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THE LAST PRINCESS

A rewarding tale featuring a strong-willed female protagonist.

The last living princess of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom goes on a quest to avenge the deaths of her family.

Northumbria, England, 866 C.E.: Edith is the eldest daughter of King Osberht, and at 17, she is preparing to inherit the crown one day even though normally only sons can assume the throne. Her father’s power is enough to override even the objections of the kingdoms’ eldermen. However, Edith’s dreams and ambitions end when her entire family is murdered and she is kidnapped by pirates and taken across the seas to become a slave in a Viking stronghold. It is in this alien world that Edith finds much to live for: a new family, romantic love, and success as a shield-maiden. But Edith cannot forget the inheritance she left behind or forgive the man responsible for her family’s deaths. When news from Northumbria reaches her doorstep, Edith vows to take back what is rightfully hers. This fast-paced historical novel builds on an obscure Anglo-Saxon king’s life to tell an empowering tale of a girl’s journey to fully embrace a new world, a new culture, and even a new religion as she grows into her own as a warrior. Edith’s fierce and often violent quest for revenge is juxtaposed with lovely, life-affirming moments of friendship and love in an engaging first-person narrative.

A rewarding tale featuring a strong-willed female protagonist. (historical note, glossary) (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64397-248-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: BHC Press

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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