A beautiful, gently woven reflection on family, choices, and the power of perception.

READ REVIEW

DREAMS BEYOND THE SHORE

Chelsea Marchand does not care about politics, law, or Oxford University.

This is an unfortunate circumstance, given that her father, Dr. Peter Marchand, is running for prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago and would like her to study law in England. Chelsea wants to pursue her dreams at the Writers’ Corner at Georgetown University, not shuffle along her father’s campaign trail. A chance meeting while waiting for test-prep classes at the Clark Centre introduces Chelsea to Kyron Grant, a handsome student footballer. Kyron understands living with a difficult father. Although his father is not physically present, Grafton Walters’ influence fills every space in his home. The two cultivate a friendship, on the edge of something more, when the sudden, gruesome murder of one of Walters’ employees uncovers family secrets for both Kyron and Chelsea. The future of their relationship unclear, Kyron and Chelsea search for an escape from the sins of their fathers. Gibson’s debut effortlessly captivates. The characters saunter in and out of focus like a well-choreographed dance, Chelsea and Kyron alternating narration in vivid, distinctive voices. None take up more time than necessary, and all shine in their moments. Scenes between Kyron and his father are especially compelling. The island dialect gives the story a tangible dimension; the smell of sea breeze is almost palpable.

A beautiful, gently woven reflection on family, choices, and the power of perception. (Fiction. 13-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-976-8267-06-1

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Blouse & Skirt Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Martinello’s storytelling is compelling and will engage particularly voracious readers of historical fiction, but due to the...

CHILI QUEEN

MI HISTORIA

Selling chili on the plaza with her mother and sister at night, Lupe wonders why her family is barely getting by: The quality of their food rivals that of any competitor on the square, so why do other stands bring in crowds of customers while her family serves only a steady trickle?

Lupe has a natural entrepreneurial spirit. She learns to notice what people want and to offer it better than the competition. She takes risks and tries new ideas—some work, some flop. When she observes the other chili queens entertaining customers with stories, she does the same and excels. Twirling her exquisite rebozo for dramatic effect, she keeps customers captivated, returning each night for more stories and plates of food. Threaded through the growth of the business and the yarns that Lupe spins is the story of coming of age as a young Mexican-American woman in San Antonio in the 1880s. Lupe and her older sister, Josefa, both dip their toes into the waters of romance and find that love is fraught with consequences. Recipes for traditional Mexican dishes are interspersed throughout the book, as are superfluous replicas of historical documents and photographs—these serve to make the book look like an uncomfortable hybrid of fiction and nonfiction and detract from the story.

Martinello’s storytelling is compelling and will engage particularly voracious readers of historical fiction, but due to the essentially bland subject matter and the unfortunate design, it lacks broad appeal. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-87565-613-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Texas Christian University Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Awkwardly and believably, this sensitive novel reveals an artistic teen adapting to family, disability and friendships in...

GADGET GIRL

THE ART OF BEING INVISIBLE

Originally a novella published in the magazine Cicada and the winner of the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in Fiction, Kamata’s latest is a sharp, unusual coming-of-age novel.

For Aiko Cassidy, it’s hard enough sitting at the “invisible” table and dealing with trespassing geeks. It’s harder when her cerebral palsy makes guys notice her in all the wrong ways. Even worse, Aiko’s mother, Laina, uses her as a model for her sculptures. For privacy, Aiko conceals herself in manga; her alter ego, Gadget Girl, can rescue cute guys and tie her shoes. Aiko dreams of traveling to Japan to meet her favorite artists—and, perhaps, her father. When a sculpture of Aiko wins her and Laina a trip to Paris instead, Aiko meets handsome Hervé and discovers a startling view of her family. Kamata writes the intricacies of cerebral palsy—the little maneuvers of cooking, the jerk of an arm betraying emotion—as deftly as Aiko draws or Laina sculpts. Aiko’s awkwardness is palpable, as are her giddy crush and snarky observations. Some points remain realistically unresolved, in keeping with the garden metaphors throughout the book: “You’re not supposed to be able to see the whole thing at once. Most Japanese gardens are revealed little by little....”

Awkwardly and believably, this sensitive novel reveals an artistic teen adapting to family, disability and friendships in all their flawed beauty. (Fiction. 13-17)

Pub Date: May 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-936846-38-2

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Gemma

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more