This riveting portrayal of early Colonial New England shines a speculative but compelling light on the time and place.

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WILL POOLE'S ISLAND

Will, resident of an English settlement on the edge of the American wilderness in 1643, risks everything when he lets a wise and powerful Native American shaman provide guidance.

Squamiset, a former English captive, has a canny awareness of Will’s odd out-of-body experiences. Their growing friendship—peppered with the man’s seemingly magical feats—provokes retaliation from the colony’s leader, Rockingham, who is driven to imprison Will and a young native friend. After Squamiset choreographs a breathless rescue, the three head east and then bravely paddle all the way to Nantucket in a dugout canoe. Natives there eventually welcome the group, leading to an idyllic interlude before Rockingham reappears, determined to have vengeance at any cost. The superstitious, incendiary passions of the settlers are effectively and thoughtfully contrasted against the temperate attitude of the Native Americans. Immersive, like the best of historical fiction, Will’s world is so believably depicted that the looming threat from Rockingham infiltrates even the more cheerful aspects of the tale. Suspense is effectively sustained right up to the epilogue that hints—in the form of myth—at Will’s eventual future. Whether the uncertainty of his ultimate situation is the setup for a sequel is unclear although readers would no doubt welcome a further adventure.

This riveting portrayal of early Colonial New England shines a speculative but compelling light on the time and place. (Historical fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-6-898-173-1

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Namelos

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel...

WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER

Thanks to her love of flowers, Delia has become a sort of apprentice to talented gardener Old Red and is devastated when he begins to show signs of encroaching dementia.

With all of the confidence of youth, she holds in her heart the belief that perhaps with her help—and that of all his loving neighbors—she can preserve his memories by collecting favorite stories about the beloved man. As she moves through the months, she records (in a rather mature first-person) both the tasks she completes in the garden as well as the stories she collects about him, also describing Red’s tragically inexorable decline. Delia’s surrounded by loving adults, and she shares her grief with best friend Mae and new love interest Tommy, as well as receiving support from members of her church; with these relationships, this warm effort neatly captures the strength of a close-knit community and the tight bonds that can form between the very old and the young. The 13-year-old’s often lyrical prose is attractive, even though it sometimes strays toward a more adult-sounding voice. Her frustration, fear and sense of loss will be readily recognizable to others who have experienced dementia in a loved one, and her story may provide some guidance on how to move down that rocky path toward acceptance and letting go.

What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel compassionately conveys. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60898-166-3

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Namelos

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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