Enthralling, agonizing and incandescent.

THE WINNER'S CRIME

From the Winner's Trilogy series , Vol. 2

The middle entry in a fantasy trilogy brings new players to the game while exponentially raising the stakes.    

Lady Kestrel has successfully bargained for limited independence for the Herrani people, but only at the price of her own freedom. Now betrothed to the feckless Imperial heir, she risks even more as a spy, while managing to convince everyone—most particularly Arin, once her slave, then her captor, now governor of Herran—of her ruthless devotion to tyrannical Valorian dominion. The twisty plot is a cleverly constructed puzzle box of intrigue and deceit, couched in graceful prose that shifts from restrained to voluptuous. The diversity both between and within the various cultures suggests a richly detailed world; yet as the fate of peoples, kingdoms and empires hangs in the balance, the conflict plays out at the most intimate personal level in the reluctant, dangerous, impossible attraction between Kestrel and Arin. Her ferocious intelligence and his blazing integrity demand sympathy and allegiance even when the intense yearning, distrust, rejections and betrayals become almost too painful to bear. As positions harden and blood is shed, their destruction at each other’s hands looms ever more certain; but a desperate hope that somehow disaster can be averted propels readers to the final devastating page, leaving only the excruciating wait for the sequel.

Enthralling, agonizing and incandescent. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-38470-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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An inspirational read.

THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES

A true story of faith, love, and heroism.

Stefania “Fusia” Podgórska longed for nothing more than to leave the rural Polish farm she was born on for the city of Przemyśl where her older sisters lived. At the age of 12, she did just that, finding a job with the Diamants, a family of Jewish shopkeepers who welcomed her into their lives. For three years they lived peacefully until the Germans dropped bombs on Przemyśl. The family struggled on as the war and anti-Semitism ramped up, but eventually, the Diamants were forced into a ghetto. Then 17, Catholic Fusia was determined to help them survive, even at the risk of her own safety, while also caring for her 6-year-old sister, Helena, after their family was taken by the Nazis for forced labor. Knowing the risks involved, Fusia made a bold decision to harbor Jews. As the number of people she sheltered increased, so did her panic about being caught, but she was determined to do what was right. Cameron (The Knowing, 2017, etc.) used Stefania’s unpublished memoir as well as interviews with family members as source material. She deftly details Fusia’s brave actions and includes moving family photographs in the author’s note. Narrated in the first person, the story highlights essential events in Fusia’s life while maintaining a consistent pace. Readers will be pulled in by the compelling opening and stay for the emotional journey.

An inspirational read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35593-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

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THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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