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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Winger
by Andrew Smith

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Smith takes readers inside the mind of Ryan Dean West, nicknamed Winger for his position on the rugby team of his tony private school. He's brilliant, immature (a 14-year-old junior), and anxious to prove himself to his teammates and especially to his crush, 16-year-old Annie. "You push things too far" advises his best friend and teammate Joey, who is gay and accepted for his honesty about it and his status as team captain. With only Joey, Annie, and the Tao of rugby to guide him, it's no wonder Ryan Dean has more than his share of missteps while trying to reinvent himself. Some are painfully awkward, and some are laugh-out-loud hysterical, especially his sponge bath by a hot nurse. The team's on-field camaraderie deteriorates into simmering hostility off the field, rife with drinking, crudeness, profanity, and constant verbal slurs. Still, readers will be shocked by a climactic violent act against Joey that leaves Ryan Dean changed forever. Smith's understanding of teen males is evident; nuances add depth and authenticity to characters that could have been cliches. However, Annie feels a bit idealized: one wonders what she sees in Ryan Dean. The pace moves quickly and holds readers' interest, punctuated by Bosma's charts and graphic-novel pages that cleverly depict the boy's hilarious inner turmoil. Readers don't need to know anything about rugby to appreciate this moving, funny coming-of-age novel.-M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY (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 This brutally honest coming-of-age novel from Smith (Passenger) unfolds through the eyes of Ryan Dean West, a 14-year-old, rugby-playing junior at the exclusive Pine Mountain school. He's two years younger than his classmates, hopelessly in love with his best friend Annie, and stuck in Opportunity Hall, the residence reserved for the worst rule-breakers. As Ryan Dean struggles with football-team bullies, late-night escapades, academic pressures, and girl troubles, he also discovers his own strengths. Like puberty itself, this tale is alternately hilarious and painful, awkward and enlightening; Bosma's occasional comics add another layer of whimsy and emotion, representing Ryan Dean's own artistic bent. The characters and situations are profane and crass, reveling in talk of bodily functions and sexual innuendo, and the story is a cross between the films Lucas and Porky's, with all the charm and gross-out moments that dichotomy suggests. That's what makes the tragedy near the very end all the more shocking and sudden, changing the entire mood and impact of Ryan Dean's journey. The last-minute twist may leave readers confused, angry, and heartbroken, but this remains an excellent, challenging read. Ages 12-up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrew Brown Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* After he opened a vein in YA lit with The Marbury Lens (2010) and then went completely nutso in Passenger (2012), about the only thing that Smith could do to surprise would be a hornball boarding-school romantic romp. Surprise! Well, sort of. At 14, Ryan Dean West is a couple years younger (and scrawnier) than the rest of the juniors at Pine Mountain. He is a plucky kid despite a tendency to punctuate his every thought with I am such a loser who stars in the rugby team due to his speed and tenacity. The rail ties of his single-track mind, though, are his exploits (or lack thereof) with the opposite sex, particularly his best friend Annie, who thinks he is adorable. In short, Ryan Dean is a slightly pervy but likable teen. He rates the hotness of every female in sight but also drops surprising bombs of personal depth on a friend's homosexuality, the poisonous rivalries that can ruin friendships, and his own highly unstable mix of insecurity and evolving self-confidence. Much of the story seems preoccupied with the base-level joys and torments of being a teenager, content to float along with occasional bursts of levity from some nonessential but fun minicomics by Bosma. But at its heart, it is more in line with Dead Poets Society, and by the end this deceptively lightweight novel packs an unexpectedly ferocious punch.--Chipman, Ian 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 My Grandma and Me
by Mina Javaherbin

