24 HOURS

It’s 5:10 on a Friday afternoon and Ellis, 17, has just come home after graduating from prep school. He’s walking through the streets reacquainting himself with his hometown and dreaming about the adventures he’ll have at university the following year when he runs into an old acquaintance who is about to launch him into the strangest and most eventful 24 hours of his life. Jackie Cattle, a few years older and a shady character, convinces Ellis to drive him to a party in a wealthy suburb, and as they crash the party, Ellis wonders what Jackie is up to. Jackie, true to his character, causes trouble at the party and eventually they leave, now joined by Ursa, Jackie’s sometime-girlfriend, and Leona, Ursa’s sister. They all head back to a rundown motel—the Land-of-Smiles—where the two girls, Jackie, and several others, including a 12-year-old and a baby, live in an arrangement that’s somewhere between a seedy commune and squatters’ digs. Ellis, the product of a conventional upbringing, has never seen anything like this living situation, and, while shocked and intrigued by the independence of its inhabitants, he’s glad he has a solid middle-class home to return to. Somewhere along the way, in the space of a few hours, Ellis has fallen head over heels in love with Leona and become embroiled in the intrigues of the Land-of-Smiles. By Saturday night, a mere 24 hours later, Ellis has been dead drunk, has careened through the streets in a car chase, has rescued a baby who has been kidnapped, and has realized that Leona is not destined to be the love of his life. In other words, his desire for a life-changing adventure has been amply met. Mahy wonderfully captures the voice of an adolescent in the character of Ellis, managing somehow to make what could have been an awful story into a work of art. Beautifully written, this is a novel that pulls one into its orbit from the very first page. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-83884-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2000

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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