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Click to search this book in our catalog River, Cross My Heart
by Breena Clarke

Library Journal YA-Set in Georgetown, this poignant coming-of-age story begins with the drowning death of six-year-old Clara Bynum. Johnnie May, at 12, was supposed to be minding her the morning the children went down to the river, knowing they were not allowed to play near it, much less swim in it. The Bynums had come to Washington, DC, from North Carolina looking for a better life, and life for the colored in Georgetown in the 1920s was better: plenty of work and good schools for the children. But Johnnie May's independent spirit causes trouble from the beginning. She is always asking why-why couldn't she swim in the pool on Volta Place, right across from Aunt Ina's house? Why does she always have to mind her little sister and clean up after her? Johnnie May is a natural leader, and "knowing her place" is a struggle. The story, which follows the Bynum family and friends in Georgetown for about a year, ends in triumph as Johnnie May wins a swim meet held in the new pool built for black people. Much of the book describes Johnnie May's relationships with her mother, her relatives, and her friends, painting a revealing picture of a river, a family, and a community.-Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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

Book list Ten-year-old Johnnie Mae Bynum is haunted by the memory of her sister Clara, who drowned in the Potomac River at a point where the neighborhood children had been routinely warned against swimming. Five years older, Johnnie Mae had always been charged with Clara's care, so Clara's death stirs up guilt and confusion. Had she pushed Clara into the water or was she only guilty of neglect? The drowning changes the dynamics within the Bynum family, still coping with the move from South Carolina to the Georgetown area at the insistence of the mother, the strong-willed Alice Bynum, who wants opportunities for her children that she perceives exist in the North of the 1920s. Hence Alice both admires and fears Johnnie Mae's defiant resistance to segregated swimming pools, which chafes her own sense of racial injustice and political expedience. Clarke's first novel beautifully ties together themes of family tensions after the death of a child, a young girl's coming-of-age, and racial animosities in a small community. --Vanessa Bush

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

Publishers Weekly Debut writer and Washington, D.C., native, Clarke has written a novel as lyric and alternately beguiling and confounding as its title. It is the story of the drowning of a six-year-old child, and the tragedy's ramifications for her family and neighbors in the black area of Georgetown in 1925 D.C. Clarke's scene-building skills are the novel's strengths and occasionally its weaknesses, as each chapter is an intense set piece that sometimes provokes more questions than answers. The story is ultimately that of the effects of Clara Bynum's death on her 12-year-old sister, Johnnie Mae, who was babysitting Clara at the time she fell into the river. Johnnie Mae suffers guilt, fear and loss, endures dreams, imaginings and confusion as she sees visions of her sister everywhere: in a trauma-stung classmate who wears braids like Clara's, and the vapor from a boiling pot of green beans that resembles her sister's face. Against a felt, poignant and meticulously detailed panorama of the African-American (then called "colored") community of Georgetown, Johnnie Mae struggles to find her bearings, to cope with institutional and family expectations, and with puberty and race. Johnnie Mae ultimately derives strength from her element, the water, as she becomes a talented swimmer, but her parents Alice and Willie struggle with inextinguishable grief. From the first vivid description of the Potomac, liquid elements provide themes and narrative tension in this plangent coming-of-age story, granting the reader a necessary, if temporary, distancing from the blunt fact of a dead child. Indeed, Clarke's research about African-American Georgetown in the early 20th century revisits a time and place as intricate as any, but so remote from most memories that the historical details are fascinating footnotes to an era. While authorial asides are sometimes intrusive, this is a haunting story. Agent, Cynthia Cannell. (July)

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

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Sample List One
Click to search this book in our catalog At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA
by George Tenet