Book list The author reminisces about her grandmother, with whom she spent a childhood in Iran. Short vignettes fondly describe mundane activities: waking up together for namaz (Islamic prayer), collecting bread from the delivery boy, visiting their Christian neighbors next door. Little Mina plays hopscotch with her friend while their grandmothers knit together a usefully inclusive note, as most of the memories revolve around Islamic tradition. Mina helps her grandma craft long, veiling chadors, and during Ramadan she playfully pretends to join in the fasting. Yankey's mixed-media illustrations will transport readers to an idyllic twentieth-century Iran, recalling the style of Persian art, with dusty, muted colors and intricately patterned rugs. A sweet tranquility is evoked in all the elements, touched by a gentle melancholy when Mina and her friend imagine their grandmas together in heaven. While this book presents a relationship in a specific cultural context, a subtle message of interreligious peace and unity shines through, supported by the memories' emotional universality, through which young readers will learn empathy and cultural understanding.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2—Grandparents can have an enormous effect on their grandchildren and books that showcase such relationships are always welcome. The Iranian grandmother here has endless patience and love for her little granddaughter. When Grandma swept, the child swept; when Grandma prayed, the girl prayed; and when Grandma cooked, her granddaughter did as well. She follows her around daily, mirroring everything she does. The love and kindness the child receives is satisfying and speaks to the bond between the two characters. Some of their interactions are specific to their culture, such as fasting during Ramadan and donning their chadors and walking together to the mosque. The illustrations are created using a soft, inviting palette that incorporates tile and rug patterns particular to Iran. This book offers both windows and mirrors into a warm and loving familial relationship and will be appreciated by a wide range of young readers. VERDICT A lovely book for anyone looking for intergenerational stories for one-on-one or group sharing.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

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

Publishers Weekly “When I was growing up in Iran, my grandma lived with us. I followed her everywhere. When she swept, I swept. When she cooked, I cooked. When she prayed, I prayed like her, too.” Thus begins Javaherbin’s narrative tribute to her Iranian grandmother, which affectionately sweeps the reader into the heart of their daily relationship. Readers follow along as the two say namaz at dawn, buy bread to share with their neighbors, sew chadors, and share a meal during Ramadan. In blues, roses, and golds, Yankey’s exquisite mixed-media illustrations relay details: Persian designs, dreams of space travel, baskets of bread hoisted from the street. Together, the narrative and images result in a deeply personal story that offers a broader portrait of a tender familial experience. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)

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Kirkus Love, childhood adventures, religion, and tradition are the centerpieces of this book about the author and her late grandmother, with whom she grew up in the same household in pre-revolutionary Iran.The narrator joins her grandmother, whom she loves dearly, in everything as she goes about her day. When grandma sweeps, she does too; when grandma wakes up for prayer at dawn, she does too; and when grandma sews herself a chador, she helps, even if nominally. The delicately lined illustrations gracefully evince both the mundane and the magic in the details of the narrator's everyday life as a child: the boy delivering towers of bread on his bike; Ramadan meals with her grandma, both at home and at the mosque; and playtime with her friend Annette while both of their grandmothers chat, knit blankets, and drink coffee. This sweet story is intermingled naturally with details about Iranian and Islamic traditions and values and supported by such visuals as an easy mix of traditional and Western attire and thoughtful inclusion of Persian design elements. It peaks in a moment of solidarity between the two grandmothers, each praying for the other to go to heaven, but via their different Muslim and Christian religions: a poignant, inclusive note. In its celebration of specific manifestations of universal love, this is highly recommended for families and educators, Muslim and non- alike, looking to teach children about Islam.A deep and beautiful book modeling grandmothers as heroines. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Leave Me Alone!
by Vera Brosgol

