Search Our Catalog: 

Featured Book Lists
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.

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
by Becky Albertalli

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Simon Speir, high school junior, walks away from his computer at school for just a moment, and that is when his biggest secret is discovered. He has been emailing a boy in his grade anonymously ever since a poetic waxing on his high school's gossip Tumblr caught his eye, and now Martin Addison has taken a screenshot and has a powerful way to blackmail Simon into getting his friend, Abby, to date him. Although it is filled with trendy pop-culture and digital-age references (Tumblr, Justin Beiber, The Bachelor, etc.) that may not stand the test of time, the message will resonate. Rife with realistic, high school relationships and drama, with a laugh or two at every turn, this is a coming-of-age, coming-out, and defying-the-odds story with which many teens will identify. With a very tidy, feel-good ending, the book will appeal to readers who enjoyed Tim Federle's Better Nate Than Ever (2013) and Five, Six, Seve, Nate! (2014, both S. & S.) and will find a familiar, slightly more mature home with Simon.-Brittany Staszak, St. Charles Public Library, IL (c) 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.

Book list *Starred Review* Simon's pretty sure no one will be upset when he comes out as gay. Though he lives in Georgia and kids at his high school can be cruel, his friends and family are all very accepting. But announcing that he likes guys is still a huge transformation. That's why he is so spooked when classmate Martin stumbles on secret, flirty e-mails Simon has been sending to Blue, a mysterious boy at his school, and gently threatens to reveal his secret. As the e-mail correspondence heats up, however, Simon is less concerned with keeping his sexuality a secret than he is with meeting the enchanting Blue. In Simon's affecting and authentic voice, debut author Albertalli supplies an exceptionally nuanced account of his coming-of-age. For Simon, coming out is less about negative repercussions as it is about what such a statement will change. After telling everyone he is gay, will he still be the same Simon? Though Martin's blackmail threats and Simon's dreamy romance with Blue are pivotal, compelling plot points, Albertalli shrewdly gives much more weight to Simon's emotional journey. Though they are certainly tied to his sexual orientation, Simon's worries will resonate with many readers coming to terms with something new about themselves. Albertalli's sensitive, incisive novel expertly gets at the complexity of identity, the difficulty of change, and the importance of growth.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly After a "goobery nerd" named Martin discovers Georgia teen Simon Spier's secret email relationship with a boy who calls himself "Blue," Martin blackmails Simon into helping him romance Abby, a new girl who has been welcomed into Simon's lunchroom clique. The threat of being outed by Martin forces Simon to come to terms with his sexuality, and his wise insights-Why do only gay people have to come out? Why is that the default?-add heft to a plot that is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Debut novelist Albertalli writes believably in the voice of a confused, openhearted 16-year-old. The large cast of companionable and well-developed characters contains a heroic drama teacher and Simon's embarrassing but well-meaning parents. Page-turning tension comes from the anonymous quality of Simon's emails with Blue, which are interspersed with chapters written in Simon's first-person voice that chronicle Simon's increasing frustration with Blue's reluctance to divulge his identity, as well as the deepening nature of the boys' relationship. Blue may hesitate, but readers will fall madly in love with Simon. Ages 14-up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Bent Agency. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Old Dog Baby Baby
by Julie Fogliano

Book list *Starred Review* Two picture-book luminaries pair up in this sweet story about a beloved old pet and a crawling baby. Rhyming text describes the elderly canine old dog tail / and old dog nose / one eye opened / two eyes closed ­dozing lazily beneath the kitchen table. An adorable baby crawls forward and gives it a full-body hug, inspiring the snoring dog to wag its tail joyfully. Baby pokes, squeezes, and explores with delight as the two happily roll on the kitchen floor. There are sloppy kisses for both, as the two cuddle together in sleepy satisfaction, dreaming away. Subtle details include an older sibling who is busy looking through a photo book of the dog's life from puppyhood to old age. The soft palette of pastel watercolors portrays the black-and-white dog and the red-cheeked baby, while splashes of red highlight the mother's shoes and the dog's licking tongue. Raschka's deceptively simple style perfectly captures the duo's movements and relates flawlessly with the understated text. Baby's big wide smile and oval yawns are aped by the old dog's even wider yawn, tempting listeners to emulate. When the two finally settle in affectionately together for a nap, it's, in a word, charming.--Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

