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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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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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

From the All the Stars and Teeth series , Vol. 1

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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