Despite some issues, the novel opens important conversations about faith, family, independence, and identity.

READ REVIEW

QUIVER

When genderfluid Zo moves in next door to Libby and her evangelical Christian family in rural Tennessee, their unlikely friendship changes Libby’s life.

Libby, who has five younger siblings, has little exposure to life outside her family’s isolated home, where her father’s word is law. She’s prepared to fulfill her duty of marrying young and bearing children, even if she’s beginning to realize that’s not what she wants. Things change when Zo’s family moves into the neighborhood and the two teens strike up a friendship. Zo’s family, liberal and fully supportive of Zo’s genderfluidity, are the antithesis of Libby’s family. When Libby’s parents cease contact with their neighbors, Libby must decide whether to obey her parents or maintain her friendship. Crucially, neither teen attacks the other’s beliefs or way of life; instead, Zo gently challenges Libby’s teachings about a woman’s subservience. Although the somewhat stiff narration alternates between Libby’s and Zo’s perspectives, the story belongs to Libby as she questions what she’s been taught (“The only way I’ve ever been is the way I’ve been told to be”). Disappointingly, readers don’t gain much insight into Zo’s genderfluidity and are never introduced to Zo’s personal pronouns (Libby presumes she/her/hers). The primary cast assumes a white default except for Zo’s friend Claire, a Thai-American transgender girl.

Despite some issues, the novel opens important conversations about faith, family, independence, and identity. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-941110-66-9

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Three Rooms Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though no punches are pulled about the unimaginable atrocity of the death camps, a life-affirming history

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner

THE LIBRARIAN OF AUSCHWITZ

A teenage girl imprisoned in Auschwitz keeps the secret library of a forbidden school.

Dita Adlerova, 14, is confined in the notorious extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Compared to her fellow inmates, Dita’s relatively lucky. The several thousand residents of camp BIIb are inexplicably allowed to keep their own clothing, their hair, and, most importantly, their children. A young man named Fredy Hirsch maintains a school in BIIb, right under the noses of the Nazis. In Fredy’s classroom, Dita discovers something wonderful: a dangerous collection of eight smuggled books. The tale, based on the real life of Dita Polach Kraus and the events of 1944 and 1945, intertwines the stories of several real people: Dita, Fredy, several little-known war heroes, even a grim cameo from Anne and Margot Frank. Holocaust-knowledgeable readers will have suspicions about how many characters will die horribly (spoiler alert: this is Auschwitz). Yet somehow, myriad storylines told by multiple narrators offer compelling narrative tension. Why does BIIb exist? Will Rudi and Alice have a romance? What’s Fredy’s secret? Will Dr. Mengele subject Dita to his grotesque experiments? Dita’s matter-of-fact perspective, set in a slow build from BIIb to the chaotic starvation of the war’s end, both increases the horror and makes it bearable to read.

Though no punches are pulled about the unimaginable atrocity of the death camps, a life-affirming history . (Historical fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-618-7

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more