Another soaring success.

Wein returns with another emotional flight through World War II, this time in Scotland.

Three young people’s lives intersect in a remote Scottish village, their bond cemented by the unexpected receipt of the first Enigma machine to reach Allied hands. Characters who appear here from earlier volumes include: volunteer Ellen McEwen, respected by others who don’t know she’s a Traveller; flight leader Jamie Beaufort-Stuart, alive but with a flight log of dead friends; and 15-year-old biracial Jamaican English orphan Louisa Adair, employed (by phone, without disclosing her skin color) to care for an elderly but fierce German woman. All of them are bound by a sense of helplessness and a desire to make a difference; Wein shines at exploring the tension between the horrors of war and its unexpected pleasures, many thanks to friendships that could only exist during a time of upheaval. In many ways a small story about big things—fitting in a novel thematically focused on the ways individuals matter—this is historical fiction at its finest, casting a light on history (with some minor liberties, noted in the extensive backmatter) as well as raising questions still relevant today, particularly around class and race, nationality and belonging; unexpected connections across those gulfs lead to moments of love and heartbreak for readers and characters alike.

Another soaring success. (author’s note, resources) (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-01258-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021


A book that seamlessly brings readers along on a journey of impact and empowerment.

A manifesto for budding feminists.

At the core of this engaging novel are besties Chelsea, who is Irish- and Italian-American and into fashion and beauty, and Jasmine, who is African-American, loves the theater, and pushes back against bias around size (“I don’t need your fake compliments, your pity. I know I’m beautiful. Inside and out”). They and their sidekicks, half-Japanese/half-Lebanese Nadine and Puerto Rican Isaac, grow into first-class activists—simultaneously educating their peers and readers. The year gets off to a rocky start at their progressive, social justice–oriented New York City high school: Along with the usual angst many students experience, Jasmine’s father is terminally ill with cancer, and after things go badly in both their clubs, Jasmine and Chelsea form a women’s rights club which becomes the catalyst for their growth as they explore gender inequality and opportunities for change. This is an inspiring look at two strong-willed teens growing into even stronger young women ready to use their voices and take on the world, imploring budding feminists everywhere to “join the revolution.” The book offers a poetic balance of dialogue among the main characters, their peers, and the adults in their lives. The exquisite pacing, which intersperses everyday teen conflicts with weightier issues, demonstrates how teens long to be heard and taken seriously.

A book that seamlessly brings readers along on a journey of impact and empowerment. (resources for young activists, endnotes) (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0008-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2019

Close Quickview