Best for fans of three-hanky weepers.

SWITCHING GEARS

From the Love, Lucas series

Emmy grapples with the death of her first love, a potential new boyfriend, and her mom’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

This companion to Love, Lucas (2015) follows Emmy, Lucas’ childhood friend and secret love. Though they never actually dated, the pair confessed their love a week before Lucas died. Unsurprisingly, a mere four weeks later, Emmy is unwilling to give handsome, hazel-eyed Cole a chance at romance. Emmy spends lots of time rebuffing Cole’s attempts at friendship and romance, especially when she’s further devastated by her mother’s diagnosis. Mountain biking becomes her outlet, and conveniently, Cole—a sponsored rider himself—uses this shared interest to encourage Emmy to become more emotionally available. Also helping push romance is Emmy’s best friend, Kelsie, who reminds Emmy, “It’s okay to move on. He’d [Lucas] want that.” It may be sage advice, but considering Lucas died only four weeks earlier, expecting her to be ready for new love feels awfully premature. But what is youth if not resilient? A few weeks later Cole has managed to gently persuade Emmy to leave behind her fear of loss, and the two are happily dating. And then catastrophe strikes, ramping the melodrama level up even further. Luckily for Emmy (and readers), a quick epilogue provides easy resolutions. The cast appears to be a largely white one.

Best for fans of three-hanky weepers. (Romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-0506-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A wartime drama with enough depth and psychological complexity to satisfy budding bookworms.

A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON

Three plucky orphan siblings are in search of a mother in wartime England.

When their grandmother dies, 12-year-old William, 11-year-old Edmund, and 9-year-old Anna are left in London in the care of an elderly housekeeper. As part of the World War II evacuation of children to safety, they are relocated to the countryside, something the family solicitor hopes may lead to finding adoptive parents. However, they are billeted with the Forresters, an unpleasant family reminiscent of the Dursleys. Bullying by their hosts’ two sons, who despise them; the ever present fear of German attack; and the dread of homelessness test their mettle to the limit. The orphans long to find a home of their own, and good boy William is stressed by his responsibility as head of the small family. Edmund’s desire for revenge against the Forresters and a prank involving a snake get them evicted from their billet, and they end up in a much worse situation. They find sanctuary in the village library and a savior in the librarian, who is married to a German and therefore ostracized by the locals. Mrs. Müller provides them with moral support, a listening ear, and true appreciation and love. The classic books she chooses for them—The Wind in the Willows and Anne of Green Gables, among others—may generate ideas for further reading. All characters are White.

A wartime drama with enough depth and psychological complexity to satisfy budding bookworms. (reading list) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4705-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Sensitive subject matter that could have benefited from a subtler, more sober touch.

RESISTANCE

A Jewish girl joins up with Polish resistance groups to fight for her people against the evils of the Holocaust.

Chaya Lindner is forcibly separated from her family when they are consigned to the Jewish ghetto in Krakow. The 16-year-old is taken in by the leaders of Akiva, a fledgling Jewish resistance group that offers her the opportunity to become a courier, using her fair coloring to pass for Polish and sneak into ghettos to smuggle in supplies and information. Chaya’s missions quickly become more dangerous, taking her on a perilous journey from a disastrous mission in Krakow to the ghastly ghetto of Lodz and eventually to Warsaw to aid the Jews there in their gathering uprising inside the walls of the ghetto. Through it all, she is partnered with a secretive young girl whom she is reluctant to trust. The trajectory of the narrative skews toward the sensational, highlighting moments of resistance via cinematic action sequences but not pausing to linger on the emotional toll of the Holocaust’s atrocities. Younger readers without sufficient historical knowledge may not appreciate the gravity of the events depicted. The principal characters lack depth, and their actions and the situations they find themselves in often require too much suspension of disbelief to pass for realism.

Sensitive subject matter that could have benefited from a subtler, more sober touch. (afterword) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-14847-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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