Ideal for those with a penchant for magic, mystery and poetry.

THE GREEN MAN

Fifteen-year-old Ophelia, known as O, encounters the unexpected when she spends a transformative summer with her aunt, a poet and the proprietor of a secondhand bookshop called the Green Man, “where extraordinary things [happen].”

After receiving a summer grant to study in Italy, O’s father sends her to stay with his older sister Emily, “one of the finest poets of her generation.” Though “always a poet, always a little odd,” Emily’s recent heart attack has left her even more “off-center.” Emily’s eccentricity concerns O, who has recently started writing poetry. Arriving at the Green Man, O finds Emily frail and distracted. Suffering from debilitating angina and disturbing childhood dreams of an evil magician, Emily has clearly neglected everything. As O tries to restore order to Emily’s disintegrating life and business, she falls under the Green Man’s spell and is drawn irrevocably into the dark mystery threatening her aunt. United by poetry, O and Emily bond, and, by summer’s end, O “joins the ranks of those crazy people who call themselves poets.” This atmospheric exploration of what it means to be a poet offers memorable corporeal and incorporeal characters, a realistic intergenerational relationship and a deeply rooted mystery connecting past and present.

Ideal for those with a penchant for magic, mystery and poetry. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-77049-285-1

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

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