A timely read that will ultimately prove timeless.

SUGGESTED READING

A high school senior takes censorship to task in this engrossing literary love letter.

Clara Evans doesn’t just love books. They are the language of her life. When she finds out that Lupton Academy—the prestigious Chattanooga private school she attends—has been secretly banning books for years, she realizes that she has a duty to fight back. With the help of the school librarian; her best friend, LiQui Carson; and unexpected allies, she forms an underground book club designed to send the message that literature belongs to everyone. In this compulsively readable novel, Connis (The Temptation of Adam, 2017, etc.) demonstrates deep reverence for literature’s ability to create community and challenge our beliefs. Only a true believer could craft a work of such relevance and heart, and every facet of this novel, from chapter headings designed as censored books to finely etched characters and witty teen-speak dialogue, proves this author’s worth as a champion of literature. Clara’s relationships with major and minor characters feel as authentic as the novel’s Tennessee setting, which provides a backdrop for exploring class inequality within the private school world. As Clara—a working-class student competing for a college scholarship—sets out to change her school, she finds herself confronting her own prejudices. An absence of clear physical descriptions makes race difficult to determine.

A timely read that will ultimately prove timeless. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-268525-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers.

YOU'VE REACHED SAM

Technology prevails over death, giving a teenage couple a second chance at goodbye.

High school senior Julie is paralyzed with grief over her boyfriend Sam’s death in a car accident. She avoids his funeral and throws away every reminder of him. They had planned to leave their small Pacific Northwest town together, and she now faces an uncertain and empty future. But one night she impulsively dials his cell, and, inexplicably, Sam answers. This is the first of many long conversations they have, neither understanding how or why this is happening but relishing the chance to say goodbye as they could not in life. However, Julie faces a difficult choice: whether or not to alleviate the pain of Sam’s loved ones by allowing them to talk to him, though it could put their own connection at risk. Yet, letting go and moving on might be just what she needs. The emotional tenor of the book is even throughout, making the characters feel remote at times and flattening the impact of momentous events—such as Julie and Sam’s first conversation—that are often buried in minor, day-in-the-life details. The time skips can also be difficult to follow. But the concept is a smart one and is sure to intrigue readers, especially those grappling with separation, loss, and mortality. Sam is cued as Japanese American; Julie defaults to White.

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76203-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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