A rich, satisfying mix of romance, horror, and time travel.

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Marking Time

From the The Immortal Descendants series , Vol. 1

In this YA fantasy debut, a teen attends an exclusive boarding school where she learns that she’s from a superpowered lineage.

Seventeen-year-old Saira Elian and her mother live in Venice, California. Saira loves free-running at night and tagging the most hidden walls she can find. On a night when her mother has vanished—which seems to happen every two years—she visits her favorite secluded “art gallery” and admires a spiral graffito by an artist named Doran. Then someone calls out, naming her “Clocker.” She eludes him, but the police catch up with her. When they insist on reaching a family contact, the only person she can think of is Millicent Elian, the grandmother who lives in England. Saira flies to the dour family manor and finds herself locked in a bedroom. She escapes for some forest free-running only to discover someone pursuing her. When she reaches a car on the road for help, she again encounters the man calling her Clocker. She runs from the “reptilian voice” and hitches another ride to a train station. The rescuer—whom she’s named Wolf—tells her about a “Spiral at Whitechapel.” When she reaches Whitechapel station, she does indeed find a painted spiral, just like the one in Venice. Tracing her fingers across the lines, Saira feels, “Stretched and pulled, with a thrumming sound underneath my screams.” That she’s transported to Whitechapel in the year 1888 isn’t immediately apparent. Then again, White’s complex series opener isn’t your typical YA fantasy. Sure, St. Brigid’s boarding school is reminiscent of Hogwarts (and even Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in the X-Men series), with teachers who specialize in arcane disciplines and transform into animals. But the thick pretzel of a plot involving Immortal lineages—Time, Nature, War, Fate, and Death—and their superpowered Descendants is fabulously unique. Best of all, the plot continuously rewards lovers of clever fantasy rules (like “if you try to travel within your own lifetime, the spiral will skip you back to a time before you were born”), and contains a seemingly endless cache of twists. A heartwarming finale allows characters and new relationships to blossom in further volumes.

A rich, satisfying mix of romance, horror, and time travel.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9885368-1-4

Page Count: 436

Publisher: Corazon Entertainment

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2016

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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