THE SECRET LIFE OF SPARROW DELANEY

What high-school kid wants to be a freak, especially the kind who talks to dead people? Not Sparrow Delaney, which is why she’s keeping the secret from her family of seven women, all skilled mediums, that she can see and talk to ghosts. Evidently, as the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, she has a special psychic gift, but when the ghost of a teenage boy appears to her in her classroom and pleads for her help, she can’t ignore him. The current abundance of supernatural and occult books usually have historical settings, but the clever twist in this offering casts Sparrow’s family in contemporary time in Lily Dale, N.Y., a Spiritualist community. Early references to thrift stores and computers clue the reader as modern trappings enhance the confrontations and dilemmas between the dearly departed and the visionary living. Idiosyncratic sisters (all named for birds by their ornithologist father who’s now missing), budding romance, a mysterious fatal accident and a live-wire grandmother all test Sparrow’s own spirit as she faces her destiny. Sparrow’s plight gives new meaning to “not a ghost of a chance”—an entertaining one. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-113158-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2007

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NEW MOON

From the Twilight series , Vol. 2

All is not well between demon-magnet Bella and Edward Cullen, her vampire Romeo. An innocent papercut at Edward’s house puts Bella in grave danger when various members of the Cullen family can barely resist their hunger at the smell of blood. The Cullens promptly leave town, afraid of endangering Edward’s beloved, and Bella sinks into an overwhelming depression. Months later, she finally emerges from her funk to rebuild her life, focusing on her friendship with besotted teen Jacob from the reservation. Bella’s unhealthy enthrallment to Edward leads her into dangerous and self-destructive behavior despite her new friends, and supernatural complications are bound to reappear. Bella’s being hunted by an evil vampire, and Jacob’s adolescent male rage turns out to be incipient lycanthropy: It seems many Quileute Indians become werewolves in the presence of vampires, their natural enemies. Psychic miscommunications and angst-ridden dramatic gestures lead to an exciting page-turner of a conclusion drenched in the best of Gothic romantic excess. Despite Bella’s flat and obsessive personality, this tale of tortured demon lovers entices. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-316-16019-9

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2006

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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