An entertaining and fast-paced supernatural tale.

THE PROBLEM AT WISTERIA GARDENS

A PEKIN DEWLAP MYSTERY #3

From the Pekin Dewlap Mystery series , Vol. 3

Three high school ghostbusters investigate a haunted antiques shop in this YA mystery.

In their first two adventures, Pekin Dewlap and her friends Scout and Amber of Springdale tackled supernatural disturbances with great success, forming a business called The Ghost Company. This summer, the teenagers have a new client in Matt Cooley. Poltergeistlike phenomena in his antiques shop are scaring away customers. With help from their medium friend Mildew Willingham and Miranda Talbert, a specter they previously rescued who has stuck around, the friends make contact with the shop’s ghost. She’s Althea, Matt’s recently deceased mother, who says she’s lonely and only wants her son to notice her: “When Mattie didn’t pay any attention to me, I got madder and madder.” Matt is intensely Type A and doesn’t possess the calm that might allow him to see or hear her, but he agrees to regular get-togethers. Unfortunately, it soon becomes evident that Althea’s true purpose is more nefarious. The Ghosties are challenged to perform a removal ritual that will stick while Pekin deals with jealousy and insecurity that could threaten her relationship with Scout, a childhood friendship that has recently become romantic. In this third series outing, McCord offers the genuinely disturbing prospect of a ghost intending to drain her own son’s life energy. The author keeps this plot element from becoming overly dark through the contrast of more mundane teenage concerns, such as Pekin’s overreaction to a pretty girl’s flirting with her boyfriend. The Ghosties are wholesome but not prissy, with snarky irreverence that helps relieve the tension, as when Althea grumpily declares she’s not an old woman—just older: “ ‘And that’s as old as you’re going to get,’ Scout said.” Efficient storytelling keeps the plot moving quickly toward its satisfying resolution.

An entertaining and fast-paced supernatural tale.

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-952112-29-4

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2021

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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