THE VESPERTINE

Sixteen-year-old Amelia travels from Maine to Baltimore to find a husband in 1889, never expecting to end up by destroying her own friends in this historical supernatural romance. Amelia learns quite by accident that at sunset, or Vespers, she sees visions of the future. At first it’s a game, with predictions of pretty new dresses and desirable dancing partners. Eventually, though, Amelia’s visions become darker. She delights her friends when she tells of good fortune, but when tragedy strikes, they blame her. Meanwhile Amelia has met Nathaniel, a poor but talented artist whom she knows can never be a suitable husband yet to whom she’s immensely attracted. No wonder. It turns out that Nathaniel has a supernatural talent of his own. Mitchell depicts Victorian middle-class society with real flair. Her descriptions of the girls ring vibrantly true. Readers see how they act and talk, how they worry about their dresses and their future husbands. The author takes a chance by using some antiquated language, but readers interested in the story should be able to follow the action with no difficulty. Both the forbidden romance and the Vespers visions work to keep readers’ interest high. A nifty surprise ending ices the cake. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-48247-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 25

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more