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from the editor’s desk:

Behind the Scenes of the BEA/ALA Issue B Y C la i b orne

Photo courtesy Michael Thad Carter

Claiborne Smith

Chairman H E R B E RT S I M O N #

Smi t h

President & Publisher M A RC W I N K E L M A N

Walking into Kirkus’ New York office in the weeks before we sent this year’s special BEA/ALA issue to press would have given an investor in a paper mill the conviction that his fat-cat days were right around the corner. Paper was everywhere, in organized piles recognizable to us but a vision of mess to anyone else. Receiving early copies of a book is something we’ve been doing for 81 years; Virginia Kirkus’ archives suggest that beginning in early 1933, she became something of a broken record among publishers for her trendsetting, dogged requests to routinely receive manuscripts at an early stage (which she

or one of her reviewers would read and then return to the publisher). Nowadays, publishers send galleys to all kinds of media outlets (and sometimes to consumers), but for the BEA/ALA issue, we ask publishers to send us three books being published in the upcoming months that they’re excited about. We ask so far in advance that neat, pretty galleys usually haven’t been created yet. Some people can’t wait for summer to arrive; some people think the night of the Oscars is the night that really matters. I get excited waiting for the reviews to come in for the BEA/ALA issue. To be at the forefront of knowing which of this summer’s and fall’s books readers are going to be buzzing about and persuading their friends to read is one of the joys of this job. A critic’s life is filled with hope, not cynicism, as some might think. We feel let down, not vindicated, by a less-than-satisfactory story. Readers are just the same. To see an already notable picture-book writer return with a new offering that “proves to be more exciting than its Caldecott Honor predecessor” (p. 40) or to learn that novelist “[Sarah] Waters keeps getting better” (p. 22) are things to applaud. When a debut writer earns a starred review for a memoir that “serves as a moving examination of the complex forces of ethnicity, nationality and history,” (p. 35) we take no small pleasure in sharing that writer’s talent with readers. Kirkus’ editors have been eyeing a lot of paper these last few months to create this

Managing/Nonfiction Editor E R I C L I E B E T R AU eliebetrau@kirkus.com Fiction Editor L aurie M uchnick lmuchnick@kirkus.com Children’s & Teen Editor VICKY SMITH vsmith@kirkus.com Mysteries Editor THOMAS LEITCH Contributing Editor G R E G O RY M c N A M E E Senior Indie Editor KAREN SCHECHNER kschechner@kirkus.com Indie Editor RYA N L E A H E Y rleahey@kirkus.com Indie Editor D avid R a p p drapp@kirkus.com Assistant Indie Editor M AT T D O M I N O mdomino@kirkus.com Assistant Editor CHELSEA LANGFORD clangford@kirkus.com Copy Editor BETSY JUDKINS Director of Technology E R I K S M A RT T esmartt@kirkus.com Marketing Communications Director SARAH KALINA skalina@kirkus.com Marketing Associate A rden Piacen z a apiacenza@kirkus.com

issue. In each of the sections of the BEA/ALA issue, they spell out the trends among this summer’s and fall’s books and also reveal the big-name writers whose books will be

Designer ALEX HEAD

manuscripts were ready for review by press time). You may not wait around on pins and needles like I do for the BEA/ALA issue to arrive, but I know that, like me, you feel the excitement that a new crop of thoughtful books elicits.

for more re vi e ws and f eatures, vi si t u s on l i n e at kirkus.com. |

Editor in Chief C laiborne S mith csmith@kirkus.com

Advertising/Client Promotions A nna C oo p er acooper@kirkus.com

out this year (the majority of those titles are reviewed in this issue, but not all of their

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Chief Operating Officer M E G L A B O R D E KU E H N mkuehn@kirkus.com

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Index to Starred Reviews........................................................ 6

Index to Starred Reviews.......................................................51

REVIEWS............................................................................................. 6

REVIEWS............................................................................................51

Feature: Marilynne Robinson......................................................... 8

Feature: Eugene Yelchin................................................................ 52

