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Featured Book Lists
Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Wrong Girl
by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Library Journal Ryan's stellar follow-up to The Other Woman throws Boston newspaper reporter Jane Ryland into a strange mystery. She hears the story of a former colleague, adopted as an infant, who used information provided by her adoption agency to find her birth mother, only to discover that the woman was not, in fact, her real mom. An investigation hints at a possible conspiracy with children reunited with the wrong parents. As this unfolds, a domestic violence case haunts Det. Jake Brogan. And though there is a crib at the crime scene, where is the baby? VERDICT Jane and Jake are engaging protagonists, and the will-they-or-won't-they tension will appeal to romance fans. The thrills are also abundant, and the plot takes a left turn when the reader is sure it's going right. Ryan has a gift for writing superb thrillers, and this one is sure to be a big hit with her growing fan base. [See Prepub Alert, 3/25/13.]-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. (c) Copyright 2013. 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 strong theme compensates for a heavy reliance on coincidence in Ryan's sequel to 2012's The Other Woman, a Mary Higgins Clark Award winner. Tucker Cameron, a former colleague of reporter Jane Ryland's at the Register, a Boston newspaper, asks for Jane's help in determining how a private adoption agency, Brannigan Family and Children Services, managed to "reunite" her with the wrong birth mother. Meanwhile, an anonymous phone call leads Det. Jake Brogan and his partner, Det. Paul DeLuca, to a Roslindale apartment, where they find the body of a woman who's suffered a fatal blow to the head, but no murder weapon accompanying it. Jane's editor assigns her to cover the killing, setting the stage for a complex investigation. Ryan does a good job portraying the foster care and adoption systems, their shortcomings, abuses, and overpowering demands. Intriguing secondary characters, including an idealistic worker at Brannigan, support the well-matched Jane and Jake, whose romance continues to smolder. Author tour. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Reporter Jane Ryland is on the trail of something big enough to ensure her continued employment on the downsizing Boston Republic when an anonymous threatening phone call makes her editor pull her off the story. Sidelined, she takes time to help former colleague Tuck Cameron, an adoptee just paired with her birth mother, who is distressed that the private Brannigan adoption agency that placed her made a mistake and that she's the wrong girl. Jane still continues to ferret out angles of the story of an unidentified woman killed in a house with two young toddlers present and evidence of a missing baby, a case being worked by her not-quite-lover Detective Jake Brogan. As Jake tries to avoid Jane on the job, he also has to deal with a case involving two top Brannigan administrators found dead days apart under questionable conditions. Investigative television reporter Ryan fulfills the promise of her first Jane Ryland mystery, The Other Woman (2012), as she blends a social issue the cost to young children of an overworked and underfunded foster care system into a crisp, fast-moving police procedural featuring reverberating illegalities, increasing danger and suspense, and crackling sexual tension between Ryland and Brogan. Another winner from Ryan.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Serpent King
by Zentner, Jeff

