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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The hour of peril : the secret plot to murder Lincoln before the Civil War
by Daniel Stashower

Book list *Starred Review* Some of President Lincoln's associates and some historians have questioned if the supposed conspiracy to assassinate him upon his arrival in Baltimore was serious. Stashower has no doubt that the plot was real, and he has written a convincing and well-researched chronicle of it and the successful effort to thwart it. His story has the necessary elements of a successful historical thriller, including a determined assassin; a wily, intrepid detective; a serpentine plot; and, in Lincoln, an important and sympathetic potential victim. Stashower seems determined to lay out the painstaking details of the plot; although it provides credibility, it sometimes acts as a drag on the narrative. Still, the stakes are high, so the story has a built-in urgency and excitement. The detective, the soon-to-be-famous Allan Pinkerton, is a relentless and clever sleuth, and the chief conspirator, a Baltimore barber named Ferrandini, is a formidable adversary. Despite some slow moments, the book generally succeeds as both a historical inquiry and a detective story.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly John Wilkes Booth succeeded in 1865, but the first major plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln unfolded in 1861 in anticipation of the then president-elect's railway trip to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) explains how Allan Pinkerton, a temperamental Scottish cooper turned "fierce and incorruptible lawman" and founder of the Pinkerton Agency, sought to infiltrate and obfuscate a murderous group led by Cypriano Ferrandini, an outspoken Italian barber in Baltimore. Interwoven with the tale of Pinkerton and company's efforts to foil what would become known as the Baltimore Plot, Stashower offers a rich portrait of a resolute but weary Lincoln as he makes his way, both politically and physically, to the White House. As everyone knows, he arrived without incident, but while he saved his skin, he lost some respect for stealing into the capital "like a thief in the night," as one newspaper put it. The book starts out slow, but once Stashower lets the Pinkerton operatives loose, their race against time as Lincoln's train speeds toward Maryland makes for an enthralling page-turner that is sure to please true crime, thriller, and history fans. Photos. (Feb.). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal The first known attempt to murder Abraham Lincoln occurred in February 1861 during his railway journey from Springfield, IL, to Washington, DC, for his inauguration. Stashower (The Beautiful Cigar Girl) details how Allan Pinkerton, head of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, managed to stop a band of rebels bent on killing the president-elect in Baltimore. Stashower describes a campaign-weary, nonchalant, and somewhat incautious Abraham Lincoln, traveling east toward the presidency. The author records him arriving safely in DC after stealing through Maryland's darkened countryside and Baltimore's precincts as "a thief in the night"-at Pinkerton's behest, but in the process forfeiting a measure of political stature to his detractors, who questioned his courage and fitness for office. The tale builds methodically before shifting into dramatic mode as Pinkerton, in fewer than two weeks, uncovers and quashes the would-be assassins' designs, assisted by agent Kate Warne, the leader of Pinkerton's female undercover unit. VERDICT Stashower's character-driven narrative and lively writing style reveal the finely honed skills of an accomplished mystery writer. Recommended.-John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland (c) Copyright 2013. 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.

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Out of the Easy
by Ruta Sepetys

