Sharp and snow-dusted yet strangely cozy; a comforting winter’s read.

THE WIDE STARLIGHT

A teen goes north to reclaim a lost loved one in this modern fairy tale.

Eline Davis lost her mother, Silje Lund, a decade ago, not to illness or abandonment, but to the Northern Lights, which stole Silje but left 6-year-old Eline behind on the ice. After Silje’s disappearance, Eline and her father left Svalbard, Norway, for the States, and Eline’s seemingly enchanted childhood succumbed to mundane reality. But life in Cape Cod is upended when she learns that her best friend, Iris, has secretly been applying to out-of-town schools and that the Northern Lights will be seen in Massachusetts, farther south than ever before. Eline’s modern-day quest in search of her mother alternates with her beloved stories and those of her mother and grandmother, all framed as fairy tales, until the boundaries blur. On her journey, Eline must contend with problems both practical—frostbite, polar bears, angst—and fantastic—storybook characters springing to life, a sentient wind—while also reconciling fond memories with the reality of Silje’s erratic behavior, flaws, and failures. Indebted to Norwegian folktales, Eline’s adventure follows a classic arc while also benefitting from modern technology. Raised and addressed to some degree is the magic-vs.–mental illness trope. Half-American/half-Norwegian Eline reads as White. With her vividly rendered settings, emotionally complex characters, and sweet and sinister magical realism, Lesperance may be a promising successor to Alice Hoffman.

Sharp and snow-dusted yet strangely cozy; a comforting winter’s read. (author's note) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11622-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title.

OUR VIOLENT ENDS

From the These Violent Delights series , Vol. 2

New monsters terrorize Shanghai amid political upheaval and the reignition of the blood feud between the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers.

The death of Marshall Seo unleashed a new wave of violence, but when a mysterious figure wielding control over more deadly-insect–releasing monsters begins extorting money from both gangs, their leaders agree to temporarily cooperate in the interests of eliminating a mutual foe. They order their respective heirs to find the blackmailer, and so, once again, Roma Montagov and Juliette Cai must work together for the benefit of those under their protection. But their feelings for each other—complicated by hidden truths, lingering love, and unforgiving duty—prove difficult to repress. Meanwhile, the time of revolution draws near: Workers continue to organize protests decrying both foreign occupation and gangster rule as the Nationalist Army marches toward Shanghai in its campaign to unite and reclaim the country. Secrets abound and loyalties are tested in this tightly plotted sequel featuring a multinational cast and told through multiple third-person perspectives, including those of supporting characters introduced in These Violent Delights (2020). Stubborn Rosalind, obliging Kathleen, and grief-stricken Benedikt all return to play vital roles that blend seamlessly into Roma’s and Juliette’s storylines as they each are forced to consider what it is they truly want and the lengths they will go to protect it.

Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-534-45772-0

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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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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