Publishers Weekly Forrestville, Tenn., named after Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, isn't exactly a welcome place for slightly ouside-the-mainstream folks like friends Dillard, Lydia, and Travis. Dill is a high school senior whose snake-handling preacher father is currently incarcerated; Lydia, a successful fashion blogger, plans on attending NYU after graduation; and Travis, large of body and gentle of soul, loses himself (and the pain of his father's physical and emotional abuse) in a fantasy series called Bloodfall. While Dill finds comfort and beauty in music, Travis's innate kindness belies his circumstances, and Lydia's incandescent, gleefully offbeat personality draws them together. As the novel, Zentner's debut, builds to a shocking act of violence that shatters the friends' world, this sepia-toned portrait of small-town life serves as a moving testament to love, loyalty, faith, and reaching through the darkness to find light and hope. Zentner explores difficult themes head on-including the desire to escape the sins of the father and the fragility of happiness-while tempering them with the saving grace of enduring friendship. Ages 14-up. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list In small-town Forrestville, Tennessee, broody musician Dill Early begins his senior year with a general feeling of dread because it means his best friend, Lydia, will be leaving for college once they graduate. As the son of a snake-handling Pentecostal preacher currently in prison, Dill is unable to escape his father's shadow. Lydia, on the other hand, is an outspoken blogger and fashionista, who can't wait to get out of Dodge. Completing their trio is Travis, a gentle giant who carries a staff and is obsessed with fantasy novels. In chapters that shift among the teens' perspectives, Zentner effectively shows the aspirations, fears, and dark secrets they harbor during their final year together. A musician himself, Zentner transitions to prose easily in his debut, pulling in complex issues that range from struggles with faith to abuse to grief. Refreshingly, this novel isn't driven by romance though it rears its head but by the importance of pursuing individual passions and forging one's own path. A promising new voice in YA.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2015 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-The son of a snake-handling preacher imprisoned for possessing child pornography, Dill escapes his controlling mother and social ostracism with the help of his two friends, Lydia and Travis. As the trio round out their senior year, it becomes overwhelmingly apparent the different paths their lives are going to take-Travis is content working in a lumberyard and diving into a fantasy world from a book series in his spare time, while Lydia runs a popular fashion blog and is intent on attending New York University. As for Dill, he yearns for more than Forrestville, TN, can offer, but he feels compelled to honor his father's legacy and his mother's domineering wishes. As Dill grapples with a crush on Lydia and a mother who wants him to drop out of high school, a YouTube clip of Dill singing and playing guitar begins to garner attention. Dill must decide among what his heart wants, what his family needs, and his own desire for a life outside of their small town; "If you're going to live," he says, "you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things." Zentner offers a contemporary young adult novel that explores many issues common with teenagers today-bullying, life after high school, and the coming together and breaking apart of high school friendships. Thorough characterization and artful prose allow readers to intimately experience the highs and lows of these three friends. VERDICT Recommended for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell.-Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX © 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.

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Before Morning
by Joyce Sidman

Publishers Weekly In a book-length poem, Newbery Honor recipient Sidman (Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night) expresses a heartfelt wish for a blizzard so big that it brings everything to a halt; Caldecott Medalist Krommes (The House in the Night) imagines a child for whom a snow day matters more than most. The child's mother is an airline pilot, and the first spreads show the girl and her father preparing to say good-bye to her. In this context, Sidman's words ("Let the sky fill with flurry and flight") take on a different meaning; the child clearly hopes that, just this once, her mother might stay. As the snow starts ("Let the air turn to feathers"), the mother sets off for the airport, but when she realizes no flights are leaving ("Let urgent plans founder" accompanies huddling groups of stranded airport travelers), she turns back. Krommes's sturdy, rounded figures and quiltlike compositions convey the family's joy as the mother returns. The story's parallel but separate threads-the innocent images of the poem, the cheery reassurance of the illustrations, and the tension of the family's wait-give this collaboration significant emotional depth. Ages 4-7. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-At dusk, a woman, child, and dog hurry out of the park and pass by a bakery, though the wool-capped girl clearly wants to stop. They enter their apartment, where Dad has dinner ready, and everyone looks happy except the girl, who's staring dolefully at a cap that sits atop a small suitcase. In the next illustration, as the windows reflect the night, a book about Amelia Earhart lies open on the couch as the mother, in her airline pilot's uniform, seems to coax her child into returning the cap she's hiding behind her back. Turn the page, and beyond the entry hall filled with winter clothes, skates, and sled, the mother is folding and packing clothes into her overnight bag. Only then do the words begin: "In the deep woolen dark,/as we slumber unknowing,/let the sky fill with flurry and flight." This haunting invocation summons geese, snowflakes, and a heavy whiteness that refracts the golden city lights. Krommes shows viewers the city from the rooftops, from the back of goose wings, and from the statues in the park. When the poem says, "Let urgent plans founder," we see the airport waiting room, where the mother gazes out at snowplows under the planes as a sign announces flight cancellations. Any child might be wishing for snow to "change the world before morning," to "make it slow and delightful and white," but here, as a stunning series of scratchboard (similar to woodcut) and watercolor pictures reveal, the petitioner is a girl who longs to have both her parents home with her to sled down a steep white slope and to visit that bakery at last. VERDICT This simply perfect book is a must-have piece of portable poetry and art for all collections.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY © 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 K-Gr 2-In spreads that begin wordlessly, scratchboard and watercolor images introduce a child as she says good-bye to her mother, an airline pilot. Then snow mounts, rendering travel impossible, and the mother returns home in time for a full day of sledding and indoor coziness. With remarkable artwork and poetry, two multi-award-winning children's book creators elevate a simple family scenario into a profound celebration of love, shared comfort, and the sparkling, transformative beauty of winter. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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

