JERICHO

GrandMin, 12-year-old Angela's great-grandmother, has lost track of the present. When Angela keeps her company to relieve her mother and Gram, GrandMin stares vacantly, forgets who Angela is, and reiterates the most basic questions. Gram is at the end of her strength, and Angela's family is here to paint GrandMin's house and help think things through. Bored and lonely, Angela yearns for home and pins her dreams on Tom Ferris, a local boy. Meanwhile, alternating sections present GrandMin's youth. Raised by her sister Delia after their mother's death, Arminta (``Min'') lost her, too, after Delia bore an out-of-wedlock child; Min then lost the young man she loved to her less amiable sister, Lucy. Sensitive readers will pick up both the contrasts and the parallels between Min's life and Angela's. Most conspicuous is Angela's sense of betrayal when she sees Tom kissing another girl, though the import is far less shattering than Min's loss. What holds attention here is the delicate evocation of two well- spaced generations. This perceptive and beautifully written book is a poignant reminder that even when all that remains of their existence is headstones and photos, the people of previous eras once had lives as full as our own. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-13398-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

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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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THE TEQUILA WORM

Sofia, growing up in an urban Latino neighborhood in McAllen, Texas, has a chance to attend an expensive boarding school in Austin on scholarship. Like her father, Sofia lives the life of the mind, rich with story and possibility. How can she convince her mother to let her take this opportunity? By learning to dance and showing her that she can leave home and still learn to become a good comadre. Canales, the author of the story collection Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales (2001), is a graduate of Harvard Law School, suggesting that Sofia’s story at least closely parallels her own. She is an accomplished storyteller, though not yet, perhaps, a successful novelist. The episodic narrative has disconcerting leaps in time at the beginning, and a sense of completion, or a moral displayed, at several points throughout—all lacking the tension to carry the reader forward. This said, the characters and setting are so real to life that readers who connect with Sofia at the start will find many riches here, from a perspective that is still hard to find in youth literature. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2005

ISBN: 0-385-74674-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2005

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