This poignant novel presents us with a girl on the cusp of womanhood desperately trying to navigate the dissonant...

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THIS BOOK BETRAYS MY BROTHER

A story of one girl’s attempts to understand and abide by the unspoken rules of familial loyalty in a post-apartheid South African town.

Molope (The Mending Season, 2005, etc.) introduces us to Basimane, the first son of a South African family, through the voice of his sister, Naledi. When, as an adult, Naledi sees a woman from her youth, a tiny scar on the woman’s face kick-starts reveries of her childhood and the one fateful night that changed little for her brother and parents but everything for Naledi and her closest friend, Ole, who hid her sexuality in their community. Naledi and Basimane lead affluent lives, embedded in a society fraught with issues of racism and classism as well as intergenerational gendered expectations. When their father’s business success enables them to move up in society Basimane continues his close association with his old friends, the township boys, much to his mother’s chagrin. Meanwhile Naledi oscillates between nostalgia and embracing the social distance her mother imposes. She closely watches her older brother’s violent treatment of women, attempting to reconcile his hypocritical behavior as he simultaneously seeks justice for his best friend’s mother, incarcerated for self-defense in the face of domestic violence.

This poignant novel presents us with a girl on the cusp of womanhood desperately trying to navigate the dissonant sociocultural imperatives placed on men and women in her society . (Fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-988449-29-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Mawenzi House

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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

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