TROUBLING A STAR

From Madeleine L'Engle, Newbery medalist and author of the beloved classic, A Wrinkle in Time, comes this sensitive, well-written story of a young girl who unwittingly becomes involved in high-risk political and ecological intrigue, set against the starkly beautiful background of Antarctica. After a year spent in New York City with her family, Vicky Austin is bored with the quiet Connecticut village where she grew up. School has little savor, especially since her boyfriend, Adam has gone off, first to college and then to Antarctica on a research grant. Vicky whiles away the time writing in her journal and visiting Adam's great aunt Serena, a lively old woman who has taken a shine to her. Then Aunt Serena surprises Vicky by giving her a cruise through Antarctica as a birthday present. Vicky is thrilled. But abruptly Adam's letters — previously warm and affectionate — grow cryptic and cool. Then Vicky begins to receive warnings in the form of anonymous notes and postcards. She's not sure which of her fellow passengers on the Argosy to suspect, but soon her growing attraction to a handsome young prince leads her straight into the arms of danger, and she has cause to fear for her life. This is a story that is perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of everything: intrigue, romance, coming-of-age angst. Antarctica is vividly and compellingly rendered; the ecological concerns are timely; the characters fully realized and sensitively drawn. L'Engle is a master. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-374-37783-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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A slow-building tale of deception and struggle against societal bounds.

PRIDE AND PREMEDITATION

From the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A young woman intent on a position in her father’s law firm plays sleuth in this mystery reworking of Pride and Prejudice.

When Charles Bingley, head of a local shipping firm, is accused of the murder of his brother-in-law, George Hurst, Lizzie Bennet inserts herself in the case in an effort to prove her worth beyond her potential success in securing a respectable marriage. Mr. Darcy, Wickham, Mr. Collins, Jane, Charlotte, and the extensive cast of source characters all appear here, altered and with different roles though generally retaining their personalities and idiosyncrasies. Readers familiar with Jane Austen’s work will get the most from this novel, but even for those who aren’t, the book stands on its own as a solid, if at times plodding, whodunit. Though not a modernization, there are modern sensibilities at play, discussed by Price in an author’s note and expressed in passages about class and sex roles that are much more expository than the original. This style of telling rather than showing extends across Lizzy’s relationships with both Wickham and Darcy, though descriptions of the former are also happily peppered with dryly witty dialogue. Most characters are White; Charlotte is biracial, with a White father and Black mother from the West Indies.

A slow-building tale of deception and struggle against societal bounds. (Mystery. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-288980-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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An optimistic, sophisticated portrayal of one facet of Chinese American—and simply American—history.

THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL

Jo Kuan leads a double life: a public role as a quiet lady’s maid and a secret one as the voice behind the hottest advice column in 1890 Atlanta.

Chinese American Jo is mostly invisible except for occasional looks of disdain and derisive comments, and she doesn’t mind: Her priority is making sure she and her adoptive father, Chinese immigrant Old Gin, remain safe in their abandoned abolitionists’ hideaway beneath a print shop. But even if she lives on the margins, Jo has opinions of her own which she shares in her newspaper advice column under the byline “Miss Sweetie.” Suddenly all of Atlanta is talking about her ideas, though they don’t know that the witty advice on relationships, millinery, and horse races comes from a Chinese girl. As curiosity about Miss Sweetie mounts, Jo may not be able to stay hidden much longer. And as she learns more about the blurred lines and the hard truths about race in her city and her own past, maybe she doesn’t want to. In her latest work, Lee (The Secret of a Heart Note, 2016, etc.) continues to demonstrate that Chinese people were present—and had a voice—in American history. She deftly weaves historical details with Jo’s personal story of finding a voice and a place for herself in order to create a single, luminous work.

An optimistic, sophisticated portrayal of one facet of Chinese American—and simply American—history. (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4095-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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