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Against a vivid 1950s New Orleans backdrop, 17-year-old Josie Moraine is caught between the harsh reality of her negligent, prostitute mother's lifestyle and her desire to escape to a new life. Josie is smart, resourceful, and determined. Her support group includes Willie, the shrewd brothel madam who recognizes Josie's potential; Cokie, Willie's kind and devoted driver; Patrick, who runs the bookshop where Josie works; Charlotte, an upscale acquaintance who encourages Josie to join her at Smith College; and Jesse, the handsome motorcyclist neighbor who has eyes only for Josie. When a mysterious death leads police to Josie's mother and abusive boyfriend, the teen is drawn into the investigation and into an underworld of threats, violence, and retribution. After her mother skips town, Josie is targeted to repay her debt to a powerful criminal boss. As she tries to handle mounting adversity on her own, she struggles with fear, desperation, and her conscience. Stealing from Willie or hooking up with a wealthy john seem her only choices for survival. Overwhelmed, she reveals her predicament to Willie, who saves her in a final act of generosity. Josie's narrative features a Dickensian array of characters; the mystique, ambience, and language of the French Quarter; a suspenseful, action-packed story; and a coming-of-age realization that personal decisions ultimately shape one's future. With dramatic and contextual flair, Sepetys introduces teens to another memorable heroine.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC (c) Copyright 2013. 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 Sepetys follows her debut, Between Shades of Gray, with another taut and charged historical novel, though the setting-the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950-is a world apart from that of her previous book. Living and working in a bookshop, 17-year-old Josie Moraine dreams of attending college-anything to get away from her mother, a prostitute with Hollywood dreams and a knack for getting involved with the worst men. When Josie becomes involved in a high-profile murder investigation, she becomes even more entrenched in her circumstances. The sensual yet rigidly class-based setting is a real standout, and Sepetys has also built a stellar cast, which includes Willie, a strident but generous madam; Charlie Marlowe, the bookshop's owner; and a pair of potential love interests for Josie. Readers will find Josie irresistible from the get-go ("The only reason I'd lift my skirt is to pull out my pistol and plug you," she tells a guy early on) and will devour the sultry mix of mystery, historical detail, and romance. Ages 14-up. Agent: Writers House. (Feb.)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list In a radical departure from her first novel, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys' second is partially set in a 1950s New Orleans brothel where Josie's mother works as a prostitute. Humiliated, the 18-year-old fears she is destined for nothing more than a crummy life skirting the New Orleans underworld. That underworld looms larger when a murder occurs and it appears Josie's mother may be complicit. Josie's dream is to go to Smith College, but even if she is admitted, how will she pay for it? Meanwhile, she finds herself attracted to two very different young men: her best friend, clean-cut Patrick, with whom she works at his father's bookstore, and quietly mysterious biker Jesse. Complicated? You bet! Sepetys' latest strongly evokes 1950s radio soap operas, but despite over-the-top emotional pitch and stereotypical characters, this is nevertheless a page-turner that noir romance fans will gobble up like popcorn shrimp. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The legions of fans that Sepetys earned with her best-selling debut novel will all be lining up for this.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog A Perfect Day
by Lane Smith

Book list Two-time Caldecott Honor Book awardee Smith tackles the animal world with gusto and joy as he describes the perfect day in the outdoors. A ginger cat snuggles among the daffodils in the sun, and a dog sits in the cool water of a wading pool. Chickadee enjoys the birdseed in the birdfeeder, while squirrel is content with a dropped corncob. But whoa! A large brown bear arrives to confiscate the corncob with a toothy yellow smile. The bear goes on to swallow all the seeds in the birdfeeder, slurp down all the water in the pool, and scare the cat out of the daffodils. So who got the perfect day? Only the contented bear, asleep in the flower bed. Smith's innovative textured artwork and pen drawings give a visceral feel to the sunny day, and his muted palette complements the variety of surfaces and patterns. The humorous surprise ending will make children squeal as they ponder the concept of perfect. Moral: What is perfect for one may not be for another!--Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Smith (There Is a Tribe of Kids) takes readers to a house in the countryside in a neatly constructed story that reveals how simple pleasures create a "perfect day" for several animals. Cat couldn't be happier sitting in a bed of daffodils, Dog rests in a cool wading pool, and a boy named Bert ensures that Chickadee and Squirrel have something to eat. Smith's artwork is a riot of color and texture-forceful brushstrokes evoke animal fur, and gestural flowers create blasts of color in the landscape. Then a hulking bear shows up, and Smith uses repetition to cleverly recast the calm declarations of the first half of the book ("It was a perfect day for Cat") as Bear steals Squirrel's corncob, devours Chickadee's birdseed, dumps Dog's pool over himself, and makes giddy flower angels in the daffodils ("It was a perfect day for Cat"). Bear is more galoot than menace, though Smith does conclude with Bert and the other animals bidding a hasty retreat. Perfect, readers will understand, is very much in the eye of the beholder. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-An enjoyable afternoon is upended by an unexpected visitor in this charming book by the beloved children's writer and illustrator. It was the perfect day for young Bert, his cat basking in the sunshine, his dog frolicking in a plastic pool, a chickadee enjoying the birdseed-even a squirrel was relishing a corncob. Then a bear lumbers onto the scene and-well, it WAS a perfect day. The simple tale combines the elements of repetition and surprise for a satisfying read that will appeal to young audiences and beginning readers. The gestural illustrations, which have the appearance of paint loosely brushed over a textured surface, expressively capture the mood of each animal. In one image that sums up a spoiled moment, viewers see Bear flailing snow angel-style in the flower bed vacated by Cat-the proverbial uninvited guest who ruined the party. The tale was inspired by a black bear that is a frequent visitor to the artist's studio; a photo of the mischievous creature helping itself to the contents of a bird feeder appears with the author's blurb. VERDICT This gently humorous book is sure to circulate well in any picture book collection. A perfect way to introduce the concept of point of view.-Suzanne LaPierre, Fairfax County Public Library, VA 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.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Hello, Goodbye Window
by Norton Juster

