An intriguing look at a young woman adjusting to life outside a cult.

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THE LIAR'S DAUGHTER

An angst-y version of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Piper believes in the Community: Mother and Father have established strict rules that keep everyone safe. Even if all the rules do not make sense—bleaching hair, digging graves, being told whom you will marry—Piper faithfully believes. When government agents enter their compound and she and the others are taken to the Outside against their will, she will do anything to go back. However, she has been sent to live with a woman who tells her that she is her real mother and that Piper was taken from her as a child. Peterson (The Angry Alien, 2017, etc.) weaves a lush novel full of cryptic scenes divided into “before” chapters showing Piper’s life in the cult and “after,” when she is set free, which readers fit together for a thrilling ending. The novel presents an accessible look at what makes cults (especially religious ones) attractive to some, and it will appeal to those interested in subjects such as Charles Manson and the Branch Davidians. As readers follow Piper through therapy, they learn that while memories can be unreliable, they can trust their feelings and listen to their instincts. Piper finds that while time might not heal all wounds, supportive friends, family, medication, and therapy will help. Characters are assumed white.

An intriguing look at a young woman adjusting to life outside a cult. (Fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4418-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely.

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THE GRACE YEAR

A rebellious 16-year-old is sent to an isolated island for her grace year, when she must release her seductive, poisonous magic into the wild before taking her proper place as a wife and child bearer.

In gaslit Garner County, women and girls are said to harbor diabolical magic capable of manipulating men. Dreaming, among other things, is forbidden, and before girls embark on their grace year, they hope to receive a veil, which promises marriage. Otherwise, it’s life in a labor house—or worse. Strong, outdoorsy, skeptical Tierney James doesn’t want to be married, but a shocking twist leaves her with a veil—and a dangerous enemy in the vindictive Kiersten. Thirty-three girls with red ribbons symbolizing sin woven into their braids set out to survive the island, but it won’t be easy. Poachers, who trade in the body parts of grace-year girls, surround the camp, and paranoia, superstition, and mistrust rule. Not everyone will make it home alive. The bones of Liggett’s (The Unfortunates, 2018, etc.) tale of female repression are familiar ones, but her immersive storytelling effortlessly weaves horror elements with a harrowing and surprising survival story. Profound moments lie in small details, and readers’ hearts will race and break right along with the brave, capable Tierney’s. The biggest changes often begin with the smallest rebellions, and the emotional conclusion will resonate. All characters are assumed white.

Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely. (Dystopian. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-14544-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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