An appropriate fantasy for young readers who love spunky heroines and magical settings.

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REVENGE

A charming fantasy about two ruling families from a place called Yonder.

Lilyannie, or Lily, goes about her days assuming that she is a normal girl in a normal town. Bored by school, she frequently ditches class to explore or simply get away from her teachers. In an ordinary town she would be considered a truant, but Lily is from Yonder. And while the folk of Yonder encourage their youth to explore their freedom, they are also sternly warned: Do not go into the forest. The mysterious land that lies on the border of Yonder is only for the 20-years-old-plus crowd, but the call of the forbidden territory compels Lily to explore. She attempts to sneak into the forest and is spotted by guards. She assumes that she is captured and resigns, but then a boy, William, appears and leads her to a door, surreally placed in the middle of the forest, that seems to go nowhere special. Lily passes through with William, finding her way through the looking glass. True to genre, the ordinary young girl discovers that she is anything but average. Lily learns from the mysterious William that she has the ability to turn inanimate objects into birds–a trick, despite its supreme oddity as a superpower, that comes in handy. Lily further discovers that the destinies of her family and Yonder are inextricably intertwined. Though William has several revelations for her, it’s the secrets he keeps that compel Lily and the reader onward. There are epic battles with hydras and confrontations with magicians, all the standard fare for lovers of young-adult fantasy, but the world of Yonder doesn’t materialize properly at times, given that the presence of e-mail and telephones doesn’t jibe with the alternate universe of the book. However, Lily is a wonderful character, and Li’s writing is thoughtful and enjoyable. The book’s surprise ending will leave readers reeling–and wanting more.

An appropriate fantasy for young readers who love spunky heroines and magical settings.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4392-1589-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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