Based on actual events and richly immersive in the feel of the period, this effort rises above sometimes-awkward exposition...

WAITING FOR THE QUEEN

A NOVEL OF EARLY AMERICA

Everyone in New France, a village in Pennsylvania, awaits Queen Marie Antoinette’s arrival—as soon as she escapes the French Revolution.

The ridiculously overdressed and sadly inept nobles and their families who have fled France with little but their lives believe that their queen will provide needed civility to the village their American hirelings are carving out of the Pennsylvania wilderness for them. Eugenie, 15 and haunted by the horrors they’ve escaped, arrives unprepared for the harshly primitive conditions they find, and she’s annoyed by her unrealistic mother’s matchmaking with an unpleasant young noble. In alternating chapters, her story is contrasted with that of Quaker Hannah, who, like her father and brother, has been hired to help the French out for a year but whose faith keeps her from the subservience the noblemen demand. The French have been joined by a Caribbean slaveholder and his four brutally mistreated slaves; this provides a catalyst for a developing friendship between the two girls, in spite of disdainful Maman’s rejection of the American girl and her competently down-to-earth ways. The gradual, believable changes in both girls’ characters add an appealing dimension to an engrossing depiction of this little-known episode.

Based on actual events and richly immersive in the feel of the period, this effort rises above sometimes-awkward exposition to create a well-rounded, satisfying historical tale. (Historical fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-57131-700-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Milkweed

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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An engaging novel-in-poems that imagines one earnest, impassioned teenage girl’s experience of the Japanese-American...

DUST OF EDEN

Crystal-clear prose poems paint a heart-rending picture of 13-year-old Mina Masako Tagawa’s journey from Seattle to a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.

This vividly wrought story of displacement, told from Mina’s first-person perspective, begins as it did for so many Japanese-Americans: with the bombs dropping on Pearl Harbor. The backlash of her Seattle community is instantaneous (“Jap, Jap, Jap, the word bounces / around the walls of the hall”), and Mina chronicles its effects on her family with a heavy heart. “I am an American, I scream / in my head, but my mouth is stuffed / with rocks; my body is a stone, like the statue / of a little Buddha Grandpa prays to.” When Roosevelt decrees that West Coast Japanese-Americans are to be imprisoned in inland camps, the Tagawas board up their house, leaving the cat, Grandpa’s roses and Mina’s best friend behind. Following the Tagawas from Washington’s Puyallup Assembly Center to Idaho’s Minidoka Relocation Center (near the titular town of Eden), the narrative continues in poems and letters. In them, injustices such as endless camp lines sit alongside even larger ones, such as the government’s asking interned young men, including Mina’s brother, to fight for America.

An engaging novel-in-poems that imagines one earnest, impassioned teenage girl’s experience of the Japanese-American internment. (historical note) (Verse/historical fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1739-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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This weave of perceptive, well-told tales wears its agenda with unusual grace.

WAR STORIES

Two young people of different generations get profound lessons in the tragic, enduring legacy of war.

Raised on the thrilling yarns of his great-grandpa Jacob and obsessed with both World War II and first-person–shooter video games, Trevor is eager to join the 93-year-old vet when he is invited to revisit the French town his unit had helped to liberate. In alternating chapters, the overseas trip retraces the parallel journeys of two young people—Trevor, 12, and Jacob, in 1944, just five years older—with similarly idealized visions of what war is like as they travel both then and now from Fort Benning to Omaha Beach and then through Normandy. Jacob’s wartime experiences are an absorbing whirl of hard fighting, sudden death, and courageous acts spurred by necessity…but the modern trip turns suspenseful too, as mysterious stalkers leave unsettling tokens and a series of hostile online posts that hint that Jacob doesn’t have just German blood on his hands. Korman acknowledges the widely held view of World War II as a just war but makes his own sympathies plain by repeatedly pointing to the unavoidable price of conflict: “Wars may have winning sides, but everybody loses.” Readers anticipating a heavy-handed moral will appreciate that Trevor arrives at a refreshingly realistic appreciation of video games’ pleasures and limitations. As his dad puts it: “War makes a better video game….But if you’re looking for a way to live, I’ll take peace every time.”

This weave of perceptive, well-told tales wears its agenda with unusual grace. (Fiction/historical fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-29020-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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