THE FORGETTING

A well-crafted fable for our time: as we focus on filling the plate in front of us, we risk forgetting where it came from,...

Every 12 years, the people of Canaan lose their memories and must reconstitute identity and relationships from books recording their personal histories—but with her memory secretly intact, Nadia dreads the chaos and violence the imminent Forgetting will bring.

Last time, Nadia saw her father replace his family’s books with fakes, leaving her mother to raise three daughters alone. Their residual unease has led her mother and older sister to reject Nadia, now 18; only little Genivee accepts her as family. Isolated by what she knows and can’t tell, Nadia’s become a silent—but observant—loner. She’s witnessed floggings and the plight of the Lost: those who’ve awakened without books, nameless, forced into servitude, penned into fenced quarters at night. She’s alarmed at Jonathan’s growing power within the governing Council. When handsome, sociable Gray, the glassblower’s son, discovers she forages outside city walls, he blackmails her into taking him along. Smarter and tougher than she’d thought, he becomes an ally and friend—but Gray has secrets too. Effective worldbuilding and strong characterization (even minor players have emotional depth) add substance to the fast-paced plot. A cosmetic resemblance to blockbuster teen dystopias allows Cameron to toy slyly with readers’ expectations, but this is no retread. The Forgetting ensures racial categories have no meaning, but characters do display differences in skin and hair color (Nadia is blonde with light eyes).

A well-crafted fable for our time: as we focus on filling the plate in front of us, we risk forgetting where it came from, what it cost, and what that means. (Science fiction.12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-94521-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2014

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