Feature: Sarah Waters................................................................... 10

the trends: What to expect in children’s & teen....... 62

Feature: Colm Tóibín.................................................................... 12 THE Luminaries: Fiction........................................................... 16 THE Trends: Fiction................................................................... 18

teen books Index to Starred Reviews...................................................... 63 REVIEWS........................................................................................... 63

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Feature: Candace Fleming............................................................64

Index to Starred Reviews...................................................... 23

12 Most Cinematic Indie Books of 2014 (So Far).............75

REVIEWS........................................................................................... 23 Feature: Hampton Sides...............................................................24 Feature: Euny Hong...................................................................... 26 Feature: Greil Marcus.................................................................. 28 THE Luminaries: Nonfiction.................................................. 30

Publishers’ booth locations cited in this issue were accurate at press time; please consult the BEA and ALA guides when you register to verify booth locations.

THE Trends: Nonfiction.......................................................... 32

picture books Index to Starred Reviews...................................................... 39 rEVIEWS........................................................................................... 39 Feature: Duncan Tonatiuh...........................................................40 THE Luminaries: children’s & Teen..................................... 50

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Show Stoppers What to look forward to at the biggest trade shows of the year By Claiborne Smith and Vicky Smith

Librarians eagerly checked out new titles at ALA Midwinter this year.

For those of you who make an annual tradition of participating in Book Expo America or the American Library Association’s annual conference, those events this year will feel largely the same as they have in the past: There are free books, intriguing writers talking about their new titles, colleagues to catch up with and parties to attend. But there are a number of changes, large and small, that we highlight for you here.

ALA 2014: A Lighthearted Feel Although I have attended ALA’s Annual Conference as a conference-goer and committee member for a number of years, not one of my current colleagues has ever been to what is to me an annual highlight. “How is it different from BEA?” they ask, and “Should I go, too?” To the first question, I answer, “In ways you have never dreamed.” For one thing, although nonlibrarians naturally associate librarianship with books, they have little sense of the awesome scope of the profession. In addition to the book selectors at school and public libraries who are the core audience for Kirkus Reviews, there are academic librarians, corporate librarians, medical librarians and more, in all their various subspecialties: catalogers, 4

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reference librarians, archivists, systems librarians, etc. All are information professionals dedicated to organizing and making accessible the world’s knowledge—how cool is that? To me, there’s something celebratory in this gathering of librarians that, despite the ever present anxiety over budget cuts and how to manage expanding formats, gives ALA a lighthearted feel. To the second question, I answer, “Hell, yeah.” In the children’s and teen world, obviously, there are award acceptances galore—so many that a participant could probably go from one to the next for the entire weekend. There are Printz (now on Friday, in the time slot formerly occupied by the Booklist forum), Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, Newbery-Caldecott, Margaret A. Edwards, Stonewall, Schneider Family, Sibert, Geisel, Odyssey and Batchelder awards. Clearly envious of all the fun youth librarians have been having for years, adultservices librarians have instituted the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, now in its third year; winners will be both announced and fêted in a program that includes nominated authors or their representatives and committee chair (and action figure) Nancy Pearl. One nonbook award that deserves some serious if morose attention is the inaugural Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. Daniel Handler himself will present “a generous amount of cash from Mr. Snicket’s disreputable gains, along with an odd, symbolic object from his private stash, and a certificate, which may or may not be suitable for framing” to “a librarian who has faced adversity with dignity and integrity intact.” Maybe awards acceptances aren’t your thing, though— there’s still plenty to do. The Book Buzz Theater has been taken out of meeting rooms and put onto the exhibit floor, so you can wander by to hear what the publishers are excited about (OK, this is a bit like BEA)—and then go straight to their booths for the hot new galleys and some tote bags to put them in.

