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Click to search this book in our catalog Frankie
by Plozza, Shivaun.

Publishers Weekly Australian author Plozza mixes mystery with a teenager's messy reckoning with her family history in her debut novel. Now 17 and living with her aunt, Frankie Vega has never gotten over being abandoned by her mother at age four. So when 14-year-old Xavier shows up, claiming to be her half-brother, she isn't sure what to think. Should she trust him, or will he disappoint her like their mother did? Xavier turns out to be involved in some pretty shady things, including helping a (hot) burglar named Nate. Then again, Frankie and her family aren't exactly angels (she's recently been suspended after breaking another student's nose). Though Frankie isn't sure that Xavier can be trusted, when he goes missing, she takes it upon herself to find him. As Frankie plays detective, the clues lead her to Xavier and help her come to terms with her feelings about her mother and her own sense of self-worth. An edgy and drily funny novel that dives deep into how forgiveness-especially forgiving oneself-can help a person grow. Ages 13-up Agent: Cheryl Pientka, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Seventeen-year-old Frankie Vega has a quick temper and even quicker wit. Repercussions from attacking a classmate and hurtful memories of those who've let her down (like her addict mother) are compounded by the appearance--and subsequent disappearance--of a previously unknown half-brother, fourteen-year-old Xavier. Frankie's authentic voice carries a gritty and layered story. (c) Copyright 2019. 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.

Kirkus The members of the Italian-Australian Vega family aren't known for their contributions to society."Dark-olive" Frankie, with her "aggressive tendencies," has been suspended from school for breaking a classmate's nose with the complete works of Shakespeare; Juliet, Frankie's drug-addicted mother, abandoned Frankie when she was 4; and Frankie's uncle Terry is currently serving a 15-year sentence for multiple armed robberies. When Xavier, Frankie's half brother, pops out of nowhere, Aunt Vinnie, Frankie's guardian and the only Vega on the right side of the law, warns Frankie not to get too close to the boy with whom she shares a mother. At first Frankie doesn't know what to think of the 14-year-old. Is he a junkie? A liar? A thief? How far from the Vega tree has this newly discovered apple fallen? Is he involved in the recent spate of burglaries in the neighborhood? When Xavier goes missing, the only people Frankie can rely on are her best friend, the caustically funny Cara Lam (whose implied Chinese heritage goes unexplored), and Nate, a white, blue-eyed law-breaking indie poseur. Frankie's first-person narration gives readers a well-rounded picture of a formerly bullied teen from the wrong side of the tracks struggling to make sense of her past and how it affects her present relationships. A gritty and darkly witty debut. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list One word describes Frankie Vega perfectly: survivor. Ever since her mother abandoned her at age four, she's had to be tough, whether it's getting into fist fights or mouthing off to cops. Only Aunt Vinnie, who runs a questionable kabob stand, and her friend Cara are allowed anywhere near Frankie's heart. That changes when her 14-year-old half brother, Xavier, shows up wanting to establish a relationship. Frankie is excited but cautious. She has no love for their estranged mother and wonders how Xavier fits into their lives. Suddenly Xavier disappears, and Frankie begins a frantic search for the brother she didn't know she loved. Readers will love Frankie for her courage, passion, and honesty as a narrator. Supporting characters are equally as well drawn, from surly yet caring Aunt Vinnie to Nate, a neighborhood ne'er-do-well with deep blue eyes. As Frankie assembles clues to Xavier's fate, the story is unafraid to depict unsavory people, nor does it shy away from bittersweet resolutions. A powerful debut about a girl learning to love despite the dangers.--Suarez, Reinhardt Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog A Map into the World
by Kao Kalia Yang

