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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Truth be told
by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Publishers Weekly Ryan's smart, well-paced third Jane Ryland novel (after 2013's The Wrong Girl) takes aim at the housing crisis of recent years. Boston Register reporter Jane Ryland is at work on two stories: an apparent murder in a recently foreclosed house and a supposed puff piece about banking customer service. Both assignments lead straight to revelations of institutional financial malfeasance and possibly more death. Meanwhile, Det. Jake Brogan of the Boston PD receives the solution to a 20-year-old cold case-or has he been handed an inexplicable false confession? Ryan, a Mary Higgins Clark Award winner, cleverly ties the plot together, offers surprising but believable plot twists, and skillfully characterizes the supporting case, which includes a widower attorney, a bleeding heart banker, and an expectant mother who might be married to a murderer. She also provides just the right amount of romance between Jane and Jake, with a delectable hint that Jake might have some competition. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Starred Review. Boston's Register news reporter Jane Ryland is covering a human interest foreclosure story when she stumbles onto several murders committed in recently foreclosed homes. Investigating further, Jane becomes entangled in one dangerous situation after another. In the meantime, the reporter's clandestine love interest, Boston police detective Jake Brogan, is actively pursuing answers to a 20-year-old unsolved murder. The cold case turns personal as Jake consults case files written by his deceased grandfather, a former police commissioner, to determine if the individual confessing to the crime is truly the killer. As Jane and Jake each gets closer to the truth, they find their lives and their romantic connection precariously hanging in the balance. Danger and intrigue surround them both as they desperately seek closure. VERDICT The third entry in the "Jane Ryland & Jake Brogan" series (The Other Woman; The Wrong Girl) packs a powerful punch, and offers a clever mix of mystery, corruption, and romance. Mystery enthusiasts will want to drop everything and binge-read until the mind-boggling conclusion. [See Prepub Alert, 4/21/14.]-Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights (c) Copyright 2014. 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* A prominent cold case is back in play. Women are being murdered in empty houses that have been foreclosed, and reporter Jane Ryland and Boston PD detective Jake Brogan are wondering if their relationship, right at the edge of ethical, in his view, can ever work. When a recent parolee confesses to a 20-year-old unsolved murder that bedevils Brogan as it haunted his late police-commissioner grandfather, Brogan's colleagues accept the confession as valid, but Brogan is dubious. Working both old and new cases, Brogan continually runs into Ryland, who's on assignment with Peter Hardesty, a widowed lawyer who's attracted to Ryland and arousing Brogan's jealousy. At the heart of it all are foreclosures, which are being manipulated by a cabal of bank employees for personal gain as well as by new customer-services bank officer Liz McDivitt, who's playing Robin Hood. In the third entry in this award-winning series, investigative reporter Ryan again takes on a social issue the harm to individuals caused by bank foreclosures and puts it at the center of a fast-moving procedural with a strong journalistic bent. In Ryan's adroit hands, with her brisk prose, appealing protagonists, and well-limned characters, even foreclosures can be sexy.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2014 Booklist

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

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The crossover
by by Kwame Alexander

