Original, chilling, atmospheric mystery with a heroine of remarkable mettle.

TWELVE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

As 1899 draws to a close, a savvy young writer of gothic tales becomes embroiled in a perplexing mystery in this first volume of a proposed trilogy.

Since inheriting the Penny Dreadful, 13-year-old orphan Penelope Tredwell has “single-handedly acted as the magazine’s editor, lead author, and publisher,” though she hides her true identity behind the pseudonym Montgomery Flinch. Now the “most celebrated author in Britain,” Penelope hires an actor to impersonate Flinch to promote sales. Receiving an urgent plea from the superintendent of Bedlam, the lunatic asylum, for Flinch’s assistance, Penelope sees the potential for her next horror story. Masquerading as Flinch’s niece, Penelope investigates, intrigued by accounts of patients arising in a trance at 12 minutes to midnight each night to compulsively write delirious, prophetic ramblings. Penelope’s investigation leads her to reclusive Lady Cambridge, aka the Spider Lady of South Kensington, whose diabolical plot to control the future threatens to plunge London into madness. Bold and intelligent beyond her years, Penelope pursues Lady Cambridge into London’s darkest places, facing gothic horrors greater than any she has written. Edge successfully delivers his own penny dreadful in the riveting style of a Victorian mystery.

Original, chilling, atmospheric mystery with a heroine of remarkable mettle. (Historical mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8133-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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