A witty and weird adventure equal parts Sherlock and Three Stooges.

BEASTLY BONES

From the Jackaby series , Vol. 2

Normal teen and abnormal detective unearth more paranormal mysteries in this fast-paced sequel to Jackaby (2014).

Having (narrowly) survived her first investigation with the energetic and eccentric detective R.F. Jackaby, Abigail Rook eagerly assists with his newest case: Mrs. Beaumont’s chameleomorphs, carnivorous shape-shifters masquerading as scaly kittens, presumed extinct but unexpectedly alive in 19th-century New England. Jackaby plunges into one investigation and then another when the police discover Beaumont dead, but Abigail turns her attention to a third mystery—fossils unearthed in Gad’s Valley. A budding sleuth herself, Abigail still craves her paleontologist father’s approval, and when a body is found near the excavation area and the police send for Jackaby, she gets to combine her passions…and work alongside her crush, exiled police officer/shape-shifter Charlie Cane. Accompanied by Charlie and Jackaby’s mountain-man friend, Hank Hudson, the detectives descend on the dig site, where they encounter such secondary but well-sketched characters as a fame-seeking farmer, arguing academics, and a wisecracking female reporter. As bones go missing—and then small livestock—methodical investigation and scientific experimentation yield to madcap chases, slapstick humor, and romance. Ritter’s blends—fantasy and mystery, action and tension, oddball detective and able sidekick—employ but exceed their stock elements. With one case closed but two unsolved, the well-matched, well-written duo will undoubtedly return to fight a more fearsome foe.

A witty and weird adventure equal parts Sherlock and Three Stooges. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61620-354-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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An inspirational read.

THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES

A true story of faith, love, and heroism.

Stefania “Fusia” Podgórska longed for nothing more than to leave the rural Polish farm she was born on for the city of Przemyśl where her older sisters lived. At the age of 12, she did just that, finding a job with the Diamants, a family of Jewish shopkeepers who welcomed her into their lives. For three years they lived peacefully until the Germans dropped bombs on Przemyśl. The family struggled on as the war and anti-Semitism ramped up, but eventually, the Diamants were forced into a ghetto. Then 17, Catholic Fusia was determined to help them survive, even at the risk of her own safety, while also caring for her 6-year-old sister, Helena, after their family was taken by the Nazis for forced labor. Knowing the risks involved, Fusia made a bold decision to harbor Jews. As the number of people she sheltered increased, so did her panic about being caught, but she was determined to do what was right. Cameron (The Knowing, 2017, etc.) used Stefania’s unpublished memoir as well as interviews with family members as source material. She deftly details Fusia’s brave actions and includes moving family photographs in the author’s note. Narrated in the first person, the story highlights essential events in Fusia’s life while maintaining a consistent pace. Readers will be pulled in by the compelling opening and stay for the emotional journey.

An inspirational read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35593-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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