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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Reader G.P. Putnams Sons Books for Young Readers
by Chee, Traci

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Sefia, who lives in a world without books and reading, is on the run for her life, desperate to avenge the murder of her father and rescue her aunt. The only clue she has is a strange rectangular object-a book-whose secrets she's slowly learning to uncover. With layers upon layers of tales woven throughout the narrative, Chee's debut novel establishes a fantastically populated world with a diverse cast of characters. Meticulous storytelling and a memorable adventure. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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

Book list *Starred Review* Sefia's father drilled her on what to do if they were ever in danger, but she never expected to return home one day and find him brutally murdered. She escapes with one vital thing: a heavy square wrapped in cloth, containing bound pages with intricate symbols. It's a book, but reading in Sefia's kingdom is a skill limited to an elite few, and now that this precious volume is in her possession, she's in grave danger. Sefia spends years on the run with her aunt, Nin, until the day when the murderer catches up to them and violently steals Nin away. With the help of a mute boy she saves from a slave ring and the magic she finds in the words of the book, she seeks out her parents' killer. Chee's debut, the first in a projected series, is a stunning piece of storytelling. She deftly weaves together disparate elements, such as magic, fighting rings, swashbuckling pirates, assassins, and a kingdom beset by war, where books are illegal. Additionally, she seamlessly integrates a book within a book, as Sefia learns to read and discovers the powers of her precious cargo, and astute readers will notice hidden messages in the novel's clever design. With evocative language, fascinating world building, multifaceted characters, and a compelling plot, this is a series fantasy lovers will want to sink their teeth into.--Tomsu, Lindsey Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-"Two curves for her parents. A curve for Nin. The straight line for herself. The circle for what she had to do." This is the seal branded onto the book that was passed down to Sefia by her parents right before they were murdered by an assassin whose blade reeked of copper. Under the guidance of Aunt Nin, who is a thief, the teen learns to hide and hunt before her mentor is brutally torn away. In solitude, Sefia vows to rescue Nin. She is eventually joined by a strange, mute, and brutalized boy she saves. In a world where books and the very act of reading are limited to a select, powerful few, Sefia begins to understand the weight of her heirloom and what might transpire should it fall into the wrong hands. Sefia digs deep within herself and slowly begins to unlock the power of the written word. This work is deftly rendered in beautiful prose, narrated through three shifting time lines woven into an interconnected history of duty, honor, and magic. Chee provokes some resounding questions: What is there left to be remembered of us after death, and what must we do to be worthy of remembrance? This is a must-have for all those who value a good read with genuine character growth, mystery, unique world-building, adventure, unyielding bonds of loyalty, and pirates. Savvy teens will notice a message scattered through the page numbers. VERDICT A fresh, diverse fantasy; highly recommended for fans of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and female-powered adventures.-Zeying Wang, School Library Journal © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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

Publishers Weekly After 15-year-old orphan Sefia is separated from her aunt, she sets out on a rescue mission. Determined to learn the truth about her past and the rectangular object she's spent her life hiding, Sefia eventually discovers that the item-bound paper covered in symbols-is a book. Books, reading, and writing are unheard of in the land of Kelanna, but Sefia is certain that this book holds the answers she seeks. She is joined in her quest by a mute, nameless boy, whom she rescues from a life of forced cage fighting. The book Sefia carries, which initially seems to be filled with stories and myths, becomes increasingly mysterious when she learns that the people and accounts detailed within are true. Chee's debut is an intricate, multilayered reading experience, but the author avoids leading readers along too transparently, trusting them to puzzle together the pieces surrounding the mystery of Sefia's past. An exploration of self-determination and the magic of the written word, Sefia's story is an absorbing introduction to the Sea of Ink and Gold series. Ages 12-up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Alfie.
by Thyra Heder

