A time-traveling mystery that will keep readers involved and guessing up to the very end.



It’s 1997, and 12-year-old Alice’s regular life is in turmoil; a move to the countryside leads to supernatural adventure.

Alice has an overactive, vivid imagination—at least, according to her mother. But is what she sees always imaginary? After telling her emotionally absent, workaholic husband that she’s leaving him, Alice’s mother takes her daughter to Blackwood House, where she has a live-in nursing job caring for a wealthy old woman while she recovers from a fall. Alice is befriended by teenage Lily, the housekeeper’s daughter, who informs her that her bedroom is haunted. As Lily and Alice explore the house, they find a dollhouse in a locked room that becomes real in Alice’s dreams. Who are Fizz and Bubble—the sisters who also appear in her dreams—and what is her purpose in their lives? In her everyday world, Alice hopes her parents will reunite, worries about her mother’s flirtation with the local doctor, and tries to stay out of the way of her mother’s cranky patient. This is a twisty tale that goes in many different directions but never loses the main thread. The author carefully lays out clues for readers who like to solve mysteries themselves. Both Lily and Bubble are developmentally delayed; they are described respectfully and are fleshed-out characters. The cast members default to White.

A time-traveling mystery that will keep readers involved and guessing up to the very end. (Paranormal mystery. 9-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6906-4

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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