Disappointing; steer interested readers toward Mary Henley Rubio’s biography, Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings...

MAUD

A NOVEL INSPIRED BY THE LIFE OF L.M. MONTGOMERY

Historical fiction based on a few teenage years in the life of Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Fourteen-year-old Maud Montgomery lives in a small town on Prince Edward Island with her dour maternal grandparents. It’s the late 1880s; with the exception of a very few Métis, everybody is white, and most are Presbyterian. Maud’s mother died when she was a toddler, and her now-remarried father lives in Saskatchewan. Maud chafes under her grandparents’ restrictions and sneaks walks home with schoolmate Nate; she worries about her relationships with friends and her teacher; she writes in her journal and composes poetry. When her grandparents discover her tepid relationship with Nate, they send her west to her father for a year. Maud doesn’t get along with her stepmother; she doesn’t know what to make of a teacher who seems to be courting her; and she makes friends with another boy while also publishing her first pieces of writing. Fishbane thoroughly researched Montgomery’s life to create this lengthy debut, but she doesn’t turn it into a novel: there’s a great deal of retelling in the passive voice. While Anne of Green Gables remains a classic, Montgomery isn’t widely known among today’s U.S. schoolchildren, and it’s doubtful they’ll be willing to wade through these pages to get glimpses of the girl Maud might have been.

Disappointing; steer interested readers toward Mary Henley Rubio’s biography, Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (2010), instead. (cast of characters, historical note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-14-319125-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers.

YOU'VE REACHED SAM

Technology prevails over death, giving a teenage couple a second chance at goodbye.

High school senior Julie is paralyzed with grief over her boyfriend Sam’s death in a car accident. She avoids his funeral and throws away every reminder of him. They had planned to leave their small Pacific Northwest town together, and she now faces an uncertain and empty future. But one night she impulsively dials his cell, and, inexplicably, Sam answers. This is the first of many long conversations they have, neither understanding how or why this is happening but relishing the chance to say goodbye as they could not in life. However, Julie faces a difficult choice: whether or not to alleviate the pain of Sam’s loved ones by allowing them to talk to him, though it could put their own connection at risk. Yet, letting go and moving on might be just what she needs. The emotional tenor of the book is even throughout, making the characters feel remote at times and flattening the impact of momentous events—such as Julie and Sam’s first conversation—that are often buried in minor, day-in-the-life details. The time skips can also be difficult to follow. But the concept is a smart one and is sure to intrigue readers, especially those grappling with separation, loss, and mortality. Sam is cued as Japanese American; Julie defaults to White.

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76203-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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