TARTABULL’S THROW

Garfield fills in his werewolf hunter Moondog Nygerski’s (Moondog, 1995; Room 13, 1997) back story with an appetizing whirl of mysterious women, time travel, sex, gruesome death, lost innocence—and baseball, baseball, baseball. In keeping with his premise that time is no more linear than space, the plot curls back on itself repeatedly. Here, failed minor-league prospect Cyrus Nygerski meets beautiful, reticent Cassandra Paine in a bus station, takes her to a pivotal Red Sox/White Sox game (the famously tight pennant race of 1967), then loses her in the crowd. There, they fall in love months earlier, he turns into such an inspired hitter that the White Sox call him up to the “Show,” but after one at-bat wins a pivotal game, he’s murdered by a jealous husband. Meanwhile, on a Maine island, as Cassandra’s ten-year-old brother Timmy’s summer idyll is shattered by violence and parental infidelity, eerie, vulpine creatures appear beneath the full moon, and local tales tell of a bottomless pond with odd properties. As it shakes out, Cassandra becomes the tragic figure, traveling back in time to change the past by saving Nygerski, but then disappearing to protect him from her bestial alter ego. The breakup of the Paine family is detailed at length, and only tangentially relevant to the rest of the tale; otherwise, all the stories within stories make compelling reading, and their complex relationship is—more or less—made clear by the end. Textured, evocative prose that creates a rich milieu for a dark, multi-layered romance. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83840-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2001

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Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely.

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THE GRACE YEAR

A rebellious 16-year-old is sent to an isolated island for her grace year, when she must release her seductive, poisonous magic into the wild before taking her proper place as a wife and child bearer.

In gaslit Garner County, women and girls are said to harbor diabolical magic capable of manipulating men. Dreaming, among other things, is forbidden, and before girls embark on their grace year, they hope to receive a veil, which promises marriage. Otherwise, it’s life in a labor house—or worse. Strong, outdoorsy, skeptical Tierney James doesn’t want to be married, but a shocking twist leaves her with a veil—and a dangerous enemy in the vindictive Kiersten. Thirty-three girls with red ribbons symbolizing sin woven into their braids set out to survive the island, but it won’t be easy. Poachers, who trade in the body parts of grace-year girls, surround the camp, and paranoia, superstition, and mistrust rule. Not everyone will make it home alive. The bones of Liggett’s (The Unfortunates, 2018, etc.) tale of female repression are familiar ones, but her immersive storytelling effortlessly weaves horror elements with a harrowing and surprising survival story. Profound moments lie in small details, and readers’ hearts will race and break right along with the brave, capable Tierney’s. The biggest changes often begin with the smallest rebellions, and the emotional conclusion will resonate. All characters are assumed white.

Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely. (Dystopian. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-14544-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide To Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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