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February 15, 2016 BOOKLIST
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21: The Story of Roberto Clemente. By Wilfred Santiago. Illus. by the author. Fantagraphics, $22.99 (9781560978923).
With vivid, kinetic artwork and a narrative that focuses on Clemente’s formative years, this dazzling graphic biography captures the athleticism, compassion, and legacy of the pioneering Puerto Rican ballplayer.
Earth: The Operators’ Manual. By Richard Alley. illus. Norton, $27.95 (9780393081091).
Focusing on an issue that may well define teens’ adult lives, this book presents an evenhanded, historical look at humankind’s use of energy, which has changed the world, for better and worse.
Girls like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself. By Rachel Lloyd. Harper, $24.99 (9780061582059).
Alternating between her own harrowing background as a sex worker and the stories of girls she helped with her nonprofit organization, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, Lloyd presents a tough-spirited, brutally honest, and occasionally hopeful look at the disturbing world of sex trafficking.
American Boy. By Larry Watson. Milkweed, $24 (9781571310781).
In 1962 Minnesota, teenager Matthew confronts the adult world of sex, violence, and betrayal as he and his best friend fall prey to the charms of a femme fatale.
The Art of Fielding. By Chad Harbach. Little, Brown, $24.99 (9780316126694).
The star of the baseball team at a small liberal-arts college makes an uncharacteristic fielding error, and the repercussions send shock waves through the lives of five different characters.
Big Girl Small. By Rachel DeWoskin. Farrar, $25 (9780374112578).
Sixteen-year-old Judy faces the usual torments of teen life when she transfers to an elite performing-arts high school, but it’s her 3-foot-9-inch stature that both amplifies the troubles and helps her stand tall.
Jamrach’s Menagerie. By Carol Birch. Doubleday, $26.95 (9780385534406).
In an unbearably suspenseful tale of survival, adventure, madness, and palpable evil, a nineteenth-century London street urchin sets sail on the South Seas in search of a fabled dragon.
The Lover’s Dictionary. By David Levithan. Farrar, $23 (9780374193683).
Levithan’s inspired move is to tell a love story in the form of a dictionary. It defines the language of romance from aberrant to zenith, portraying a multidimensional, complex human relationship in the process.
The Night Circus. By Erin Morgenstern. Doubleday, $26.95 (9780385534635).
Spanning 30 years, this sprawling, compelling fantasy tells of two children raised by feuding magicians to become rivals. That they fall in love may not be surprising, but it is magical nonetheless.
Once upon a River. By Bonnie Jo Campbell. Norton, $25.95 (9780393079890).
A modern, female Huckleberry Finn, 16-year-old Margo Crane sets out on a dramatic and rhapsodic American odyssey aboard her grandmother’s teak riverboat, armed with a rifle and a book about her idol, Annie Oakley.
Ready Player One. By Ernest Cline. Crown, $24 (9780307887436).
Loaded with video-game arcana, nonstop action, bumbling romance, and triumphant valor, this futuristic sf tale sends young gamer Wade Watts on a cyberquest of epic geekiness.
Swamplandia! By Karen Russell. Knopf, $24.95 (9780307263995).
Narrated by two teen siblings—a 13-year-old alligator wrestler, Ava, and her older brother, Kiwi—this elegiac and eccentric novel traces a course through shabby tourist traps and the magical Everglades swamp.
Vaclav & Lena. By Haley Tanner. Dial, $25 (9780679603870).
Though Vaclav’s beloved friend Lena disappeared without a trace when he was 10, she never departs from his memory. Seven years later, their paths cross again in this richly textured story of modern-day Russian immigrants.
When She Woke. By Hillary Jordan. Algonquin, $24.95 (9781565126299).
As punishment for the murder of her unborn child, Hannah Payne is injected with a virus to turn her skin red. Jordan’s dystopian spin on The Scarlet Letter blends hot-button issues in a terrifyingly near-future America.
The White Devil. By Justin Evans. Harper, $24.99 (9780061728273).
Sent off to England’s Harrow School after a scandalous drug incident, 17-year-old Andrew finds himself in the middle of a horrific mystery involving the ghost of one of Lord Byron’s early lovers. Smart, sexy, scary, and gorgeously written to boot.
Wingshooters. By Nina Revoyr. Akashic, $23.95 (9781936070862).
Contrasting all that is beautiful in life with the malignancy of hate, this harrowing novel centers on a young multiracial girl growing up in a xenophobic Wisconsin community.
The World Beneath. By Cate Kennedy. Black Cat, paper, $14.95 (9780802170712).
A sullen goth teenager suffering from an eating disorder discovers hidden reserves of courage and resilience during a backpacking trip with her father in remote Tasmania.
Zahra’s Paradise. By Amir. Illus. by Khalil. First Second, $29.99 (9781596436428).
Fictional yet carrying the weight of documentary, this graphic novel looks at the troubling fallout of the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential election as a young man attempts to locate his missing teen brother, who was swallowed up during a protest.
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