BookList: PreS-Gr. 2. Two well-known names come together in a book that speaks to the real lives of children and their experiences. The young narrator visits her grandparents, Nanna and Poppy, in their big house. They explore Nanna's garden, and Poppy plays his harmonica. The narrator rides her bike and takes a nap, “and nothing happens till I get up.” Looking out the picture window, the “hello, goodbye window,” she sees the pizza guy, and, more fancifully, a dinosaur. She also spots her parents coming to pick her up. The curly-haired girl is happy to see them, but sad because it means the end of the visit. The window imagery is less important than the title would make it seem. More intrinsic is Juster's honest portrayal of a child's perceptions (a striped cat in the yard is a tiger) and emotions (being happy and sad at the same time “just happens that way sometimes”). Raschka's swirling lines, swaths, and dabs of fruity colors seem especially vibrant, particularly in the double-page spreads, which have ample room to capture both the tender moments between members of the interracial family and the exuberance of spending time in the pulsating outdoors, all flowers, grass, and sky.
IleneCooper. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Edgar Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics
by by James O'Brien

Publishers Weekly O'Brien, emeritus distinguished professor of chemistry at Missouri State University, delves deep into the science behind Sherlock Holmes in this brief and engaging volume. The book is clearly aimed at Holmes aficionados-each of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 60 stories featuring the detective are referenced via accepted Holmesian shorthand (e.g., "ABBE" for "The Abbey Grange")-yet the author treats his subject and his associates (Doctor Watson, the long-suffering Mrs. Hudson, and Holmes's bete noir, Professor Moriarty) with obvious affection, and it's catching-his journey into Sherlockian science is both endearing and informative. O'Brien discusses Holmes's investigative acumen according to categories of evidence (e.g., finger- and footprints, hand- and typewritten documents) and provides interesting real-life examples of crimes solved with similar techniques, such as the New York Zodiac killings and the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. O'Brien, a loyal fellow test-tuber, devotes significant energy to defending Holmes against criticisms that he was a sorry chemist, and while the asides are interesting, the intensely detailed science behind the apologia might turn off casual readers. Nevertheless, the scientific rigor with which both scribe and subject approach their tasks is abundantly evident. Illus. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Combining two popular topics, the uses of science in criminal investigations and literature's most famed detective, O'Brien surveys and appraises the scientific ability of Sherlock Holmes. As he inventories such Holmes-story crime-scene clues as footprints, ciphers, and poisons, O'Brien informs his readers of controversies among Holmes fans concerning their hero's powers of scientific deduction. Sf author Isaac Asimov, for example, criticized Holmes as a bad chemist, which O'Brien, a chemistry professor by occupation, largely refutes, though with concessions to Asimov on particular points. Overall, O'Brien praises Holmes, or rather his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, as in scientific step with his times, at least until Doyle seemingly killed off Holmes and his archenemy, Dr. Moriarty, in The Final Problem, in 1893. Although Doyle deployed science when he revived Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901), O'Brien holds that scientific sophistication degraded in the later stories, which O'Brien links to a lessening in their literary quality, compared to that of the earlier ones. Nevertheless, the scientific intricacies of O'Brien's analyses should pique the timeless interest in the cases of Sherlock Holmes.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Next Person You Meet In Heaven
by Mitch Albom