School Library Journal Gr 6-10-Twins Josh and Jordan are junior high basketball stars, thanks in large part to the coaching of their dad, a former professional baller who was forced to quit playing for health reasons, and the firm, but loving support of their assistant-principal mom. Josh, better known as Filthy McNasty, earned his nickname for his enviable skills on the court: ".when Filthy gets hot/He has a SLAMMERIFIC SHOT." In this novel in verse, the brothers begin moving apart from each other for the first time. Jordan starts dating the "pulchritudinous" Miss Sweet Tea, and Josh has a tough time keeping his jealousy and feelings of abandonment in control. Alexander's poems vary from the pulsing, aggressive beats of a basketball game ("My shot is F L O W I N G, Flying, fluttering.. ringaling and SWINGALING/Swish. Game/over") to the more introspective musings of a child struggling into adolescence ("Sit beside JB at dinner. He moves./Tell him a joke. He doesn't even smile..Say I'm sorry/but he won't listen"). Despite his immaturity, Josh is a likable, funny, and authentic character. Underscoring the sports and the fraternal tension is a portrait of a family that truly loves and supports one another. Alexander has crafted a story that vibrates with energy and heart and begs to be read aloud. A slam dunk.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal. (c) Copyright 2014. 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 The Bell twins are stars on the basketball court and comrades in life. While there are some differences Josh shaves his head and Jordan loves his locks both twins adhere to the Bell basketball rules: In this game of life, your family is the court, and the ball is your heart. With a former professional basketball player dad and an assistant principal mom, there is an intensely strong home front supporting sports and education in equal measures. When life intervenes in the form of a hot new girl, the balance shifts and growing apart proves painful. An accomplished author and poet, Alexander eloquently mashes up concrete poetry, hip-hop, a love of jazz, and a thriving family bond. The effect is poetry in motion. It is a rare verse novel that is fundamentally poetic rather than using this writing trend as a device. There is also a quirky vocabulary element that adds a fun intellectual note to the narrative. This may be just the right book for those hard-to-match youth who live for sports or music or both.--Bush, Gail Copyright 2014 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Josh Bell, known on and off the court by the nickname Filthy McNasty, doesn't lack self-confidence, but neither does he lack the skills to back up his own mental in-game commentary: "I rise like a Learjet-/ seventh-graders aren't supposed to dunk./ But guess what?/ I snatch the ball out of the air and/ SLAM!/ YAM! IN YOUR MUG!" Josh is sure that he and his twin brother, JB, are going pro, following in the footsteps of their father, who played professional ball in Europe. But Alexander (He Said, She Said) drops hints that Josh's trajectory may be headed back toward Earth: his relationship with JB is strained by a new girl at school, and the boys' father health is in increasingly shaky territory. The poems dodge and weave with the speed of a point guard driving for the basket, mixing basketball action with vocabulary-themed poems, newspaper clippings, and Josh's sincere first-person accounts that swing from moments of swagger-worthy triumph to profound pain. This verse novel delivers a real emotional punch before the final buzzer. Ages 9-12. Agent: East West Literary Agency. (Mar.) (c) 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 King and Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats
by Dori Hillestad Butler

Book list Three dog treats are missing, and Kayla thinks that the culprit is her golden retriever, King. But he knows the truth there is an intruder in the house! Welcome to the world of Kayla and King, a new early reader series with dog and human perspectives on life. In this opening title, Kayla, brown-skinned and curly-haired, is making treats because Jillian, her friend with lighter skin and blond hair, has a new puppy, Thor. Five chapters help break down the narrative into manageable bites while keeping up the pace and intrigue. Kids will join in with Kayla, King, and friends as they list off facts and questions to solve the case. The hand-drawn, digitally colored illustrations bring out the giggles and smiles, especially when King and Thor meet with wagging tails and puppy play. This title is a delightful series start that will have kids returning to read more about Kayla and King. It's also a great introduction to mysteries, gathering facts, and analytical thinking for an unusually young set.--Ginman, Karen 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.

