A lush and beautifully written treat for readers of historical and contemporary fiction alike.

THE WHITSUN DAUGHTERS

Three young women in a rural Minnesota town navigate a pivotal summer under the watchful eye of a spirit with intimate ties to the land.

Midwife Carna and her daughter, Poppy, live with Carna’s Unitarian minister sister, Violet, and her daughters, Daisy and Lilah. The younger cousins love Poppy as a sister. Jane, a long-ago Irish immigrant whose spirit watches over the girls, thinks of them in the “colors of horses.” Poppy is a “golden palomino, prancing, arrogant.” Lilah, the second oldest, is a “flossy white unicorn, shimmering in her slightness,” and Daisy, the youngest, a girl who feels most at home among nature, is a “cautious dark bay whose eyes are always watching.” Jane, who narrates, focuses largely on 15-year-old Daisy, who dreams of Jane. After all, Jane was only 15 herself when she lost her sister, Bess, while aboard a ship to America. She married Bess’ intended, who couldn’t truly love her as a wife, and fell wildly, disastrously in love with Patrick, a stable hand in her husband’s employ. Emphasis is placed on the parallels between Jane’s life and the lives of the Whitsun girls: the complexities and joys of love and sex, unplanned pregnancies, mental illness, and the trials that women and girls often endure at the expense of their minds and bodies. All characters are assumed white.

A lush and beautifully written treat for readers of historical and contemporary fiction alike. (historical sources) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3195-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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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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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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