School Library Journal Gr 2–5—The world can be a lonely and confusing place, but with the right companionship, it can be more easily navigated. Paj Ntaub and her Hmong family move into a new house with a swing and a garden, just in time to welcome her new baby twin brothers into their home. Her family befriends the elderly couple across the street, often waving back and forth, especially when things are overwhelming inside the houses. Over the winter, the man's wife dies, and when the weather again turns warm, Paj Ntaub executes a brave and insightful plan to reach out to her grieving neighbor. Written in a simple style with lyrical phrases peppered throughout, the heartfelt narrative allows readers to appreciate the depth the child's musings. The endpapers showcase a story cloth depicting how the Hmong people came to America. Beautiful, detailed illustrations are rich in color, texture, and emotion, lifting the story off the page; an emotional ending will leave tears in the eyes of some readers. VERDICT This is an excellent addition to elementary school libraries, especially as an enhancement to selections about intergenerational love and acceptance, and immigration stories about bridging cultures.—Mary Lanni, formerly at Denver Public Library

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

Horn Book A Hmong American family--mother, father, Tais Tais (grandmother), and little girl--moves into a cozy house across the street from a loving elderly couple, Bob and Ruth. The girl's twin baby brothers are born; the seasons pass; the outdoor landscape changes; and in wintertime Ruth dies. When spring comes, Bob takes his seat on the "special bench" that he and Ruth had shared; it's clear that he is grieving, and the little girl uses her skill with sidewalk chalk--and her great compassion--to brighten up his outlook and their neighborhood. Yang's story is an understated (if somewhat sentimental) snapshot of family life over the course of a quietly transformative year. The text is straightforward and spare, with touches of lyricism ("The house across the street looked empty. The gingko trees reached for the sky with their thin fingers"). Culturally specific details are naturally incorporated into the text and into the textured, delicate-lined, digitally created illustrations. A brief glossary on the copyright page explains that the protagonist's name, Paj Ntaub, is both a girl's name and the word for the traditional needlework often used to create story cloths like the one hanging on the family's wall (also shown in close-up detail on the endpapers), "which visually represent and document the experiences of the Hmong people across time, including families' journeys as refugees. (c) Copyright 2021. 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.

Kirkus A young Hmong American girl shares the small things of wonder that make up her world.When Paj Ntaub moves into a new green house with big windows with her family, the garden grows with "tomatoes, green beans, and a watermelon as round as my mother's belly." Soon, the green house becomes their house. Paj Ntaub helps "Tais Tais hang the special story cloth about how the Hmong got to America." She exchanges waves with her neighbors Bob and Ruth, an elderly white couple even older than Tais Tais. And changing seasons usher in life and death. In gentle prose, Yang's picture-book debut explores nature, community, and connection. Twin brothers are born amid the summer bounty in the garden. On a snowy, cold morning, loss arrives, and bare gingko trees "[reach] for the sky with their thin fingers" against the new emptiness of the house across the street. When the world becomes green again, Paj Ntaub draws together these connections in a neighborly gesture of comfort. Using digital graphite, pastels, watercolor, and scanned handmade textures, Kim brings detailed dimension to the green house and the world around it. Alternating perspectives capture the expansiveness of the outside as well as the intimacy of Paj Ntaub's observations.Contemplative, curious, and kind. (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Yang (The Song Poet for adults), a Hmong writer making her picture book debut, offers a story about a girl who notices things. Young Paj Ntaub (both a girl’s name and a term that nods to needlework tellings of Hmong experiences) moves with her family to a green house and helps to hang their story cloth “about how the Hmong got to America” on the wall. When her twin baby brothers cry too loudly, her father takes her outside, where they wave to their elderly neighbors, Bob and Ruth. In lovingly detailed spreads, Kim, making her U.S. debut, draws all the things that Paj Ntaub sees: gingko leaves (“yellow like apricots”), winter snow, a worm. When Ruth dies in the winter, and Paj Ntaub notices Bob grieving come spring, she chalks a wealth of previously regarded details on his driveway—“a map into the world,” she explains. Though age separates them, Paj Ntaub’s accounting of everyday details reaches Bob—and gives voice to the child’s experience, too. A distinctive story that weaves together threads of family life, community and culture, the natural world, and the power of stories. Ages 7–8. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list A year brings many changes to a Hmong girl's world. Paj Ntaub and her family move to their house in the summer, when her mother's belly is round with twins and the garden is flourishing. Across the street live Ruth and Bob, an elderly couple with whom they exchange friendly waves. The seasons change, twins are born, and Ruth dies. To comfort Bob, Paj Ntaub makes a chalk drawing on his driveway that features elements from her year and nods to the story cloth her family keeps that commemorates their journey to America. Although readers see the story cloth on the wall and at the end, what it details is never really explained, though a brief note on the copyright page describes what it is and who the Hmong people are. This is more of a relationship story, showing how Paj Ntaub engages with her brothers and grandmother and how neighboring families come together when sadness strikes. Kim's digital artwork using pastels, graphite, watercolors, and hand-scanned textures captures the warmth of family, the charm of changing seasons, and the depth of friendships.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Going Down Home with Daddy
by Kelly Starling Lyons

