An impressive tale carrying universal themes of grief, change, and letting go.


A young Idaho girl tries to save her family’s farm.

Since her father’s death, 12-year-old Paige has been taking on all the farm chores, determined to keep her father’s regular farming schedule. When her mother and grandfather bring in a real estate agent to try to sell the farm, Paige enlists her younger brother, Scotty, and some friends to try to sabotage the sale of the farm. Simultaneously, a wounded peacock shows up on the farm, which Paige and Scotty secretly nurse back to health. Heartfelt and funny, the story captures the lives of often underrepresented farming families, and though the trope of children scheming to save something beloved that’s in peril through hijinks and humor is familiar, it engages in a deeper discussion of the threat development poses to farmland. The story is set on the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation in southeastern Idaho; Paige, who is white, is best friends with Kimana, a Shoshone-Bannock girl who’s also her robotics partner, and Mateo, who is Latinx and whose family owns the neighboring farm. All characters are fully realized, and the book offers authentic views of rural kids navigating long distances between friends’ houses on dirt bikes and to and from school via bus as well as some very visceral calf birthing. Swore, who lives on the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation, includes brief narratives from two Shoshone-Bannock friends in her author’s note; there is no mention of the catastrophic Dawes Act of 1887, which enabled non-Natives to buy property on tribal lands, however.

An impressive tale carrying universal themes of grief, change, and letting go. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62972-608-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...


Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?