A satisfying seafaring adventure.

DEVIL'S BALLAST

A swashbuckling fictional account of two of the world’s most infamous pirates.

Fiery 18-year-old Anne Bonny flees from her abusive husband into the arms of Calico Jack Rackham and a life at sea. Disguised as a boy, she sails as a pirate aboard Calico’s ship—only he knows her true identity. When a dalliance with Calico leads to an unwanted pregnancy, Bonny plans to wait out her pregnancy in Cuba, where they are headed. When their ship is attacked by pirate hunter Jonathan Barnet, Calico’s crew flees, leaving an injured Bonny behind. She befriends Martin Read, an even-keeled sailor from Barnet’s crew, and the duo escape to Havana, where Bonny waits out her pregnancy. However, both Barnet and Bonny’s husband are on the hunt. Bonny’s first-person narration is punctuated by chapters following Barnet in close third person; Bonny’s narrative voice is compelling while Barnet’s portions mostly just work to keep the plot at a clip. While some aspects of Bonny’s and Read’s intersecting timelines are rearranged, Caddy maintains historical authenticity throughout, neither dampening the violence of the setting nor the dangers of having a marginalized body. Most characters are white. The two black pirates on Calico’s crew were formerly enslaved; one is also implied to be gay. The author plays with gender and identity, maintaining the spirit of the traditional story while adding much-needed trans representation.

A satisfying seafaring adventure. (map) (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1925773-46-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Text

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love.

LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB

Finally, the intersectional, lesbian, historical teen novel so many readers have been waiting for.

Lily Hu has spent all her life in San Francisco’s Chinatown, keeping mostly to her Chinese American community both in and out of school. As she makes her way through her teen years in the 1950s, she starts growing apart from her childhood friends as her passion for rockets and space exploration grows—along with her curiosity about a few blocks in the city that her parents have warned her to avoid. A budding relationship develops with her first White friend, Kathleen, and together they sneak out to the Telegraph Club lesbian bar, where they begin to explore their sexuality as well as their relationship to each other. Lo’s lovely, realistic, and queer-positive tale is a slow burn, following Lily’s own gradual realization of her sexuality while she learns how to code-switch between being ostensibly heterosexual Chinatown Lily and lesbian Telegraph Bar Lily. In this meticulously researched title, Lo skillfully layers rich details, such as how Lily has to deal with microaggressions from gay and straight women alike and how all of Chinatown has to be careful of the insidious threat of McCarthyism. Actual events, such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s 1943 visit to San Francisco, form a backdrop to this story of a journey toward finding one’s authentic self.

Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love. (author’s note) (Historical romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55525-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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