An engaging adventure that shows the strength that can be discovered amid tragedy.



From the The Silver Mountain Series series , Vol. 1

This middle-grade debut finds an audacious child—with a knack for bonding with animals—thrown into peril by her scheming uncle.

In 1908, 12-year-old Clothilde is the only child of Lord and Lady Ashton, new residents of Fairfax, Oregon. Preferring the name Chloe, the precocious girl loves to explore the nearby wilds while her parents run the Mercantile, an imported fabric shop. Life feels idyllic, as Chloe realizes that the house’s staff and woodland creatures alike adore her. Then one day, tragedy strikes her parents, leaving her family shattered. Chloe retreats into a world of literature and befriends a remarkably intelligent white rat whom she names Shakespeare. Further change comes in the form of Uncle Blake Underwood, who arrives to help maintain the Mercantile. But Blake is the shiftiest of characters and quickly compromises the entire estate. He abducts Chloe, bringing her by horse-drawn carriage among a band of vagabonds, intending to sell her. Not without her own natural gifts, Chloe comes to know and speak with Greybelle, her uncle’s horse. The mare describes her own tragic past as well as an ancient battle between the mountains themselves that left the landscape in ruins. If the girl is to escape, she must learn the extent of her own abilities, and just how deep the land’s magic runs. In this appealing novel, Rios writes with an abiding love of nature, illustrating in scene after scene the power people may draw from it. When Chloe displays wonder that animals understand her, Greybelle says, “The respect you show to all beings—human, animal, or plant—is also your ‘voice,’ and they all hear it loud and clear.” As her fortunes wax and wane, Chloe meets other charismatic individuals like the Artist and Mrs. Goodweather. Rios keeps the danger real by using only low-key magic—like enchanted paintings and pies—that feels “so familiar and so natural that it was almost not like magic at all.” The mystery surrounding a suspiciously cloistered hospital and its reckless ambulance drivers should draw readers to the sequel.

An engaging adventure that shows the strength that can be discovered amid tragedy.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63152-244-4

Page Count: 344

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2017

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Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly...


From the Giver Quartet series , Vol. 1

In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility.

As Jonas approaches the "Ceremony of Twelve," he wonders what his adult "Assignment" will be. Father, a "Nurturer," cares for "newchildren"; Mother works in the "Department of Justice"; but Jonas's admitted talents suggest no particular calling. In the event, he is named "Receiver," to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community's memories—painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder ("The Giver") now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas. The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as "release" is revealed to be murder. Horrified, Jonas plots escape to "Elsewhere," a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love. Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing.

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 978-0-395-64566-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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