SONNY'S WAR

In what is now almost historical fiction, Hobbs (Tender, 2001, etc.) poignantly evokes the turbulent sentiments of 1967–68, a time when the nation was not only at war against Vietnam, but also against itself. Even small-town Ojala, California, where the favorite pastimes are hanging out at the Frostee and drag racing, does not go untouched by the conflict. The year begins with death of 14-year-old Corin’s father; although a smoker and a drunk, he was a reassuring presence who answered all her questions. Cory’s older brother, Sonny, becomes her new confidant, but when he is called to duty, Cory and her mother must cope with their new lives—Cory surviving high school, her mother running the family café, and both constantly worrying about Sonny. Cory turns yet again to another man for support—her Jesus-sandals–wearing, longhaired, contentious-objector history teacher, known simply as Lawrence, who tries to raise awareness of the war, but upsets the school board in the process. Her infatuation with Lawrence leads her to a “peace” rally, where she discovers his true nature. This realization; Sonny’s letters filled with fear, despondency, and disillusionment; and a growing relationship with her mother lead Cory to question the lines that divide generations, love, peace and war, and heroes. Now she must find her own answers. Occasional divine interventions from Cory’s father ease her way and lighten the subject matter. The author shows what she does best, crafting a believable, multifaceted plot with vivid, well-rounded characters who learn to love each other—and themselves. Hobbs just gets better and better. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2002

ISBN: 0-374-37136-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

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DIVINE RIVALS

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

INDIVISIBLE

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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