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—Vicky Smith

BEA 2014: Landmark Changes As the publishing industry’s crucial annual gathering spot, Book Expo America has transformed along with the changes that the industry has both made and that have been made to it. This year, however, there are a few changes that BEA organizers feel are more notable than in past years. “There’s always been a lot of changes, but this year it feels like there are more landmark changes,” says Steve Rosato, BEA’s event director. BookCon, the new name of what used to be called Power Reader Day, takes place at the end of BEA, on Saturday, May 31. BEA organizers have revamped the way the event functions. Consumers pay $30 (down from last year’s $50 ticket price) to listen to writers such as Amy Poehler, Martin Short, John Grisham, Mario Batali, Jodi Picoult and John Green, among others, talk about their books and get them signed. Attendees will enter BookCon through a specific entrance, and this year, BookCon has a dedicated hall (which has the sexy designation of 3E). BookCon attendees won’t be able to enter the trade show area of BEA, but Rosato says that this amped-up consumer event allows publishers who are involved to learn who the “core audience” is for a book. BookCon allows the publishers “who want to engage consumers” to do so “in a much more meaningful way,” he says. If BookCon is becoming stronger by having its own dedicated area, the same thinking is behind the new Author Hub, a space on the trade-show floor set aside for self-published writers that features a presentation area, reception desk, large tables for networking and lounge |

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furniture. Rosato says that uPublishU, the mini-conference for indie writers within BEA, has always been successful but that self-published writers hadn’t always been integrated well into the traditional heart of BEA. Indie writers “were coming in and trying to understand” at BEA how traditional publishing works without having a place of their own to network. The idea is that Author Hub “won’t make it awkward for them and will give them a home.” For attendees who stick to the traditional BEA experience, there are a couple of panels that stand out: The Women of Contemporary Fiction panel on May 30 has an impressive range of writers—from bestseller Liane Moriarty (The Husband’s Secret) to Amy Bloom, whose novel Lucky Us, about two sisters who head to Hollywood from Ohio in the ’40s, is Amy Bloom one of July’s anticipated titles. Susan Jane Gilman (Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven) and Randy Susan Meyers (The Comfort of Lies) are also on the panel. The debate about the lack of diversity in children’s books has been raging again, so BEA is producing a packed panel titled Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books? with seven writers, agents and others who have a stake in increasing minority representation in children’s books. Kid’s writer Tonya Bolden (Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty) and Harlan Pacheco, the CEO of Qlovi, which makes e-books available at low cost to increase literacy, are two of the panelists. The popularity of dystopia, paranormal and fantasy in teen books is undeniable, but the real world presents plenty of problems for teen protagonists to confront. Some thoughtful writers appear on the Real YA panel on May 30: E. Lockhart (We Were Liars); Meg Wolitzer—usually known for her adult fiction (The Interestings)—enters the teen tent this fall with Belzhar; and Gayle Forman (If I Stay) and Jandy Nelson (I’ll Give You the Sun).

Photo courtesy Deborah Feingold

Stan Lee—yes, that Stan Lee, the one who co-created Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers—will be one of the Auditorium Speakers, providing a centerpiece for a graphic-novel–rich conference. In addition to seeing Lee, graphic-novel lovers can celebrate 75 years of Batman, sample the “Best and Worst Manga” and just shoot the breeze with other comics lovers in a round-table free-forall. Those not quite so comfortable with the format can familiarize themselves with those tools of decadence at a “Graphic Novel Petting Zoo” and hear about some of the best new realistic graphic novels available. Advocacy-focused division United for Libraries is offering one of the most intriguing sessions: Philippe Petit, the eponymous Man Who Walked Between the Towers, will also be appearing as part of the Auditorium Speaker series. Will he walk the high wire at ALA? Who knows, but Las Vegas does offer some pretty funky architecture…. Given all this, who wouldn’t want to go?

—Claiborne Smith Claiborne Smith is editor in chief of Kirkus Reviews. Vicky Smith is the children’s and teen editor at Kirkus Reviews.

