Packing an emotional punch, this meditation on the agency of these women is heartbreaking and intricately layered.

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FATAL THRONE

THE WIVES OF HENRY VIII TELL ALL

First-person vignettes from each of the wives of King Henry VIII are included in this work of historical fiction.

Beginning with a poignant portrayal of devout Katharine of Aragon by Candace Fleming (The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell, 2017, etc.), this collection evocatively tells the stories of those unlucky enough to be married to the heir-obsessed Henry. Stephanie Hemphill (Hideous Love, 2013, etc.) pens doomed Anne Boleyn as passionate but still vulnerable, while Lisa Ann Sandell (A Map of the Known World, 2009, etc.) renders kind Jane Seymour as incredulous that she has drawn Henry’s eye. Jennifer Donnelly (Beauty and the Beast, 2017, etc.) relays the deathbed remembrances of wise Anna of Cleves regarding her short, unhappy marriage to the king, and Linda Sue Park (Cavern of Secrets, 2017, etc.) details the experiences, both exploitative and bawdy, of Catherine Howard, still a teen when Henry took her as his fifth wife and later put her to death for adultery. Finally, Deborah Hopkinson (Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen, 2018, etc.) writes of clever, measured Kateryn Parr, who survived Henry. Each section is followed by a short musing from Henry’s point of view by M.T. Anderson (Landscape with Invisible Hand, 2017, etc.) that adds nuance without mitigating his horrific abuses. He also writes a brief but triumphant entry for Queen Elizabeth I.

Packing an emotional punch, this meditation on the agency of these women is heartbreaking and intricately layered. (timeline, character list, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1619-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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