WICKED GIRLS

A NOVEL OF THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS

In this superbly wrought fictionalized account of the Salem Witch Trials, Printz Honor winner Hemphill offers a fresh perspective on an oft-told tale by providing lesser-known Salem accusers with a variety of compelling motivations that will resonate deeply with contemporary teens. Twelve-year-old Ann Putnam is starved for her brusque mother’s love. Her older cousin Margaret is jealous of anyone her betrothed Isaac’s wandering eye falls upon. And 17-year-old pretty, blond servant Mercy Lewis is tired of the surreptitious touches of pious Puritan men. When two other girls in their village fall prey to fits, Ann, Margaret and Mercy recognize the opportunity to be seen in a society that brands them invisible. But as their confidence grows, so does their guilt. They know exactly what they’re doing, but the rewards are too sweet to stop: “…our elders shrivel and shrink, / and we girls / grow spine tall.” In subtle, spare first-person free-verse poems, the author skillfully demonstrates how ordinary people may come to commit monstrous acts. Haunting and still frighteningly relevant. (thumbnail bios, author’s note, further reading) (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-185328-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

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THE BOOK THIEF

When Death tells a story, you pay attention. Liesel Meminger is a young girl growing up outside of Munich in Nazi Germany, and Death tells her story as “an attempt—a flying jump of an attempt—to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.” When her foster father helps her learn to read and she discovers the power of words, Liesel begins stealing books from Nazi book burnings and the mayor’s wife’s library. As she becomes a better reader, she becomes a writer, writing a book about her life in such a miserable time. Liesel’s experiences move Death to say, “I am haunted by humans.” How could the human race be “so ugly and so glorious” at the same time? This big, expansive novel is a leisurely working out of fate, of seemingly chance encounters and events that ultimately touch, like dominoes as they collide. The writing is elegant, philosophical and moving. Even at its length, it’s a work to read slowly and savor. Beautiful and important. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: March 14, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83100-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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CLOCKWORK ANGEL

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 1

A century before the events of Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy, another everyday heroine gets entangled with demon-slaying Shadowhunters. Sixteen-year-old orphaned Tessa comes to London to join her brother but is imprisoned by the grotesque Dark Sisters. The sisters train the unwilling Tessa in previously unknown shapeshifter abilities, preparing her to be a pawn in some diabolical plan. A timely rescue brings Tessa to the Institute, where a group of misfit Shadowhunters struggles to fight evil. Though details differ, the general flavor of Tessa’s new family will be enjoyably familiar to the earlier trilogy’s fans; the most important is Tessa’s rescuer Will, the gorgeous, sharp-tongued teenager with a mysterious past and a smile like “Lucifer might have smiled, moments before he fell from Heaven.” The lush, melodramatic urban fantasy setting of the Shadowhunter world morphs seamlessly into a steampunk Victorian past, and this new series provides the setup for what will surely be a climactic battle against hordes of demonically powered brass clockworks. The tale drags in places, but this crowdpleaser’s tension-filled conclusion ratchets toward a new set of mysteries. (Steampunk. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7586-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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