INTERVIEWS & PROFILES

PAM MUÑOZ RYAN
by Lora Shinn

When Echo first called to her, Pam Muñoz Ryan was researching a different story altogether: the nation’s first successful desegregation case in California. Ryan traveled to Lemon Grove, California, to dig into the 1931 case of Roberto Alvarez v. the Lemon Grove School District, where the all-Anglo local school board attempted to segregate children of Mexican or Mexican-American origin.

While ...


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MIMI BAIRD
by Kirk Reed Forrester

No matter how old we are, no matter how many children we may have, a part of us always wants to feel like somebody’s child.

Mimi Baird’s powerful memoir (really a memoir within a memoir) He Wanted the Moon speaks to this longing to be known as a daughter, to embrace the legacy of one’s parents and to feel knitted ...


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LOOKING FOR INTRIGUE? HOP ON A TRAIN.
by Laurie Muchnick

The first publishing sensation of 2015 is Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, a psychological thriller that’s being touted as this year’s answer to Gone Girl; there are three narrators, none of them reliable—especially not Rachel, the eponymous commuter, who drinks so much she can’t remember crucial details of the night she may have witnessed a murder. It’s unusual ...


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SHANNON BURKE
by Gregory McNamee

For years, fans of the genre complained that no one was making good Western films—but then along came The Homesman, Meek’s Cutoff, and the Coen brothers’ remake of True Grit. Similarly, some critics have lamented the decline of the literary Western, perhaps forgetting that Larry McMurtry is still at it, along with the likes of Philipp Meyer, Jeff Guinn, and ...


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BLOGS

ZOMBIES AND HEART
by Thea James

“I wonder if all hearts are made with the same pockets for fear and pain and sadness. They must not be, or if they are, maybe we all don’t know how to use them. Because otherwise so many of our stories would have ended differently.”

In 2012, Courtney Summers wrote a book called This Is Not a Test—her ...


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BEAUTY ALL AROUND
by Julie Danielson

If you look closely at the endpapers of Sidewalk Flowers, the new book from JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith, you get a sense of the beauty within. The endpapers are filled with the tiny, intricate drawings of flowers and birds. Keep going, and you fall into the story of a young girl, walking the city streets with her father ...


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THE BLAZING WORLD OF MARGARET CAVENDISH
by Andrew Liptak

For this week's column, let's go back in time quite a bit. When I first started writing for Kirkus a couple of years ago, I started with Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. Shelley has remained a durable starting point for the modern science-fiction genre, but other scholars note that science fiction didn't emerge ...


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