Publishers Weekly Alfie is a pet turtle, and his new owner Nia, an African-American girl with braided hair and plenty of curiosity, tries hard to find ways to relate to him. "I taught him my wiggle dance and made him presents," she says, "but he didn't seem to notice." Nia's interest cools somewhat; then, on her seventh birthday, Alfie disappears. After a pause indicated by a spread with no text, the story resumes, now narrated by Alfie. It turns out that he's been paying more attention than anyone knew: "Nia taught me how to dance!" he explains. "She gave me presents! I had never been given presents." Hoping to find the perfect birthday gift for Nia, Alfie sets out on a shopping trip, and Heder's story really begins to shine as Alfie gets help from Toby (the family hound) and a snail in the backyard. Her watercolor spreads are carefully executed with few stylistic mannerisms; all the attention is directed toward the characters. It's a treat watching Alfie deliver Nia the perfect birthday present-albeit a little late. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A girl named Nia gets a pet turtle on her sixth birthday. She names him Alfie and the two of them spend a year together with Nia making every effort to include her pet in all her activities. But turtles will be turtles-not being the most playful or cuddly as pets go-and Nia loses interest. Then, on the morning of Nia's seventh birthday, Alfie goes missing. That's when the story changes from Nia's to Alfie's point of view, as the intrepid turtle goes on the hunt for the perfect gift for Nia's birthday. He first explores around the house, encountering the family dog, then ventures out onto the fire escape, down into the yard, and through a sandbox until he grows cold and tired. A friendly snail suggests that Alfie take a nap in the pond in the yard. Readers see the passage of time illustrated through the change in seasons from fall to winter and then spring, when Alfie wakes up from his "nap" and emerges from the pond just in time to celebrate what Alfie believes is Nia's seventh birthday. Readers will delight to see the two reunited and will notice that it is actually Nia's eighth birthday, as the number indicates on her birthday balloon. The beautiful ink-and-watercolor illustrations, which feature an African American child (and her family), offer readers lots of clues and thoughtful details. An author's note tells how the story is based on Heder's real-life pet turtle Alfie that she got when she was six. VERDICT A welcome addition to picture book collections perfect for one-on-one and small group sharing.-Megan Kilgallen, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list For her sixth birthday, Nia's delighted to receive a pet turtle, Alfie, and shares with him songs, stories, and little gifts. But lacking responses from Alfie, she starts losing interest, until, on her seventh birthday, she notices Alfie has disappeared but to where? Readers then get the story from Alfie's viewpoint as he relates both how happy Nia made him and why he's left his tank: to find her a special present. Eventually, after searching indoors and outdoors, as well as getting advice from a dog, a snail, and a fish, Alfie returns with the perfect gift, and a festive birthday is had. Nia's and Alfie's first-person descriptive accounts are extended by lovely, intricately detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations that artfully highlight the varying perspectives and amusing moments, as when Nia introduces Alfie to her toys. Although the concept of hibernation may need explaining (Alfie returns on what's revealed to be Nia's eighth birthday), overall, this is a charming story of the bond between child and pet.--Rosenfeld, Shelle Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Big Cat, Little Cat
by Elisha Cooper

Book list It's all about simple text and clean lines in this picture book about feline camaraderie. Cooper certainly loves and understands cat behavior, as exemplified in his various poses of cats at rest and in action. A big cat (white) welcomes a new little cat (black) to the household, and shows it when to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be, and when to rest. The white cat is outlined in black lines on generous white space as the two partake in these activities; the black cat is profiled in silhouette, with only one tiny white dot for an eye. As the years go by, the black cat grows bigger, and eventually the white cat has to go. A silhouetted family mourn along with the black cat. But soon a little white cat arrives, and the now-big black cat teaches it all the same lessons. In a final double-page spread the two dream happily, completing the concept of the circle of life in loving contentment.--Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Like a Japanese brush painter, Cooper (8: An Animal Alphabet) uses bold, black lines to trace the outlines of a white cat; it roams through an apartment, playing with yarn and gazing at the bird feeder. Then a black kitten arrives, and the white cat shows it "when to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be." "Big cat, little cat," Cooper writes as the two sleep embraced, their curves a rhythmic composition of black and white. The two grow ever closer until, with little warning, the white cat "got older, and one day he had to go... and didn't come back. And that was hard. For everyone." The black cat is pictured alone on the page; the next spread pulls back to reveal its human family, all bereft. Even younger readers will understand their grief. But when a white kitten arrives, the story begins again: "The cat showed the new cat what to do. When to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be." With quiet grace, Cooper delivers the message that love persists through loss. Ages 3-6. Agent: Liz Darhansoff, Darhansoff & Verrill. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-Bold and simple illustrations perfectly depict life with cats. Elegant, expressive black line drawings on white backgrounds capture the essence of all things feline and call to mind the work of Clare Turlay Newberry and Nikki McClure. The book follows a lone white cat who gains a small black companion, their life together, and the eventual loss of the elder cat ("Years went by-and more years, too-") and ends with the addition of a new kitten. The spare text does an excellent job of conveying the story from the animals' point of view. Readers are told that "the older cat got older and one day he had to go...and didn't come back. And that was hard. For everyone." VERDICT A gentle, loving look at the life cycle of pets; young readers will be able to gain confidence in retelling the story using the text and the pictures. A must-have for all collections.-Paige Mellinger, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Outsider
by Stephen King

Publishers Weekly MWA Grand Master King wraps a wild weird tale inside a police procedural in this nicely executed extension of his Bill Hodges detective trilogy (begun with 2014's Mr. Mercedes). Det. Ralph Anderson of the Flint City, Okla., police force appears to have beloved youth baseball league coach Terry Maitland dead to rights when he publicly arrests him for the grisly murder of an 11-year-old boy, since the crime scene is covered with Terry's fingerprints and DNA. Only one problem: at the time of the murder Terry was attending a teachers' conference in a distant city, where he was caught clearly on videotape. The case's contradictory evidence compels Anderson and officials associated with it to team up with Holly Gibney (the deceased Hodges's former assistant) to solve it. What begins as a manhunt for an unlikely doppelgänger takes an uncanny turn into the supernatural. King's skillful use of criminal forensics helps to ground his tale in a believable clinical reality where the horrors stand out in sharp relief. Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff & Verrill. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Library Journal When a young boy's mutilated corpse is found in a public park, the evidence points to Little League coach and high school English teacher Terry Maitland. Despite his vehement claims of innocence, witnesses put him at the scene of the crime, and his fingerprints and DNA are found all over the murder scene. The police have an airtight case, except that other witnesses and video also confirm Terry's alibi: that he was miles away at a teacher's convention on the night of the murder. For Det. Ralph Anderson, it is simultaneously the most straightforward and frustrating case of his career. How can a man be in two places at once? After the success of his "Bill Hodges" series and Sleeping Beauties, coauthored with his son Owen, King's latest feels somewhat flat and predictable. Followers of the horror master's career will likely guess the outcome early on. Usually a maestro of character development, King casts his novel with tired and one-dimensional figures, including Anderson, whose emotional development is disappointingly nonexistent. An extended cameo from a favorite past King character does little to increase the enjoyment. VERDICT King's fans may be dispirited by this latest disappointing thriller; however, his name alone will ensure it flies off the shelves. [See Prepub Alert, 12/1/17.]-Tyler Hixson, Brooklyn P.L. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly
Click to search this book in our catalog In One Person
by John Irving