Book list *Starred Review* The team that produced Swirl by Swirl (2011) offers another story both intimate and glorious. A young girl hides her mother's pilot cap, knowing that it will soon be time for Mom to fly away again. Indeed, as the child sleeps, the mother heads to the airport. But what's this? Around the brownstone's windows, snowflakes are drifting. Soon the sky is white, and by the time Mom reaches the airport, enough snow has fallen to cancel the flight. She flags down a tow truck that drops her at home, resulting in unexpected time with family to make it slow with sleds and hot chocolate. It is rare in picture books to find words and art so perfectly matched, though perhaps not surprising given the talents of Caldecott winner Krommes (The House in the Night, 2008) and Newbery Honor Book author Sidman (Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, 2010). Each phrase in Sidman's spare text evokes the heart and the senses (let the earth turn to sugar), while Krommes' scratchboard art is so intricately rendered, so full of story, that each page could be investigated dozens of times. At book's end, Sidman explains the text as an invocation, inviting readers to throw their own words and wishes into the air. Who could resist?--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

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British Crime Writers' Assoc.
Click to search this book in our catalog Forty Days Without Shadow: An Arctic Thriller
by Olivier Truc

Library Journal As much a fascinating anthropological study and travelog as a compelling police procedural, this debut crime novel immerses the reader in the barren lifestyle of the Sami reindeer herders in northern Lapland. A valuable Sami drum, which was headed to a major UN exhibition, is stolen from a local museum. At the same time one of the herders is murdered. Investigating are two members of the Reindeer Police, Nina Nansen from the south of Norway, and her more experienced Sami partner, Klemet Nango. The pair see a connection between the killing and the stolen drum, but the crime could stem from a border dispute among herders. VERDICT Short-listed for the Crime Writers' Association International Dagger 2014, this atmospheric thriller leaves a lasting impression with its depiction of an ancient culture under pressure from the modern world. Aficionados of the genre who enjoy intriguing settings in their mysteries and fans of Tony Hillerman, James Lee Burke, and Henning Mankell will delight in discovering this young French writer. Frances Thorsen, Chronicles of Crime Bookshop, Victoria, BC (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.

Publishers Weekly In French journalist Truc's gripping debut, which has been shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger award, two Norwegian police officers who cover reindeer-related crime, Klemet Nango and Nina Nansen, have to deal with a routine complaint that animals from one herder's stock have crossed the road and mingled with another herd. Shortly after the officers' visit, someone fatally stabs the first herder, Mattis Labba, and also severs and removes his ears. Klemet speculates that Mattis may have been killed in revenge for a theft, since reindeer thieves often cut off the marked ears of the animals they steal to prevent identification. The killing coincides with the theft of a valuable Sami drum from a local museum. Fascinating details, including the rift between the snowmobile lobby and the reindeer herders, enhance the fast-moving plot. Truc brings an obscure part of the world to vivid life. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Kittens First Full Moon
by Kevin Henkes

School Library Journal : PreS-K-An irresistible offering from the multifaceted Henkes. The spare and suspense-filled story concerns a kitten that mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk. When she opens her mouth to lick the treat, she ends up with a bug on her tongue. Next, she launches herself into the air, paws reaching out for the object of her desire, only to tumble down the stairs, "bumping her nose and banging her ear and pinching her tail. Poor Kitten." Again and again, the feline's persistent attempts to reach her goal lead to pain, frustration, and exhaustion. Repetitive phrases introduce each sequence of desire, action, and consequence, until the animal's instincts lead her home to a satisfying resolution. Done in a charcoal and cream-colored palette, the understated illustrations feature thick black outlines, pleasing curves, and swiftly changing expressions that are full of nuance. The rhythmic text and delightful artwork ensure storytime success. Kids will surely applaud this cat's irrepressible spirit. Pair this tale with Frank Asch's classic Moongame (S & S, 1987) and Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's The Sun, the Moon and the Stars (Houghton, 2003) for nocturnal celebrations.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