Library Journal Annie's life has never been easy, especially after the tragic incident at Ruby Piers amusement park. As a little girl, then as a teen, she struggles with the physical and emotional issues regarding her reattached hand. Annie blames herself for every bad incident in her life. The winds shift as she reconnects with Paulo, her best friend from high school, after years apart. Now Annie and Paulo have just begun a new chapter as a wedded couple. Excitement turns to fear as a terrible tragedy sends them both to the emergency room just hours after the ceremony. When Annie wakes up in heaven, she encounters the five beings that most influenced the course of her life. They skillfully guide her past her self-recriminations to show her the beauty and grace of our interconnected lives. VERDICT Albom's gift for storytelling continues to shine in this sequel to his best-selling The Five People You Meet in Heaven. With true-to-life characters, this quick parable serves as a reminder that through empathy and forgiveness, we can survive our losses. In turn, our troubles are mere beginnings to a future of wonderful possibilities. [See Prepub Alert, 4/23/18.]-Joy Gunn, Paseo Verde Lib., Henderson, NV 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.

Book list Fifteen years after the publication of his blockbuster best-seller, The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2003), Albom returns with a sequel set 20-odd years into the future. Annie, the little girl Eddie sacrificed his own life in order to save, has grown up. Life has not been without its struggles for Annie, who was left with both a disability and an overly protective mother after the accident at Ruby Pier Amusement Park. However, things appear to be on the upswing as she reunites with and marries Paolo, her childhood sweetheart. Of course, there are no simplistic, happily-ever-after endings in the Albom universe, and Annie and Paolo prove there are no exceptions to that rule. After a horrific accident on her wedding day, Annie is whisked up to heaven, where she not only meets up with Eddie but also four others whose lives she touched and impacted in meaningful ways. As Annie learns her lessons about the meaning and value of both life and death, Albom wraps up this heartfelt fable with a totally unexpected twist. Order plenty of copies and warn readers to keep their hankies handy! HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Albom's many-millions-sold hit, The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2003), ensures a large and ready audience for this much-heralded sequel.--Margaret Flanagan Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Long Way Down
by Jason Reynolds

Publishers Weekly Will, 15, is following his neighborhood's well-established rules-don't cry, don't snitch, but do get revenge "if someone you love/ gets killed"-when he leaves his apartment, intent on killing whoever murdered his older brother, Shawn. He's emboldened by the gun tucked into his waistband: "I put my hand behind my back/ felt the imprint/ of the piece, like/ another piece/ of me/ an extra vertebra,/ some more/ backbone." As Will makes his way to the ground floor of his building, the elevator stops to accept passengers, each an important figure from his past, all victims of gun violence. Are these ghosts? Or is it Will's subconscious at work, forcing him to think about what he intends to do and what it will accomplish? The story unfolds in the time it takes for the elevator to descend, and it ends with a two-word question that hits like a punch to the gut. Written entirely in spare verse, this is a tour de force from a writer who continues to demonstrate his skill as an exceptionally perceptive chronicler of what it means to be a black teen in America. Ages 12-up. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Oct.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Fifteen-year-old Will's big brother has been shot and killed. According to the rules that Will has been taught, it is now his job to kill the person responsible. He easily finds his brother's gun and gets on the elevator to head down from his eighth-floor apartment. But it's a long way down to the ground floor. At each floor, a different person gets on to tell a story. Each of these people is already dead. As they relate their tales, readers learn about the cycle of violence in which Will is caught up. The protagonist faces a difficult choice, one that is a reality for many young people. Teens are left with an unresolved ending that goes beyond the simple question of whether Will will seek revenge. Told in verse, this title is fabulistic in its simplicity and begs to be discussed. Its hook makes for an excellent booktalk. It will pair well with Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give and Reynolds's previous works. The unique narrative structure also makes it an excellent read-alike for Walter Dean Myers's Monster. VERDICT This powerful work is an important addition to any collection.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH 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 *Starred Review* Spanning a mere one minute and seven seconds, Reynolds' new free-verse novel is an intense snapshot of the chain reaction caused by pulling a trigger. First, 15-year-old Will Holloman sets the scene by relating his brother Shawn's murder two days prior gunned down while buying soap for their mother. Next, he lays out The Rules: don't cry, don't snitch, always get revenge. Now that the reader is up to speed, Will tucks Shawn's gun into his waistband and steps into an elevator, steeled to execute rule number three and shoot his brother's killer. Yet, the simple seven-floor descent becomes a revelatory trip. At each floor, the doors open to admit someone killed by the same cycle of violence that Will's about to enter. He's properly freaked out, but as the seconds tick by and floors count down, each new occupant drops some knowledge and pushes Will to examine his plans for that gun. Reynolds' concise verses echo like shots against the white space of the page, their impact resounding. He peels back the individual stories that led to this moment in the elevator and exposes a culture inured to violence because poverty, gang life, or injustice has left them with no other option. In this all-too-real portrait of survival, Reynolds goes toe-to-toe with where, or even if, love and choice are allowed to exist. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A noisy buzz always surrounds this critically acclaimed author's work, and the planned tour and promo campaign will boost this book's to a siren call.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Icy Sparks
by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

