Kirkus Stars & Recommendations

BROTHER GIOVANNI'S LITTLE REWARD by Anna Egan Smucker
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"As happy a piece of ecclesiastical cuisine as can be imagined (Picture book. 5-9)"
A fanciful and inventive version of how those yummy big soft pretzels came to be. Read full book review >
PRINCESS PISTACHIO AND THE PEST by Marie-Louise Gay
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"Long live Princess Pistachio. (Early reader. 4-8)"
Princess Pistachio Shoelace's summer vacation is not starting out on a high note. Read full book review >

DRAGONFISH by Vu Tran
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"Right off the bat, Tran displays the most admirable and worthwhile gift a serious thriller writer can have: compassion toward even the most disreputable of his characters."
A missing person mystery is delicately entwined with a heartbreaking story of migration and loss. Read full book review >
THE BORN FREES by Kimberly Burge
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"An affecting portrait of post-apartheid South Africa, particularly useful for writing instructors serving at-risk constituencies."
Journalist Burge recounts a sojourn in a township outside Cape Town working with a writing group called Amazw'Entombi, or "Voices of the Girls."Read full book review >
THE DAUGHTERS by Adrienne Celt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"A haunting novel with real emotional depth, Celt's psychologically nuanced debut continues to resonate long after the last page has been turned."
A family curse haunts four generations of women. Read full book review >

Cut Paste Gone by Lisa  Safran
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 2, 2015

"A well-written, engaging exploration of the maxim, 'Be careful what you wish for.'"
A young girl with a magic pair of scissors makes a collage out of reality in Safran's debut YA novel. Read full book review >
TALES OF A FIFTH-GRADE KNIGHT by Douglas Gibson
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"A fizzy mix of low humor and brisk action, with promise of more of both to come. (Fantasy. 9-11)"
Heroic deeds await Isaac after his little sister runs into the school basement and is captured by elves. Read full book review >
MARCH GRAND PRIX by Kean Soo
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"An unfalteringly sunny, action-driven collection. (Graphic adventure. 7-11)"
Known as "the fast and the furriest," March Hare and his porcine sidekick, Hammond, race to adventure in three different illustrated tales. Read full book review >
EVEN MONSTERS SAY GOOD NIGHT by Doreen Mulryan Marts
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"Share this with those looking for a benign Halloween story or for those children who always resist bedtime. (Picture book. 3-6)"
"Avery never liked bedtime, and she liked it even less on Halloween when all the monsters were out." Read full book review >
TALIA AND THE VERY YUM KIPPUR by Linda Elovitz Marshall
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"Both a loving family story and a deft introduction to the significance of the holiday. (Picture book/religion. 3-5)"
Once again, Talia (Talia and the Rude Vegetables, 2011) misunderstands her grandmother, this time for the Yom Kippur holiday "break-fast" meal.Read full book review >
SISTERS OF THE REVOLUTION by Ann VanderMeer
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"A necessary, well-curated anthology that shows the singular political power of speculative fiction."
The feminist superstars of science fiction, fantasy, and horror dismantle and reassemble gender's many implications and iterations in the newest anthology edited by the VanderMeers (The Time Traveler's Almanac, 2014, etc.).Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"A nifty supplement to traditional nonfiction and fiction on the period. (Nonfiction. 9-12)"
Bearce's latest installment in the Top Secret Files series introduces young readers to the Cold War. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sabaa Tahir
August 4, 2015

Sabaa Tahir’s novel An Ember in the Ashes reveals a world inspired by ancient Rome and defined by brutality. Seventeen-year-old Laia has grown up with one rule for survival: Never challenge the Empire. But when Laia’s brother Darin is arrested for treason, she leaves behind everything she knows, risking her life to try and save him. She enlists help from the rebels whose extensive underground network may lead to Darin. Their help comes with a price, though. Laia must infiltrate the Empire’s greatest military academy as a spy. Elias is the Empire’s finest soldier—and its most unwilling one. Thrown together by chance and united by their hatred of the Empire, Laia and Elias will soon discover that their fates are intertwined—and that their choices may change the destiny of the entire Empire. We talk to An Ember in the Ashes author Sabaa Tahir this week on Kirkus TV. View video >