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

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Edgar Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Live by Night: (Coughlin, Book 2)
by by Dennis Lehane

Library Journal Lehane (Mystic River; Shutter Island) is known for gritty, occasionally gruesome mystery novels, frequently set in the working-class Boston neighborhood of Dorchester, where he grew up. Like his The Given Day, this new book represents something of a departure for Lehane. Both are historical novels, following the history of the Coughlin family in Boston between the two world wars. While the first novel offered a complex narrative thread and examined the lives of multiple characters, Lehane focuses here on Joe Coughlin's rising career as a gangster and rum runner. Joe is the younger brother of Danny Coughlin, the protagonist of The Given Day, who appears only briefly here, and Joe's exploits effectively illustrate how Prohibition boosted the fortunes of gangsters like Danny. VERDICT Lehane continues to evoke beautifully the world of Boston in the 1920s. The narrative falters and loses focus somewhat in the novel's second half when the setting shifts to Florida and Cuba. The novel also suffers from its almost exclusive focus on a single character. While not on the level of its predecessor, it still provides sufficient action to entertain most fans of historical fiction and mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 4/23/12.]-Douglas Southard, Boston (c) Copyright 2012. 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* Lehane's latest historical thriller, following The Given Day (2008), continues the author's propulsive narrative train ride across twentieth-century American history. This time the train stops during Prohibition, and the individual focus is on Joe Coughlin, a Boston cop's son by birth but a gangster by choice, rejecting his father's platitudes about crime not paying and choosing, instead, to live by night, in a world without nets none to catch you and none to envelop you. Joe begins in Boston, and after a stint in prison, it's off to Tampa, where he quickly becomes the crime boss of Ybor City, rum-running capital of Florida. Joe, like Vito Corleone, is a thoughtful gangster, a family man who would prefer to do business without violence but who draws violence to him like a magnet. Despite evoking comparisons both to The Godfather and to the TV series Boardwalk Empire, Lehane's novel carves its own unique place in the Prohibition landscape, partially because crime runs at a more languid if no less lethal pace in Ybor City than it does in the North. And, somehow, when the staccato rhythm of gunfire overwhelms the tranquil tempo of a slowly turning ceiling fan, the jolt to our system is stronger, as is the realization that Joe's worlds of night and day are held together by the thinnest of fibers. This is an utterly magnetic novel on every level, a reimagining of the great themes of popular fiction crime, family, passion, betrayal set against an exquisitely rendered historical backdrop. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Note to that big IT department in the sky: add bandwidth, launch satellites, do whatever you need to do to prepare for the digital promotion campaign that will accompany the launch of Dennis Lehane's new novel.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Bestseller Lehane (The Given Day) chronicles the Prohibition-era rise of Joe Coughlin, an Irish-American gangster, in this masterful crime epic. While most hard-working stiffs are earning their wages by day in 1926 Boston, 19-year-old Joe and his friends live by night, catering to the demand for prostitution, narcotics, and bootleg alcohol. When Joe falls for a competing mobster's gun moll, he sets in motion a chain of events that land him in prison, with the girl missing and presumed dead. In the joint, Joe meets aging Mafia don Thomaso "Maso" Pescatore, who becomes his mentor. On Joe's release, Maso sets Joe up in Tampa, Fla., as his point man. Years pass, and Joe creates a huge empire in the illegal rum trade. He marries Graciela Corrales, a fiery Cuban revolutionary, and eventually builds a life for himself in Batista's Cuba, soothing his conscience by doing good works with his dirty money. This idyllic existence can't last forever, though, especially in the night, with its shifting alliances and fated clashes. Lehane has created a mature, quintessentially American story that will appeal to readers of literary and crime fiction alike. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti
by Amy Wilentz

