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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sweet, if unremarkable.

BRIARHEART

A gentle “Sleeping Beauty”–inspired tale of teens training to defend a baby princess.

Fifteen-year-old Miri, beloved stepdaughter of the king, is freshly in love—with her baby sister. As the novel opens, Aurora’s christening looms, and any Disney fan will know what’s coming. However, this is Miri’s story, and pages of first-person description and exposition come before those events. Tirendell, like all kingdoms, has Light and Dark Fae. Dark Fae feed off human misery and sadness, but their desire to cause harm for self-benefit is tempered by the Rules. The Rules state that they can only act against humans under certain conditions, one being that those who have crossed them, for example, by failing to invite them to a royal christening, are fair game. Miri steps up instinctively at the moment of crisis and both deflects the curse and destroys the Dark Fae, which leads to the bulk of the novel: an extended and detailed day-to-day journey with Miri and her five largely indistinguishable new friends as they train in combat and magic to protect Aurora from future threats. With limited action and a minimal plot, this story lacks wide appeal but is notable for the portrait of deep familial love and respect, while the brief, episodic adventures (including talking animals) offer small pleasures. All characters are implied to be White.

Sweet, if unremarkable. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5745-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more