A STITCH IN TIME

Set in late 18th-century Salem, Massachusetts, first of a projected trilogy (to trace three generations) in which a quilt made by three sisters is the central motif. Hannah, the eldest, is the glue that keeps the troubled Chelmsford family from flying apart. Autocratic Father, embittered by a single infidelity by his deceased wife (whom he abused), favors bratty daughter Thankful and rejects illegitimate son Cabot. Hannah and her brother Lawrence conspire in sister Abigail's planned elopement with South Carolina sea captain Nate Videau. Hannah's own earlier romance, squelched by her father, enables her to realize her love for poor but ambitious Richard Lander. Hoping to prevent her from revealing Abby's plans, Hannah encourages their father to take Thankful to the Ohio Territory—where she is captured by Indians and ultimately chooses to remain with them. Meanwhile, each sister works on a piece of the quilt, which Hannah has decided will symbolize trusted people in their lives. Mr. Chelmsford becomes a partner in an early cotton mill; Hannah is drawn into social work on behalf of its exploited workers. Though Rinaldi's research (detailed in a note) occasionally intrudes, it also keeps the setting and flavor authentic. Characteristically for this writer, dialogue is an awkward mix of contemporary and period idiom (Videau's southern accent is particularly inconsistent). Still, the memorable characters and their historically accurate context balance the flaws, raising the story from the soap-opera level. Bibliography. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-590-46055-2

Page Count: 305

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1994

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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