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

Edgar Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Gone
by by Mo Hayder

Publishers Weekly A carjacking goes from bad to horrifying in Hayder's gripping fifth thriller featuring Bristol Det. Insp. Jack Caffery and Sgt. Phoebe "Flea" Marley (after Skin). When Rose Bradley's car is stolen with her 11-year-old daughter, Martha, inside, it appears to be a routine snatch-and-grab. It becomes clear, however, that the carjacker had his sights set on the girl, not the vehicle, when he begins taunting the police, who scramble to find clues to Martha's whereabouts. Jack soon discovers a pattern of similar kidnappings disguised as car thefts, with the level of violence ratcheted up in each case. As Jack tracks the kidnapper above ground, Flea's search takes her below ground and underwater into a decommissioned canal and tunnel, where she fights to save her own life and that of the kidnapped child. Hayder expertly brings to life the claustrophobia of Flea's dives and the emotional burden of the case on Jack. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal DI Jack Caffery and Sgt. Phoebe "Flea" Marley, a police diver, return in Hayder's latest thriller. This is the fifth appearance for Caffery, who debuted in Birdman, and the third for Marley. The events of the previous novel, Skin, have eroded their personal and professional relationship, and Marley and her team are under scrutiny. A new case brings them together, and the two struggle with their partnership and with the brutal criminal they face. What appears to be an accidental kidnapping during a carjacking turns more sinister when the child is not released, a pattern of similar attempted incidents emerges, and they receive a letter from the kidnapper outlining what he's done and what he's planning. VERDICT Readers who can tolerate some graphic descriptions of violence (or skim past them) will be rewarded with a complex, fast-paced, well-written mystery with interesting characters fighting personal and external demons. Recommended for those who enjoy Karin Slaughter and John Connolly.-Beth Blakesley, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman (c) Copyright 2010. 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* In the fifth riveting entry in the series featuring haunted homicide detective Jack Caffery, his latest case seems to be a routine carjacking. But as the investigation proceeds, it becomes clear that the Jacker was really after the 11-year-old girl in the backseat and, what's more, is taunting police with the threat that he will strike again. He is so far ahead of the unit at every step that the investigation is continually being stymied, and Jack suspects the Jacker is privy to inside information. As the Walking Man, a vagrant with whom Jack has a special connection, tells him, the kidnapper is cleverer than any of the others you've brought to me. Meanwhile, police diver Flea Marley is recklessly ignoring protocol in her search for the missing girl and finds herself trapped in an underwater cavern. Hayder keeps the tension high as she switches between the distraught parents and the stressed-out investigators. The meticulously crafted plot is heightened by Hayder's skillful evocation of mood as she summons the specter of a highly intelligent criminal who is taking great satisfaction from every parent's worst nightmare. A captivating thriller. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Hayder has been threatening to vault from cult favorite to mainstream smash for a few books now, and this one aided by a full-dress marketing campaign may be the one to make the jump.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Astrophysics For People In A Hurry
by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Book list With several best-selling books under his belt, along with multiple service awards and honorary doctorates, Tyson has become one of the most popular science spokesmen since Carl Sagan, whose famous Cosmos miniseries Tyson rebooted for 13 episodes in 2014. In his latest work, Tyson offers a breezy but scientifically grounded overview of his primary field of expertise, astrophysics, skillfully tailored to increase lay readers' understanding of topics such as the big bang and relativity in time to better appreciate the next astronomical discovery or blockbuster science-fiction movie. Twelve bite-size, lucidly written chapters cover the fundamentals of inflation theory, gravity, dark matter, black holes, and the surprising reasons planets and suns are round. Tyson also gives star billing to some of science's most famous innovators, such as Newton and Einstein, dissecting how they developed their signature theories. A final, elegiac chapter extols the virtues of having a cosmic perspective to lighten the burdens of living. Even readers normally averse to anything to do with physics or chemistry will find Tyson's wittily delivered explanations compelling and disarmingly entertaining.--Hays, Carl Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Celebrity scientist Tyson's profound intellect is matched by his charm and wit. In this slim title, he attempts to explain some of the most complex astrophysics concepts in layman's terms. Readers should be prepared for a challenging yet edifying experience from the get-go: "In the beginning.all the space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period that ends this sentence." Tyson riffs on topics such as gravity, the speed and makeup of light, the shape of space, and dark matter, maintaining as chatty a tone as possible as he tries to make these important principles comprehensible to the uninitiated. VERDICT Likely to resonate the most with those with a scientific bent, but Tyson's pop culture appeal expands the audience somewhat.-Jamie Watson, Baltimore County Public Library Copyright 2017. 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.

Library Journal Author and astrophysicist Tyson (director, Hayden Planetarium, New York) has revisited, modified, consolidated, and, in some cases, updated a number of essays from his Universe column from Natural History magazine. Twelve independent chapters address topics such as the origin and development of the universe, dark matter and dark energy, and how both technology and location (spatial and temporal) influence our understanding of the cosmos. The astrophysicist's enthusiasm and sense of humor remain undiminished; few other science popularizers would think of writing, "I don't know about you, but the planet Saturn pops into my mind with every bite of a hamburger I take." Tyson is promoting this book as a quick and convenient introduction to the universe for people with scant free time, although readers will benefit from prior exposure to the physical sciences. Subject coverage overlaps unavoidably with the author's acclaimed Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour (cowritten by J. -Richard Gott and Michael A. Strauss), but this newer title is more literary. VERDICT Those seeking pleasure reading--Tyson fans and newcomers alike-will enjoy this caper through the cosmos. [See -Prepub Alert, 11/21/16.]-Nancy R. Curtis, Univ. of Maine Lib., Orono Copyright 2017. 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 An Ode to the Fresh Cut
by Derrick Barnes