Publishers Weekly Prep school. Wrestling. Unconventional sexual practices. Viennese interlude. This bill of particulars could only fit one American author: John Irving. His 13th novel (after Last Night in Twisted River) tells the oftentimes outrageous story of bisexual novelist Billy Abbott, who comes of age in the uptight 1950s and explores his sexuality through two decadent decades into the plague-ridden 1980s and finally to a more positive present day. Sexual confusion sets in early for Billy, simultaneously attracted to both the local female librarian and golden boy wrestler Jacques Kittredge, who treats Billy with the same disdain he shows Billy's best friend (and occasional lover) Elaine. Faced with an unsympathetic mother and an absent father who might have been gay, Billy travels to Europe, where he has affairs with a transgendered female and an older male poet, an early AIDS activist. Irving's take on the AIDS epidemic in New York is not totally persuasive (not enough confusion, terror, or anger), and his fractured time and place doesn't allow him to generate the melodramatic string of incidents that his novels are famous for. In the end, sexual secrets abound in this novel, which intermittently touches the heart as it fitfully illuminates the mutability of human desire. Agent: Dean Cooke, the Cooke Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Library Journal What is "normal"? Does it really matter? In Irving's latest novel (after Last Night in Twisted River), nearly everyone has a secret, but the characters who embrace and accept their own differences and those of others are the most content. This makes the narrator, Bill, particularly appealing. Bill knows from an early age that he is bisexual, even if he doesn't label himself as such. He has "inappropriate crushes" but doesn't make himself miserable denying that part of himself; he simply acts, for better or for worse. The reader meets Bill at 15, living on the campus of an all-boys school in Vermont where his stepfather is on the faculty. Through the memories of a much older Bill, his life story is revealed, from his teenage years in Vermont to college and life as a writer in New York City. Bill is living in New York during the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, and the suffering described is truly heart-wrenching. Irving cares deeply, and the novel is not just Bill's story but a human tale. VERDICT This wonderful blend of thought-provoking, well-constructed, and meaningful writing is what one has come to expect of Irving, and it also makes for an enjoyable page-turner. [See Prepub Alert, 11/28/11.]-Shaunna Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll. Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2012. 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.

Book list *Starred Review* Much of Irving's thirteenth novel is piquantly charming, crisply funny, and let-your-guard-down madcap in the classic mode of a Frank Capra or Billy Wilder film. This shrewdly frolicsome ambience is tied to the amateur theatrical productions that provide the primary source of entertainment in mid-twentieth-century First Sister, Vermont, a no-place-to-hide yet nonetheless secretive small town sporting a private boy's prep school. Here lives young, fatherless Billy, whose lumberman-by-day, actor-by-night Grandpa Harry plays women's roles with baffling authenticity. By the time Billy turns 13, he realizes that something sets him apart beyond his speech impediment and determination to become a writer, namely his crushes on the wrong people, including his future stepfather, teacher and Shakespeare scholar Richard, and Miss Frost, the tall, strong librarian who eventually proves to be the key to the truth about Billy's bisexuality and his biological father. Storytelling wizard that he is, Irving revitalizes his signature motifs (New England life, wrestling, praising great writers, forbidden sex) while animating a glorious cast of misfit characters within a complicated plot. A mesmerizing, gracefully maturing narrator, Billy navigates fraught relationships with men and women and witnesses the horrors of the AIDS epidemic. Ever the fearless writer of conscience calling on readers to be open-minded, Irving performs a sweetly audacious, at times elegiac, celebration of human sexuality. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Irving is always a huge draw, and this sexually daring and compassionate tale, which harks back to the book that made him famous, The World according to Garp (1978), will garner intense media attention.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman

Book list *Starred Review* In Gaiman's first novel for adults since Anansi Boys (2005), the never-named fiftyish narrator is back in his childhood homeland, rural Sussex, England, where he's just delivered the eulogy at a funeral. With an hour or so to kill afterward, he drives about aimlessly, he thinks until he's at the crucible of his consciousness: a farmhouse with a duck pond. There, when he was seven, lived the Hempstocks, a crone, a housewife, and an 11-year-old girl, who said they were grandmother, mother, and daughter. Now, he finds the crone and, eventually, the housewife the same ones, unchanged while the girl is still gone, just as she was at the end of the childhood adventure he recalls in a reverie that lasts all afternoon. He remembers how he became the vector for a malign force attempting to invade and waste our world. The three Hempstocks are guardians, from time almost immemorial, situated to block such forces and, should that fail, fight them. Gaiman mines mythological typology the three-fold goddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean) and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and the theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he's told since Stardust (1999). And don't worry about that for adults designation: it's a matter of tone. This lovely yarn is good for anyone who can read it. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: That this is the popular author's first book for adults in eight years pretty much sums up why this will be in demand.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly "Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later... but they are never lost for good"-and the most grim of those memories, no matter how faint, can haunt one forever, as they do the anonymous narrator of Gaiman's subtle and splendid modern myth. The protagonist, an artist, returns to his childhood home in the English countryside to recover his memory of events that nearly destroyed him and his family when he was seven. The suicide of a stranger opened the way for a deadly spirit who disguised herself as a housekeeper, won over the boy's sister and mother, seduced his father, and threatened the boy if he told anyone the truth. He had allies-a warm and welcoming family of witches at the old farm up the road-but defeating this evil demanded a sacrifice he was not prepared for. Gaiman (Anansi Boys) has crafted a fresh story of magic, humanity, loyalty, and memories "waiting at the edges of things," where lost innocence can still be restored as long as someone is willing to bear the cost. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Gaiman here departs somewhat from his previous books, instead featuring greater emphasis on investigation of the human condition and a more subdued fantasy element. The main character revisits his boyhood, particularly a series of formative events surrounding his friendship with a girl named Lettie Hempstock. The plot rapidly evolves from reminiscent to scary to downright life-threatening, with profound reflections on mortality inherent in the drama. In this ominous environment, seeming evil is explained as a misplaced desire to please, and the ocean at the end of the lane is a liquid knowledge bath transcending space and time that helps rescue the boy. In fact, Lettie is one of the keepers of the ocean, and she and her family represent caretakers who manage the equilibrium of our world and protect the hapless. As we learn the full extent of our narrator's relationship with the Hempstocks, the absolute necessity of the act of forgetting becomes clear. VERDICT Scott Smith's The Ruins meets Astrid Lingren's Pippi Longstocking. A slim and magical feat of meaningful storytelling genius. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/12.]-Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Bram Stoker Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Fearful symmetries : an anthology of horror
by Ellen Datlow, editor

Publishers Weekly Datlow's "experimental" crowdfunded horror anthology is nicely unthemed, avoiding vampires, werewolves, and zombies while including ghosts, witches, and newly trendy wendigos. The last merges quite nicely with an Arctic setting in Siobhan Carroll's "Wendigo Nights," one of the standouts. Other highlights include always reliable, always evolving authors like Pat Cadigan, Caitlin Kiernan, and Michael Marshall Smith, whose "Power" is a rare science-fiction horror tale. Gemma Files's "A Wish from a Bone" launches the volume with an elegant update to the classic "wrath of ancient gods" plot, and Helen Marshall's "In the Year of Omens" is perfectly creepy. There are a few misses-Gary McMahon's "Kaiju" feels incomplete, while Terry Dowling and John Langan both turn in surprisingly subpar tales-but on balance, this is an excellent anthology for horror fans, with a nice range of tones and styles and some intriguing new voices. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog The Road
by Cormac McCarthy

Library Journal: Starred Review. Winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses) here offers a prescient account of a man and his son trying to survive in a devastated country where food is scarce and everyone has become a scavenger. The term survival of the fittest rings true here—very few people remain, and friends are extinct. Essentially, this is a story about nature vs. nurture, commitment and promises, and though there aren't many characters, there is abundant life in the prose. We are reminded how McCarthy has mastered the world outside of our domestic and social circles, with each description reading as if he had pulled a scene from the landscape and pasted it in the book. He uses metaphors the way some writers use punctuation, sprinkling them about with an artist's eye, showing us that literature from the heart still exists. Recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/06.]—Stephen Morrow, Columbus, OH

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Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Violence, in McCarthy's postapocalyptic tour de force, has been visited worldwide in the form of a "long shear of light and then a series of low concussions" that leaves cities and forests burned, birds and fish dead and the earth shrouded in gray clouds of ash. In this landscape, an unnamed man and his young son journey down a road to get to the sea. (The man's wife, who gave birth to the boy after calamity struck, has killed herself.) They carry blankets and scavenged food in a shopping cart, and the man is armed with a revolver loaded with his last two bullets. Beyond the ever-present possibility of starvation lies the threat of roving bands of cannibalistic thugs. The man assures the boy that the two of them are "good guys," but from the way his father treats other stray survivors the boy sees that his father has turned into an amoral survivalist, tenuously attached to the morality of the past by his fierce love for his son. McCarthy establishes himself here as the closest thing in American literature to an Old Testament prophet, trolling the blackest registers of human emotion to create a haunting and grim novel about civilization's slow death after the power goes out. 250,000 announced first printing; BOMC main selection.(Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

World Fantasy Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Rainy Season
by James Blaylock

Library Journal: The coming of the rains to California's mission country releases a torrent of unusual activities surrounding a century-old mystery. Photographer Phil Ainsworth finds his life altered by the adoption of his late sister's child and the legacy she brings with her. As ghosts and strangers from the past seek redress for old grievances, a young girl's life hinges on the possession of a strange crystal and a magical well. The author of Winter Tides continues to display an uncanny talent for low-key, off-kilter drama, infusing the modern world with a supernatural tint. Blaylock's evocative prose and studied pacing make him one of the most distinctive contributors to American magical realism. Recommended for most libraries.