School Library Journal PreS-K-Those privileged to have known a mild-mannered dog, a martyr to baby love, a dog that will withstand any annoyance from an infant and still adore him, will appreciate this sweet story told in verse. Fogliano's spare, pitch-perfect rhymes capture the joyful meeting between a blond-haired diapered baby and a shaggy dog on the kitchen floor. Simple rhymes create the mood: "Baby hurry/baby wiggle/'puppy! puppy!'/baby giggle." The exploration is mutual: "Old dog sniffs/with old dog nose/baby fingers/baby toes" until they are down for the count, sleeping flat out on the floor. Raschka's illustrations add hilarity and an additional layer to the narrative. He includes different legs and shoes on the periphery of the page, and readers can guess who is entering and who is leaving the kitchen. The illustrator mirrors the minimalist verse with his simple brushstrokes of watery oranges, blues, and greens. VERDICT Great for preschool storytime or for one-on-one sharing.-Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, MA © 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 A shaggy dog, gray and white with a spot over one eye, is snoozing on the kitchen floor. "Old dog dreams/ old dog twitches," writes Fogliano (When Green Becomes Tomatoes). "Old paw scratches/ old ear itches." In crawls a towheaded baby with bright pink cheeks, who throws back its head in delight when the dog proffers a sloppy kiss. They settle down for a co-nap, "old dog/ baby baby/ dreaming on the/ kitchen floor." There's another story underway, as well: the baby and dog are observed by an older sibling, who has been looking at photographs of the dog's puppyhood. Two women appear on the margins of the scenes, and a photograph reveals that all the characters are a family. Raschka's (The Death of the Hat) watercolor images-with their soft textures, intimate framings, and big, gentle shapes-have just the right mix of joy and melancholy. We can't stop the passage of time, Fogliano and Raschka seem to say, but we are fortunate in our loving relationships, each transcendent in its own way. Ages 2-6. Author's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. Illustrator's agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Lion the Mouse
by Jerry Pinkney

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-The African Serengeti forms the backdrop for a lion that captures a rodent and-for reasons left for readers to ponder-releases it. His decision is rewarded, and the value of even the smallest creature is recognized in this stunning Caldecott winner rendered in expressive watercolors. A visual feast. (c) Copyright 2011. 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* The intricate lion's face that crowds the cover of Pinkney's latest folktale adaptation is unaccompanied by any title or credits, and that is entirely appropriate there are no words inside, either. Through illustration alone Pinkney relates the well-known Aesop fable of the mouse who is captured by a lion, only to be unexpectedly released. Then, when the lion finds himself trapped by hunters, it is the mouse who rescues him by gnawing through the twine. Pinkney bends his no-word rule a bit with a few noises that are worked into the art ( Screeeech when an owl dives; Putt-Putt-Putt when the hunters' jeep arrives), but these transgressions will only encourage young listeners to get involved with read-along sessions. And involved they will be how could they not get drawn into watercolors of such detail and splendor? Pinkney's soft, multihued strokes make everything in the jungle seem alive, right down to the rocks, as he bleeds color to indicate movement, for instance, when the lion falls free from the net. His luxuriant use of close-ups humanizes his animal characters without idealizing them, and that's no mean feat. In a closing artist's note, Pinkney talks about his choice to forgo text.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2009 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Other than some squeaks, hoots and one enormous roar, Pinkney's (Little Red Riding Hood) interpretation of Aesop's fable is wordless-as is its striking cover, which features only a head-on portrait of the lion's face. Mottled, tawny illustrations show a mouse unwittingly taking refuge on a lion's back as it scurries away from an owl. The large beast grabs and then releases the tiny creature, who later frees the lion who has become tangled in a hunter's snare. Pinkney enriches this classic tale of friendship with another universal theme-family-affectingly illustrated in several scenes as well as in the back endpapers, which show the lion walking with his mate and cubs as the mouse and her brood ride on his back. Pinkney's artist's note explains that he set the book in Africa's Serengeti, "with its wide horizon and abundant wildlife so awesome yet fragile-not unlike the two sides of each of the heroes." Additional African species grace splendid panoramas that balance the many finely detailed, closeup images of the protagonists. Pinkney has no need for words; his art speaks eloquently for itself. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-This story starts on the cover with the glorious, golden countenance of a lion. No text is necessary to communicate the title: the direction of the beast's gaze and the conflicted expression on his tightly cropped face compel readers to turn the book over, where a mouse, almost filling the vertical space, glances back. The endpapers and artist's note place these creatures among the animal families of the African Serengeti. Each spread contributes something new in this nearly wordless narrative, including the title opening, on which the watchful rodent pauses, resting in one of the large footprints that marches across the gutter. In some scenes, Pinkney's luminous art, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, suggests a natural harmony, as when the cool blues of the sky are mirrored in the rocks and acacia tree. In other compositions, a cream-colored background focuses attention on the exquisitely detailed and nuanced forms of the two main characters. Varied perspectives and the judicious use of panels create interest and indicate time. Sounds are used sparingly and purposefully-an owl's hoot to hint at offstage danger or an anguished roar to alert the mouse of the lion's entrapment. Contrast this version with Pinkney's traditional treatment of the same story (complete with moral) in Aesop's Fables (North-South, 2000). The ambiguity that results from the lack of words in this version allows for a slower, subtle, and ultimately more satisfying read. Moments of humor and affection complement the drama. A classic tale from a consummate artist.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. 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.

