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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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful.

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SALT TO THE SEA

January 1945: as Russians advance through East Prussia, four teens’ lives converge in hopes of escape.

Returning to the successful formula of her highly lauded debut, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys combines research (described in extensive backmatter) with well-crafted fiction to bring to life another little-known story: the sinking (from Soviet torpedoes) of the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff. Told in four alternating voices—Lithuanian nurse Joana, Polish Emilia, Prussian forger Florian, and German soldier Alfred—with often contemporary cadences, this stints on neither history nor fiction. The three sympathetic refugees and their motley companions (especially an orphaned boy and an elderly shoemaker) make it clear that while the Gustloff was a German ship full of German civilians and soldiers during World War II, its sinking was still a tragedy. Only Alfred, stationed on the Gustloff, lacks sympathy; almost a caricature, he is self-delusional, unlikable, a Hitler worshiper. As a vehicle for exposition, however, and a reminder of Germany’s role in the war, he serves an invaluable purpose that almost makes up for the mustache-twirling quality of his petty villainy. The inevitability of the ending (including the loss of several characters) doesn’t change its poignancy, and the short chapters and slowly revealed back stories for each character guarantee the pages keep turning.

Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful. (author’s note, research and sources, maps) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16030-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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