Bullied teen finds an unexpected friend

Barb Szyszkiewicz | 18 December 2015
A suspenseful read, appropriate for middle- and high-school.

The cost of college drives a father to a life of crime

Jennifer Minicus | 03 August 2015
How can Becca pay for college with her father in jail?

This story strikes a blow for female independence

Tim Golden | 17 July 2015
14-year-old Clare lives with her elderly maiden aunts.

Troubled marriages make for troubled youth

Tim Golden | 13 March 2015
Glenn's parents are going through a difficult patch in their marriage.

Fighting the war at home

Jennifer Minicus | 27 January 2015
Young Ike dreams of joining the army.

A book that became a TV show

Tim Golden | 01 December 2014
Robert is bullied by Niker but befriended by Kate.

Is acting a real job?

Tim Golden | 14 March 2014
Ralph seeks a career in the theatre.

Al Capone wields power from inside Alcatraz

Jennifer Minicus | 13 October 2013
Life on Alcatraz is no picnic.

Emotions, morality, sexuality: when teens are confused

Clare Cannon | 24 September 2013
Should we back off, add fuel to the fire, or hand them a road map?

Romance in teen fiction

Clare Cannon | 30 July 2013
There’s nothing quite like a good romance. But what makes a literary romance ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for teens?

Inside a male brain

Clare Cannon | 02 July 2013
Shusterman's account seems about right to me.

Books of innocence and experience

Clare Cannon | 13 June 2013
Why are so many adults reading young adult literature? It used to be the other way around.

Bright Island

Jennifer Minicus | 11 February 2013
A coming of age story for young teen girls.


Tim Golden | 12 January 2013
Luke, a gifted young musician, falls in with a local gang after his father dies.

Alchemy and Meggy Swann

Margaret Hannon | 25 October 2012
An enthusiastic thumbs up

The Midwife’s Apprentice

Margaret Hannon | 25 September 2012
I like to think that a Newbery award winning book is a sure bet.

City Boy

Jennifer Minicus | 10 September 2012
Anyone who has ever experienced puppy love should read this Pulitzer Prize winning novel.

Ruby Holler

Tim Golden | 23 August 2012
A gentle story about a pair of fiercely united twins.

The Yearling

Jennifer Minicus | 20 April 2012
I have a weakness for coming of age stories.

Video Review: 5 Novels for Teens that Build Character

Clare Cannon | 18 March 2012
Need a book to inspire your teen to be a better person? Try these.

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Reading Matters is MercatorNet’s blog about children’s literature. Our goal is to enable parents and educators to find quality books for young people. For an explanation of our evaluation system, click here. We welcome reader input and new reviewers. We love comments on the book reviews. Write to us at

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highly recommended: you must read this!
recommended: age-appropriate and entertaining
acceptable: not outstanding but not problematic
some reservations: contains potentially problematic scenes or concepts
not recommended: not appropriate for intended readers

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