The Diviners by Libba Bray

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Genre: Historical/Fantasy

A Young Adult Library Services Association 2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults pick

I didn’t realize who the author of this book was until I was a little ways into it, and when I did my initial reaction was, “Ugh….Libba Bray.” If you’re not familiar with her, Bray is the author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy which starts with A Great and Terrible Beauty. Needless to say, I wasn’t a huge fan of those books. Her writing is terribly unsubtle and unsophisticated and lacks a certain purpose to it. Continue reading »

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Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

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Genre: Realistic fiction/mystery

Winner 2013 Alex Award, the ALA’s award for “books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.”

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore was a good read that didn’t quite deliver in the end. It started out promising and did keep me reading for most of it – I love a good mystery, especially one that contains ancient knowledge hidden in dusty old books. I did read it over a much longer period that was optimal – life got in the way for a bit, and also my toddler kept hiding it on me – so that broke up the momentum a bit. Overall it ended up being a good read with a few things wrong.  I would not design a unit around this but it could be a fun outside read for the right sort of student…I would recommend maybe 9/10th grade or 11/12 for students who need an easier read. Continue reading »

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