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-Inspired by the author's family heritage and traditions, this title follows an African American family as they travel "down home" for a family reunion. Lil' Alan is excited to see his extended family and visit his great-grandma and her farm but is anxious about how he might contribute to the celebration. Sis is planning to sing Granny's favorite song, and cousin Isaiah will read a poem by Langston Hughes, but what can Lil' Alan do? As he goes on a tractor ride, enjoys "love-made" family meals, attends church services, and listens to his father and other relatives share memories and ruminate on the importance of family, Lil' Alan realizes that the answer is in the precious family land, the gifts of which he uses in a heartfelt tribute to his family and its roots. Minter's illustrations, rendered in an acrylic wash, work in beautiful harmony with Lyons's joyful portrait of a deeply loving multigenerational family. Carefully layered images, patterns, and textures reinforce the narrative links between family history, American history, ancestral land and nature, and the bonds of family: "When we go down home with Daddy, everything we see holds a piece of him and us." VERDICT Readers will enjoy this moving celebration of familial love, history, and tradition. Highly -recommended.-Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Elkins Park, PA © Copyright 2019. 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 a lushly illustrated tribute to family history, an African-American boy and his family take their annual trip to his great-grandmother's farm for a reunion. The pivotal event is a family celebration during which each individual performs. Lil Alan's cousins have their presentations prepared-one cousin will read a Langston Hughes poem, another will share a scrapbook "in Granny's favorite color blue." Alan, though, is stumped: "I kick a stone and my eyes start to burn." But as he internalizes the energy of the farm, tastes "love-made dishes," and enjoys family, the words come: "Cotton for the quilts Granny made to keep her children warm... A pecan for the trees Pa planted and all the kids love to climb." Lyons's image-rich prose and Minter's powerful acrylics-rendered in shadowy blues and fiery shades-convey a sense of historical struggle alongside cherished tradition while capturing the experience of performance jitters. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Lil Alan and his family are heading "down home" to the farm where Daddy was raised. Although Alan is excited to see his family, he's nervous about what to share at the celebration. With his family's help, Alan finds the right words to say. This relatable story of a multigenerational family reunion is strengthened by the acrylic-wash paintings, mixed with African symbols, of the family gathering. (c) Copyright 2019. 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.

