Codes for Reviews

First Initial (Overall Rating):
E = Exceptional
VG = Very Good
G = Good
F = Fair
NR = Not Recommended

Second Initital (Reading Level):
A = Average Reading Level
E = Easy
M = Mature

“The views expressed are of individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective institutions.”

For more information about YAR, please email Dora Ho at

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stars in the Shadows


G/A  Smith Jr, Charles R.  Stars in the Shadows.  Atheneum, 2012.  106p.  978-0-689-86638-8.  14.99.  True to his passion for writing about and imaging sports, the author/illustrator serves us a live baseball game -- played by an all-star Negro league in 1934.  A radio announcer identifies each inning's roster of batters and calls the play-by-play action.  Commercials that support the on-air entertainment are also included.  And page length side-bars reflect fans' conversations.  Visually, the text appears to be written in prose but when read aloud -- there's definite poetry rhyming.  Within households of kindred grandparents--grandchildren relationships, this baseball history would be fun to enjoy together.  This could also qualify as material for a classroom monologue.  E.M. Roublow,
LAPL, San Pedro Branch.



G/A  Fletcher, Ralph.  Guy-Write.  Henry Holt, 2012.  166p.  978-0-8050-9404-6.  15.99.  Hooray for a "how-to" for the fellas.  Male authors including Jon Scieszka, Robert Lipsyte and Jarrett Krosoczka -- who also draws -- give tips, strategies and encouragement on writing skills.  Topical seeds can grow from notebook notes, drawings and/or storyboarding.  Students can elect to enjoy reading this from cover to cover or meander through interviews and writing samples.  Hopefully, a host of English teachers will use this (or make it available) in the classroom as a supplement to the standard class textbook.  E.M. Roublow, LAPL, San Pedro Branch.

All You Never Wanted

F/A  Griffin, Adele.  All You Never Wanted.  Knopf, 2012.  240p.  978-0375870828.  16.99.

Sisters Alex and Thea may be close in age, but they couldn’t be more different. Alex, the high school senior, was always the prettier, more popular one, but lately she’s been acting strange and barely eating. High school junior, Thea is trying to change her image to be more like her older sister, even going so far as trying to steal her friends and boyfriend. Her method: lying about everything. She’s desperate for attention. The book takes course over a weekend when their parents are out of town and Thea wants to throw a party. Unfortunately the writing out shines the plot in this novel. When you find out why Alex is behaving so strangely, no amount of good writing can make up for the silliness of it. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sons of the 613

F/A  Rubens, Michael.  Sons of the 613.  Clarion Books, 2012.  320p.  978-0547612164.  16.99.

Three weeks before his Bar Mitzvah, Isaac witnesses his friend’s disastrous turn on the bema and finds out his parents are going to Italy for two weeks and leaving his older brother, Josh in charge. As if he wasn’t nervous already! Josh decides to take this opportunity to really turn his brother into a man by creating a quest for him that involves camping, excessive exercise, bars, a makeover, motorcycles and a final prank. Rubens is a Daily Show writer and you can tell with all the potty humor, but the humor comes in waves and it takes a heavy turn towards the end. Boys looking for humorous reads might like it, but would probably prefer Calame’s Swim the Fly or Crawford’s Carter Finally Gets It. Loren Spector, LAPL, Felipe de Neve

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

General YA Fiction

G/A.  Laybourne, Emmy.  Monument 14.  Feiwel and Friends.  2012.  304p.  978-0-312-56903-7.  16.99

A post-apocalyptic near future is the setting for Laybourne’s debut novel. Fourteen youth ranging from kindergartners to high school seniors find themselves trapped in a superstore and faced with an uncertain future in the aftermath of a series of natural and man-made disasters. Though seemingly safe and with more than adequate provisions, the youth still must deal with internal power struggles, teen hormones and homesick little children, not to mention the threat from the adults outside who either covet supplies or who have succumbed to the dangerous side effects from the ensuing chemical fallout. An exciting opening and ending sandwich a sometimes repetitive middle. Having said that, it’s still a quick and easy read that will leave readers wanting to know what happens next in the planned sequel. Recommended for high school since there is mention of drug taking, drinking and some sexual situations as well as an allusion to an attempted rape.
Patsy Pinedo Tuck, Eagle Rock Branch, Los Angeles Public Library