This unusual romantic mystery stands out.

THE CAGED GRAVES

When an inquisitive teen returns to her birthplace to meet her fiance, she uncovers a bizarre mystery surrounding her mother’s grave, unleashing disturbing buried secrets.

Since her mother’s death, 17-year-old Verity Boone has lived happily with her aunt in Worcester, Mass. She returns to Catawissa, Penn., in 1867 to meet Nate McClure, the farmer who successfully wooed her with his letters. Verity’s initially disappointed and wonders if Nate’s really more interested in her father’s farm. Compared to the dashing local doctor who barely hides his attraction to Verity, Nate seems dull, even though locals openly resent her for winning the eligible bachelor. As she sorts through her true feelings for Nate, Verity’s shocked to discover her mother and aunt buried outside the town cemetery in graves enclosed in metal cages. Why were her mother and aunt ostracized in death? Was it to protect them from body snatchers or grave robbers? Were they suspected of witchcraft? Determined to find the truth, Verity investigates, exposing community prejudices and twisted family secrets that lead her to a perilous confrontation and stunning revelations. Salerni grounds her story in local Revolutionary War lore, creates a spirited heroine with enough self-reflection to feel convincing and crafts a suspenseful plot that skirts sensationalism.

This unusual romantic mystery stands out. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-86853-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

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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An inspirational read.

THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES

A true story of faith, love, and heroism.

Stefania “Fusia” Podgórska longed for nothing more than to leave the rural Polish farm she was born on for the city of Przemyśl where her older sisters lived. At the age of 12, she did just that, finding a job with the Diamants, a family of Jewish shopkeepers who welcomed her into their lives. For three years they lived peacefully until the Germans dropped bombs on Przemyśl. The family struggled on as the war and anti-Semitism ramped up, but eventually, the Diamants were forced into a ghetto. Then 17, Catholic Fusia was determined to help them survive, even at the risk of her own safety, while also caring for her 6-year-old sister, Helena, after their family was taken by the Nazis for forced labor. Knowing the risks involved, Fusia made a bold decision to harbor Jews. As the number of people she sheltered increased, so did her panic about being caught, but she was determined to do what was right. Cameron (The Knowing, 2017, etc.) used Stefania’s unpublished memoir as well as interviews with family members as source material. She deftly details Fusia’s brave actions and includes moving family photographs in the author’s note. Narrated in the first person, the story highlights essential events in Fusia’s life while maintaining a consistent pace. Readers will be pulled in by the compelling opening and stay for the emotional journey.

An inspirational read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35593-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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