Book list Lil' Alan and his African American family arise before dawn for the drive down home to Granny's house for a reunion. They arrive to hugs from Granny, a parade of extended kin, and a quick trip around the farm on Granny's tractor. Tradition dictates that everyone contributes something to the celebration a song, a poem, a scrapbook but Alan agonizes, unsure what he should share. Lyons' lyrical text recounts a heartfelt story of family love, shared history, and connection to a place that binds everyone together. Minter's acrylic wash illustrations transmit a dreamy quality that conveys the deep respect family members share with one another. Blue washes are employed for the most reverent scenes, depicting dinnertime grace, memories of the now departed patriarch Pa, and Alan's heartfelt speech acknowledging the iconic elements that symbolize family for him. Also effective is Minter's use of intricately designed patterns that grace clothing, Granny's chickens, and layered images depicting cotton plants, garden areas, and a church. A tribute to families and the components that connect them.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Kirkus A young boy ponders the perfect tribute to his great-grandma for their annual family reunion.This year everyone's prepared something special for Granny's anniversary celebration "down home"everyone except Lil Alan. As he considers what to give, Lil Alan's weekend is marked by memories connected to the land and his family, those who are still alive and ancestors that have passed on. Ultimately, he gifts an object lesson that emphasizes the legacy of love that brings them together as a "mighty family." Imagery is presented in marvelous metaphors ("I watch as we drive from city streets to flowing highways under a sweep of sparkling stars"), while lighthearted ribbing (" Got a head just like your daddy,' Uncle Jay teases me") and soul food ( "smoked turkey, mac and cheese, okra and tomatoes, and biscuits oozing mayhaw jelly"yum) set the scene for a celebration of myriad African-American and family traditions. Minter's acrylic-wash prints soar as stenciled cotton bolls, okra, and pecans dot the pages alongside images of family members in sepia and blue-black hues. One striking spread details silhouettes of Lil Alan, Sis, and Momma layered on top of one another, same eyes, lips, and textured hair and same reunion T-shirt imprinted with a simple, familiar, deeply rooted tree.A warm, loving, necessary reminder of the power in families coming together. (Picture book. 4-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-Inspired by the author's family heritage and traditions, this title follows an African American family as they travel "down home" for a family reunion. Lil' Alan is excited to see his extended family and visit his great-grandma and her farm but is anxious about how he might contribute to the celebration. Sis is planning to sing Granny's favorite song, and cousin Isaiah will read a poem by Langston Hughes, but what can Lil' Alan do? As he goes on a tractor ride, enjoys "love-made" family meals, attends church services, and listens to his father and other relatives share memories and ruminate on the importance of family, Lil' Alan realizes that the answer is in the precious family land, the gifts of which he uses in a heartfelt tribute to his family and its roots. Minter's illustrations, rendered in an acrylic wash, work in beautiful harmony with Lyons's joyful portrait of a deeply loving multigenerational family. Carefully layered images, patterns, and textures reinforce the narrative links between family history, American history, ancestral land and nature, and the bonds of family: "When we go down home with Daddy, everything we see holds a piece of him and us." VERDICT Readers will enjoy this moving celebration of familial love, history, and tradition. Highly -recommended.-Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Elkins Park, PA © Copyright 2019. 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 a lushly illustrated tribute to family history, an African-American boy and his family take their annual trip to his great-grandmother's farm for a reunion. The pivotal event is a family celebration during which each individual performs. Lil Alan's cousins have their presentations prepared-one cousin will read a Langston Hughes poem, another will share a scrapbook "in Granny's favorite color blue." Alan, though, is stumped: "I kick a stone and my eyes start to burn." But as he internalizes the energy of the farm, tastes "love-made dishes," and enjoys family, the words come: "Cotton for the quilts Granny made to keep her children warm... A pecan for the trees Pa planted and all the kids love to climb." Lyons's image-rich prose and Minter's powerful acrylics-rendered in shadowy blues and fiery shades-convey a sense of historical struggle alongside cherished tradition while capturing the experience of performance jitters. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Lil Alan and his family are heading "down home" to the farm where Daddy was raised. Although Alan is excited to see his family, he's nervous about what to share at the celebration. With his family's help, Alan finds the right words to say. This relatable story of a multigenerational family reunion is strengthened by the acrylic-wash paintings, mixed with African symbols, of the family gathering. (c) Copyright 2019. 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.