Library Journal Haiti has been marked by colonial oppression, revolution, dictators, and foreign occupation by American imperialism-to say nothing of widespread poverty, social and political turmoil, disease, and the crippling earthquake in 2010. Caught in the remarkable prose of Wilentz (The Rainy Season) the tragedy is told through the eyes of Fred Voodoo, Haiti's fictional everyman, a figure who fits invisibly in Haitian society but whose insight is unmatched. The author's fluid and engaging narrative delves into Haiti's history and focuses on the current plight of a nation of ten million living in stark poverty. Sean Penn, "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Jimmy Carter, and dozens of other personages appear across her pages, as do the voodoo priests and the Tonton Macoutes, Duvalier's personal police force. VERDICT Tragic, ironic, humorous, scary, and fascinating, the book is a remarkable achievement and a must read for those interested in Caribbean affairs. An overwhelming positive recommendation.-Boyd Childress, formerly with Auburn University Libs., AL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Zestfully candid, award-winning journalist Wilentz began her love affair with Haiti in 1986, and she has been exploring the country and its unique culture, history, and torrid relationship with the U.S. ever since. The catalyst for this ripping inquiry is what Wilentz observed during her sojourns in the wake of the horrific 2010 earthquake. Attuned to all the irony of her white outsider status even as she draws on her deep knowledge of Haiti's strength and struggles, she picks her way through the heartbreaking ruins and wretchedly inadequate camps, listening to post-quake hip-hop in the midst of chaos, blood, and misery and taking stern measure of international do-gooders. Wilentz is fierce in her criticism of missions of self-aggrandizement rather than aid and the pornographic aspects of media coverage. Writing with brandishing intensity, wit, skepticism, and indignation, Wilentz exposes systemic corruption, attends a voodoo ceremony, considers zombies and dictators, and marvels over everyday survival. She profiles two seriously committed and effective American heroes, physician Megan Coffee and Sean Penn, while her portraits of Haitians instruct and humble us.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly In this bracing memoir, Wilentz (The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier) revisits Haiti, as she describes a complex nation, following the cataclysmic 2010 earthquake. The world's first black republic is neither French nor completely Caribbean nor a protectorate of the United States, but rather, Wilentz writes, something akin to French West Africa. Readers get a stimulating immersion course in Haiti's culture, history, and political machinations. She introduces a fantastical cast of characters who inhabit the many layers of Haitian society and those individuals who flocked to the island following the earthquake, burdened with motives ranging from the base self-promotion or redemption of sundry celebrities such as Kim Kardashian or Charlie Sheen to those who came to help such as Doctor Coffee, whom Wilentz calls "an all-purpose medical phenomenon." Though many pontificate on the country's unrelenting despair, poverty, and corruption, Wilentz's remarkable narrative strives to alter these perceptions. She writes, "But in fact, this depression and hopelessness come from experts who don't understand Haiti, don't acknowledge its strengths (and don't know them), don't get its culture or are philosophically opposed to what they assume its culture is, and don't know its history in any meaningful way." An unsentimental yet heartfelt journey to a country possessing the power to baffle some, yet beguile others. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Splendors and Glooms
by Laura Amy Schlitz

