A worthwhile read that personalizes the conflicts that led to the American Revolution.

THE PORTSMOUTH ALARM

DECEMBER 1774

DeMitchell’s YA historical novel is based on American Revolutionary Paul Revere’s legendary ride to Portsmouth, N.H.

When Revere set out to warn the citizens of Portsmouth, N.H., that British regulars were already on their way to Fort William and Mary on New Castle Island to seize the store of gunpowder, many in New Hampshire and Massachusetts immediately responded by taking the fort and imprisoning its soldiers. However, the information was inaccurate. DeMitchell tells the story through the eyes of two young boys, 14-year-old Andrew Becket and 13-year-old John Cochran, set on opposite sides of the conflict as misunderstandings compound and eventually lead to violence. DeMitchell states most of the characters, save for Beckett and the supporting character Joseph Reed, are based on actual people, though the account is fictionalized. Whatever liberties she might have taken with the history, DeMitchell has a talent for the small details that result in a vivid story. Readers feel the rush of the icy Piscataqua River as Beckett tries not to fall off the edge of a barge full of people and the strain of physical work. The story also avoids easy characterizations of heroes and villains; Beckett and Cochran are simply kids trapped in extraordinary circumstances. Gov. Wentworth could easily have been the scapegoat as a native New Hampshire man taking orders from the crown, but he comes across fully rounded. He, too, is trapped as he tries to stay loyal to the king while avoiding violence and advancing free trade in the colonies. DeMitchell’s aim is to provoke thought about the incidents that led to war. Beckett and Cochran feel like real people with real needs rather than handy political constructs or symbols: Beckett wants to avoid conflict and concentrate on bettering himself to get into Harvard, while Cochran feels loyalty to the crown through his father’s position in charge of the defense of Fort William and Mary. 

A worthwhile read that personalizes the conflicts that led to the American Revolution.    

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1932278927

Page Count: 161

Publisher: Mayhaven Publishing, Inc.

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2012

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Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love.

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LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB

Finally, the intersectional, lesbian, historical teen novel so many readers have been waiting for.

Lily Hu has spent all her life in San Francisco’s Chinatown, keeping mostly to her Chinese American community both in and out of school. As she makes her way through her teen years in the 1950s, she starts growing apart from her childhood friends as her passion for rockets and space exploration grows—along with her curiosity about a few blocks in the city that her parents have warned her to avoid. A budding relationship develops with her first White friend, Kathleen, and together they sneak out to the Telegraph Club lesbian bar, where they begin to explore their sexuality as well as their relationship to each other. Lo’s lovely, realistic, and queer-positive tale is a slow burn, following Lily’s own gradual realization of her sexuality while she learns how to code-switch between being ostensibly heterosexual Chinatown Lily and lesbian Telegraph Bar Lily. In this meticulously researched title, Lo skillfully layers rich details, such as how Lily has to deal with microaggressions from gay and straight women alike and how all of Chinatown has to be careful of the insidious threat of McCarthyism. Actual events, such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s 1943 visit to San Francisco, form a backdrop to this story of a journey toward finding one’s authentic self.

Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love. (author’s note) (Historical romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55525-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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