Book list Lil' Alan and his African American family arise before dawn for the drive down home to Granny's house for a reunion. They arrive to hugs from Granny, a parade of extended kin, and a quick trip around the farm on Granny's tractor. Tradition dictates that everyone contributes something to the celebration a song, a poem, a scrapbook but Alan agonizes, unsure what he should share. Lyons' lyrical text recounts a heartfelt story of family love, shared history, and connection to a place that binds everyone together. Minter's acrylic wash illustrations transmit a dreamy quality that conveys the deep respect family members share with one another. Blue washes are employed for the most reverent scenes, depicting dinnertime grace, memories of the now departed patriarch Pa, and Alan's heartfelt speech acknowledging the iconic elements that symbolize family for him. Also effective is Minter's use of intricately designed patterns that grace clothing, Granny's chickens, and layered images depicting cotton plants, garden areas, and a church. A tribute to families and the components that connect them.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Kirkus A young boy ponders the perfect tribute to his great-grandma for their annual family reunion.This year everyone's prepared something special for Granny's anniversary celebration "down home"everyone except Lil Alan. As he considers what to give, Lil Alan's weekend is marked by memories connected to the land and his family, those who are still alive and ancestors that have passed on. Ultimately, he gifts an object lesson that emphasizes the legacy of love that brings them together as a "mighty family." Imagery is presented in marvelous metaphors ("I watch as we drive from city streets to flowing highways under a sweep of sparkling stars"), while lighthearted ribbing (" Got a head just like your daddy,' Uncle Jay teases me") and soul food ( "smoked turkey, mac and cheese, okra and tomatoes, and biscuits oozing mayhaw jelly"yum) set the scene for a celebration of myriad African-American and family traditions. Minter's acrylic-wash prints soar as stenciled cotton bolls, okra, and pecans dot the pages alongside images of family members in sepia and blue-black hues. One striking spread details silhouettes of Lil Alan, Sis, and Momma layered on top of one another, same eyes, lips, and textured hair and same reunion T-shirt imprinted with a simple, familiar, deeply rooted tree.A warm, loving, necessary reminder of the power in families coming together. (Picture book. 4-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Apples Never Fall
by Liane Moriarty

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.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Criss Cross
by Lynne Rae Perkins

Horn Book Perkins's wonderfully contemplative and relaxed yet captivating novel, illustrated with her own perfectly idiosyncratic spot art, is a collection of fleeting images and sensations--some pleasurable, some painful, some a mix of both--from her ensemble cast's lives. Set in a 1970s small town, the third-person narrative floats back and forth between the often humorous, gradually evolving perspectives of its characters. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-The author of the popular All Alone in the Universe (HarperCollins, 1999) returns with another character study involving those moments that occur in everyone's life-moments when a decision is made that sends a person along one path instead of another. Debbie, who wishes that something would happen so she'll be a different person, and Hector, who feels he is "unfinished," narrate most of the novel. Both are 14 years old. Hector is a fabulous character with a wry humor and an appealing sense of self-awareness. A secondary story involving Debbie's locket that goes missing in the beginning of the tale and is passed around by a number of characters emphasizes the theme of the book. The descriptive, measured writing includes poems, prose, haiku, and question-and-answer formats. There is a great deal of humor in this gentle story about a group of childhood friends facing the crossroads of life and how they wish to live it. Young teens will certainly relate to the self-consciousnesses and uncertainty of all of the characters, each of whom is straining toward clarity and awareness. The book is profusely illustrated with Perkins's amusing drawings and some photographs.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY (c) Copyright 2010. 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 Gr. 6-9. This lyrical sequel to All Alone in the Universe (1999), a Booklist Editor's Choice, begins with one of many black-and-white drawings and a caption that reads, People move back and forth in this area like molecules in steam. As the title and caption imply, this story reads like a series of intersecting vignettes--all focused on 14-year-old Debbie and her friends as they leave childhood behind. Perkins writes with subtle, wry humor about perceptive moments that will speak directly to readers: universe-expanding crushes, which fill the world with signs and wonder ; scornful reappraisals of childhood things (Debbie's disdain for Nancy Drew is particularly funny); urgent concerns about outfits, snappy retorts, and self-image. Perkins adds many experimental passages to her straightforward narrative, and she finds poetry in the common exchanges between teens. One section of dialogue, written entirely in haiku, reads, Jeff White is handsome, / but his hair is so greasy. / If he would wash it--. A few cultural references set the book in the 1970s, but most readers will find their contemporaries in these characters. Best of all are the understated moments, often private and piercing in their authenticity, that capture intelligent, likable teens searching for signs of who they are, and who they'll become. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2005 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-Fourteen-year-old Debbie and her friends spend time together listening to the radio, tanning in their backyards, and going to local concerts. Lynne Rae Perkins's 2005 Newbery Award-winning novel (Greenwillow, 2005) records a series of episodes and events that happen in the lives of Debbie, Hector, and their school friends. The teens are facing crossroads in their lives and must decide which path to choose. Listeners will relate to these likeable young people who reflect on both mundane and urgent concerns. Perkins's lyrical and humorous text comes to life with Danielle Ferland's competent narration. There is a sense of awe, delight, and joy in Ferland's reading which perfectly matches the tone of the book.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN (c) Copyright 2010. 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 PW wrote that this 2006 Newbery Medal winner "captures the wistful romantic yearnings of three friends on the brink of adolescence." Ages 10-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Publishers Weekly Through narrative that has the flavor of stream-of-consciousness writing but is more controlled and poetic, Perkins (All Alone in the Universe) captures the wistful romantic yearnings of three friends on the brink of adolescence. There's Debbie, who makes a wish that "something different would happen. Something good. To me." There's Hector, who hears a guitarist and quite suddenly feels inspired to learn how to play the instrument. Then there's mechanical-minded Lenny who feels himself drawn to Debbie. The characters spend spring and summer wandering about their neighborhood, "criss crossing" paths, expanding their perspectives on the world while sensing that life will lead them to some exciting new experiences. (During a walk, Hector feels "as if the world was opening, like the roof of the Civic Arena when the sky was clear. Life was rearranging itself; bulging in places, fraying in spots.") Debbie forms a crush on a boy from California visiting his grandmother. Hector falls for a girl in his guitar class. Lenny hints at his feelings for Debbie by asking her on a date. All three loves remain unrequited, but by the end of the novel, Debbie, Hector and Lenny have grown a little wiser and still remain hopeful that good things lie ahead if they remain patient. Part love story, part coming-of-age tale, this book artfully expresses universal emotions of adolescence. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog We Were the Mulvaneys
by Joyce Carol Oates

