A quirky, cleareyed enchantment. More like this, please! (Mystery. 10-14)



A biracial (Chinese/white) Australian girl unravels art-historical and familial mysteries at a relative’s estate in rural Spain.

Iris Chen-Taylor, 12, has an uncomfortable mission from her parents: to discover who stands to inherit eccentric Great-Aunt Ursula’s massive Spanish estate, Bosque de Nubes. Iris’ parents suspect Ursula has a paramour, and they claim an interest in keeping the estate in the family. In the countryside beyond Barcelona, Ursula maintains the estate and the memory of her late brother, James, whose surrealist paintings are highly sought after. Iris’ parents have instructed her to ingratiate herself with the old lady and to make notes on the building’s structural integrity, but once at Bosque de Nubes (in English, “Forest of Mist”), Iris is disturbed, perplexed, and enchanted by turns when she discovers such oddities as sunflowers playing tennis and a pair of willful boots attached to real-seeming human feet. Iris quickly enlists help from Jordi, the white son of Ursula’s groundskeeper, to unravel the intertwined mysteries of the estate, its grounds, and her uncle’s paintings. Is art imitating life or the other way around? And what do the pushy neighbors want with those cagey land surveyors? Readers will happily go along for the ride as Iris and Jordi combine method and adventure to solve these riddles.

A quirky, cleareyed enchantment. More like this, please! (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-925240-79-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Text

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

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An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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On the day of Purge in totalitarian Quill, which is run by the High Priest Justine, 13-year-olds learn if they are deemed...


From the Unwanteds series , Vol. 1

The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter in this middle-grade departure from McMann’s string of paranormal mysteries with romance for young adults.

On the day of Purge in totalitarian Quill, which is run by the High Priest Justine, 13-year-olds learn if they are deemed Wanted to attend the university, Necessary to tend the land or Unwanted and purged by execution. Without a good-bye from his Wanted identical brother Aaron, Alex Stowe and the other Unwanteds travel to the Death Farm. Instead of death, they meet the lush and magical world of Artimè, kept secret from Justine by mage Marcus Today. In a third-person narration characterized by even pacing and whimsical inventions, Alex and his peers learn that their creativity threatened Justine’s power. Surrounded by talking blackboards, transporting tubes and such fantastical creatures as an octagator (with the head of an alligator and body of an octopus) for instructors, the teens hone their drawing, music and acting skills while also wielding paintbrushes for invisibility spells and iambic pentameter to stun attackers during Magical Warrior Training, in preparation for battle against the Quillitary. As the youths explore fear, responsibility and free thinking, their spells may be used sooner than they think when Alex’s twin bond is tested and rivals vie for Aaron’s new position in Justine’s government.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0768-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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