Horn Book Picture Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories
by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-In this endearing picture book, a tail-wagging dachshund and a multicolored stuffed bear star in three tales about friendship. In the first, Dog wants to go outside, but Bear is perched atop a tall chair and can't get down. It takes encouragement and ingenuity, but the pooch eventually helps his pal descend; unfortunately, Bear's scarf has been left behind. Next, Dog wants to play and brings out numerous toys, but Bear is busy reading. At last, he closes his book and asks, "What shall we do?," and the pup appears with a stack of volumes ("Read to me!"). Finally, Dog decides to change his name. Bear points out that none of the traditional canine choices is suitable, imagining what his friend would be like if he were called Spot (speckled with colorful dots), Fluffy (pink, with a cotton-candy body), or Prince (dressed in royal regalia). They reach a consensus when Bear suggests "My Best Friend Dog" (Dog for short). The characters and a few highlighted objects are drawn with thick black lines, colored with bright variegated hues, and set against white backdrops. The eye-catching artwork shines with humor and warmth. Told with simplicity and charm, this story is appropriate for sharing aloud or for newly confident readers.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Seeger, whose Black? White! Day? Night! (2006) was a 2007 Booklist Editors' Choice, introduces a pair of endearing animal friends in this winning picture book. Bear is a multicolored stuffed toy; Dog is a playful, rowdy dachshund. In three distinct stories, Bear and Dog solve problems, tussle, and enjoy the warm feelings that friendship brings. In the first episode, Dog helps timid Bear down from a high stool. In the second, Dog wants to play, but Bear needs some quiet time alone. And in the final story, Dog suffers a small identity crisis, but Bear helps him recognize that he is just fine as he is. The distinct stories give this the feel of a beginning chapter book, and Seeger's minimal text is perfectly paced for new readers, who will love the dose of humor at each story's close. In pictures as spare and charming as the text, Seeger captures preschoolers' expressions and body language in her animals, painted in elemental shapes lined in black and set against empty white backgrounds that keep the focus squarely on the characters. Young children who have discovered their own first best friends will recognize the highs and lows, and they'll want to add Bear and Dog to their list of favorite animal pals. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2007 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly As inventive and fresh as Seeger's Hidden Alphabet, the three gentle stories in this inspired collection are utterly charming. Emerging readers will take to the rambunctious dachshund and winsome stuffed bear, and will find the bold font of the economical text easy to follow. Each story's conflict is satisfyingly resolved with a surprise ending that reflects these unique individuals. When Dog rattles off his inappropriate suggestions for changing his boring name, Bear suggests that Dog change his name to "My Best Friend Dog." Dog is delighted, but then blithely suggests that Bear call him "Dog for short." The uncluttered illustrations, in thick black line and swirling bright watercolor wash, work seamlessly with stories that rely on humor both child-centered and unexpected. When Dog coaches the timid bear off of a high chair ("Take one step. One little, tiny step"), their faces deftly mirror their emotions. Seeger comically combines Bear's narration of a story he is trying to read with Dog's rambunctious pleas ("Play with me! Play with me!"). When Bear finally puts his book down and asks what they should play, dog answers, "Read to me! Read to me!" After turning the last page, young readers will beg the same for this enchanting trio of tales. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Us Against You
by Fredrik Backman