Book list It's time for Granny to knit new winter sweaters for her gigantic family, but every time she tries to get started, her grandchildren make a mess of things, unraveling her balls of yarn and getting their wet, grubby mouths all over her projects. There's only one thing to do: leave! So she packs up her supplies and heads out to the woods with a resounding, Leave me alone! Finally at peace in the calm forest, she finds a cozy spot to knit, but soon a bear family comes along and interrupts her yet again. Leave me alone! she shouts, and she departs to find a quieter location, but at every turn, she encounters an obstacle. Brosgol infuses her fairy tale-like story with a hefty dose of humor, thanks to her fantastic page turns and comedic timing, culminating in the surprising, otherworldly solution to Granny's problem. Warm, jewel-toned artwork and cartoonish details add to the warm atmosphere, and the sweet ending, when the woman finally returns home, is as cozy as a new sweater.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Graphic novelist Brosgol's (Anya's Ghost) first picture book opens in a traditional folk tale setting as a Russian grandmother in a tiny cottage struggles to finish her winter knitting. She has dozens of grandchildren, and they swarm all over her yarn: "Her grandchildren were very curious about her knitting.... Could you eat it? Could you make your brother eat it?" Brosgol's cartooning delivers laughs throughout; here, a girl in a kerchief stuffs a ball of yarn into a baby's mouth as three boys chase another ball with sticks. Fed up, the old woman takes off (after cleaning the house thoroughly, of course), bellowing, "Leave me alone!" The cry is repeated in the forest, in the mountains, and even on the moon, where aliens inspect her "with handheld scanners that went 'beep boop.' " She finds peace at last in the black void on the other side of a wormhole, where she finishes her knitting. The fizzy collision of old-fashioned fairy tale elements with space-age physics is delightful, and even the most extroverted readers will recognize that sometimes you just need a little space. Ages 4-7. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-Brosgol incorporates folktale elements in her amusing story of an old woman in search of a quiet place to knit. Fleeing her too small house overrun with too many energetic grandchildren, she packs her needles and yarn and heads for the mountains. Unfortunately, she can't find an undisturbed spot. Hungry bears, curious mountain goats, and little green moon-men provoke her to shout: "Leave me alone!" Climbing through a wormhole, she discovers a dark and quiet place to complete 30 little sweaters. Then she crawls through a wormhole that leads to her house, where 30 grandchildren rush to meet her. Peasant clothing, wooden houses, and village scenes create a setting reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm or of Fiddler on the Roof. The humorous illustrations depict the determined woman knitting in improbable circumstances as she climbs ever higher. A huge bear looms above her, curious "about what she might taste like." Mountain goats frolic with balls of yarn they consider tasty snacks. Green creatures investigate the woman with handheld scanners while she sits on a chair-shaped moon rock. Brosgol is a master of facial expressions, using eyes, mouth, and forehead lines to indicate the old woman's thoughts and emotions. VERDICT This offbeat tale will please readers who appreciate subtle humor, especially those who crave some time alone. A good choice for collections needing to bolster their supply of humorous titles.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato © 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.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Chasing History
by Carl Bernstein

Kirkus Journalist Bernstein casts a sometimes appreciative, sometimes condemnatory eye on covering the Washington, D.C., of old, from Jim Crow to Camelot. Best known as Bob Woodward’s partner in cracking the Watergate conspiracy, Bernstein grew up with ink in his blood. Even as a child he was obsessed with newspapers—and it was a golden age for newspaper readers, with nearly every city in the country hosting at least two rival publications. Until the early 1980s, Washington had two dailies: the Washington Post and the Evening Star. As a high schooler, Bernstein bluffed his way into a copyboy position at the latter: “What the copyboys did…was anything the reporters or editors asked. They pretty much made it possible for the whole place to function.” His winning trait? Not any writing ability but a phenomenal typing speed, learned in a class that got him out of shop class. The whole of Washington became Bernstein’s beat, guided by skilled editors who sent him on assignments such as covering the parade at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration with the warning, “Be there at six a.m. Schaden will be the rewrite man. Don’t try to write—just tell him what you saw.” The author’s reminiscences of old-school journalism—with its chaotic newsrooms, hot type, and guarded friendships among sources and writers—will please newspaper buffs, those who read the memoirs of H.L Mencken and Joseph Mitchell. Of wider interest is Bernstein’s depiction of Washington in a time of desegregation and racial turmoil, when city officials drained public pools “rather than allow Black families to swim in them.” Of being raised in D.C., the author writes, “I thought sometimes, [it] was akin to living in a small town that also happened to be the capital of the United States. Washingtonians had a kind of double vision of these people—as ordinary neighbors, but also as historic figures.” Bernstein is now one such figure, and his book bears that weight. An appealingly nostalgic view of a political past unriven by political tribalism, chronicled by a reporter with an eye on history. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list Readers of All the President’s Men and The Final Days learned about Bernstein’s most consequential days as a journalist. And Nora Ephron wrote about his failings as a husband in Heartburn. In this memoir of his earliest days working for the Washington Star, a different Bernstein emerges: the scrappy kid in love with newspapers, who saw his path and followed it with determination and aplomb. Bernstein was a high-schooler when he started at the paper, working his way up from copy boy to reporter. Here, he chronicles a long-gone time when the presses clanged, Runyonesque characters abounded, and a teenager could rub shoulders with top-notch journalists like Mary McGrory and David Broder. This is also a multifaceted portrait of greater DC, Bernstein’s home town. Bernstein is something of a Zelig here, turning up in a reportorial role at multiple historic events: the March on Washington, President Kennedy’s funeral, even a Beatles sighting. He also looks closely at what he saw around him: the hostility to civil rights, political patronage, and the white male privilege of the newsroom (only a few women got a shot; there was one Black male reporter). Bernstein catches history in this thoroughly absorbing read.

