Despite the author’s obvious love of Shakespeare, this offering achieves only inanity.

KISSING SHAKESPEARE

The only thing that’s not predictable about this time-travel romance is its exceptionally silly premise.

Stephen Langford, a 16th-century time traveler, has a vision that the 17-year-old William Shakespeare may opt to join the priesthood instead of going on to write his plays and sonnets. So he travels to 21st-century Boston, where he plucks Miranda Graham, scion of a Shakespearean acting family, to go back to 1581 Lancashire with him to seduce Shakespeare. Mm-hmmm. Posing as Stephen’s sister Olivia, Miranda infiltrates the household of Stephen’s uncle, a closet Catholic who is housing both fledgling schoolmaster Shakespeare and enemy of the state Edmund Campion, leader of a Jesuit mission to convert England’s Protestants. Miranda/Olivia adjusts to 16th-century life with ludicrous ease, despite its hygienic idiosyncrasies (public use of toothpicks) and her frequent lapses into 21st-century diction. Though she finds the idea of losing her virginity to Shakespeare titillating (and enjoys helping him write The Taming of the Shrew), it will surprise no one that she falls in love with the hunky Stephen instead. The tepid mystery revolving around the Privy Court investigation of Campion’s whereabouts is likewise underwhelming in its suspense. Vague waves of the authorial hand attempt to “explain” Stephen’s visions and time-traveling ability, but only the astonishingly incurious Miranda will accept them.

Despite the author’s obvious love of Shakespeare, this offering achieves only inanity. (Fantasy romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-74196-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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An inspirational read.

THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES

A true story of faith, love, and heroism.

Stefania “Fusia” Podgórska longed for nothing more than to leave the rural Polish farm she was born on for the city of Przemyśl where her older sisters lived. At the age of 12, she did just that, finding a job with the Diamants, a family of Jewish shopkeepers who welcomed her into their lives. For three years they lived peacefully until the Germans dropped bombs on Przemyśl. The family struggled on as the war and anti-Semitism ramped up, but eventually, the Diamants were forced into a ghetto. Then 17, Catholic Fusia was determined to help them survive, even at the risk of her own safety, while also caring for her 6-year-old sister, Helena, after their family was taken by the Nazis for forced labor. Knowing the risks involved, Fusia made a bold decision to harbor Jews. As the number of people she sheltered increased, so did her panic about being caught, but she was determined to do what was right. Cameron (The Knowing, 2017, etc.) used Stefania’s unpublished memoir as well as interviews with family members as source material. She deftly details Fusia’s brave actions and includes moving family photographs in the author’s note. Narrated in the first person, the story highlights essential events in Fusia’s life while maintaining a consistent pace. Readers will be pulled in by the compelling opening and stay for the emotional journey.

An inspirational read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35593-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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