PIG TALE

Mokie’s name means pig girl, and her life is completely wretched except when in the company of the pigs she cares for. She arrived as a babe of unknown parentage and the village of Little Wicken has little use for an infant and treats her like an animal or thing, using her services to tend the pigs when she grows older. Since she knows nothing except being an outcast, Mokie accepts her fate and submits, finding ways to adjust, such as adopting a runt, Apple. As she nears adulthood, her female form dressed in rags and tatters is enticing to the louts of the village and they attack her, helping their leader rape her. Traumatized, Mokie takes Apple and runs away. She finds companions whose voices, introduced in the prologue, let readers know they’re from another world. The writing is crisp and clean, unconvoluted yet stately, lending an aura of tradition to the tale of a girl whose sacrifice is required. The juxtaposition of unknown and unrecognized goodness alongside selfishness and evil conveys a philosophical underpinning. Finally, the plot takes over, leaving an unsettled feeling that something is missing. As with most legends, the ending is less than upbeat, yet hints abound that all will not go well. Readers who found Eloise McGraw’s Moorchild (1996) riveting are the ideal audience for another tale of a girl who is a complete outsider. An intriguing first novel from an academic who specializes in mythology. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7868-0792-X

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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