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New Middle School Titles
2013
Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves & Other Female Villains
Click to search this book in our catalog   Jane Yolen

Book list *Starred Review* Girls gone wild! The mother-daughter team of Yolen and Stemple have rounded up some of the meanest (or perhaps just misguided) group of gals history has known. And they have wrapped them in an attractive package that makes reading about their exploits even more enjoyable. The list begins with the biblical Delilah (sorry, Sampson), introduces Cleopatra, stops in England to say hello to Anne Boleyn and (bloody) Queen Mary, and then heads over to America to visit with Tituba, Calamity Jane, and Typhoid Mary. And that's just a few of the 26 spies, sirens, and female felons the duo takes on. Each subject gets a jauntily written page or so, prefaced by one of illustrator Guay's terrific full-page portraits and back-ended with a comic book-style page featuring the authors discussing whether the woman was exactly what she seemed. In fact, both an introduction and afterword focus on how history changes its opinion on people's actions, the way history's winners get the glory, and whether circumstances shape events more than personalities do. The thick paper, graphic novel-style typeface, and delightful artwork executed in ink and brush and dabbed with digital color will draw readers. The bibliography will lead kids to more about these gals.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 5-9-Who's bad? That's the question that Yolen and Stemple debate as they take an entertaining tour through the lives of some of history's most notorious women. Arranged chronologically from Delilah to mob courier Virginia Hill, this deck of 26 dicey dames includes royalty (Bloody Mary, Catherine of Russia), women of the Wild West (Belle Starr, Calamity Jane), and out-and-out criminals (Moll Cutpurse, Bonnie Parker). Guay gives a lush, period-appropriate poster-style portrait at the beginning of each two- to eight-page chapter, which contains a rough outline of each lady's supposed crimes along with the "aggravating or mitigating" circumstances that may influence readers' opinions of her guilt. The authors make the point that evolving attitudes and standards can make reassessment an interesting and fruitful exercise, even if, as in most of the cases here, no definitive conclusions are reached. Yolen and Stemple speak directly to readers and appear bickering delightfully as they model good discussion behavior (and shoes!) in a page of comics at the end of each chapter. Their enthusiasm for their subjects is contagious, abetted by playful language that makes Bad Girls a snap-crackling read. Alliteration, rhyme, short sentences, and a conversational tone combine with sometimes-challenging vocabulary to make this book quick but by no means dumbed-down. A hearty bibliography will give a girl a leg up on the further reading that she is sure to want to do. Feminist, intelligent, and open-ended, this book respects its readers as much as it does its subjects.-Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Mother-daughter collaborators Yolen and Stemple, who previously partnered with Guay on The Barefoot Book of Ballet Stories, revisit the lives and legendary misdeeds of 26 notorious women in this often witty chronological romp. Jezebel, Salome, Calamity Jane, Mata Hari, and many more get their own brief chapters, complete with punny subtitles ("Delilah: A Mere Snip of a Girl"). The team's tight, droll storytelling maintains a light tone: "Always conscious of her image, Bonnie [Parker] asked one kidnapped police officer to tell everyone she did not smoke cigars.... She may have been an outlaw, but she was not a smoker!" Comics sections from Guay end each chapter, showing Yolen and Stemple debating, via Socratic repartee, the guiltiness of each femme fatale, an entertaining if slightly egregious bit of authorial intrusion. If the authors' banter hasn't prompted readers to question the badness of these bad girls, the conclusion directly solicits the consideration: "Would we still consider these women bad? Or would we consider them victims of bad circumstances?" An extensive bibliography and index wrap up this narrative of nefarious-or not?-women. Ages 10-13. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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2013
Openly Straight
Click to search this book in our catalog   Bill Konigsberg
2012
Four Secrets
Click to search this book in our catalog   Margaret Willey
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780761385356 Gr 8-10-Though Katie, Nate, and Renata are social outcasts, they have a very tight bond. So when big man on campus Chase begins bullying Renata, they kidnap him, and because of their drastic action, they all end up in juvenile detention. Their social worker asks them each to keep a journal, and the novel is made up of their entries as well as an omniscient narrative. Katie writes two journals; in one she tells what actually happened, but the other is blatantly fake, intended for Mrs. Shield. Nate writes a flowery, fantasy-novel version of events. Renata uses her journal as a sketchbook, producing powerful black-and-white illustrations of pivotal moments leading up to her detention. The girls' journals offer great insights into their characters. Nate's high-fantasy language protects him from view until the very end, when the social worker breaks down his walls. The omniscient narrator chapters, though necessary, are jolting after the intimacy of the personal accounts. These kids have never been in trouble before, and their first act of rebellion goes wildly over-the-top in a believable, out-of-control spiral. These middle school kids encounter drugs, alcohol, sexuality, and violence, but Willey sensitively and skillfully reveals not only the details of their drastic act, but also the secrets that the three friends and their victim harbor, secrets that shape who they are and what their futures may be.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780761385356 *Starred Review* Four secrets? Feels more like 400. This mystery twists like kudzu, creeping ever closer to truths that, as readers, we both need to know and are afraid to find out. Katie, Nate, and Renata are three junior high school friends locked up in juvie after being found guilty of kidnapping the class bully, Chase. Their stories are told in nonsequential, piecemeal fashion via journals for their social worker, Greta Shield. It's a potential overload of information that Willey navigates with clarity and aplomb: Katie has two diaries, one for Mrs. Shield and a secret one filled with screenplay-style dialogue; Renata communicates only in skewed, nightmarish drawings; and Nate tells his story as if it were a Tolkienesque fantasy. This last gambit is risky but reveals the tale's mythic quality. In Nate's version, he is Nathaniel of Greymount, juvie is the Place of Contrition, and Chase is the Master of Contortions. Gradually, Greta Shield emerges as the protagonist, obsessed with digging up the truth. If Chase wasn't really kidnapped, then why are all four kids sticking to their stories? Low on visceral detail but rich in unique voices, Willey's story masterfully teases out information until the final pages and the ultimate revelations are well worth the torture.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780761385356 There's very little that's expected about Willey's (A Summer of Silk Moths) novel about secrets and the power in both keeping and releasing them. For starters, the three teenagers at its center are middle school, not high school students. And while the teens-Nate, Katie, and Renata-share their versions of the events surrounding their alleged abduction of a popular jock, a large part of the narrative is dedicated to Greta Shield, a divorced social worker attempting to piece together the truth. Since Nate, Katie, and Renata spend the novel in juvenile detention, the sections focusing on Greta greatly contribute to its forward momentum. Nate and Katie's perspectives unfold in journal entries they prepare for Greta; Katie tends toward the exclamatory, while Nate writes in a formal, heroic voice that reflects his passion for fantasy literature. For her part, Renata contributes dramatic, almost nightmarish b&w illustrations (not all seen in final form) that keenly demonstrate her powers of observation. An unnecessary nod toward the supernatural is the only off note in what's otherwise a meticulously detailed and psychologically astute story with the feel of a procedural drama. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2013
The Lightning Catcher
Click to search this book in our catalog   Anne Cameron
2013
Road Trip
Click to search this book in our catalog   Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen
2013
The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist
Click to search this book in our catalog   Matgarita Engle
 
2009
Ancient West African kingdoms
Click to search this book in our catalog   Jane Shuter
2013
Gettysburg : the true account of two young heroes in the greatest battle of the Civil War
Click to search this book in our catalog   Iain Cameron Martin.
2013
Eruption! : volcanoes and the science of saving lives
Click to search this book in our catalog   Text by Elizabeth Rusch ; photographs by Tom Uhlman.
 

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