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ISLAND OF WHISPERS

A deftly told, bittersweet story of loved ones lost and remembered, tinged with hope and courage.

What happens when an unlikely hero must transport the Dead to their final destination?

Fourteen-year-old Milo’s not cut out to work with dead people, or so his father is quick to tell him. Though his dad is the Ferryman, entrusted with taking the newly deceased by ship from their island, Merlank, to the Island of the Broken Towers, where they can move on, Milo lacks the right disposition. But right or not, that’s precisely what he’ll have to do when his father is slain by a man working for the Lord of Merlank, who’s desperate to keep his daughter in the land of the living. What follows is a chase across the sea. In the front is Milo, piloting his father’s ship, the Evening Mare, and trying to remember all the rules involved in this voyage. In hot pursuit are the lord and his magicians, all attempting to keep one dead girl from leaving. Hardinge treads a delicate line between horror and hope. Milo’s abilities shine through his doubts, even as he faces trial after trial. The result is part fairy tale, part contemplation of life, death, grief, and the comfort that comes when others listen. Accompanying Hardinge’s poignant prose, Gravett’s pen-and-ink art taps perfectly into the book’s tone, highlighting moments both big and infinitesimally small. Most characters have skin the white of the page.

A deftly told, bittersweet story of loved ones lost and remembered, tinged with hope and courage. (Fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2024

ISBN: 9781419774331

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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THE SECRET OF THE MAGIC PEARL

Beautiful, remarkable, amazing, and wonderful in every way.

Hector wants to be a deep-sea diver, just like his father and grandfather.

He has internalized all his grandfather’s tales, especially the story of the “rarest, whitest, and purist pearl in the world,” said to live on the seabed offshore near the Marina, their family business. But the greedy Amedeo Limonta has set up a competitive business that’s forced the Marina to close. When Hector turns 8, everything changes. On his very first dive, he discovers the magical Pearl and brings it home…and complications ensue. Hector heeds his memories and dreams of his grandfather and courageously makes it all right. Hector narrates his adventures in meticulously organized chapters, carefully introducing each character, providing detailed information about relationships and events, and sharing credit for his successes. At the conclusion Hector presents readers with vivid descriptions of his beloved village and its inhabitants. Sabatinelli provides Hector with a voice that soars with lilting, expressive language, losing nothing in Turner’s translation from Italian. Bruno’s intensely bright, sharply hued illustrations are a tour de force. A chart of semaphore flags and diagrams that detail the parts of a diving suit fill the opening pages, and those flags head each chapter. The sea is evoked with glorious dreamlike color and movement, and characters’ features and expressions immediately announce their nature, emotions, and quirks. All present White. Hector is wise, kind, and readers will take him to their hearts.

Beautiful, remarkable, amazing, and wonderful in every way. (Adventure. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63655-006-0

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Red Comet Press

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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