Droll and diverting; fine characters to follow through time.

LIGHT RIDERS AND THE MORENCI MINE MURDER

Goldfarb’s (The Last Tag, 2012, etc.) young-adult adventure takes time-traveling siblings from modern times to a murder mystery in 1930 Arizona.

Ryn and his little sister, Aeden, squander their summer vacation helping clean out their late great-Auntie Zanne’s house. The two find an old box, marked with their names, that contains prisms and cryptic notes. The prisms, if arranged a certain way, can bend time, which the siblings confirm by landing decades in the past. But they don’t arrive together—Aeden finds an ally, and Ryn is caught up with a gang. As Ryn searches for his sister, everyone else looks for gold, and some are willing to kill for it. Goldfarb’s novel ceaselessly regales, enriched by two resilient and charismatic main characters. Most chapters alternate between Ryn’s and Aeden’s first-person perspectives, a technique that prolongs the suspense as the siblings spend most of the story apart. Some chapters present points of view from characters introduced along the way, including a murderer who wants a payout in gold. The siblings’ relationship is initially belligerent as they grumble over chores, but it progressively matures. Their love and respect for each other is more apparent when they’re separated. The humor is modest but shrewd. Few understand Ryn’s name; one person believes it’s short for Rendell and another finds it easier to call him Rin Tin Tin. And the kids-out-of-time jokes never sidetrack the narrative; people mock Ryn both for his sneakers (“fancy-dancy New York shoes”) and because he suggests rubbing two pieces of wood to start a fire, not realizing that matches are readily available. Goldfarb smartly keeps the time traveling at a minimum to subvert any skepticism. Perhaps the author’s greatest feat is an effective multigenre approach of murder mystery, horror, sci-fi, and Ryn’s trekking via horseback even recalls a Western.

Droll and diverting; fine characters to follow through time.

Pub Date: April 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-1475084948

Page Count: 310

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2012

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

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THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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