Despite liberties, this is more educational than entertaining and is best suited to fans of the Brontës or biographic...

THE WORLD WITHIN

A NOVEL OF EMILY BRONTË

A girl runs wild and writes furiously in this portrait of author Emily Brontë’s early years.

Although she chafes at society’s expectations, as embodied by her stern aunt, Emily would gladly remain on the English moors with her dog and her scribbling siblings—braggart Branwell, cautious Charlotte and pious Anne—forever. Having lost her mother and older sisters, Emily loathes change and accordingly struggles with Charlotte’s absences, her own brief time at boarding school and her father’s illness. Inexplicably and violently shy, Emily hates being seen, discussed or even talked to by people outside the household. Self-isolated, she prefers walks in the wild and writing, initially creating melodramatic romances and adventures in the fantasy series shared with her siblings and, by novel’s end, attempting a contemporary, character-based story by herself (presumably Wuthering Heights). Emily comes off as a complex, somewhat heartless and uncivilized girl, yet she’s a better artist than Charlotte, a better musician than Branwell and a more committed writer than Anne—claims unsupported by her minimal surviving real-world work. In her author’s note, Eagland admits to taking some liberties in her attempt to decipher the “enigmatic” Emily but relies heavily on well-chronicled facts and Emily’s one and only novel.

Despite liberties, this is more educational than entertaining and is best suited to fans of the Brontës or biographic celebrations of tortured 19th-century authors. (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-49295-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

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THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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