Book list *Starred Review* A brooding, Dickensian novel with a touch of fantasy and a glimmer of hope, Schlitz's latest opens in London in 1860, when lonely Clara, the only remaining child in a doctor's grief-stricken household, attempts to celebrate her twelfth birthday. Grisini the puppet master is engaged to perform, along with the two orphaned children, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, who serve as his assistants. Clara bridges the class divide to befriend the children. After kidnapping Clara for ransom, cruel Grisini disappears, leaving Lizzie Rose and Parsefall struggling to survive on their own. They make their way to the country house of a bewitched woman whose magical amulet gives her amazing powers while draining away her humanity. There they learn certain grisly secrets involving their cruel master, Clara's fate, and the wealthy witch, who seeks to control them all. The magic of the storytelling here lies in the subtle depiction of menacing evil. After working its way insidiously through the characters' lives, it is defeated by the children, who grow in strength and understanding throughout the novel. Vividly portrayed and complex, the characters are well-defined individuals whose separate strands of story are colorful and compelling. Schlitz weaves them into an intricate tapestry that is as mysterious and timeless as a fairy tale. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Schlitz's Newbery Medal winner, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village (2007) earned her a wide following, and librarians will be eager to see what she's up to next.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Anyone who thinks marionettes are creepy will have that opinion reinforced by this dark tale about three children at the mercy of an unscrupulous puppeteer and the witch who pulls his strings. Clara Wintermute asks her father, a wealthy doctor in 1860 London, to hire Professor Grisini and his Venetian Fantoccini to entertain guests at her 12th birthday party. Clara is stagestruck by the puppets and taken with one of Grisini's two assistants, the pretty, well-mannered orphan Lizzie Rose (the other assistant, Parsefall, is an urchin straight out of a Dickensian workhouse). After the puppet show, Clara disappears. Grisini is suspected, but he, too, vanishes. The fate of the three children becomes intertwined with Grisini's old flame, the witch Cassandra Sagredo. It's a fairly complicated plot, and although the pacing occasionally lags, Newbery Medalist Schlitz (Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!) delivers many pleasures-fully dimensional children, period details so ripe one can nearly smell them, and droll humor that leavens a few scenes of true horror. A highly original tale about children caught in a harrowing world of magic and misdeeds. Ages 9-13. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-Victorian London could be a magical place: horse-drawn carriages, puppet shows, elaborate upper-class houses. Of course it could also be miserable: fog, filthy streets, shabby hovels where too many people live in too few rooms. Schlitz conjures both the magic and the mundane here. For Clara's 12th birthday, her parents hire a street performer to give a puppet show in their home. The puppeteer, Grisini, is so talented that he appears to be magical. His two orphaned assistants, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, are envious of Clara's home and all its comforts. Clara vanishes the night of the puppet show, and Grisini and his assistants are the prime suspects. Then Grisini disappears, and Lizzie Rose and Parsefall must seek out the missing girl, with the sinister and mysterious help of a wealthy old witch. Schlitz uses such evocative language that readers will practically smell dirty London and then be relieved by the crisp, cold air in the countryside around the witch's crumbling mansion. The characters are recognizable tropes: the witch is rotting from the inside out; the orphans may be dirty and ill-bred, but they have spirit and pluck; the little rich girl is actually sad and lonely; the skinny puppeteer and the overly dramatic landlady are recognizably Dickensian. Yet, they are so well drawn that they are never caricatures, but people whom readers will cheer for, be terrified of, or grow to like. The plot is rich with supernatural and incredibly suspenseful elements. Fans of mystery, magic, and historical fiction will all relish this novel.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT (c) Copyright 2012. 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.

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Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Open House
by Elizabeth Berg

Book list Two new novels, one from a seasoned veteran, one from a newcomer, take on the subject of a woman finding herself. At the center of Berg's eighth novel is Samantha Morrow, a woman who knows her marriage is far from perfect and feels helpless as she watches it fall apart in front of her. When her husband, David, walks out on her, it seems as though the rest of her world is falling apart as well. Her eleven-year-old son, Travis, is sullen and withdrawn; her mother keeps trying to set her up on dates; and she has to find a way to keep her house. Soon she is advertising for roommates and, at the advice of a new friend, King, taking on temporary jobs. As Sam begins to take charge of her own life, she gains a new confidence in herself. There's love in Sam's future but not until she finds out who she is on her own. Sam is an engaging character, and so are the rest of the supporting cast, making this an enjoyable, uplifting read. Brown's first novel revolves around Mandy Boyle, a girl who is finally about to escape the small town she's lived in all her life. She's headed for a new, exciting world of possibilities: college. At first, it's everything Mandy imagined it would be: new friends, stimulating classes, and a chance to reinvent herself. But when her father dies suddenly, her new happiness begins to fall apart. Her sickly, clingy mother wants her to come home, but Mandy resists, instead returning to college only to find herself spiraling downward into depression, missing classes, and alienating her friends. When she goes to spend the weekend with her older boyfriend, Booner, she simply doesn't go back to school. She falls into a routine and is able to hide away for a while, until events call for her to make the decisions about her future that she's been avoiding. Mandy's coming of age, or "quickening," comes slowly, but surely. --Kristine Huntley

