A tender, engaging narrative intended to inspire positivity in the face of adversity.

SOUNDS LIKE LOVE

A small tabby cat with some special skills helps a reluctant young woman navigate challenging times in Ford’s YA novel.

Nineteen-year-old Wendy, who works as a web designer, has been recently losing her hearing. Doctors tell her that, eventually, the loss will be total, so she’s taking a class in sign language and practices lip reading to prepare for the future. The last thing she needs is to complicate her life by adopting a cat, but her parents insist that she take her recently deceased grandmother’s pet, which shares Wendy’s name.The humanWendy isn’t fond of felines; her parents raise and show champion purebred cats, which she feels has been their top priority throughout her life. That’s why they refuse to bring a “mongrel” cat into their home, where she might somehow compromise the award-winning Martha and Kiki. Wendy brings her to the local animal shelter, but they’re full up. Simon, a kindhearted shelter volunteer, suggests that she take care of the gentle little tabby until they have an opening. Soon, however, the new pet escapes from Wendy’s house and runs to the home of new neighbor Mrs. Matinka Budnick, where she evidently plans to stay; later, though, Wendy discovers the cat’s unique talents. The protagonist begins her narrative journey with a lot of emotional baggage, but Ford gives readers the opportunity to follow her as she embarks on some adventure and perhaps a bit of romance. She must start by learning compassion and building self-confidence, as spelled out in a note her grandmother wrote during her final days: “What will ruin your life is your attitude. You lose some things—but in life you will also discover some new things, wonderful things.” The plucky little tabby is the most endearing character in the book, and the charming and determined animal becomes Wendy’s fierce protector and loving guide. Overall, Ford’s uncomplicated prose and affirmative, directive messaging will be most appropriate for readers who are at the younger end of the YA range.

A tender, engaging narrative intended to inspire positivity in the face of adversity.

Pub Date: July 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-52-559299-7

Page Count: 150

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers.

YOU'VE REACHED SAM

Technology prevails over death, giving a teenage couple a second chance at goodbye.

High school senior Julie is paralyzed with grief over her boyfriend Sam’s death in a car accident. She avoids his funeral and throws away every reminder of him. They had planned to leave their small Pacific Northwest town together, and she now faces an uncertain and empty future. But one night she impulsively dials his cell, and, inexplicably, Sam answers. This is the first of many long conversations they have, neither understanding how or why this is happening but relishing the chance to say goodbye as they could not in life. However, Julie faces a difficult choice: whether or not to alleviate the pain of Sam’s loved ones by allowing them to talk to him, though it could put their own connection at risk. Yet, letting go and moving on might be just what she needs. The emotional tenor of the book is even throughout, making the characters feel remote at times and flattening the impact of momentous events—such as Julie and Sam’s first conversation—that are often buried in minor, day-in-the-life details. The time skips can also be difficult to follow. But the concept is a smart one and is sure to intrigue readers, especially those grappling with separation, loss, and mortality. Sam is cued as Japanese American; Julie defaults to White.

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76203-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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