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

Library Journal Famous for breaking the Watergate story with Bob Woodward, Bernstein backtracks to his early-1960s experiences as a teenage reporter at the Washington Star in Chasing History. Structured around Gwendolyn Brooks's "We Real Cool," Punch Me Up to the Gods recounts award-winning poet/screenwriter Broom's upbringing in Ohio as a Black boy crushing on other boys, falling into wild sex and drug use, and finally finding his way. Laden with Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe, SAG, and Grammy honors, Foxx pivots here to talk about raising two very different daughters in Act Like You Got Some Sense (400,000-copy first printing; originally scheduled for October 2020). In The Windsor Diaries, published posthumously, Howard records staying with her grandfather at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park during World War II and befriending princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. Emmy Award winner Leslie Jordan, a viral sensation, pulls out the Southern charm to tell funny stories about life and celebrity in How Y'all Doing? (100,000-copy first printing). Having started the YouTube channel Dad, How Do I? to hand out the fatherly advice and how-to tips he wishes his dad had been around to give him, Kenney here reiterates that advice while surveying his childhood and how the channel went viral (75,000-copy first printing). In Sparring with Smokin' Joe, Lewis, director of journalism at York College, CUNY, recalls the months he spent in 1981 in the gym and on the road with boxing great Joe Frazier. Brat Packer McCarthy relates a life that encompasses acting, directing, and working as an award-winning editor-at-large at National Geographic Traveler. In Sunshine Girl, Margulies shows how she created order amid the chaos of a difficult childhood to become an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actress. In Sinatra and Me, Oppedisano, a longtime confidant and key member of the singer's management team, reflects on Sinatra's life, loves, and commitment to his craft (100,000-copy first printing). Finally, in The Wreckage of My Presence, actress/podcaster Wilson offers funny but heartfelt essays ranging from the joys of eating in bed to her obsessive need to be liked (100,000-copy first printing)

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

Publishers Weekly Pulitzer Prize winner Bernstein (All the President's Men) looks back at his early days as a reporter, before his Watergate reporting made him a household name, in this entertaining memoir. With wry humor, he describes his apprenticeship "in the newspaper trade from ages sixteen to twenty-one." Though his poor grades and record as a juvenile delinquent made it seem that "the odds were against my ever amounting to much," Bernstein recounts how in 1960, with the help of his father, he got an interview at the now defunct Washington Star. Thanks to his persistence and charisma, Bernstein secured a job there as a copyboy and moved rapidly up the ranks. He amusingly recounts going from covering local stories to reporting on major political events—such as the fledgling Kennedy administration—all while juggling the mundanities of high school: "Now that I had covered the inauguration of the president of the United States," he recalls, "Mr. Adelman's chemistry class interested me even less." Just as enthralling are his quaint recollections of growing up in D.C., at a time when being raised there felt "akin to living in a small town that also happened to be the capital of the United States." Admirers of this remarkable journalist will find much to love in this charming account. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
by Kate DiCamillo

Book list Gr. 5-8. Igus' prose poems and Wood's evocative paintings combine to give a succinct overview of African American music. A useful time line sets the social context, and brief paragraphs describe the various types of music, from African origins and slave songs through ragtime; the blues; big band, bebop, and cool jazz; gospel; rhythm and blues; and the contemporary sounds of rock, hip-hop, and rap. Igus effectively uses snippets from song lyrics to communicate both a feel for the music itself and a sense of how the various styles played to the emotions of the musicians and their fans ("From the basements to the rooftops, / I see the cool tones of modern jazz / escape the city heat"). Wood's paintings are equally suggestive. Mixing modernist and primitive styles and using color nicely to communicate musical style and tone, her art not only complements the text but vivifies it. Audience may be a problem: the supportive text is too sophisticated for younger readers to grasp themselves, and the format may alienate some older readers. Perhaps best used in a junior-high classroom with audio accompaniment, this striking book, in the hands of a creative teacher or librarian, could give kids a feeling for the majesty, creativity, and continuity of African American music. (Reviewed February 15, 1998)0892391510Bill Ott

