THE DEMON IN THE TEAHOUSE

The authors of Ghost in the Tokaido Inn (1999) return to the Japan of nearly 300 years ago for another whodunit solidly clad in accurate historical and cultural detail. Barely has young Seikei, newly adopted son of Edo’s chief magistrate Judge Ooka, begun his samurai training when he’s called upon to help the Judge investigate a rash of fires and murders. That investigation takes Seikei into Yoshiwara, the “Floating World” district of geishas and tea houses where, thanks to sharp eyes, careful questions, and a few well-timed revelations, he tracks down the culprit—though not before being tricked, framed, threatened with torture, drugged, and, in a rousing climax, nearly burned to death, while battling the deranged wife of a samurai who had killed himself for love of a geisha. The expertly unraveled mystery, as well as the vivid, exotic setting and fast-moving plot, will delight fans of Lensey Namioka’s historical thrillers. According to the afterword, Judge Ooka was a real, and renowned, detective. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23499-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2001

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AKATA WITCH

Who can't love a story about a Nigerian-American 12-year-old with albinism who discovers latent magical abilities and saves the world? Sunny lives in Nigeria after spending the first nine years of her life in New York. She can't play soccer with the boys because, as she says, "being albino made the sun my enemy," and she has only enemies at school. When a boy in her class, Orlu, rescues her from a beating, Sunny is drawn in to a magical world she's never known existed. Sunny, it seems, is a Leopard person, one of the magical folk who live in a world mostly populated by ignorant Lambs. Now she spends the day in mundane Lamb school and sneaks out at night to learn magic with her cadre of Leopard friends: a handsome American bad boy, an arrogant girl who is Orlu’s childhood friend and Orlu himself. Though Sunny's initiative is thin—she is pushed into most of her choices by her friends and by Leopard adults—the worldbuilding for Leopard society is stellar, packed with details that will enthrall readers bored with the same old magical worlds. Meanwhile, those looking for a touch of the familiar will find it in Sunny's biggest victories, which are entirely non-magical (the detailed dynamism of Sunny's soccer match is more thrilling than her magical world saving). Ebulliently original. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-670-01196-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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THREE AGAINST THE TIDE

In an absorbing historical novel from Love (My Lone Star Summer, 1996, etc.), three children flee their South Carolina Sea Island plantation, hoping to find their father, who is off spying for General Lee. Neglected by the neighbors who were supposed to care for them, the three Simon children quickly discover that they’re not up to managing on their own; when all the slaves disappear, Susanna, 12, and her younger brothers pack what they can and set off for Charleston. After a wild, nearly disastrous boat ride, they arrive, but only to find that they’re still on their own, in a town rife with rumors of an imminent Yankee invasion. Left homeless by a fire, they set off again, this time for General Lee’s headquarters. An independent sort who prefers trousers to dresses, Susanna finds that her sheltered, motherless life has left her little prepared for supervising slaves, keeping house, or even finding food for herself and her brothers; she muddles through, and is rewarded by a meeting with the godlike Lee, who expedites a joyful family reunion. Love establishes a strong sense of era with perceptive comments from slaves and slaveowners alike, keeps the plot speeding along, and in Susanna concocts a winning mix of intelligence, strong will, and naãvetÇ. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1998

ISBN: 0-8234-1400-0

Page Count: 162

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1998

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