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New Review Tuesday: Happy Teen Read Week!

Are you doing anything to celebrate Teen Read Week?

I'm making progress on the YA novels in my to-be-read pile (Sasha Watson's Vidalia in Paris, Amy Bronwen Zemser's Dear Julia, and Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels), but Laurie Halse Anderson's modest proposal is decidedly more festive. Can you imagine what our world would look like if people gave teens more books? I try to give books as often as I can, because the stories I read growing up were one of the richest parts of my childhood. (And, okay, because I'm also a bit of a proselytizer when it comes to children's literature.)

In any case, here's a book I would happily gift teen readers:

21wka7majol_sl500_aa180_ The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom of the Waves is out today! Hooray. I imagine those of you who read the first volume, which won the National Book Award, have been waiting for this (massive, 592-page) puppy for a long time. I know I have. And I'm thrilled to report that it was worth the wait. The Kingdom of the Waves is an amazing conclusion to Octavian's struggle for freedom and the birth of our country. The use of 18th-century, formal English may seem off-putting for the classroom, but teachers have reported incorporating the first installment with great success. One high school teacher told me that even her struggling readers couldn't put it down—they had to find out what happened to Octavian next. Still, this is a challenging book with challenging themes, and I'd recommend reading it yourself before sharing it with students, so you know whether or not it's appropriate for your classroom.

What are you recommending these days to teen readers?


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