Library Journal: Kentucky writer Rubio's big-hearted first novel features Icy Sparks, a brave and lovable child with Tourette Syndrome. Her involuntary twitches, eye poppings, and repetitions isolate her from the life of her Appalachian community. She is hospitalized for several months and finally receives the correct diagnosis, and under the care of a kindly doctor she learns techniques to reduce the severity of her symptoms. Her loving grandparents and the friendship of the hugely fat Miss Emily, also isolated by her difference, sustain her for five years. During those years Miss Emily teaches her what she will need to know for college. By the end of those years Icy has learned to manage her disability and has used her pain and loneliness to grow into a wonderful young woman. In refusing defeat, she wins the love and respect of the reader. For all collections where there are tender hearts.

Judith Kicinski, Sarah Lawrence Coll. Lib., Bronxville, NY Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: The diagnosis of Tourette's Syndrome isn't mentioned until the last pages of Rubio's sensitive portrayal of a young girl with the disease. Instead, Rubio lets Icy Sparks tell her own story of growing up during the 1950s in a small Kentucky town where her uncontrollable outbursts make her an object of fright and scorn. "The Saturday after my [10th] birthday, the eye blinking and poppings began.... I could feel little invisible rubber bands fastened to my eyelids, pulled tight through my brain and attached to the back of my head," says Icy, who thinks of herself as the "frog child from Icy Creek." Orphaned and cared for by her loving grandparents, Icy weathers the taunts of a mean schoolteacher and, later, a crush on a boy that ends in disappointment. But she also finds real friendship with the enormously fat Miss Emily, who offers kindness and camaraderie. Rubio captures Icy's feelings of isolation and brings poignancy and drama to Icy's childhood experiences, to her temporary confinement in a mental institution and to her reluctant introduction--thanks to Miss Emily and Icy's grandmother--to the Pentecostal church through which she discovers her singing talent. If Rubio sometimes loses track of Icy's voice, indulges in unconvincing magical realism and takes unearned poetic license with the speech of her Appalachian grandparents ("`Your skin was as cold as fresh springwater, slippery and strangely soothing to touch'"), her first novel is remarkable for its often funny portrayal of a child's fears, loves and struggles with an affliction she doesn't know isn't her fault. Agent, Susan Golomb; editor, Jane von Mehren.

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

Spur Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Danger Along the Ohio
by Patricia Willis

School Library Journal : Gr 4-7--Willis combines the suspense of a page-turner, the danger level of a thriller, the fascination of a survival story, and the ease of a hi/lo vocabulary. In 1793, three siblings (Amos, 13; Clara, 12; Jonathan, 7) are separated from their father during their immigration, via flatboat, down the Ohio River from their Pennsylvania home to a new beginning in the Ohio wilderness. After an Indian attack, the three are left with no adult support, scant supplies, no transportation, and a cow in tow to journey along the dangerous Shawnee side of the Ohio to the safety of the Marietta settlement. Readers will recognize the breathless pace they've loved in action movies, defined by the eruption of a new crisis on the heels of each crisis resolution, as the siblings struggle against the odds: scavenging food; stealing fire from the Indians; whittling tools for catching supper; rescuing a young Shawnee from drowning; and treating wounds with chickweed and birch leaves. The author's sturdy plot advances distinctly and chronologically, resulting in pure suspense. She keeps her vocabulary action-oriented and her dialogue straightforward. The young Shawnee's presence raises intriguing philosophical questions regarding the nature of communication and the components of true friendship. After all of this, who could complain about a contrived happy ending?--Liza Bliss, Worcester Public Library, MA

Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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