Publishers Weekly How good can a haircut make a person feel? "Magnificent. Flawless. Like royalty." In a powerfully moving tribute to barbershop culture, Barnes (We Could Be Brothers) addresses readers directly-and it's safe to say his audience is primarily boys of color-using hyperbole to boost their confidence and help them recognize their own value. "You came in as a lump of clay," he writes, "a blank canvas, a slab of marble./ But when my man is done with you,/ they'll want to post you up in a museum." Created with thick, forceful daubs of paint, James's luminous portraits reinforce the idea that, when a person looks this good, not even the sky is the limit. Of a man admiring the curving designs newly shaved into his head, the narrator remarks, "Maybe there's a river named after him on Mars. He looks that important." Pride, confidence, and joy radiate from the pages, both in the black and brown faces of men, women, boys, and girls featured in Barnes's majestic paintings, and in writing that celebrates human worth with every syllable. Barbers included: "Tip that man! Tip that man!" Ages 3-8. (Oct.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-Rhythmic text describes the feeling of a young African American boy as he gets a "fresh cut" and how a trip to the barbershop changes the way he feels about the world and in turn how the world perceives him. He might just "smash that geography exam" or "rearrange the principal's honor roll" and, of course, the cute girl in class won't be able to keep her eyes off of him. The protagonist spends time looking at black men in chairs next to him and creating vivid stories about their lives: "the dude to the left of you with a faux-hawk.looks presidential.maybe he's the CEO of a tech company." Oil paintings illustrate the intricacies of the haircuts, details in the characters' faces, along with the sense of well-being that is conveyed along the way. While a trip the barbershop is the main story line, the themes of confidence-building, self-esteem, and joy of young black boys are the important takeaways, and the illustrations jump off the page and invite readers to share in the experience. VERDICT A super fun read-aloud, this title is a recommended purchase for all picture book collections.-Kristen Todd-Wurm, Middle Country Public Library, NY Copyright 2017. 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 Barnes (Ruby and the Booker Boys, 2008) playfully tells the story of a black boy getting a haircut at a barbershop. The boy comes in as a blank canvas, but as the haircut starts, Barnes leads the reader into all the things that might happen because of the cut, from passing a geography test, to becoming a star, and even impressing a girl. The other men in the barbershop look important and full of swagger because of their hair, and the barber knows what he's doing and doles out shape-ups and a faux hawk with skill. Colorful images illustrate all of the patrons, including a woman. Barnes mixes fresh and sharp lines with an integral part of the African American experience: maintaining one's hair. Illustrator James deftly uses bright colors including teal and fuchsia, and a colorful galaxy complements Barnes' words well. The strong voice will resonate with readers, soothe any young child scared of their first cut, and give a boost of confidence to the seasoned pros.--Gilfillian, Courtney Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Poisonwood Bible
by Barbara Kingsolver

Library Journal: It's been five years since Kingsolver's last novel (Pigs in Heaven, LJ 6/15/93), and she has used her time well. This intense family drama is set in an Africa on the verge of independence and upheaval. In 1959, evangelical preacher Nathan Price moves his wife and four daughters from Georgia to a village in the Belgian Congo, later Zaire. Their dysfunction and cultural arrogance proves disastrous as the family is nearly destroyed by war, Nathan's tyranny, and Africa itself. Told in the voices of the mother and daughters, the novel spans 30 years as the women seek to understand each other and the continent that tore them apart. Kingsolver has a keen understanding of the inevitable, often violent clashes between white and indigenous cultures, yet she lets the women tell their own stories without being judgmental. An excellent novel that was worth the wait and will win the author new fans. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/98.]--Ellen Flexman, Indianapolis-Marion Cty.

