WILDTHORN

Nineteenth-century tomboy Louisa Cosgrove wants to study medicine, but after her indulgent father's death, that dream seems impossibly distant. Her mother dispatches her to family friends, but Louisa never arrives. Instead, she is taken to Wildthorn Hall, an insane asylum. The staff insist her name is Lucy Childs, and her treatment ranges from the relatively benign (tranquilizers) to the horrific (sensory deprivation). The mystery of Louisa's incarceration is revealed through alternating chapters of her present and childhood: Like many of her fellow "patients," Louisa's been committed for being a troublesome woman. Luckily, her family doesn't know of those tendencies that would make her utterly irredeemable—her overly fond feelings for her beautiful cousin Grace. Unlike many of the other inmates, who seem to develop mental illness from the cruelty of their surroundings, Louisa is determined to escape, perhaps with the help of a lovely asylum employee, Eliza. Despite a too-pat ending, Louisa and Eliza provide a window into a shameful history of mental health care and women's incarceration that only ended in living memory. (Historical fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-37017-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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This series opener won't win any prizes, but it will appeal to those who want puzzles and action mixed with their fashion...

THE CONSPIRACY OF US

From the Conspiracy of Us series , Vol. 1

A friendless teen discovers she's the key to a millenia-old epic prophecy—making her an invaluable pawn of the world's great powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery West has a Plan: don't make friends, so as to remain unhurt when she inevitably has to change schools. Her single mother is a military contractor (something to do with a mandate), and Avery never lives anywhere long. At least Avery's learned to hide her violet eyes behind colored contacts, so she's only friendless instead of mocked. Avery's plan doesn't take into account the two gorgeous young men who appear fascinated with her: suave Jack and scruffy Stellan. The boys insist they're taking her to meet long-lost family and whirl Avery across the Atlantic to Paris (an unplanned trip about which she's remarkably sanguine). There, she learns of a conspiracy almost as old as Western civilization. Political leaders, actors, sports heroes and businessmen have come from just 12 families for nearly 2,000 years. Avery's place in all this has to with a prophecy called, surprise surprise, the mandate. Avery's thrust into a cinematic, puzzle-solving action-adventure that takes her from Paris to Istanbul. Though she's overwhelmed by "boy drama," she knows her quest is "way more important." Thrill as Avery's outfitted in Prada and Louboutin! Gasp as she jumps from a fire escape into a gunfight! Swoon as sexy Europeans fight for her hand!

This series opener won't win any prizes, but it will appeal to those who want puzzles and action mixed with their fashion and romance . (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16650-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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