A satisfying story that pays homage to the dark narrative arcs of traditional fairy tales.

A prediction of untimely death was not what Clara Thurn expected when Grandmère read her fortune.

Clara could hardly wait for her 16th birthday and the coming-of-age rite in which she would make a secret wish on the Sortes Fortunae, or Book of Fortunes, just like every person in Grimm’s Hollow. But when she was 14, someone used their wish to commit murder, the Book of Fortunes went missing, and a curse now plagues the village. Clara’s mother was among the 67 Lost Ones who have since disappeared in the forest. Now there’s a lottery: The chosen person must enter the forest in search of the Lost and the Sortes Fortunae. Clara, 17, desperately hopes to be chosen in the lottery so she can save her mother. But instead, 19-year-old Axel Furst, whose fiancee became Lost, is selected. Clara, who has created a map of the forest based on information from those who entered it before the curse, takes off in pursuit of her friend. Clara is a strong and capable protagonist who has lost both her parents and is in chronic pain from scoliosis. Clara and Axel’s journey is an original and enjoyable take on Western European fairy tales. The characters’ rich and detailed backstories and the ominous, atmospheric prose are slightly let down by the pacing and conclusion, but this will not diminish readers’ overall enjoyment. Characters read white.

A satisfying story that pays homage to the dark narrative arcs of traditional fairy tales. (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023

ISBN: 9781250873002

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021


Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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