A family-centered time-travel adventure with a lot of heart.

BLOWBACK ’94

WHEN THE ONLY WAY FORWARD IS BACK

From the The Blowback Trilogy series , Vol. 3

This YA novel concludes a time-travel trilogy with a trip back to belle epoque Paris.

High school junior and music nerd Iris Jongler-Jinks has already accidentally used her family’s heirloom cor anglais (an English horn) to send people back to 1907 and 1863. The latter trip, taken by her twin brother, Arky, was supposed to help them find their mother, the missing astrophysicist Dr. Octavia Jongler. But Arky came back empty-handed. Now it’s finally Iris’ turn. When the so-called Horn of Angels begins to play on its own, the mists that flow from it carry her back to Paris in 1894, at the height of the belle epoque. The only problem is that Arky has somehow traveled back with her: “It wasn’t fair. He’d had his time voyage; why did he have to spoil hers?” Luckily, they quickly get wind of a Madame Jongler who performs as a spider woman at the famous Moulin Rouge. They are finally reunited with Octavia, but bringing her back to the present is not so simple. “While a Jongler can use the cor anglais to send a troubled soul to the past,” goes the legend, “the voyager must discover what’s needed from the past on their own.” Stuck in one of the past’s most colorful locales, the twins must find the lesson that they’re all supposed to learn before they can go home—if they even want to go home at all. Meehl’s prose mixes humor with sumptuous period details: “When the out-of-control bicyclist just missed an elderly man in the street, the old man shook his cane at the two-wheeled terrorist and yelled, ‘There should be a law against those damn machines!’ ” The novel features the requisite appearances by period figures like Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, and fans of the series will enjoy watching Iris excitedly imbibe the culture and music of the City of Light. Though the pace sometimes feels a bit slow, the world is rich enough—and the characters entertaining enough—to carry this tale to a conclusion that should satisfy those who have been with the indefatigable Jongler-Jinkses all along.

A family-centered time-travel adventure with a lot of heart.

Pub Date: March 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9857114-2-9

Page Count: 409

Publisher: Twisko Press

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly...

THE GIVER

From the Giver Quartet series , Vol. 1

In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility.

As Jonas approaches the "Ceremony of Twelve," he wonders what his adult "Assignment" will be. Father, a "Nurturer," cares for "newchildren"; Mother works in the "Department of Justice"; but Jonas's admitted talents suggest no particular calling. In the event, he is named "Receiver," to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community's memories—painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder ("The Giver") now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas. The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as "release" is revealed to be murder. Horrified, Jonas plots escape to "Elsewhere," a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love. Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing.

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 978-0-395-64566-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

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