A spirited, gripping story with a truly exceptional protagonist.


A 12-year-old girl searches for her missing father in a post-apocalyptic world filled with monsters and violent humans in Cox’s (A Beginner’s Guide to Fangs, 2018, etc.) YA novel.

Wisp has rarely ever strayed from the wooded cabin where she lives alone with her dad. According to him, the outside world is dangerous—a place where angry Fire Dragons burned many people to ashes. Wisp finds solace in a corner beside some bookshelves in the cabin’s main living space, which she calls her “Haven.” There, she’s safe from the things that Dad has told her about, including monsters called Tree Walkers and human marauders that might force her into slavery. Wisp often stays in the Haven when Dad leaves to hunt or scavenge. But one day, he doesn’t return, and when Wisp ventures outside, all she finds is his rifle. She seeks guidance from her late mother, whom she believes watches over her, despite having gone to “the Other Place.” Armed with Dad’s guns and a knife, Wisp braves the unknown to find him—but a few shocking revelations await her. Cox presents the narrative entirely from Wisp’s point of view, resulting in an endlessly curious read. He depicts her as being fascinated by ordinary things, as when she sees a Jeep for the very first time, and he showcases her discoveries with exuberant prose: “She squeezed and gripped the padding, scuffing her feet back and forth on the soft floor, awestruck at how comfortable the ancients’ things had been.” He effectively balances the character’s endearing naïveté with her proficiency; she manages to survive on her own in the forest, procuring shelter and sustenance, while also ably fending off threats. The steadily paced narrative reveals information about what’s happened to the world at large as Wisp’s journey continues, and although readers may predict some plot turns, there are enough surprises to maintain interest.

A spirited, gripping story with a truly exceptional protagonist.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-980227-75-5

Page Count: 292

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2018

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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