A good effort, but not compelling enough to capture many teen readers.

READ REVIEW

FROZEN

Sixteen-year-old Sadie Rose, mute since her mother's murder 11 years ago, finds her voice again.

After her prostitute mother's body is found frozen in a snowbank, with her own not-quite-lifeless body nearby, little Sadie Rose is taken in by the mayor of Rainy Lake, Minn., a boisterous frontier town. When she recovers she is unable to speak. Casanova's novel begins 11 years later, with Sadie Rose chafing under life with her foster parents, who, though wealthy and generous, hold themselves distant. Sadie Rose accidently finds photographs of a woman she recognizes as her mother, which sets off a cascade of memories that leads to her recovering her voice. She runs away to learn the truth about her past and discovers a sense of personal power. In the beginning, Sadie's character is hard to understand—she seems immature and fretful rather than haunted. It's not clear whether her muteness is physical or psychological, and the suddenness with which she returns to speech seems artificial. Her foster father is a caricature of self-importance; some of the supporting characters, also, seem too quick to become intimate and spill their secrets. In effect, the puzzle is too easy to solve, but the story becomes more compelling and believable once Sadie Rose leaves home. Period and place are well-portrayed.

A good effort, but not compelling enough to capture many teen readers. (Historical fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8166-8056-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide To Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

Both a poignant contemplation on 9/11 and a necessary intervention in this current political climate.

ALL WE HAVE LEFT

This election cycle, with its exacerbated Islamophobia, makes author Mills' (Positively Beautiful, 2015) fictive meditation on 9/11 and the 15 years after especially timely.

The book opens with Travis McLaurin, a 19-year-old white man trying to protect Alia Susanto, a 16-year-old hijab-wearing Indonesian-American Muslim, from the debris caused by the South Tower's destruction. The next chapter takes place 15 years later, with Travis' younger sister, Jesse, defacing a building with an Islamophobic slogan before the police catch her. The building, readers learn later, is the Islam Peace Center, where Jesse must do her community service for her crime. Between these plot points, the author elegantly transitions between the gripping descriptions of Alia and Travis trying to survive and Jesse almost falling into the abyss of generational hatred of Islam. In doing so, she artfully educates readers on both the aspects of Islam used as hateful stereotypes and the ruinous effects of Islamophobia. With almost poetic language, the author compassionately renders both the realistic lives, loves, passions, and struggles of Alia ("There's a galaxy between us, hung thick with stars of hurt and disappointment) and Jesse ("I'm caught in a tornado filled with the jagged pieces of my life") as both deal with the fallout of that tragic day.

Both a poignant contemplation on 9/11 and a necessary intervention in this current political climate. (timeline, author's note) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61963-343-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more