Propelled by a feisty and fabulous heroine, Lee's sophomore novel is powerful, evocative, and thought-provoking.

OUTRUN THE MOON

Leading up to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, ambitious Mercy Wong talks her way out of Chinatown and into an elite boarding school.

Fifteen-year-old Mercy wants more than what's expected of her as the daughter of a Chinatown launderer and his fortuneteller wife in turn-of-the-20th-century San Francisco. Ambitious due to her "bossy cheeks"—her high cheekbones symbolizing an assertive, independent nature—she boldly bribes her way to a scholarship at the tony St. Clare's School for Girls, where she hopes the prestigious education will land her not a prosperous proposal (she's happily matched to handsome and supportive Tom, the herbalist's son), but a life out of what the non-Chinese derisively call Pigtail Alley. Mostly, she hopes to save her sickly little brother, Jack, from a life of menial labor. At St. Clare's, Mercy must pose as a Chinese heiress. She makes an eclectic group of new friends, such as Italian-American Francesca, who Mercy realizes is at the bottom of the white pecking order, and tries to avoid the hawk-eyed headmistress. When the earthquake hits, plucky Mercy's quick-witted leadership rallies survivors in the tragedy's aftermath. Full of beautiful turns of phrase, lessons in Chinese customs and superstitions, and a refreshing protagonist representing intersectional diversity, this is a must-read for followers of historical fiction.

Propelled by a feisty and fabulous heroine, Lee's sophomore novel is powerful, evocative, and thought-provoking. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 12-17)

Pub Date: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17541-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun.

STARSIGHT

From the Skyward series , Vol. 2

As if the threat of huge, raging monsters from hyperspace isn’t scary enough, hotshot fighter pilot Spensa Nightshade becomes embroiled in an alien empire’s politics.

On a desperate mission to steal hyperdrive technology from the crablike invading Krell who are threatening to destroy her beleaguered home colony on Detritus, Spensa, who is white, holographically disguises herself as a violet-skinned UrDail and slips into a Krell pilot training program for “lesser species.” The discovery that she’s being secretly trained not to fight planet-destroying delvers but to exterminate humans, who are (with some justification, having kindled three interstellar wars in past centuries) regarded in certain quarters as an irrationally aggressive species, is just one in a string of revelations as, in between numerous near-death experiences on practice flights, she struggles to understand both her own eerie abilities and the strange multispecies society in which she finds herself. There are so many characters besides Spensa searching for self-identity—notably her comic-relief sidekick AI M-Bot, troubled human friend Jorgen back on Detritus, and Morriumur, member of a species whose color-marked sexes create trial offspring—that even with a plot that defaults to hot action and escalating intrigue the pacing has a stop and start quality. Still, Spensa’s habitual over-the-top recklessness adds a rousing spark, and the author folds in plenty of banter as well as a colorful supporting cast.

Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun. (Science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55581-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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For princess fans and lovers of fairy tales.

COLD HEARTED

A TALE OF THE WICKED STEPMOTHER

From the Villains series

How did Cinderella’s stepmother come to be so wicked?

She may have been self-focused, but at least she wasn’t always so cruel. Lady Tremaine, mother of two spoiled daughters, is a lonely widow hoping for a bit of happiness. Unfortunately, when Sir Richard appears at her friend’s house party, she’s swept off her feet and fails to heed the frantic warnings of her dedicated, elderly lady’s maid. Had she ever bothered to read the book of fairy tales her late husband purchased years before, she might have recognized the perils of assuming the role of stepmother. Entranced by Sir Richard, she agrees to a hasty marriage and a move to the Many Kingdoms, where he reverts to his true, domineering nature and she and her daughters become virtual prisoners in his home. Although the Odd Sisters—clever, manipulative witches—try to intervene on her behalf, it seems her fate is already written; she becomes as cruel and demented as the story described. However, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and her sister, Nanny, have plans to rescue Lady Tremaine’s daughters as they develop much-needed, rehabilitative insights into the family’s dynamics. Mostly told from the Lady’s shallow, self-centered perspective, this is an entertaining retelling of the Disney “Cinderella” story from a different viewpoint, with references to the rest of the series woven throughout. Characters follow a White default.

For princess fans and lovers of fairy tales. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-02528-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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