Library Journal: Everyone knows the Mulvaneys: Dad the successful businessman, Mike the football star, Marianne the cheerleader, Patrick the brain, Judd the runt, and Mom dedicated to running the family. But after what sometime narrator Judd calls the events of Valentine's Day 1976, this ideal family falls apart and is not reunited until 1993. Oates's (Will You Always Love Me, LJ 2/1/96) 26th novel explores this disintegration with an eye to the nature of changing relationships and recovering from the fractures that occur. Through vivid imagery of a calm upstate New York landscape that any moment can be transformed by a blinding blizzard into a near-death experience, Oates demonstrates how faith and hope can help us endure. At another level, the process of becoming the Mulvaneys again investigates the philosophical and spiritual aspects of a family's survival and restoration. Highly recommended.

Joshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. System, Poughkeepsie, NY Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publisher's Weekly: Elegiac and urgent in tone, Oates's wrenching 26th novel (after Zombie) is a profound and darkly realistic chronicle of one family's hubristic heyday and its fall from grace. The wealthy, socially elite Mulvaneys live on historic High Point Farm, near the small upstate town of Mt. Ephraim, N.Y. Before the act of violence that forever destroys it, an idyllic incandescence bathes life on the farm. Hard-working and proud, Michael Mulvaney owns a successful roofing company. His wife, Corinne, who makes a halfhearted attempt at running an antique business, adores her husband and four children, feeling "privileged by God." Narrator Judd looks up to his older brothers, athletic Mike Jr. ("Mule") and intellectual Patrick ("Pinch"), and his sister, radiant Marianne, a popular cheerleader who is 17 in 1976 when she is raped by a classmate after a prom. Though the incident is hushed up, everyone in the family becomes a casualty. Guilty and shamed by his reaction to his daughter's defilement, Mike Sr. can't bear to look at Marianne, and she is banished from her home, sent to live with a distant relative. The family begins to disintegrate. Mike loses his business and, later, the homestead. The boys and Corinne register their frustration and sadness in different, destructive ways. Valiant, tainted Marianne runs from love and commitment. More than a decade later, there is a surprising denouement, in which Oates accommodates a guardedly optimistic vision of the future. Each family member is complexly rendered and seen against the background of social and cultural conditioning. As with much of Oates's work, the prose is sometimes prolix, but the very rush of narrative, in which flashbacks capture the same urgency of tone as the present, gives this moving tale its emotional power. 75,000 first printing; author tour.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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