With its ornate, Regency-esque setting and intricate plot packed with mysterious twists and turns (plus a few serious...

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A LITTLE TASTE OF POISON

In this sequel to A Pocket Full of Murder (2015), Isaveth’s magical invention having proved vastly profitable for Glow-Mor, the company president rewards her with a scholarship to exclusive Tarreton College, where she excels at Sagery but is snubbed by its aristocratic students.

They resent the admission of a commoner from the Moshite religious sect whose father has advocated Moshite resistance, but two students break rank to befriend Isaveth: a new friend, Eulalie, and her old friend Esmond, younger son of the ailing Sagelord. Esmond needs Isaveth’s help to thwart older brother Eryx’s schemes. Both know Eryx is guilty of murder and has preserved, then hidden, evidence of his misdeeds. Isaveth locates this during a masked ball only to find it’s magically guarded. Her efforts to cook up a spell to disarm Eryx’s protections come to an abrupt end when she’s falsely accused of stealing a diamond necklace and suspended from school, which also threatens Glow-Mor. A secret agenda’s at work. But whose, and for what purpose? To seize Isaveth’s invention? To clear Eryx’s path to power? Anderson’s alternate world features characters of multiple skin colors (Isaveth is olive-skinned; Eulalie has brown skin), but race plays no importance in assigning status; this universe is divided by politics and class.

With its ornate, Regency-esque setting and intricate plot packed with mysterious twists and turns (plus a few serious themes), this sequel is part melodrama, part comedy, and all-around good fun. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3774-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

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THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning.

ARU SHAH AND THE TREE OF WISHES

From the Pandava Quintet series , Vol. 3

In the third instalment of the Pandava Quartet, 14-year-old Arundhati “Aru” Shah and her companions need to defeat their archnemesis (and Aru’s father), the Sleeper, and prevent the impending war between the devas and asuras.

The novel opens with Aru and her friends on a mission to rescue two people from the Sleeper’s soldiers. The two people are 10-year-old identical twins and Pandavas Nikita and Sheela, trapped atop a Ferris wheel in downtown Atlanta. This mission is of utmost importance because Sheela is a clairvoyant with an important prophecy, which speaks of the rise of the Sleeper and an untrue Pandava sister—and which the Sleeper must not hear at any cost. Despite their best efforts, however, one of the Sleeper’s soldiers overhears the prophecy, and Aru, Mini, Brynne, and Adin—accompanied by Rudy, a serpent prince—set off to find the missing Kalpavriksha, a wish-granting tree, so that they might wish upon it to set things right. Much like its predecessors, this fast-moving adventure draws on Hindu cosmology and South Asian pop-culture references to create an enchanting but believable magical Otherworld, where gods, demigods, demons, and talking animals abound. Chokshi’s novel is pitch perfect: The plot is action-packed, the dialogue witty, and the characters (almost all of whom are either Indian or part-Indian) are compelling, diverse, and complex.

Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-01385-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2020

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