Well-written, thoroughly researched and adventure-filled, this story of a determined and very human young woman is timeless.

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THE SAGA OF GUDRID THE FAR-TRAVELER

A story inspired by medieval Icelandic sagas tells the life of Gudrid, a Viking woman who lived 1,000 years ago and whose life Brown told for adults in The Far Traveler (2007).

The daughter of an Icelandic chieftain, Gudrid has been promised from birth to the son of Eirik the Red. Instead, she runs away with handsome Einar. When the couple’s ship wrecks on a rocky island, it is her slighted betrothed, Leif Eiriksson, homeward bound after a trading journey, who finds them. Gudrid, with the artful resourcefulness she displays throughout the book, convinces an unhappy Leif to both rescue them and accept their marriage. In the Viking world, it’s all about acquisition and alliance, and Gudrid, an intelligent, independent thinker, is no slouch in these departments. Over the course of the story, she marries three times—all men of her choosing—amasses a ship, a farm, and treasure of her own, and sails to Vinland (modern-day Newfoundland). Brown writes with admirable restraint; she doesn’t say Vikings didn’t know navigation using latitude and longitude, she simply doesn’t mention timepieces or compasses, instead offering their observations of wind and the habits of seabirds. Likewise, the unending chores of Gudrid’s daily life are delivered with an informational matter-of-factness that illuminates both the activity and the lifestyle.

Well-written, thoroughly researched and adventure-filled, this story of a determined and very human young woman is timeless. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60898-189-2

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Namelos

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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DEATH BENEFITS

In this character-driven intergenerational story, Royce Peterson and his single mother have recently moved from Nova Scotia to British Columbia to help care for Arthur, Royce’s 95-year-old grandfather and one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. After the curmudgeon chases off every aide, the teen is enlisted to watch his grandfather. At first the homesick, friendless and mono-recovering teen and his homebound, rude and crude grandfather are at odds, but then Royce gains new appreciation for Arthur—he caroused with Gloria Vanderbilt and Picasso, traveled the world, loved and lost loves—and Arthur begins to appreciate life again. But just as the pair begins to respect each other, Arthur suffers a series of debilitating strokes and asks Royce to end his life. Inspired by her experience caring for her aged father, Harvey offers a realistic view of the aging process, the difficult decisions left to loved ones and the need for friends and family. Sophisticated readers and fans of Joan Bauer’s Rules of the Road (1998) or Louis Sachar's The Cardturner (2010) will enjoy the grandfather-grandson banter and tenderness. (Fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55146-226-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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