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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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.


In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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