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SONG OF THE SHANK

These titles earned the Kirkus Star:

Allen, Jeffery Renard Graywolf (584 pp.) $18.00 paper | Jun. 17, 2014 978-1-55597-680-4

SONG OF THE SHANK by Jeffery Renard Allen................................. 6 LUCKY US by Amy Bloom......................................................................7 THE MINIATURIST by Jessie Burton......................................................7 KILL MY MOTHER by Jules Feiffer.........................................................8 THE SECRET PLACE by Tana French................................................... 9 FALLING FROM HORSES by Molly Gloss........................................... 9 THE MAGICIAN’S LAND by Lev Grossman.......................................10 THE HOUR OF LEAD by Bruce Holbert.............................................. 11 NEVERHOME by Laird Hunt.............................................................. 13 HOW TO BUILD A GIRL by Caitlin Moran.........................................14 DARK AEMILIA by Sally O’Reilly....................................................... 15 ALPHABET by Kathy Page...................................................................16 RED OR DEAD by David Peace........................................................... 17 FIVES AND TWENTY-FIVES by Michael Pitre..................................18 THE REMEDY FOR LOVE by Bill Roorbach........................................19 LOCK IN by John Scalzi........................................................................19 SOME LUCK by Jane Smiley................................................................ 20 NORA WEBSTER by Colm Tóibín.......................................................21 BARRACUDA by Christos Tsiolkas......................................................21 THE PAYING GUESTS by Sarah Waters..............................................21

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One of America’s most gifted novelists projects dark and daring speculations upon the incredible-but-true 19th-century story of a piano prodigy who was blind, autistic and a slave. In the waning years of antebellum slavery, a rapidly fracturing America was introduced to a stunning musical phenomenon: Thomas Wiggins, a young black slave from Georgia known only as “Blind Tom,” who “sounded out” his first piano composition at age 5 and, five years later, was famous enough to play before President James Buchanan at the White House. What made Tom even more remarkable was that he was both blind and autistic, thus compounding audiences’ astonishment at his extraordinary ability to not only perform classical works, but to spontaneously weave startling variations on American folk ditties into original musical tapestries. Because most of the details of Wiggins’ story have been lost to history, there are many blank, enigmatic spaces to fill. Chicagoborn Allen (Holding Pattern, 2008, etc.) assumes the imaginative writer’s task of improvising shape and depth where elusive or missing facts should be. What results from his effort is an absorbing, haunting narrative that begins a year after the Civil War ends when Tom, a teenager, and his white guardian, Eliza Bethune, arrive in a nameless northern city (presumably New York), where they are contacted by a black man who intends to reunite Tom with his newly liberated mother. The story rebounds to Tom’s childhood, during which he struggles to feel his surroundings despite his compromised senses and finds his only warmth (literally) beneath the piano belonging to Eliza’s slaveholding family. Allen’s psychological insight and evocative language vividly bring to life all the black and white people in Tom’s life who, in seeking to understand or exploit Tom’s unholy gifts, are both transformed and transfixed by his inscrutable, resolutely self-contained personality. If there’s any justice, Allen’s visionary work, as startlingly inventive as one of his subject’s performances, should propel him to the front rank of American novelists. (BEA booth: 1746; ALA booth: 528.)

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COLD TYPE

Araton, Harvey Cinco Puntos (224 pp.) $24.95 | $15.95 paper | $15.95 e-book Jul. 22, 2014 978-1-935955-88-7 978-1-935955-71-9 paper 978-1-935955-72-6 e-book

On a journey from Ohio to Hollywood to Long Island to London in the 1940s, a couple of plucky half sisters continually reinvent themselves with the help of an unconventional assortment of friends and relatives. In 1939, 12-year-old Eva is abandoned by her feckless mother on her father’s Ohio doorstep after the death of his wealthy wife. After a couple of years of neglect, Eva and her glamorous older half sister, Iris, escape to Hollywood, where Iris embarks on a promising career in film—until she’s caught |

