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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Far far away
by Tom McNeal

School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-McNeal spins a tale fluctuating from whimsy to macabre in such a beguiling voice that-like Hansel and Gretel-readers won't realize they're enmeshed in his dangerous seduction until it's too late. The book is narrated by the ghost of Jacob Grimm (yes, that one), unhappily caught in the Zwischenraum (a plane of existence between life and death). For now, he is the nearly constant companion of Jeremy Johnson Johnson, who can hear Grimm's voice when he presses a finger to his right temple. He's also heard the voices of his dying mother and grandfather. This ability has made him an object of derision for many in his little town, though-thrillingly-not to the electrifyingly vibrant Ginger Boultinghouse, who is more than happy to lure Jeremy into more trouble than he's ever encountered. Grimm tries to be the voice of reason-to keep Jeremy safe-but few things are as they initially seem in the town of Never Better and it's difficult to know the difference between hazard and opportunity. It's also hard to know the good folk from the bad and that's because so many of McNeal's characters are complex and have conflicted motivations. When is a bully not so bad? Where's the line between justifiable grief and parental neglect? Can an older man love a teenager in a way that's not creepy? How do stories nourish us? At what point do they stifle us? All these questions, and many more, are raised in this folklore-inflected, adventurous, romantic fantasy. Whether readers connect more deeply with the suspense, the magical elements, or the gloriously improbable love story, they will come away with a lingering taste of enchantment.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY (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.

Book list *Starred Review* So it begins: What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost. Ghostly Jacob Grimm, of the famous Brothers, narrates this tale of Jeremy and Ginger and their near-tragic encounter with town baker Sten Blix, whose long-held grudges figure in the disappearance of several village children. Unappreciated as a youngster, Blix has elevated revenge to a sweet art, and he holds Jeremy, Ginger, and an additional victim, Frank Bailey, in a hidden dungeon under the bakery, while Jacob desperately tries to tell parents and friends of the predicament. If he fails, the three may become grist in the baker's next batch of Prince Cakes. Reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel and rife with allusions to the Brothers Grimm tales, this is a masterful story of outcasts, the power of faith, and the triumph of good over evil. McNeal's deft touch extends to the characterizations, where the ritual speech of traditional tales (Listen, if you will) establishes Jacob's phantasmagoric presence amid the modernist American West. There are moments of horror (as there were in the Brothers Grimm original tales), but they are accomplished through the power of suggestion. Details aplenty about Jacob and his famous sibling make this a fiction connector to both fairy tales and Grimm biographies, too.--Welch, Cindy 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 All the Way to Havana
by Margarita Engle

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-Accompanied by the vibrant onomatopoeia of an old rebuilt car, a brown-skinned boy travels with his family from their village in Cuba to the capital city, Havana, to celebrate the "zero-year birthday" of his cousin. The focus of this colorful picture book is on the car (nicknamed "Cara Cara"), one of Cuba's many mid-20th-century American vehicles maintained through constant tinkering. "Ours is so tired that she just chatters like a busy chicken-cara cara, cara cara, cluck, cluck, cluck." Award-winning poet Engle transports readers to Cuba through her lively verse, and Curato (author/illustrator of the "Little Elliot" series) does the same with his nearly photorealistic illustrations rendered in pencil, with digital color bringing out the bright tones of the tropics. Each spread includes endless detail, from the clothes hanging on the clothesline in the boy's backyard to Havana's beautiful architecture. The stars of the book, of course, are the 1950s cars, which Curato studied on a research trip to Cuba and depicts precisely in all their mixed-and-matched glory. While younger readers will simply enjoy the journey, older children may desire more information about the context of the story, some of which can be found in the author's and illustrator's notes. VERDICT A fun addition to the ever-popular genre of transportation picture books-this one with a unique perspective and message of perseverance.-Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA © 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.

Publishers Weekly The pre-1959 American car, held together, as Engle (Lion Island) so evocatively writes, with "wire, tape, and mixed-up scraps of dented metal," has become a visual trademark of Cuba and testimony to its citizens' resilience and ingenuity. One of these cars, a bright blue Chevy Delray christened Cara Cara (because her aging, patchwork engine makes sounds "like a busy chicken-cara cara, cara cara, cluck, cluck, cluck") is the star of this contemporary story, taking the young narrator and his family from their rural home to a celebration with relatives in Havana. The masterly sense of place, color, and shape that make Curato's Little Elliot stories so touching proves perfect for a landscape that's larger than life. He and Engle chronicle Cara Cara's journey in loving detail as the family moves along the coast and into bustling city streets, giving readers glimpses into daily Cuban lives-newlyweds in a Dodge convertible, laundry hanging from balconies as "a sea breeze sings." It's a wonderful introduction to America's very nearby neighbor. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. Illustrator's agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Acclaimed Cuban American poet Engle here celebrates the persistence and ingenuity of Cubans, who have learned to make do in the face of poverty and scarcity. A young boy and his family prepare to travel from their rural home to Havana to celebrate the birth of a new cousin. Mama has baked a cake, and the gift is wrapped, but the family's 1953 Chevy, affectionately known as Cara Cara, is making horrible noises: Some of this island's old cars purr like kittens, but ours is so tired that she just chatters like a busy chicken. Papa lifts the hood, and father and son tinker until finally the car is roadworthy. So we purr cara cara / and we glide taka taka / and we zoom zoom. The party is festive and happy; the ride home smooth and sleepy. Engle's tone is upbeat throughout: she highlights modest country vistas, picturesque contemporary Havana, busy people going about their daily chores, and the profusion of noisy vintage cars. Curato's vibrant pencil and digital illustrations depict iconic images of Cuba small farms, city neighborhoods, and government buildings all in photographic detail. And while the antique cars may take center stage, the Cuban people also shine in their determination and resilience. A lyrical and beautiful offering that should help to humanize views of this island nation.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

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

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

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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

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

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