A passionate tale that’s not only about whales, but also about the fate of the planet.

The Blackfish Prophecy

From the Terra Incognita and the Great Transition series , Vol. 1

This debut YA adventure features two teenagers whose lives intersect after an orca attack at an aquatic theme park.

Thirteen-year-old Terra Incognita Lewis has grown up in a family of scientists who study the killer whales of Washington state’s Puget Sound. She’s tried to teach the whales Morse code using a hydrophone and a drum, and recently, she dreamed of a new calf being born to the pod. As Terra and her best friend, Tiluk, wonder whether the pod’s leader, Granny, communicated this dream information to her, Terra’s parents learn of an emergency across the country in Florida. There, 14-year-old Miles Frost, along with his mother and younger sister, were at OceanLand to take in the “Lunch with Shantu” orca show. While eating, they witnessed the 12,000-pound animal kill an experienced trainer. To cope with the trauma, Miles sneaks into Shantu’s holding area before the park opens and plays music for the animal on his xylophone. Astonishingly, Shantu responds. Meanwhile, Terra and Tiluk learn from their parents that the deadly orca once belonged to the pod they’ve spent their lives studying. Terra researches the horrors that captive whales face and shares her knowledge through social media. Her communication with whales, however, has only just begun. Author Clark offers her audience doses of scientific information and spiritual richness. The depiction of the tragedy and of Puget Sound’s Southern Resident whales closely mirrors the story of Tilikum, the real-life orca whose murderous behavior features in the 2013 documentary Blackfish. The details included here (Shantu “looked like a dog who’d snatched a roast ham from the dining room table”) are sometimes shocking, though they’re necessary to deliver the full impact of Clark’s larger message. In the novel’s second half, Terra experiences a dream quest in which she learns about “The Fallacy,” “a feverish sickness” that has tricked people into believing they’re separate from nature. Although the depths of Terra’s eventual connectedness to the whales may be too abstract for younger readers, Clark goes above and beyond the call in revealing the grace inherent to all species. Wonderful black-and-white illustrations by Savory enhance the message.

A passionate tale that’s not only about whales, but also about the fate of the planet.

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-945419-00-3

Page Count: 316

Publisher: Fawkes Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2016

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An action-stuffed chronicle of one boy’s journey to self-enlightenment and martial arts mastery with heavy existential and...

White Tiger Legend

Set presumably in 12th-century China, an action-packed YA read about a young Shaolin monk named Zi who embarks on a harrowing journey of self-discovery after his temple and everything he ever knew are destroyed.

With the Gathering of the Ways quickly approaching, the entire population of the famed Shaolin Temple is frenetically preparing for the annual gathering of elite warriors from distant kingdoms who come together to test their abilities against the temple’s best kung fu practitioners. But when a cunning, morally bankrupt fighter known as the Red Dragon defeats the temple’s champion (who happens to be Zi’s older brother, Hu Yuan) and razes the temple in search of its mystical secrets, young Zi is forced to begin the Great Journey—essentially a treacherous quest of enlightenment that may ultimately reveal the greatest secret of the temple. On the quest, Zi meets and befriends a diversity of characters (like Bok Choi the grasshopper and a mysterious lady of the river named Auntie) who not only help the young Buddhist monk survive, but offer him wise advice as well. While the character of Zi is undeniably endearing, as is his insect sidekick, the story isn’t without minor flaws. The text is littered with grammatical errors (“Well stand down soldier. Watch how a ladies mantis goes about getting the goods son”), some of the fight scenes drag and become monotonous, and at points, the metaphysical nature of kung fu arguably goes too deep for the average reader (the sequence where the author connects chakras with the digestion of various foods, for example).

An action-stuffed chronicle of one boy’s journey to self-enlightenment and martial arts mastery with heavy existential and spiritual philosophical undertones.

Pub Date: July 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9929738-0-3

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Kory Juul Enterprises Corp

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2015

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A fast-paced romantic drama with a touch of Roma magic.

The Lie They Told


When a teenage girl in 1925 Chicago kills her violent stepfather, her mother takes the blame in this YA novel.

Carola Pawlak, 15, living in Chicago’s Polish Town, is shy, studious, and badly dressed, although other girls sometimes say her looks are “promising.” She dreams of becoming a writer and has few friends other than Stan Carlson, a handsome Roma boy. She and her sweet mother, Maria, walk on eggshells around Carola’s angry, explosive stepfather, Henry Jaworski. That is, until a fight one day in which Carola, trying to protect her mother, strikes back. He attempts to destroy a prized silver amulet that Stan gave her—but it has a hidden knife, and Carola plunges it into Henry’s chest. Maria confesses to the crime, forcing a promise from Carola to go along, and is arrested. Unexpected help then arrives: Louise Lazaar, “the Chicago Tribune’s leading ‘sob sister.’ ” Sensing a story, Lazaar brings Carola to see T.J. O’Malley, Chicago’s best criminal lawyer, who takes her mother’s case. Carola gets a makeover—bobbed hair, cosmetics, new clothes—and Lazaar dubs her and Maria the “Mother-Daughter Angels,” writing stories such as, “‘She Did It for Me,’ Says Angel Daughter.” But Maria’s still in danger from other prisoners, and Carola learns that Stan’s in trouble for giving her the mysterious amulet. Arbeiter (A Mouton Coat: The Hunt for a Mother’s Story, 2013, etc.) offers a sympathetic YA heroine who’s also conventional in that she doesn’t feel beautiful but is, and she wants to be a writer. Her romance with Stan is sweet and provides a little heat, and Carola has a chance to play the rescuer instead of the rescuee, which is unusual in the YA genre. The 1920s setting is also vivid; Arbeiter gives a well-rounded sense of the era’s highlights, such as flappers and actor Rudolph Valentino, and challenges, such as crime and injustice.

A fast-paced romantic drama with a touch of Roma magic.

Pub Date: June 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-938812-59-0

Page Count: 239

Publisher: Full Court Press

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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