WHERE THE WORLD ENDS

In this Carnegie-winning novel, McCaughrean (The Middle of Nowhere, 2013, etc.) turns a small piece of history into an epic, nearly mythic, tale.

St. Kilda’s archipelago, far off the northwest corner of Scotland, is the most remote set of islands in Great Britain. In 1727, a boat set off from the sole occupied island, Hirta, dropping a small group of men and boys at Warrior Stac, a giant rock, for a fowling expedition. Told from the point of view of Quilliam, one of the older boys, (precise ages are never given; the boys seem to range in age from around 10 to about 16), the trip begins as a grand adventure: scaling cliffs via fingertip holds, making candles out of dead storm petrels, and cutting the stomachs out of gannets to use as bottles for oil. But then, inexplicably, the village boat does not return for them. As the weeks stretch to months and the birds begin to leave the rock, the party fears the end of the world. Cane, one of the men, sets himself up as a divine authority, praying for repentance, while Quill attempts to soothe the younger boys through story—and himself through memories of a young woman he loves. McCaughrean takes the bones of a real event, wraps it in immersive, imaginative detail and thoroughly real emotion, and creates an unforgettable tale of human survival.

A masterpiece. (map, afterword, birds of St. Kilda, glossary) (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-22549-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers.

YOU'VE REACHED SAM

Technology prevails over death, giving a teenage couple a second chance at goodbye.

High school senior Julie is paralyzed with grief over her boyfriend Sam’s death in a car accident. She avoids his funeral and throws away every reminder of him. They had planned to leave their small Pacific Northwest town together, and she now faces an uncertain and empty future. But one night she impulsively dials his cell, and, inexplicably, Sam answers. This is the first of many long conversations they have, neither understanding how or why this is happening but relishing the chance to say goodbye as they could not in life. However, Julie faces a difficult choice: whether or not to alleviate the pain of Sam’s loved ones by allowing them to talk to him, though it could put their own connection at risk. Yet, letting go and moving on might be just what she needs. The emotional tenor of the book is even throughout, making the characters feel remote at times and flattening the impact of momentous events—such as Julie and Sam’s first conversation—that are often buried in minor, day-in-the-life details. The time skips can also be difficult to follow. But the concept is a smart one and is sure to intrigue readers, especially those grappling with separation, loss, and mortality. Sam is cued as Japanese American; Julie defaults to White.

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76203-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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