An enthralling tale that demystifies Wicca, humanizes homeless families and inspires reflection on friendship, forgiveness...

BODY OF WATER

A compelling story rife with drama, suspense and heart.

Twelve-year-old Ember Goforth-Shook is not the most popular or pretty girl in school, and it is obvious that the community doesn’t understand or respect her family’s religion, which her mom describes as “Not Quite Wicca.” But things are not so bad, really, at least until a raging fire destroys the family’s trailer in less than an hour. Everyone escapes except Ember’s dog, Widdershins. What’s worse, Ember suspects that her very best, and only, friend Anson had something to do with the fire. Ember’s family moves to a campground, where they scrounge every day for enough money to pay for their next night’s site rent and enough food to get by on. Having lost their tailoring and tarot-card businesses, Ember’s parents try desperately to find some work, but it isn’t easy when you have no decent clothes and no phone number or permanent address. For her part, Ember concentrates on taking care of little sister Ivy and making it back to the scene of the fire every Wednesday, poking around in the ashes and working on a revenge spell for Anson, a spell she’s less certain she wants to follow through on with each passing week. Dooley puts readers directly into the center of Ember’s plight with a heartfelt first-person narration.

An enthralling tale that demystifies Wicca, humanizes homeless families and inspires reflection on friendship, forgiveness and moving forward. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-61254-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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If hoping to grab a heartfelt connection, readers may feel sidelined, but plot turns will certainly keep them entranced.

THE ALWAYS WAR

For the past 75 years, Tessa’s nation has been at war—a war that has no end in sight.

Tessa lives in a community of weary people, visibly crushed by endless years of combat. They are numb; war is commonplace. But when a local boy receives an award for bravery—the nation’s highest—it lifts the city. Everyone, especially Tessa, desperately needs a hero. But Gideon shocks the town by refusing the honor. He declares himself a coward and runs away. He has killed more than 1,000 people; there is no honor in that. But that’s what war is, isn’t it? Killing the enemy is necessary. Gideon infuriates Tessa, but she is inexplicably curious as well. She follows him and ends up on a plane, with Gideon steering it straight toward the enemy line. He hopes to apologize, to atone for his mistakes, but what he and Tessa (along with a stowaway orphan named Dek) find when they open the plane’s door changes the plan dramatically. This dystopian drama examines the human aspect of war, and also how technology may redefine war in the future. In line with that tension, it is difficult to pinpoint which character grows the most in the narrative—Tessa or the computer.

If hoping to grab a heartfelt connection, readers may feel sidelined, but plot turns will certainly keep them entranced. (Dystopia. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-9526-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Readers who don’t need endings tied up with tight little bows will find much to think about here.

INFINITE SKY

Tragedy emerges from the commonplace miseries of everyday life in this evocative mood piece.

Thirteen-year-old Iris lives with her dad and older brother, Sam, in rural England. Until recently, Iris and Sam had a mum as well, but she’s taken off to Tunisia on a mission to find herself. Now Sam’s associating with ruffians, Dad’s taken to drinking, and Iris is avoiding her best friend, unable to bear the smug pity. When a few caravans of Irish “travelers” squat illegally in Dad’s paddock, Iris sees the possibility of something fresh and untainted in her life. But Dad and Sam loathe the travelers, calling them “Gypsies,” “parasites” and worse. Iris strikes up a friendship—and maybe more?—with 14-year-old Trick, but her father becomes increasingly erratic as he sees his control over his family slipping away. Her Dad repeatedly threatens eviction, and Iris must decide whom to believe in the face of petty crime. A senseless act of violence leads to heavily foreshadowed tragedy. This brief, gloomy debut concludes tidily though with an unclear trajectory: After a summer’s adventure, everyone’s right where they started yet nothing’s the same, mirroring the intransigence of hate.

Readers who don’t need endings tied up with tight little bows will find much to think about here. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0658-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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