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: The central conceit of this elegant, accomplished contemporary ghost story is that fuentes--springs in which children have been ritually drowned--are portals of inexact time travel. A byproduct of the ritual, and of time-traveling, is that memory is cast off in the form of a crystal stone, which allows its holder to experience the cast-off memory, which "might be transferred to living flesh." Hale Appleton, leader of the Societas Fraternia, a spiritualist cult, creates one such crystal in 1884. The stone is then stolen, and pursued to the present day. Timelines and characters overlap here. Scenes from previous centuries take place on the periphery of the present story line, wherein Phil Ainsworth, an insular photographer who lives in Southern California, where Appleton made his sacrifice, gains custody of his niece. People from the past and present converge on Ainsworth in an attempt to get the crystal, or to block the portal--a well on his property--from being neutralized. Ambitious plotting and characterization augment Blaylock's (Winter Tide) lush language (ripples in a well "cast a hundred shifting shadows... crisscrossing in geometric confusion"). This is one ghostly tale that stands on very solid ground. (Aug.) ("Paper Dragons," 1986) and one for best short story ("Thirteen Phantasms," 1997).

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog The March
by E. L. Doctorow

Library Journal: Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's long and bloody march to the sea remains one of the most enigmatic and fascinating chapters of Civil War history. Yet Ragtime author Doctorow's fictional re-creation of the event lacks compelling characters, forceful structure, and dominant themes and so fails to make it much more than a romp in the park. A sort of Canterbury Tales of the Civil War, the novel allows numerous characters to amble onto the scene and tell their stories, which the novel then generally follows until Lee surrenders and Sherman's march is finished. Among them are Pearl, a black child who passes for white because her color comes from her plantation master father; Stephen Walsh, a lieutenant in Sherman's army, who falls in love with Pearl and sweeps her away; Wrede Sartorius, a grim and businesslike field doctor for whom medicine is life; Emily Thompson, a young Southern plantation belle who becomes Sartorius's nurse and momentary lover; and General Sherman himself, for whom war is the only life worth living. Doctorow paints his canvas with his typical attention to period detail, but he is no Shelby Foote (Shiloh), Howard Bahr (The Black Flower), or Madison Jones (Nashville 1864), and this effort simply fails to engage. Still, his fans will be clamoring for it; be prepared. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/05.]—Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Lancaster, P.

—Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Lancaster, PA Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Sherman's march through Georgia and the Carolinas produced hundreds of thousands of deaths and untold collateral damage. In this powerful novel, Doctorow gets deep inside the pillage, cruelty and destruction—as well as the care and burgeoning love that sprung up in their wake. William Tecumseh Sherman ("Uncle Billy" to his troops) is depicted as a man of complex moods and varying abilities, whose need for glory sometimes obscures his military acumen. Most of the many characters are equally well-drawn and psychologically deep, but the two most engaging are Pearl, a plantation owner's despised daughter who is passing as a drummer boy, and Arly, a cocksure Reb soldier whose belief that God dictates the events in his life is combined with the cunning of a wily opportunist. Their lives provide irony, humor and strange coincidences. Though his lyrical prose sometimes shades into sentimentality when it strays from what people are feeling or saying, Doctorow's gift for getting into the heads of a remarkable variety of characters, famous or ordinary, make this a kind of grim Civil War Canterbury Tales. On reaching the novel's last pages, the reader feels wonder that this nation was ever able to heal after so brutal, and personal, a conflict.

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School Library Journal: Adult/High School–A Civil War tale with much to engage teens. The title refers to a climactic event, General William Tecumseh Shermans March to the Sea. Using a nonlinear (but not especially challenging) structure that recalls his groundbreaking Ragtime, Doctorow narrates events through multiple Union and Confederate perspectives. A rich variety of individuals, both fictional and historical, populates a moving world of more than 60,000 troops accompanied by thousands of former slaves and assorted civilian refugees who follow Sherman on his ruthless progress through Georgia and the Carolinas. While many characters are essentially entertaining sketches, there are a few memorable standouts, particularly 15-year-old Pearl, a so-called white Negro fathered by her owner. Taking advantage of the chaos after war disrupts her tightly controlled existence, she flees her looted plantation home, disguises herself as a drummer boy, and joins the march, determined to reach freedom and create a life worth living. On the way, she experiences moments of violence, love, irony, and even humor in the midst of horror. Short cinematic episodes illuminate and interpret history with meticulous attention to period settings, from terrifying battlefields to desperate field hospitals to once-grand mansions, all described in lyrical language crafted by a skilled writer.–Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Bomb
by Steve Sheinkin