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

Publishers Weekly: In this risky but resoundingly successful novel, Kingsolver leaves the Southwest, the setting of most of her work (The Bean Trees; Animal Dreams) and follows an evangelical Baptist minister's family to the Congo in the late 1950s, entwining their fate with that of the country during three turbulent decades. Nathan Price's determination to convert the natives of the Congo to Christianity is, we gradually discover, both foolhardy and dangerous, unsanctioned by the church administration and doomed from the start by Nathan's self-righteousness. Fanatic and sanctimonious, Nathan is a domestic monster, too, a physically and emotionally abusive, misogynistic husband and father. He refuses to understand how his obsession with river baptism affronts the traditions of the villagers of Kalinga, and his stubborn concept of religious rectitude brings misery and destruction to all. Cleverly, Kingsolver never brings us inside Nathan's head but instead unfolds the tragic story of the Price family through the alternating points of view of Orleanna Price and her four daughters. Cast with her young children into primitive conditions but trained to be obedient to her husband, Orleanna is powerless to mitigate their situation. Meanwhile, each of the four Price daughters reveals herself through first-person narration, and their rich and clearly differentiated self-portraits are small triumphs. Rachel, the eldest, is a self-absorbed teenager who will never outgrow her selfish view of the world or her tendency to commit hilarious malapropisms. Twins Leah and Adah are gifted intellectually but are physically and emotionally separated by Adah's birth injury, which has rendered her hemiplagic. Leah adores her father; Adah, who does not speak, is a shrewd observer of his monumental ego. The musings of five- year-old Ruth May reflect a child's humorous misunderstanding of the exotic world to which she has been transported. By revealing the story through the female victims of Reverend Price's hubris, Kingsolver also charts their maturation as they confront or evade moral and existential issues and, at great cost, accrue wisdom in the crucible of an alien land. It is through their eyes that we come to experience the life of the villagers in an isolated community and the particular ways in which American and African cultures collide. As the girls become acquainted with the villagers, especially the young teacher Anatole, they begin to understand the political situation in the Congo: the brutality of Belgian rule, the nascent nationalism briefly fulfilled in the election of the short-lived Patrice Lumumba government, and the secret involvement of the Eisenhower administration in Lumumba's assassination and the installation of the villainous dictator Mobutu. In the end, Kingsolver delivers a compelling family saga, a sobering picture of the horrors of fanatic fundamentalism and an insightful view of an exploited country crushed by the heel of colonialism and then ruthlessly manipulated by a bastion of democracy. The book is also a marvelous mix of trenchant character portrayal, unflagging narrative thrust and authoritative background detail. The disastrous outcome of the forceful imposition of Christian theology on indigenous natural faith gives the novel its pervasive irony; but humor is pervasive, too, artfully integrated into the children's misapprehensions of their world; and suspense rises inexorably as the Price family's peril and that of the newly independent country of Zaire intersect. Kingsolver moves into new moral terrain in this powerful, convincing and emotionally resonant novel. Agent, Frances Goldin; BOMC selection; major ad/promo; author tour.

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

Spur Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Big Burn
by Jeanette Ingold

Publishers Weekly : Ingold (Pictures, 1918) captures the momentum of a wildfire in this historical novel about "the big burn" that scorched millions of acres across Idaho and Montana in 1910. Against the atmospheric backdrop of beauty and devastation, each of three teens bravely battles the fire. As a member of the all-black infantry sent to help, Seth conquers his own insecurities; Jarrett, younger brother of a forest ranger, chooses to combat the blaze with the rough-and-tumble, ill-equipped hired crews; while Lizbeth and her guardian cousin reluctantly abandon their homestead, only to face the danger in town. Ingold intersperses the intersecting stories of the teenagers with "field notes" recorded by a ranger and a university professor; these slow the pace but offer illuminating background, including the contrast between the Indian tradition of setting controlled fires annually versus the government's belief that "the only safe way to control fire was to not let it burn in the first place." The narrative flags a bit a romance between Jarrett and Lizabeth never becomes as compelling as their individual struggles but on balance, the triumphs and casualties recounted here will heighten appreciation for the courage and sacrifice of firefighters and settlers; the book may be especially timely in light of this summer's runaway fires in the West. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 7 Up-This exciting survival/adventure story is told ensemble-style. Bumbling Private Seth Brown of the all-black 25th infantry wonders if the Army will be as good to him as it was to his father. Lizbeth, 16, wants to stay on the homestead claimed by her 26-year-old aunt Celia, but Celia can't wait to return East. Jarrett Logan, 16, tossed out on his own by his gruff and demanding father, finds that being reunited with his older brother, a forest ranger, isn't much smoother. These threads become plausibly entwined as each short chapter gradually builds toward the climactic "perfect storm" of forest fires that raged in Idaho and surrounding states during the summer of 1910 and is known as the Big Burn. The author's frequent foreshadowing seems heavy-handed. Periodic "Field Notes" give authorial voice to background material that, while relevant, is clearly shown in the plot. Stereotyping the bad guy as having a scar and a crossed eye seems unnecessary. Excellent period vocabulary may send some readers to the dictionary. The round-robin plot construction keeps the pace moving effectively through the climactic scenes and the mostly predictable, satisfying resolutions that follow. An afterword notes that evidence of this fire remains visible today. The "Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading" section is excellent, subdivided by subject and including books, newspapers, and Internet resources.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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