Ultimately though, a book whose title references Kerouac but lacks outrageous escapades may have difficulty finding its...

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LOOKING FOR JACK KEROUAC

Quiet contemplation reigns when recent high school graduate Paul uses a road-trip search for Jack Kerouac as a possible escape from the pressures of 1964 suburbia.

Paul is increasingly disillusioned with his night shift at the mill and his girlfriend’s belief that their engagement is imminent. Breaking free from the yoke of expectations is difficult, especially in the wake of his mother’s recent death. Paul’s admiration for Kerouac’s On the Road sparks an unexpected friendship with fellow overnight-shift employee Duke, whose adventurous nature contrasts with Paul’s reluctance to rock the boat. Indeed, it’s Duke’s idea to run away to Florida to find Kerouac. Readers expecting a wild adventure story will find themselves disappointed. Paul’s cautious approach to travel helps the pair avoid excitement, and his reserved narrative style strips even a romantic interlude with a Weeki Wachee mermaid impersonator of any salaciousness. The pair’s experiences in Florida seem to further emphasize the dangers of impulsivity, as both Duke and Kerouac are revealed to have unstable lives that largely revolve around alcohol-fueled binges. But while Paul lacks a certain vivaciousness, his growing understanding of his role in the world is revealed through moments of self-awareness that are almost painfully unvarnished and at times also starkly beautiful.

Ultimately though, a book whose title references Kerouac but lacks outrageous escapades may have difficulty finding its audience. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-938126-47-5

Page Count: 202

Publisher: Lacewing/Engine

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author’s note, research and sources, glossary,...

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THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE

The pitiless dictatorship of Francisco Franco examined through the voices of four teenagers: one American and three Spaniards.

The Spanish Civil War lasted from 1936-1939, but Franco held Spain by its throat for 36 years. Sepetys (Salt to the Sea, 2016, etc.) begins her novel in 1957. Daniel is a white Texan who wants to be a photojournalist, not an oilman; Ana is trying to work her way to respectability as a hotel maid; her brother, Rafael, wants to erase memories of an oppressive boys’ home; and Puri is a loving caregiver for babies awaiting adoption—together they provide alternating third-person lenses for viewing Spain during one of its most brutally repressive periods. Their lives run parallel and intersect as each tries to answer questions about truth and the path ahead within a regime that crushes any opposition, murders dissidents, and punishes their families while stealing babies to sell to parents with accepted political views. This formidable story will haunt those who ask hard questions about the past as it reveals the hopes and dreams of individuals in a nation trying to lie its way to the future. Meticulous research is presented through believable, complex characters on the brink of adulthood who personalize the questions we all must answer about our place in the world. 

A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author’s note, research and sources, glossary, photographs) (Historical fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-16031-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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