THE DOOR THAT LED TO WHERE

Liberally peppered with both swears (from both times) and Dickens references, this gritty coming-of-age story is best suited...

In Printz honoree Gardner’s (Maggot Moon, 2014) time-travel historical mystery, 17-year-old white Londoner AJ Flynn, having passed only one of his qualifying exams, faces a bleak future until he discovers a door to the 1830s and the possibility of a different life in another century.

AJ’s mom considers him “a waste of space," his drunken stepfather is “a huge, blancmange slug of a man," and all he knows about his father is that he is dead. He lands a junior position in a law firm and, while tidying the archives one day, comes upon a key labeled with his name. Finding the door that fits the key, AJ learns not only how his father died, but that he time traveled to obtain 19th-century snuffboxes that he sold in the 21st century at great profit. AJ’s Turkish friend, Slim, is being pursued by a gangster whose girlfriend he dated, while his friend Leon, a Jamaican, is on the wrong side of the dealer whose drugs killed his mother. AJ takes both through the portal, where they find a chance to start over. The convoluted time-travel mystery has verve, but readers will encounter some bumps. AJ’s fondness for Dickens (he excelled at English if nothing else) prepares him somewhat for life in the early 19th century, though the ease with which the characters adapt to different centuries strains credibility. Too, many of the large cast of characters add nothing to the plot beyond a thicket of complications.

Liberally peppered with both swears (from both times) and Dickens references, this gritty coming-of-age story is best suited to readers as fundamentally romantic as AJ. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-54997-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE

Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story.

The lives of two girls named Hannah, living in different centuries on different continents, intersect.

Eighteen-year-old Hannah Dory is an English peasant living a harsh existence in 1347. Hannah Doe is a resident of Belman Psychiatric Hospital in 2023 New York City, brought in after being found on the street experiencing hallucinations and screaming something about a castle. Modern-day Hannah periodically enters a catatonic state, something the staff refer to as her “going to the castle.” Columbia psychology student Jordan Hassan is a new intern at Belman, and his interest is piqued by this girl no one knows much about. He decides to play detective and try to discover her history himself. Meanwhile, in the medieval England storyline, Hannah Dory tries to save her village from starvation by sneaking into the baron’s castle but finds herself swept up in a fight between the new baron and his rival. The book sustains a breakneck pace with short chapters and many cliffhangers that will keep readers’ interest. Patterson’s author’s note includes a list of mental health resources and describes his experience of working as an aide in a psychiatric hospital when he was a teenager. The narrative thoughtfully centers mental illness and touches on complex topics like suicide. Whiteness is the default; Jordan is cued as Muslim.

Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-41172-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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