Publishers Weekly Backman (A Man Called Ove) returns to the hockey-obsessed village of his previous novel Beartown to chronicle the passion, violence, resilience, and humanity of the people who live there in this engrossing tale of small-town Swedish life. As a new hockey season approaches, the Beartown team is in a precarious situation. The village was rocked after a junior team member was convicted of rape the previous spring, and the hockey club is in danger of being liquidated. General manager Peter Andersson is under intense scrutiny-particularly from one aggressive group of fans who call themselves "The Pack"-and enters into a questionable agreement with slippery local politician Richard Theo in order to save the team. When an unconventional new coach arrives, Beartown's hopes fall on the shoulders of four untested (and possibly unreliable) teenagers. As tension between Beartown and its rival town, Hed, comes to a boiling point over hockey, jobs, and political squabbles, each member of the community confronts the same questions: "what would you do for your family? What wouldn't you do?" Narrated by a collective "we," Backman's excellent novel has an atmosphere of both Scandinavian folktale and Greek tragedy. Darkness and grit exist alongside tenderness and levity, creating a blunt realism that brings the setting's small-town atmosphere to vivid life. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal This follow-up to Beartown is about hockey-and everything else. Here the residents of Backman's isolated Swedish town, with some new additions, resume their lives where they left off at the end of the earlier novel. Since the history of each individual is examined and outlined in turn, new readers can catch up quickly. Some minor incidents in the first book play out in this one, exploding the little mines buried in Beartown. With a penchant for foreshadowing and then foiling readers' expectations, Backman widens the vision of the setting, encompassing the rival town of Hed and its own hockey team, made up of former players from Beartown's soon-to-be disbanded league. It's just a game, two teams, sticks and pucks. Us against you, doesn't that say it all? -VERDICT There is even more potential for book group discussion here as Backman explores violence, political maneuvering, communities, feminism, sexuality, criminality, the role of sports in society, and what makes us all tick. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17.]-Mary K. Bird-Guilliams, Chicago © Copyright 2018. 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.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Inquisitors Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
by Adam Gidwitz>

Publishers Weekly In 1242 France, weary travelers at an inn trade stories about three miraculous children and their dog, Gwenforte, who has returned from the dead. The children-Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions of the future; William, an oblate of partial African heritage with uncanny strength; and Jacob, a Jewish boy with the power to heal the sick and injured-are the subject of much rumor and debate. Are they saints, frauds, or in league with the devil? Gidwitz (the Grimm trilogy) continues to toy with narrative in a well-researched and rambunctiously entertaining story that has as much to say about the present as it does the past. Evoking the oral storytelling traditions of the time, multiple characters including a nun, troubadour, and brewer alternately describe their encounters with the children to produce the whole story. Amid mugs upon mugs of ale, the tale that comes into focus is one of religious persecution and faith, friendships that transcend difference, and a dangerously flatulent dragon-Gidwitz continues to have no problem mixing high and low. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10-up. Author's agent: Sarah Burnes, Gernert Company. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Gidwitz leaves the fairy-tale realm of his Grimm trilogy behind and plunges into medieval France to tell the incredible story of three gifted children, a holy greyhound, and the people whose lives they touch. It is a time of miracles and saints, of fiends and dragons, all of which Gidwitz has meticulously teased from legends and histories of the Middle Ages. The story is relayed in the style of The Canterbury Tales, as travelers gathered at an inn share what they know of the children: Jeanne, a peasant girl with visions of the future; William, an African oblate with incredible strength; Jacob, a Jewish boy with healing powers; not to mention Gwenforte, their guardian greyhound. Religion lies at the book's heart, as Jewish and Christian beliefs come into conflict and the children's potential for sainthood is debated. It also triggers an act of defiance against the king that makes the miraculous threesome the most wanted people in France. Ten different narrators lend their voices to the tale including a brewster, nun, butcher, librarian, and troubadour while drinking a fair amount of ale, resulting in a boisterous, conversational tone. Gidwitz proves himself a nimble storyteller as he weaves history, excitement, and multiple narrative threads into a taut, inspired adventure. Though final artwork was unseen, the book will be fittingly illuminated with illustrations and marginalia. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The work put into the physical book should tell you the publisher's belief in best-seller Gidwitz's latest. Also: the national tour, the floor display, and all that.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-A hodgepodge of different narrators in 1242 France introduce readers to three unusual children and one remarkable dog. As their individual stories unfold and their paths collide, tension reaches a fever pitch as an agent of the Inquisition nips at their heels. Gidwitz's epic medieval adventure packs in boisterous action, richly depicted history, and lovable underdog characters, all illuminated by Aly's stunning artwork. The Middle Ages have never been as exciting or as funny. © 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.

School Library Journal Gr 5-10-What is a miracle? Is a miracle what happens when, faced with murderous bandits, a teenage monk rips a leg off his donkey, beats them to death with it, then restores the donkey's leg? Or is it a miracle when a cranky innkeeper is so moved by a little girl's friendliness that he risks his life to help her and her companions flee a posse of armed knights? Maybe the real miracle happens when readers attracted to the action and violence a particular author is known for find themselves strongly invested in the moral questions that plague bandit-killing monk and friendly peasant girl alike-along with every other character they encounter, from a young minstrel/pickpocket to Louis IX. Gidwitz's tale of medieval France successfully combines the epic with the personal, aiming for that heart-stopping moment when characters readers have come to care about find themselves on a collision course with one of the great wood chippers of history-the Inquisition, agents of which are in hot pursuit of three underdog characters (and one actual dog) from the very start. It is left to the titular Inquisitor to discover the truth behind the legends that quickly rise to surround these kids. He nudges it from each of the travelers at a roadside inn, the narrative tension rising as each facet is revealed. VERDICT This book appeals to the heart, to the mind, and to any reader's appetite for action: read it for the thrilling escapes, the fart jokes, the stinky cheese, and the palace intrigue. Read it for the Talmudic wisdom, commonsense philosophies, and moments of doubt. Read it for the palaces and monasteries and the unbelievable descriptions of food. But read it.-Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson © 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.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Drowning Ruth
by Christina Schwarz