Publishers Weekly In his highly readable storytelling style, Sheinkin (The Notorious Benedict Arnold) weaves together tales of scientific and technological discovery, back-alley espionage, and wartime sabotage in a riveting account of the race to build the first atomic weapon. The famous (Robert Oppenheimer) and infamous (spy Harry Gold) headline an enormous cast of characters, which also includes Norwegian resistance fighter Knut Haukelid, whose secret wartime missions prevented Hitler from acquiring an atom bomb. B&w portraits of key players appear in photo- montages that begin each of the book's four sections. Sheinkin pulls from numerous sources to supply every chapter with quotations that swiftly move the narrative forward. Suspenseful play-by-play moments will captivate, from the nuclear chain reaction test at the University of Chicago to the preparations for and dropping of the first bomb over Hiroshima. In a "genie out of the bottle" epilogue, details of the Cold War's escalating arms race and present-day weapons counts will give readers pause, especially Sheinkin's final thoughts: "It's a story with no end in sight. And, like it or not, you're in it." A must-read for students of history and science. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) ? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Using some of the same narrative techniques he used in the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction-winning The Notorious Benedict Arnold (2010), Sheinkin shapes the story of the Manhattan Project into a dense, complicated thriller that intercuts the action with the deftness of a Hollywood blockbuster. There are more characters than readers will be able to handle, but they'll follow the three main threads. The first is a tale of spy versus spy, as Soviet informants infiltrate America's Los Alamos laboratory. The second tracks the heroism of Knut Haukelid as he parachutes into Norway to destroy Germany's heavy water plant. Most amazing is Robert Oppenheimer's assemblage of the greatest scientific minds in the U.S. (aka the world's largest collection of crackpots ), who under great duress design the most lethal weapon in history. Sheinkin's prose understandably favors plot machinations over character, and positioning photos in the back matter feels anticlimactic. Nonetheless, the painstakingly sourced narrative crackles and drives home the strange mix of pride and horror felt by the scientists who had just won the war but lost something of equal worth.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 5 Up-"Harry Gold was right: This is a big story." So begins this depiction of the "creation-and theft-of the deadliest weapon ever invented." As he did in The Notorious Benedict Arnold (Roaring Brook, 2010), Sheinkin has again brought his superior talent for storytelling to bear in what is truly a gripping account of discovery, espionage, and revolutionary changes in both physics and the modern world. This fascinating tale, packed with a wide cast of characters, focuses mainly on three individuals: spy for the Soviets Harry Gold, leader of the Manhattan Project J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Knut Haukelid, who sabotaged German bomb efforts while working for the Norwegian resistance. Sheinkin skillfully combines lucid, conversational snapshots of the science behind the atomic bomb with a fast-paced narrative of the remarkable people who made it possible and attempted to steal it. Handsomely designed and loaded with archival photos and primary-source documents, the accessible volume lays out how the bomb was envisioned and brought to fruition. While the historical information and hard facts presented here will likely be new to the intended audience, they in no way overwhelm readers or detract from the thoroughly researched, well-documented account. It reads like an international spy thriller, and that's the beauty of it.-Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL (c) Copyright 2012. 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 In his highly readable storytelling style, Sheinkin (The Notorious Benedict Arnold) weaves together tales of scientific and technological discovery, back-alley espionage, and wartime sabotage in a riveting account of the race to build the first atomic weapon. The famous (Robert Oppenheimer) and infamous (spy Harry Gold) headline an enormous cast of characters, which also includes Norwegian resistance fighter Knut Haukelid, whose secret wartime missions prevented Hitler from acquiring an atom bomb. B&w portraits of key players appear in photo- montages that begin each of the book's four sections. Sheinkin pulls from numerous sources to supply every chapter with quotations that swiftly move the narrative forward. Suspenseful play-by-play moments will captivate, from the nuclear chain reaction test at the University of Chicago to the preparations for and dropping of the first bomb over Hiroshima. In a "genie out of the bottle" epilogue, details of the Cold War's escalating arms race and present-day weapons counts will give readers pause, especially Sheinkin's final thoughts: "It's a story with no end in sight. And, like it or not, you're in it." A must-read for students of history and science. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) ? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Using some of the same narrative techniques he used in the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction-winning The Notorious Benedict Arnold (2010), Sheinkin shapes the story of the Manhattan Project into a dense, complicated thriller that intercuts the action with the deftness of a Hollywood blockbuster. There are more characters than readers will be able to handle, but they'll follow the three main threads. The first is a tale of spy versus spy, as Soviet informants infiltrate America's Los Alamos laboratory. The second tracks the heroism of Knut Haukelid as he parachutes into Norway to destroy Germany's heavy water plant. Most amazing is Robert Oppenheimer's assemblage of the greatest scientific minds in the U.S. (aka the world's largest collection of crackpots ), who under great duress design the most lethal weapon in history. Sheinkin's prose understandably favors plot machinations over character, and positioning photos in the back matter feels anticlimactic. Nonetheless, the painstakingly sourced narrative crackles and drives home the strange mix of pride and horror felt by the scientists who had just won the war but lost something of equal worth.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 5 Up-"Harry Gold was right: This is a big story." So begins this depiction of the "creation-and theft-of the deadliest weapon ever invented." As he did in The Notorious Benedict Arnold (Roaring Brook, 2010), Sheinkin has again brought his superior talent for storytelling to bear in what is truly a gripping account of discovery, espionage, and revolutionary changes in both physics and the modern world. This fascinating tale, packed with a wide cast of characters, focuses mainly on three individuals: spy for the Soviets Harry Gold, leader of the Manhattan Project J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Knut Haukelid, who sabotaged German bomb efforts while working for the Norwegian resistance. Sheinkin skillfully combines lucid, conversational snapshots of the science behind the atomic bomb with a fast-paced narrative of the remarkable people who made it possible and attempted to steal it. Handsomely designed and loaded with archival photos and primary-source documents, the accessible volume lays out how the bomb was envisioned and brought to fruition. While the historical information and hard facts presented here will likely be new to the intended audience, they in no way overwhelm readers or detract from the thoroughly researched, well-documented account. It reads like an international spy thriller, and that's the beauty of it.-Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL (c) Copyright 2012. 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.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Treasure Hunt
by Bill Cosby