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

Kirkus The collaborators on Going Back Home (1997) return with a stunning history of African-American music. They begin 500 years ago, on the African continent, chronicle the slave trade, and document the work songs and spirituals of American slaves. The blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, R&B, rock, funk, rap, and hip hop all come under scrutiny in free-verse poems that incorporate lyrics about and the rhythms of every style. In addition, Igus has added a brief description of each musical movement and a terrific timeline noting highlights of African-American history--both musical and more general information--which roots the whole book in a broader context. Wood's vibrant paintings are based in historical detail, and resonate with emotion. The color choices, postures of the figures, as well as the expressions on their faces, reflect various aspects of African-American music; the pictures broadcast joy, innovation, and exuberance in the face of systematic oppression. A child hidden in each scene adds a nice piece of personality for readers to interpret. Stylish and lively design pulls it all together into an absorbing, attractive package. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Jewel
by Bret Lott

Book list *Starred Review* Publishers say that historical fiction is a hard sell, and books with religion at their core are few and far between. Kudos, then, to Berry (All the Truth That's in Me, 2013) for creating a sweeping saga that not only deeply entwines both but also dissects its characters' humanity as it looks at the often troubling beliefs that underlay their actions. The story-within-a-story begins in 1290. A friar is gathering papers and testimonies that will show how the inquisitions here on the border of France and Spain were God's holy work. But one tale troubles him, so much so that he begins to stitch the strands together, and that is where the main story begins. Botille is a sassy teenager who makes money in her seaside village of Bajas by matchmaking. A disruptive childhood and a drunken father has bound Botille and her sisters closely together, but their lives are good: Plazensa runs the tavern, Botille makes her matches, and Sazia tells fortunes with uncanny accuracy. To the north, in Tolosos, there is another girl, Dolssa. Aristocratic by birth and a mystic by the grace of God, she spends her days with her beloved, Jesus, who wraps her in his murmurs and consumes her with his love. That much love cannot be contained, and Dolssa begins telling others how much her beloved cherishes all people. The simplicity of her message is seen by the inquisitors as a threat to the church, a devil's deception, and there is only one place it can end: in a public burning. Miraculously, Dolssa escapes the pyre. She wanders until she meets Botille, who saves and shelters her. This beautifully crafted plot would be enough on its own, but Berry does so much more. First, she establishes a convincing setting, in part by peppering the dialogue with Old Provençal language. Using many voices, some of which, including Botille and Dolssa, relate their own stories, she picks beneath words and actions to expose the motives of the heart, revealing how lofty ideas can turn into terrorizing actions, and how fear and self-preservation can make friends and neighbors turn on one another. Yet despite the book's gravity, Berry also manages to infuse her story with laughter and light welcome surprises. The final surprise awaiting readers at the book's conclusion adds yet another layer to the storytelling. Also at the book's end, Berry has included a wealth of back matter, a glossary, a list of characters (possibly of more help if placed at the book's beginning), and an author's note explaining the roots of the religious discord, inquisitions, and wars, and touching on such female mystics as Hildegard of Bingen, who is referenced in the novel. The beauty of historical fiction is that it brings to life long-ago times and places even as it shows how hopes, fears, and dreams remain constant across the ages. The strength of religious-centric novels is their revelation of the myriad ways people grapple with their faith and spirituality. The Passion of Dolssa's rich brew will leave readers thinking about all of these things, even as it profoundly influences their own struggles and questions.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Horn Book A (fictional) Catholic mystic, Dolssa de Stigata, escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 France; mostly, this is the story of Botille, an enterprising young matchmaker from a tiny fishing village who rescues Dolssa. Botille's spirited character, the heart-rending suspense of events, and the terrifying context of the Inquisition in medieval Europe all render the novel irresistibly compelling. Historical note appended. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-This magnificent tale is set in post-Crusades 13th-century France. A pious young noblewoman blessed with the gift of healing, Dolssa de Stigata is judged a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church and sentenced to burn at the stake. Forced to watch her beloved mother burn first, Dolssa is surprised when someone cuts the ropes binding her hands and feet and implores her to run. Driven into hiding from the churchmen dispatched to track her down, Dolssa is found nearly dead from starvation and exhaustion by a young tavern keeper and matchmaker, Botille, who vows to protect the young heretic despite the danger posed to herself and her family. Unlikely allies, the girls unwittingly put an entire village at risk in their effort to stand up for their beliefs. The account is told in alternating voices by Dolssa, Botille, and Arnaut d'Avinhonet, a Dominican friar. This lush and compelling book is enhanced by brilliant narration by Jayne Entwistle, Allen Corduner, and Fiona Hardingham. Lucky listeners will be haunted by their voices long after the book concludes. VERDICT Highly recommended for all junior high and high school audio collections. ["An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries": SLJ 3/16 starred review of the Viking book.]-Lisa E. Hubler, Charles F. Brush High School, Lyndhurst, OH © 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 Gr 7 Up-Botille is a matchmaker in the small seaside town of Bajas in medieval France. She struggles to run the family's tavern and keep her sisters and herself afloat. Dolssa is a young woman with a secret that she can't help but share-her lover is God, and she speaks to him regularly. When the two young women cross paths, both deep friendship and mortal peril await them. A beautifully rendered portrait of a little-known portion of history, this work is a meticulously researched piece of fiction. Yet it is not just in the accurate details that the novel shines. The strength and humanity of the almost entirely female set of characters are inspiring and well drawn. The panic and suspicion of post-Inquisition France is omnipresent, giving the story of a supposed heretic a constant edge of danger. As the novel slips in and out of magical realism, readers will be transported into Dolssa and Botille's world. VERDICT An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries.-Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter's Prep, Jersey City, NJ © 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.

