott’s Girls by Elise Primavera begins in pictures.  Although they are perhaps not as sophisticated, the drawings remind the reader of those in The Invention of Hugo Cabret written and illustrated by Brian Selznick, who also uses pictures to carry the story line artfully forward. Because it shares mystery, magic, adventure, and satirical issues about parental involvement, Primavera’s story can be compared to Lemony Snickett’s Series of Unfortunate Events.  Young readers will likely find the eight-year-old characters interesting in their familiarity.  Although the girls have been called loud, lazy, foolish, or unable to doRead More →

For years, science fiction authors have been asking big questions like, Are humans meant to play god with genes?  By 2151, the world is a strange and different place, not unlike that revealed by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World or that created by Orson Scott Card in Ender’s Game.  Lydia Kang’s science fiction series Control ends with the novel Catalyst, where readers learn who, what, and why traited children were created and the idea of genetic manipulation promoted. As the novel opens, eighteen-year-old Zelia Benten lives in Neia (geographically near present day Nebraska and Iowa) at Carus House, where silence is frightening and aloneRead More →

Around the world, youth celebrate a rite of passage into adulthood, a time when they leave behind the behaviors and beliefs from childhood, unlock their potential, and enter the world as fledgling adults.  When and how this transition occurs depends on where adolescents live and in what cultures they grow up. Paige McKenzie, with Alyssa Sheinmel, writes the story of one such transition in The Haunting of Sunshine Girl.   This first book in a paranormal series based on the YouTube sensation asks the question: What if, when you turned sixteen, everything you thought you knew about the world shifted?  A week past her 16th birthday, SunshineRead More →