THE TREASURE OF SAVAGE ISLAND

Hart gives 18th-century life on a sparsely settled Virginia island a decidedly unappealing cast in this melodramatic historical yarn. Forced into servitude by the harsh new owner of a tavern her widowed father has lost in a card game, Molly leads a miserable existence. However, hers is not as brutal as the one Rafe, a half-white plantation slave caught reading and savagely whipped for it, is trying to escape. When Rafe washes ashore in the wake of a shipwreck, he and Molly, his rescuer, become wary allies. This comes in handy when picaroons (Tory pirates active after the Revolutionary War) attack the village in search of a rumored stash of British gold. The author needs a number of big contrivances to bring her tale round to a happy ending. She does a creditable job, however, of showing how a slave would use a mix of playacting and quick wit to get by in a hostile world and of taking two young people past realistically portrayed prejudices to a halting, mistrustful but nonetheless real friendship. Too earnest, but absorbing nonetheless. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-525-47092-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY

Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more