Library Journal: Why did Ruth's mother, Mathilda, drown on that fateful night in 1919 and Ruth survive? That is the central question that this novel sets out to answer. Mathilda's sister, Amanda, who has been nursing soldiers in Milwaukee (it is right after World War I), has returned to the family farm in rural Wisconsin. Mathilda and Ruth are there to help her return to a normal life. Yet a year later, Mathilda's husband returns from the war to find his wife drowned and his sister-in-law raising his daughter. So continues the tale through 1941, as we watch Ruth grow up and try to remember what happened that winter night. Along the way, Ruth befriends Imogene, who has a closer connection to the family than Ruth can imagine. The story is recounted partly through flashback and moves from first-person to third-person narrative. What results is a gripping tale of sisterly rivalry, family loyalty, and secret histories. Already optioned for a film by Miramax, to be directed by Wes Craven, this first novel is an engrossing read. Recommended for all public libraries.

Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: "Ruth remembered drowning." The first sentence of this brilliantly understated psychological thriller leaps off the page and captures the reader's imagination. In Schwarz's debut novel, brutal Wisconsin weather and WWI drama color a tale of family rivalry, madness, secrets and obsessive love. By March 1919, Nurse Amanda Starkey has come undone. She convinces herself that her daily exposure to the wounded soldiers in the Milwaukee hospital where she works is the cause of her hallucinations, fainting spells and accidents. Amanda journeys home to the family farm in Nagawaukee, where her sister, Mathilda (Mattie), lives with her three-year-old daughter Ruth, awaiting the return of her war-injured husband, Carl Neumann. Mattie's ebullient welcome convinces Amanda she can mend there. But then Mattie drowns in the lake that surrounds the sisters' island house and, in a rush of confusion and anguish, Amanda assumes care of Ruth. After Carl comes home, Amanda and he manage to work together on the farm and parent Ruth, but their arrangement is strained: Amanda has a breakdown and recuperates at a sanatorium. As time passes, Ruth grows into an odd, guarded child who clings to perplexing memories of the night her mother drowned. Why does Amanda have that little circle of scars on her hand? What is Amanda's connection to Ruth's friend Imogene and why does she fear Imogene's marriage to Clement Owen's son? Schwarz deftly uses first-person narration to heighten the drama. Her prose is spare but bewitching, and she juggles the speakers and time periods with the surety of a seasoned novelist. Rather than attempting a trumped-up suspenseful finale, Schwarz ends her novel gently, underscoring the delicate power of her tale. Agent, Jennifer R. Walsh at the Writers Shop. Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Teen People and Mango Book Club main selections; film rights optioned by Miramax, Wes Craven to direct; foreign rights sold in Germany, France, the U.K., Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. (Aug.)

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal: YA-A wonderfully constructed gothic suspense novel set on a stark Wisconsin farm in 1919. The story goes backward and forward in time and is told by Amanda, her niece Ruth, and an omniscient narrator. The ties that bind the two women are as fragile as they are fierce and have their origin in the relationship of two sisters, Amanda and her sister Mattie, Ruth's mother. The narrative begins with Amanda as she recounts her childhood and the responsibility she came to feel for her younger sister and the parents who favored her younger sibling. Amanda finally wrests herself away from home to become a nurse, but her independence is short-lived. Overwhelmed and sickened by the care of the wounded, and heartsick over the love of a married man, she suffers a nervous breakdown and seeks solace by returning to the farm to help Mattie care for her tiny daughter as they await the return of Mattie's husband from World War I. But tragedy follows with Mattie's mysterious drowning during a winter blizzard and guilty lies soon engulf Amanda and threaten to change the lives of several others in the small rural community. A compelling complex tale of psychological mystery and maddeningly destructive provincial attitudes.-Jackie Gropman, Kings Park Library, Fairfax, VA

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

308 Chickasaw St. Rudd, IA 50471  |  Phone 641-395-2385
Powered by: YouSeeMore © The Library Corporation (TLC)