AT THE CROSSING PLACES

It’s the year 1200, and young Arthur de Caldicot is at the crossing-places, those murky, in-between places not quite defined: dawn and dusk, New Year’s Day, the foreshore, and the times and places of our lives where change is likely. Arthur is living in the Marches—part English, part Welsh—beginning a new life as squire for Lord Stephen at Holt Castle. He now knows that Sir John and Lady Helen are not his real parents; he knows his father is a murderer but doesn’t know his real mother. In this second of the planned trilogy, Crossley-Holland (The Seeing Stone, 2001, etc.) takes readers along with Arthur de Caldicot through the seeing stone Merlin gave him to witness the drama of the Arthurian tales: Arthur’s coronation, Excalibur, the Round Table, Morgan Le Fay, Sir Gawain, and the Holy Grail. Certain themes and moral ideas continue from the first volume: “Who we are isn’t only a matter of blood; it’s what we make of ourselves.” “If God loves us all the same, why doesn’t He treat us all the same?” Arthur grows up with guidance from Lord Stephen, Merlin, and the lessons of the seeing stone. This is a handsome volume with 101 chapters, a spacious design, and page decorations based on 13th-century ornamental lettering. Though many issues are left up in the air by the end of the lengthy work, the ending itself is a crossing-place. Arthur is not home nor has he made it to Jerusalem. He is living his dream of being a squire on a Crusade, but he yearns to be home, too. He has yet to find his mother, and he wonders about his new relationship with Winnie de Verdon. Readers will look forward to the third installment of this grand epic tale to see what Arthur makes of himself. (cast of characters, author’s note, word list) (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-439-26598-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2002

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Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love.

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LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB

Finally, the intersectional, lesbian, historical teen novel so many readers have been waiting for.

Lily Hu has spent all her life in San Francisco’s Chinatown, keeping mostly to her Chinese American community both in and out of school. As she makes her way through her teen years in the 1950s, she starts growing apart from her childhood friends as her passion for rockets and space exploration grows—along with her curiosity about a few blocks in the city that her parents have warned her to avoid. A budding relationship develops with her first White friend, Kathleen, and together they sneak out to the Telegraph Club lesbian bar, where they begin to explore their sexuality as well as their relationship to each other. Lo’s lovely, realistic, and queer-positive tale is a slow burn, following Lily’s own gradual realization of her sexuality while she learns how to code-switch between being ostensibly heterosexual Chinatown Lily and lesbian Telegraph Bar Lily. In this meticulously researched title, Lo skillfully layers rich details, such as how Lily has to deal with microaggressions from gay and straight women alike and how all of Chinatown has to be careful of the insidious threat of McCarthyism. Actual events, such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s 1943 visit to San Francisco, form a backdrop to this story of a journey toward finding one’s authentic self.

Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love. (author’s note) (Historical romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55525-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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CLOCKWORK ANGEL

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 1

A century before the events of Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy, another everyday heroine gets entangled with demon-slaying Shadowhunters. Sixteen-year-old orphaned Tessa comes to London to join her brother but is imprisoned by the grotesque Dark Sisters. The sisters train the unwilling Tessa in previously unknown shapeshifter abilities, preparing her to be a pawn in some diabolical plan. A timely rescue brings Tessa to the Institute, where a group of misfit Shadowhunters struggles to fight evil. Though details differ, the general flavor of Tessa’s new family will be enjoyably familiar to the earlier trilogy’s fans; the most important is Tessa’s rescuer Will, the gorgeous, sharp-tongued teenager with a mysterious past and a smile like “Lucifer might have smiled, moments before he fell from Heaven.” The lush, melodramatic urban fantasy setting of the Shadowhunter world morphs seamlessly into a steampunk Victorian past, and this new series provides the setup for what will surely be a climactic battle against hordes of demonically powered brass clockworks. The tale drags in places, but this crowdpleaser’s tension-filled conclusion ratchets toward a new set of mysteries. (Steampunk. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7586-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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