WHAT LIES BENEATH

Selkies guard Cape Cod and fall in love.

When the United States enters World War I in the spring of 1917, Malcolm’s father doesn’t want him shipping off to Europe like many of his Harvard classmates. Instead, he arranges with the captain of the naval air station near the hotel the family runs that Malcolm will lead ocean patrols looking out for U-boats. Malcolm and his family are the only selkies—human/seal changelings—in the area who spend most of their time on land. Meanwhile, with her own father doing secret work in Washington, D.C., 17-year-old Emma longs for war work more pertinent than bandage-rolling. But she’s shuttled to her grandmother’s house on Cape Cod, which she hasn’t visited since her mother died giving birth to her there, and endures bandage-rolling—with a side of nasty gossip. Swimming lessons with Malcolm take her mind off her concerns, as does dodging the affections of another young man, local dilettante George. Then Malcolm tells her a story that can’t be true....Doyle deftly places fantasy elements in a historical setting that sometimes feels a bit too modern, but as it’s all so enjoyable, no one will really care. Malcolm’s selkie sisters add depth to the story, not being human to the degree he is. Malcolm and Emma are appealing characters, and their sea-crossed romance keeps readers turning pages. Everyone in human form is White.

Engaging and fun. (Historical fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63632-003-8

Page Count: 338

Publisher: Book View Café

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit.

THESE HOLLOW VOWS

Brie risks the deadly land of the Fae to save her sister.

Brie doesn’t trust many people other than Jas, her eternally hopeful sister, and Sebastian, mage apprentice and Brie’s secret love (as if she had time for romance). Brie struggles to meet the payments for the magical contracts binding their lives to Madame Vivias, supplementing her cleaning work by stealing from the rich. While the land of Faerie tempts other girls with word of a castle, a lavish ball, and a fae prince seeking a wife, Brie mistrusts the creatures who capitalize on humanity’s greed. When Jas’ contract is sold to the fae, Brie braves the golden Seelie queen’s court, meets the noble Prince Ronan, and travels on to the Unseelie king’s shadow court. In the process she discovers love, historical secrets, atrocities, and her own hidden strength. While many elements regarding the fae and a love triangle will feel familiar to fans of the genre, and the magic could have been more fleshed out, discussions of power, inequity, trust, and hope expand the worldbuilding in refreshing ways. Similarly, consideration of the balance between truth and secrets, lies and stories, is intriguing as it’s applied to characters, relationships, and historical lore. Despite certain predictable reveals, the plot itself, which starts off slowly, picks up and is pleasantly convoluted with multiple satisfying surprises. Major human characters read as White.

An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-38657-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Entertaining for fans of villain backstories and Disney classics alike.

EVIL THING

A VILLAINS GRAPHIC NOVEL

From the Villains series

A chronicle of Cruella De Vil’s descent into Dalmatian destruction.

The only child of Lord and Lady De Vil, Cruella was enamored by high society life from a young age. She idolized her cold, demanding mother and loved her caring father, despite his giving her less extravagant gifts. Both parents wanted her to distinguish herself, though they intended very different meanings by that word. While young Cruella believed that servants and others from less privileged backgrounds should know their places, Anita, her less socially lofty best friend, was an exception. But as she grew up and married, she had to face the question of what it really meant to possess wealth, beauty, and happiness. Framed as a memoir, this story vividly expresses Cruella’s personality. Valentino does a solid job of establishing the cast of characters, and fans of the animated film will enjoy connecting the threads. While there are moments of softness that evoke readers’ empathy, Cruella unapologetically wields her power to behave cruelly. She is ultimately fueled by her desperation for maternal validation, jealousy, delirium, and a perhaps-cursed pair of earrings. Jovellanos’ art deftly captures a range of emotions, specifically in showing how Cruella’s face is transformed in response to her whims. Using a color palette of muted reds, blacks, grays, and whites, the illustrations express a fitting tone for a Cruella tell-all. Characters read as White.

Entertaining for fans of villain backstories and Disney classics alike. (Graphic fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-06816-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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