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

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Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz

Publishers Weekly : SignatureReviewed by Matthew SharpeAreader might at first be surprised by how many chapters of a book entitled The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao are devoted not to its sci fi–and–fantasy-gobbling nerd-hero but to his sister, his mother and his grandfather. However, Junot Diaz's dark and exuberant first novel makes a compelling case for the multiperspectival view of a life, wherein an individual cannot be known or understood in isolation from the history of his family and his nation.Oscar being a first-generation Dominican-American, the nation in question is really two nations. And Dominicans in this novel being explicitly of mixed Taíno, African and Spanish descent, the very ideas of nationhood and nationality are thoughtfully, subtly complicated. The various nationalities and generations are subtended by the recurring motif of fukú, the Curse and Doom of the New World, whose midwife and... victim was a historical personage Diaz will only call the Admiral, in deference to the belief that uttering his name brings bad luck (hint: he arrived in the New World in 1492 and his initials are CC). By the prologue's end, it's clear that this story of one poor guy's cursed life will also be the story of how 500 years of historical and familial bad luck shape the destiny of its fat, sad, smart, lovable and short-lived protagonist. The book's pervasive sense of doom is offset by a rich and playful prose that embodies its theme of multiple nations, cultures and languages, often shifting in a single sentence from English to Spanish, from Victorian formality to Negropolitan vernacular, from Homeric epithet to dirty bilingual insult. Even the presumed reader shape-shifts in the estimation of its in-your-face narrator, who addresses us variously as folks, you folks, conspiracy-minded-fools, Negro, Nigger and plataneros. So while Diaz assumes in his reader the same considerable degree of multicultural erudition he himself possesses—offering no gloss on his many un-italicized Spanish words and expressions (thus beautifully dramatizing how linguistic borders, like national ones, are porous), or on his plethora of genre and canonical literary allusions—he does helpfully footnote aspects of Dominican history, especially those concerning the bloody 30-year reign of President Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. The later Oscar chapters lack the linguistic brio of the others, and there are exposition-clogged passages that read like summaries of a longer narrative, but mostly this fierce, funny, tragic book is just what a reader would have hoped for in a novel by Junot Diaz.Matthew Sharpe is the author of the novels Jamestown and The Sleeping Father. He teaches at Wesleyan University.

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Rebecca Caudill Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Holes
by Louis Sachar

Book list Gr. 6^-9. Middle-schooler Stanley Yelnats is only the latest in a long line of Yelnats to encounter bad luck, but Stanley's serving of the family curse is a doozie. Wrongfully convicted of stealing a baseball star's sneakers, Stanley is sentenced to six months in a juvenile-detention center, Camp Green Lake. "There is no lake at Camp Green Lake," where Stanley and his fellow campers (imagine the cast from your favorite prison movie, kid version) must dig one five-by-five hole in the dry lake bed every day, ostensibly building character but actually aiding the sicko warden in her search for buried treasure. Sachar's novel mixes comedy, hard-hitting realistic drama, and outrageous fable in a combination that is, at best, unsettling. The comic elements, especially the banter between the boys (part scared teens, part Cool Hand Luke wanna-bes) work well, and the adventure story surrounding Stanley's rescue of his black friend Zero, who attempts to escape, provides both high drama and moving human emotion. But the ending, in which realism gives way to fable, while undeniably clever, seems to belong in another book entirely, dulling the impact of all that has gone before. These mismatched parts don't add up to a coherent whole, but they do deliver a fair share of entertaining and sometimes compelling moments. --Bill Ott

