Rich characterization and sharp writing turn just another werewolf tale into something special.

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The One You Feed

From the Shadow Tales series , Vol. 1

A teen’s shocked to learn that not only is a werewolf running loose in town, but it may be his best friend, in this debut novel and start of a supernatural series.

Toby Hoffman’s been a heavy-hearted recluse since losing his mom in a car accident when the young man was behind the wheel. Silver Falls, Oregon, may have a bright spot, however, with 16-year-old Rachel Chochopi as Toby’s new neighbor. Rachel’s friendly but despises bullies, convincing Toby’s best friend, Nate Schaffer, at school to defy browbeating Mike Mulligan and not give the jock his homework. Mike and his goons later retaliate against Nate, chasing him in the woods and leaving him trapped in a cavern. Luckily, a worried Toby and Rachel find Nate relatively unscathed in a torn, bloody shirt—but the stains aren’t his blood. There’s also a mutilated body out there, just like the one Toby’s sheriff dad, Walter, investigated earlier. Rachel’s uncle, Bimisi, wants her to return to the Umatilla Indian Reservation, fearing a legendary shaman is hunting the “white intruders.” Toby’s more concerned about Nate, positive his buddy’s new heightened senses—hearing, for example—and strength are indicative of a lycanthropic state. Not surprisingly, parents, including the sheriff, are reluctant to believe a werewolf’s responsible for a string of savage murders, so Toby and Rachel may have to stop the creature themselves. The brisk novel retains a straightforward plot by going the traditional route: a wolf-attack survivor inevitably becomes a lycanthrope, while silver bullets offer the best defense. Drummond aims for young adults, though there are dark moments. A few characters blurt obscenities, and gory parts abound—there’s definitely a lost limb or two. But it’s more exhilarating than horrific thanks to a speedy tempo and humor both subtle (potential wolf Nate loves monster-hunting games) and gleefully unsubtle (Wolfy’s Diner?). Drummond’s prose is likewise crisp and witty, with Nate watching a “pink lemonade dawn,” followed by “one of his sporadic, hypochondria-induced Internet searches.” The ending teases a sequel, but one that could expand Toby’s world, as well as the series, in curious new directions.

Rich characterization and sharp writing turn just another werewolf tale into something special.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-5007-2447-4

Page Count: 388

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2016

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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THE GIVER OF STARS

Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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