School Library Journal : K-Gr 3--Cosby turns his hand to writing, telling stories about situations that children often face. In The Best Way to Play, Little Bill, the narrator, and his friends get caught up in the excitement and marketing of their favorite TV cartoon, Space Explorers, and desperately want their parents to buy them the expensive video game. They become bored with it quickly, however, and realize that it's more fun to play Space Explorers outside. In The Meanest Thing to Say, Little Bill comes face to face with a bully. The Treasure Hunt takes him on a voyage of self-exploration. It seems to him that everyone in his family has a special quality. After a full day of searching, he discovers that his is "telling stories and making people laugh." These titles feature short chapters, making them appropriate for beginning readers--but they're also short enough to be read aloud. Honeywood's illustrations are bright and eye-catching, and show Little Bill and his friends and family as having distinctive personalities and characteristics. Each book comes with a letter to parents from a child psychiatrist about the subject matter in that book. While the writing is nothing extraordinary, Cosby has a good grasp of the issues and how the world looks through children's eyes. The primarily African-American characters also make these books welcome additions to easy-reader collections.

Dina Sherman, Brooklyn Children's Museum, NY Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Edgar Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Mr. Mercedes : a novel
by by Stephen King

Publishers Weekly In this suspenseful crime thriller from megaseller King (Doctor Sleep), ex-detective Bill Hodges is settling badly into his retirement. Then he receives a taunting letter from someone who claims to be the Mercedes Killer-the media's name for the hit-and-run driver who, a year earlier, deliberately plowed a stolen car into a crowd at a job fair, killing eight and maiming 15. Hoping to wrap up the unsolved case, Hodges follows the letter writer to an anonymous social media chat site, inaugurating a game of cat and mouse with escalating stakes and potentially fatal consequences. Bill's antagonist is Brady Hartsfield, a sociopath who is skilled in computers and electronics and who-with a touch of brilliant irony-also operates the neighborhood ice cream truck. Coincidence and luck figure significantly in the final outcome, but King excels in his disturbing portrait of Brady, a genuine monster in ordinary human form who gives new meaning to the phrase "the banality of evil." Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff & Verrill Literary Agents. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal After having written over 50 horror, sf/fantasy, and suspense novels, King pens his first hard-boiled detective thriller. A maniac accelerates a Mercedes into hundreds of unemployed applicants lined up at a job fair-killing eight and wounding 15. Det. Bill Hodges, a streetwise inspector, searches unsuccessfully for the Mercedes killer. After he retires, the bored detective receives a crazed note from the lunatic driver, Brady Hartfield, who promises to strike again in an even more diabolical manner. Hodges's talented and eccentric assistants unravel Brady's convoluted computer records revealing when he intends to drive a wheelchair strapped with eplosives into a concert arena jam-packed with screaming teenyboppers. VERDICT King's customary use of bizarre events and freakish characters does not provide a credible basis for this detective novel. Also, he encumbers the plotline with insignificant details, causing his thriller to plod along rather than pulse with the tension and suspense often characteristic of detective fiction. [Prepub Alert, 1/1/14.]-Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA (c) Copyright 2014. 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.

Book list King's interest in crime fiction was evident from his work for the Hard Case Crime imprint The Colorado Kid (2005) and Joyland (2013) but this is the most straight-up mystery-thriller of his career. Retired Detective Bill Hodges is overweight, directionless, and toying with the idea of ending it all when he receives a jeering letter from the Mercedes Killer, who ran down 23 people with a stolen car but evaded Hodges' capture. With the help of a 17-year-old neighbor and one victim's sister (who, in proper gumshoe style, Hodges quickly beds), Hodges begins to play cat-and-mouse with the killer through a chat site called Under Debbie's Blue Umbrella. Hodges' POV alternates with that of the troubled murderer, a Norman Bates-like ice-cream-truck driver named Brady Hartfield. Both Hodges and Hartfield make mistakes, big ones, leaving this a compelling, small-scale slugfest that plays out in cheery suburban settings. This exists outside of the usual Kingverse (Pennywise the Clown is referred to as fictive); add that to the atypical present-tense prose, and this feels pretty darn fresh. Big, smashing climax, too. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: No need to rev the engine here; this baby will rocket itself out of libraries with a loud squeal of the tires.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Long Upon the Land
by Margaret Maron