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

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Stanley Yelnats IV has been wrongly accused of stealing a famous baseball player's valued sneakers and is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention home where the boys dig holes, five feet deep by five feet across, in the miserable Texas heat. It's just one more piece of bad luck that's befallen Stanley's family for generations as a result of the infamous curse of Madame Zeroni. Overweight Stanley, his hands bloodied from digging, figures that at the end of his sentence, he'll "...either be in great physical condition or else dead." Overcome by the useless work and his own feelings of futility, fellow inmate Zero runs away into the arid, desolate surroundings and Stanley, acting on impulse, embarks on a risky mission to save him. He unwittingly lays Madame Zeroni's curse to rest, finds buried treasure, survives yellow-spotted lizards, and gains wisdom and inner strength from the quirky turns of fate. In the almost mystical progress of their ascent of the rock edifice known as "Big Thumb," they discover their own invaluable worth and unwavering friendship. Each of the boys is painted as a distinct individual through Sachar's deftly chosen words. The author's ability to knit Stanley and Zero's compelling story in and out of a history of intriguing ancestors is captivating. Stanley's wit, integrity, faith, and wistful innocence will charm readers. A multitude of colorful characters coupled with the skillful braiding of ethnic folklore, American legend, and contemporary issues is a brilliant achievement. There is no question, kids will love Holes.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY

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

Publishers Weekly This wry and loopy novel about a camp for juvenile delinquents in a dry Texas desert (once the largest lake in the state) by the author of There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom and the Wayside School series has some serious undercurrents. Stanley Yelnats (appropriately enough for a story about reversals, the protagonist's name is a palindrome) gets sent to Camp Green Lake to do penance, "a camp for bad boys." Never mind that Stanley didn't commit the crime he has been convicted of?he blames his bad luck on his "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather." He digs five-foot-deep holes with all the other "bad" boys under the baleful direction of the Warden, perhaps the most terrifying female since Big Nurse. Just when it seems as though this is going to be a weird YA cross between One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Cool Hand Luke, the story takes off?along with Stanley, who flees camp after his buddy Zero?in a wholly unexpected direction to become a dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism. Readers (especially boys) will likely delight in the larger-than-life (truly Texas-style) manner in which Sachar fills in all the holes, as he ties together seemingly disparate story threads to dispel ghosts from the past and give everyone their just deserts. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)

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

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World Fantasy Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Antelope Wife
by Louise Erdrich

Library Journal: Erdrich suffuses Minneapolis with Native American spirit.

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

Publishers Weekly: "Family stories repeat themselves in patterns and waves, generation to generation, across blood and time." Erdrich (Love Medicine, etc.) embroiders this theme in a sensuous novel that brings her back to the material she knows best, the emotionally dislocated lives of Native Americans who try to adhere to the tribal ways while yielding to the lure of the general culture. In a beautifully articulated tale of intertwined relationships among succeeding generations, she tells the story of the Roy and the Shawano families and their "colliding histories and destinies." The narrative begins like a fever dream with a U.S. cavalry attack on an Ojibwa village, the death of an old woman who utters a fateful word, the inadvertent kidnapping of a baby and a mother's heartbreaking quest. The descendants of the white soldier who takes the baby and of the bereaved Ojibwa mother are connected by a potent mix of tragedy, farce and mystical revelation. As time passes, there is another kidnapping, the death of a child and a suicide. Fates are determined by a necklace of blue beads, a length of sweetheart calico and a recipe for blitzkuchen. Though the saga is animated by obsessional love, mysterious disappearances, mythic legends and personal frailties, Erdrich also works in a comic vein. There's a dog who tells dirty jokes and a naked wife whose anniversary surprise has an audience. Throughout, Erdrich emphasizes the paradoxes of everyday life: braided grandmas who follow traditional ways and speak the old language also wear eyeliner and sneakers. In each generation, men and women are bewitched by love, lust and longing; they are slaves to drink, to carefully guarded secrets or to the mesmerizing power of hope. Though the plot sometimes bogs down from an overload of emotional complications, the novel ultimately celebrates the courage of following one's ordained path in the universe and meeting the challenges of fate. It is an assured example of Erdrich's storytelling skills.

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

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