A stronger-than-she-realizes heroine uses her disconcerting telepathic gifts to help others and heal herself in this...

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DYING TO TELL ME

After moving to a rural Australian town, Sasha’s unwelcome premonitions lead her to solve a string of art thefts while tackling her own issues.

Ever since her mum left, Sasha’s “life has turned into a huge, weird disaster area.” The sad, anxious Sasha knows her dad’s trying hard to hold the family together. When he accepts a police job in Manna Creek to “make a new life,” Sasha decides she’ll give “moving to the back of nowhere” a chance, just to make him happy. Unimpressed with the drab town, the bedraggled house behind the police station and the hostile locals who resent the new cop’s kids, Sasha and younger brother Nicky explore with their new pet police dog, King. Sasha’s freaked out when she finds that she and King can communicate telepathically and even more upset when she starts dreaming about local people, past and present, who are about to die. Is there something wrong with her? Should she tell her father or repress everything? In an authentic first-person voice, Sasha fumes at her missing mum, reacts negatively to Manna Creek, supports her father and brother and conveys her fears about her telepathic powers as she leads the tense, fast-moving plot to resolution.

A stronger-than-she-realizes heroine uses her disconcerting telepathic gifts to help others and heal herself in this satisfying adventure. (Paranormal adventure. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-61067-063-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel...

WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER

Thanks to her love of flowers, Delia has become a sort of apprentice to talented gardener Old Red and is devastated when he begins to show signs of encroaching dementia.

With all of the confidence of youth, she holds in her heart the belief that perhaps with her help—and that of all his loving neighbors—she can preserve his memories by collecting favorite stories about the beloved man. As she moves through the months, she records (in a rather mature first-person) both the tasks she completes in the garden as well as the stories she collects about him, also describing Red’s tragically inexorable decline. Delia’s surrounded by loving adults, and she shares her grief with best friend Mae and new love interest Tommy, as well as receiving support from members of her church; with these relationships, this warm effort neatly captures the strength of a close-knit community and the tight bonds that can form between the very old and the young. The 13-year-old’s often lyrical prose is attractive, even though it sometimes strays toward a more adult-sounding voice. Her frustration, fear and sense of loss will be readily recognizable to others who have experienced dementia in a loved one, and her story may provide some guidance on how to move down that rocky path toward acceptance and letting go.

What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel compassionately conveys. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60898-166-3

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Namelos

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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