Book list Tenet, former director of the CIA, has finally delivered his long-anticipated book. It was supposed to provide background and insight into the events of September 11 as well as the lead-up (and fall down) of the Iraq War. But most readers will find that Tenet?s hodgepodge of facts tangled with homey anecdotes, excuses, and mea culpas will leave them as confused as ever. Consider this--from the man whose job included briefing President Bush on intelligence matters six days a week: "One of the great mysteries to me is exactly when the war in Iraq became inevitable." Tenet, alternately the folksy Greek American kid from Queens and the high-charging power broker, is proud of the many things the CIA did right under his charge, such as disrupting terrorist attacks leading up to 9/11 (while, of course, missing the big one), and he writes feverishly about successes in Afghanistan and elsewhere during the trying months afterward. The book is at its best painting just how dangerous, confusing, and exhausting those days were. Then comes the distraction from terrorism that was Iraq, and according to Tenet, common purpose disappeared in Washington, and interagency warfare reigned. Cheney comes out looking bad, and Rice worse, but much of the blame for the ill-preparedness goes to the slightly lower-level neocons: Wolfowitz, Libby, and the hapless Douglas Feith, who seems to be hated by everyone who has written an Iraq book. Rumsfeld is hardly mentioned-odd, considering he was running his own intelligence service in the Department of Defense. As for the president, Tenet likes him--a lot. But in a telling few pages, Bush keeps trying to get neocon favorite Ahmed Chalabi off the payroll, and no one pays a bit of attention to him. Turning these pages is like walking through mirrors."--"Cooper, Ilene" Copyright 2007 Booklist

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

Book list Tenet, former director of the CIA, has finally delivered his long-anticipated book. It was supposed to provide background and insight into the events of September 11 as well as the lead-up (and fall down) of the Iraq War. But most readers will find that Tenet's hodgepodge of facts tangled with homey anecdotes, excuses, and mea culpas will leave them as confused as ever. Alternately presenting himself as the folksy Greek American kid from Queens and the high-charging power broker, Tenet is proud of the many things the CIA did right under his charge, such as disrupting terrorist attacks leading up to 9/11 (while, of course, missing the big one), and he writes feverishly about successes in Afghanistan and elsewhere during the trying months afterward. The book is at its best painting just how dangerous, confusing, and exhausting those days were. Then comes the distraction from terrorism that was Iraq, and according to Tenet, common purpose disappeared in Washington, and interagency warfare reigned. Cheney comes out looking bad, and Rice worse, but much of the blame for the ill-preparedness goes to the slightly lower-level neocons: Wolfowitz, Libby, et al. As for the president, Tenet likes him--a lot. But in a telling few pages, Bush keeps trying to get neocon favorite Ahmed Chalabi off the payroll, and no one pays a bit of attention to him. Turning these pages is like walking through mirrors.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2007 Booklist

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

Library Journal Talk about an insider's account. Head of the CIA from 1997 to 2004, Tenet ushers us inside the agency before and after 9/11. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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

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Sample List Two
Click to search this book in our catalog How I Live Now
by Meg Rosoff

Publishers Weekly This riveting first novel paints a frighteningly realistic picture of a world war breaking out in the 21st century. Told from the point of view of 15-year-old Manhattan native Daisy, the novel follows her arrival and her stay with cousins on a remote farm in England. Soon after Daisy settles into their farmhouse, her Aunt Penn becomes stranded in Oslo and terrorists invade and occupy England. Daisy's candid, intelligent narrative draws readers into her very private world, which appears almost utopian at first with no adult supervision (especially by contrast with her home life with her widowed father and his new wife). The heroine finds herself falling in love with cousin Edmond, and the author credibly creates a world in which social taboos are temporarily erased. When soldiers usurp the farm, they send the girls off separately from the boys, and Daisy becomes determined to keep herself and her youngest cousin, Piper, alive. Like the ripple effects of paranoia and panic in society, the changes within Daisy do not occur all at once, but they have dramatic effects. In the span of a few months, she goes from a self-centered, disgruntled teen to a courageous survivor motivated by love and compassion. How she comes to understand the effects the war has had on others provides the greatest evidence of her growth, as well as her motivation to get through to those who seem lost to war's consequences. Teens may feel that they have experienced a war themselves as they vicariously witness Daisy's worst nightmares. Like the heroine, readers will emerge from the rubble much shaken, a little wiser and with perhaps a greater sense of humanity. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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

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