Smiley's pristine, graceful prose and thoroughly real characters make this a novel to savor.

READ REVIEW

TRUE BLUE

From the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch series , Vol. 3

Smiley continues the story of Abby Lovitt and the horses on her family's California ranch in the 1960s.

When family friend and fellow stable-owner Jane sells Abby a horse for the change in her pocket, Abby is thrilled. True Blue, a gorgeous and personable gray, seems full of potential. But he comes with literal baggage—trunks of saddles and bridles and, most spookily, his dead former owner's boots. Abby shoves them out of sight, but she can't ignore Blue's own spookiness—he leaps and shies away from things no one else can see. Soon Abby is convinced that she, too, sees a ghost woman riding him. Meanwhile, Abby breaks her wrist, and an incident at her church brings her father's relationship with her estranged brother to a head. Abby has already learned how quickly things can go wrong—but now she learns that, sometimes, everything can also be put right. Readers who have been with this story from the beginning will enjoy watching narrator Abby continue to grow; newcomers will want to go back and start at the beginning with The Georges and the Jewels (2009).

Smiley's pristine, graceful prose and thoroughly real characters make this a novel to savor. (Historical fiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86231-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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Both a poignant contemplation on 9/11 and a necessary intervention in this current political climate.

ALL WE HAVE LEFT

This election cycle, with its exacerbated Islamophobia, makes author Mills' (Positively Beautiful, 2015) fictive meditation on 9/11 and the 15 years after especially timely.

The book opens with Travis McLaurin, a 19-year-old white man trying to protect Alia Susanto, a 16-year-old hijab-wearing Indonesian-American Muslim, from the debris caused by the South Tower's destruction. The next chapter takes place 15 years later, with Travis' younger sister, Jesse, defacing a building with an Islamophobic slogan before the police catch her. The building, readers learn later, is the Islam Peace Center, where Jesse must do her community service for her crime. Between these plot points, the author elegantly transitions between the gripping descriptions of Alia and Travis trying to survive and Jesse almost falling into the abyss of generational hatred of Islam. In doing so, she artfully educates readers on both the aspects of Islam used as hateful stereotypes and the ruinous effects of Islamophobia. With almost poetic language, the author compassionately renders both the realistic lives, loves, passions, and struggles of Alia ("There's a galaxy between us, hung thick with stars of hurt and disappointment) and Jesse ("I'm caught in a tornado filled with the jagged pieces of my life") as both deal with the fallout of that tragic day.

Both a poignant contemplation on 9/11 and a necessary intervention in this current political climate. (timeline, author's note) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61963-343-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard.

HAMLET

From the Campfire Graphic Novels series

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The timeless tale of the young and disaffected Danish prince who is pushed to avenge his father’s untimely murder at the hands of his brother unfolds with straightforward briskness. Shakespeare’s text has been liberally but judiciously cut, staying true to the thematic meaning while dispensing with longer speeches (with the notable exception of the renowned “to be or not to be” soliloquy) and intermediary dialogues. Some of the more obscure language has been modernized, with a glossary of terms provided at the end; despite these efforts, readers wholly unfamiliar with the story might struggle with independent interpretation. Where this adaptation mainly excels is in its art, especially as the play builds to its tensely wrought final act. Illustrator Kumar (World War Two, 2015, etc.) pairs richly detailed interiors and exteriors with painstakingly rendered characters, each easily distinguished from their fellows through costume, hairstyle, and bearing. Human figures are generally depicted in bust or three-quarter shots, making the larger panels of full figures all the more striking. Heavily scored lines of ink form shadows, lending the otherwise bright pages a gritty air. All characters are white.

A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard. (biography of Shakespeare, dramatis personae, glossary) (Graphic novel. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-93-81182-51-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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