Kirkus A girl matchmaker in 13th-century southern France meets a mystic on the run from the Inquisition. A generation after the horrors of the Albigensian Crusade, the elders are still broken by memories of entire towns put to the sword, but the younger folk, such as Botille and her sisters, focus on the present. After a childhood on the run, the sisters seek stability in poverty-stricken Bajas: brewing ale, telling fortunes, and helping their neighbors. Bajas is depicted through a scattering of third- and first-person viewpoints (but primarily Botille's) as a town where all look out for one other as a matter of course, where goodness is found in prostitutes, fishermen, hustlers, and drunks. Bajas' generosity is challenged when Botille discovers Dolssa, an injured, spirit-shattered girl on the run. Dolssa's a convicted heretic for speaking publicly of her intimate relationship with "her beloved...Senhor Jhesus." She trails miracles like bread crumbs, from a never-emptying ale jug to repeated uncanny cures. The villagers venerate her, but the arrival of the Inquisitionin a world where branding and burnings are mild punishments compared to recent historyputs their goodness to the test. The slow build reveals Botille as a compelling, admirable young woman in a gorgeously built world that accepts miracles without question. The medieval Languedoc countryside is so believably drawn there's no need for the too-frequent italicized interjections in Old Provenal that pepper the narrative. Immersive and mesmerizing. (character list, historical note, glossary, bibliography) (Historical fantasy. 14-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Two young women-Botille, a tavern wench, and Dolssa, a noblewoman possibly in communion with God-form a deep bond in a world that seeks to destroy them. Berry has reimagined 13th-century France with vigor, from the small intricacies of daily village life to the brutal ruthlessness of the Inquisition. Readers looking for a work steeped in female friendship, mysticism, and blood, with extensive back matter to boot, will be well rewarded. © 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.

Publishers Weekly When Botille Flasucra finds Dolssa de Stigata lying on a riverside close to death, she takes the stranger to her family's tavern. Botille, a young matchmaker, and her sisters nurse Dolssa back to health in secret-a Dominican friar obsessively hunts Dolssa, whom he condemned as a heretic to be burned at the stake. The year is 1241 in Provensa (now Provence), where the aftereffects of the Albigensian Crusade have led to an inquisition meant to rid the Christian world of heretics. Dolssa, however, feels called to heal the sick in the name of her beloved Jhesus, and her miracles eventually bring danger to the small town of Bajas. Berry (All the Truth That's in Me) again delivers an utterly original and instantly engrossing story. Drawing from meticulous historical research (highlighted in extensive back matter), she weaves a tense, moving portrait of these two teenage girls and their struggle to survive against insurmountable odds. Love, faith, violence, and power intertwine in Berry's lyrical writing, but Botille's and Dolssa's indomitable spirits are the heart of her story. Ages 12-up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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