Book list In the twentieth entry in her series featuring Deborah Knott (after Designated Daughters, 2014), Maron proves as adept as ever at melding a central mystery with an involving family story. When Deborah's father, Kezzie, stumbles on a dead body located on the furthest reaches of his North Carolina farm, Deborah's husband, Deputy Dwight Bryant, is tasked with finding out who beat the man to death. It turns out, however, that the victim has long had it out for Kezzie Knott, believing that Kezzie swindled his family out of their land, and the local newspaper implies that the Knotts might be behind the crime and receiving favorable treatment due to their connections with the sheriff's office. Interspersed with the investigation are chapters detailing the charming backstory of Kezzie's courtship of Deborah's mother, revealing how the college-educated daughter of a wealthy town family got involved with a grizzled old bootlegger from the country. Maron emphasizes the close relationships of Deborah's extended family and the way their rural lifestyle connects them to the land, which makes for an especially heartwarming read.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Bestseller Maron's 20th Deborah Knott mystery (after 2014's Designated Daughters) combines strong plotting, a superb cast of recurring characters, and a rare sense of place that transports readers to rural North Carolina. District court judge Deborah and the huge Knott clan headed by Deborah's father, reformed bootlegger Kezzie Knott, become involved in a murder investigation when Kezzie finds Vick Earp bludgeoned to death on the family farm. Vick and his Earp relatives have had an ongoing feud with the Knotts. When Deborah's lawman husband, Dwight Bryant, is appointed lead investigator, the victim's uncle, Joby Earp, is quick to stir up charges of favoritism. Providing counterpoint to the murder case is the backstory of Deborah's mother, Sue Stephenson, and Sue's relationship with the mysterious Capt. Walter Raynesford McIntyre, of the U.S. Army Air Corps, whom she meets in 1943 at a USO club. It all adds up to another sparkling chapter of the Knott family saga. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Maron's newest entry in her long-running "Judge Knott" series (Designated Daughters) begins with Deborah's father, Kezzie, finding a man beaten to death on his land. The judge's husband, who is second in command at the sheriff's department, investigates and discovers that Kezzie had a history with the victim, Vick Earp, that goes back to moonshining days. Deborah starts digging around to learn more about her parents. VERDICT Sprinkled with the low-country vernacular and the wonderful characters of Colleton County, NC, this title is a worthy addition to Maron's series. Readers of Southern mysteries will find much to adore. [See Prepub Alert, 2/23/15.]-Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., -Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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

Hugo Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Rainbows End
by Vernor Vinge

Publishers Weekly: Set in San Diego, Calif., this hard SF novel from Hugo-winner Vinge (A Deepness in the Sky) offers dazzling computer technology but lacks dramatic tension. Circa 2025, people use high-tech contact lenses to interface with computers in their clothes. "Silent messaging" is so automatic that it feels like telepathy. Robert Gu, a talented Chinese-American poet, has missed much of this revolution due to Alzheimer's, but now the wonders of modern medicine have rehabilitated his mind. Installed in remedial classes at the local high school, he tries to adjust to this brave new world, but soon finds himself enmeshed in a somewhat quixotic plot by elderly former University of California–San Diego faculty members to protest the destruction of the university library, now rendered superfluous by the ubiquitous online databanks. Unbeknownst to Robert, he's also a pawn in a dark international conspiracy to perfect a deadly biological weapon. The true nature of the superweapon is never made entirely clear, and too much of the book feels like a textbook introduction to Vinge's near-future world. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Optical Tricks
by Walter Wick

Publishers Weekly : Wick (photographer of the I Spy books) reaches into his bag of photography tricks and pulls out surprises galore: his baker's dozen of fascinating illusions will stump readers of every age. Nothing is quite what it seems--images that appear indented in clay suddenly pop out in relief when the page is turned upside-down; a handful of fish multiplies into an endless school through the clever use of mirrors; the middle of three columns in a structure seems to disappear somewhere between base and ceiling. Crisply photographed and composed in largely primary colors, the images pack a nifty one-two punch. Best yet, Wick generously reveals the tricks of his trade at the end, explaining the difference between true and false perceptions and showing how, for example, he created the illusion titled "In Suspense" by placing halves of objects on a mirror to make them appear as wholes, floating in space. Part M.C. Escher, part "Magic Eye," but wholly original in their presentation, these irresistible puzzles are nothing short of visual catnip. Ages 7-up.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 4-8-Communication between eye and mind is disoriented with a series of colorful photos of meticulously chosen or carefully constructed objects painstakingly arranged and ingeniously photographed from extremely precise angles. Challenges are presented both in those often-frustrating photos and in the simply written text, with the "illusions" revealed on subsequent pages by having readers change their viewpoint, or in consultation with a series of "solutions" and explanations at the back of the book. In a conclusion, youngsters are reassured that not everyone can "see" every illusion, and that this work is meant as "...an entertaining introduction to the mysteries of visual perception..." and not an "intelligence test." Highly sophisticated despite its appearance of colorful ingenuousness, this new endeavor from the creator of A Drop of Water (Scholastic, 1997) will prove engagingly demanding to those who can "see" 3-D op art in a trice, and annoyingly exacting to those who cannot. Stimulating, if frustrating, and certainly not in the usual stripe of books on optical illusions.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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