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LUCKY US

Bloom, Amy Random House (256 pp.) $26.00 | Jul. 29, 2014 978-1-4000-6724-4

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A story about a newspaper, a family, a strike, and social and economic change— sketched against the backdrop of New York in the 1990s. New York Times  writer and columnist Araton knows newspapers and knows New York, and in his seventh book (and first novel) he explores clashes more personal, more searing, more universal than any of the sports stories he’s told before. This is a tale about collisions: between generations, between classes, between different crafts in a rapidly changing economy, between the past and the future, between father and son. These are collisions that no one wanted and that no one could avoid. They break the rules, they break apart families, they create heartbreak. They are as ancient as the hills and as current as today’s news—and the existential crisis that surrounds today’s newspapers. By crossing a picket line that includes his father, a hard-boiled shop steward, the reporter  Jamie Kramer crosses a moral line, as well—and the book’s action and its interest revolve around what happens on both sides of those two lines. Tensions rise with the unions out on strike, but management and union defectors ensure that copies of the paper are out on the street. Before long, union workers drift back to their jobs— setting up one of the freshest surprise endings of the stale genre of the newspaper novel. A novel with a strong whiff of the  New York Daily News  strike of 1990-1991—and with ominous foreshadowings of what the protagonist describes as “this internet thing everybody’s talking about.’’ (BEA booth: 1102; ALA booth: 343.)

on camera in a lesbian dalliance with a starlet, which gets her blacklisted. With the help of a sympathetic gay Mexican makeup artist as well as their con-artist father, Edgar, who has recently reappeared in their lives, the girls travel across the country to New York and finagle jobs at the Great Neck estate of a wealthy Italian immigrant family. Hired as a governess, Iris promptly falls in love with the family’s pretty cook, Reenie, inconveniently married to Gus, a likable mechanic of German ancestry. In this partly epistolary novel interspersed with both first-person and third-person narration, Bloom (Where the God of Love Hangs Out, 2010, etc.) tells a bittersweet story from multiple viewpoints. The novel shares the perspectives of Eva, Iris, Edgar, Gus and Cora, a black nightclub singer who becomes Edgar’s live-in girlfriend and companion to Eva. Though the letter-writing conceit doesn’t always ring true, since it’s unlikely that one sister would recount shared experiences to the other in letters years later, the novel works in aggregate, accumulating outlooks to tell a multilayered, historical tale about different kinds of love and family. Bloom enlivens her story with understated humor as well as offbeat and unforgettable characters. Despite a couple of anachronisms, this is a hard-luck coming-of-age story with heart. (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 542.)

THE MINIATURIST

Burton, Jessie Ecco/HarperCollins (416 pp.) $26.99 | Aug. 26, 2014 978-0-06-230681-4 A talented new writer of historical fiction evokes 17th-century Amsterdam, the opulent but dangerous Dutch capital, where an innocent young wife must navigate the intrigues of her new household. “Every woman is the architect of her own fortune,” reads 18-year-old Nella Oortman in a message that will gather meaning like a rolling stone as this novel progresses. It comes from the peculiarly knowledgeable artisan who is creating miniature objects for a dollhouse-sized version of her new home, which Nella received as a wedding gift. Hastily married to a wealthy older merchant, Johannes Brandt, after her father’s death left her provincial family struggling, Nella arrives alone in Amsterdam, readying herself for her unknown husband’s demands. Instead, she finds herself sleeping by herself, ignored by Johannes and dismissed by his brusque sister, Marin, who rules the house and influences the business, too. Distracted by the wedding present, Nella commissions a miniaturist to supply tiny items of furniture; but these exquisite objects and their accompanying messages soon begin to bear a chilly, even prophetic relationship to people and things—suggesting their maker knows more about the family and its business than is possible or safe. In a debut that evokes Old Master interiors and landscapes, British actress Burton depicts a flourishing society built on water and trade, where women struggle to be part of the world. Her empathetic heroine, Nella, endures

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Marilynne Robinson’s Lila: A Return to Gilead, and to the Idea of Grace Photo courtesy Kelly Ruth Winter

loneliness and confusion until a sequence of domestic shocks forces her to grow up very quickly. Finally obliged to become that architect of her own fortune, Nella acts to break the miniaturist’s spell and save everything she holds dear. With its oblique storytelling, crescendo of female empowerment and wrenching ending, this novel establishes Burton as a fresh and impressive voice; book groups in particular will relish it. (BEA booth: 2038/9; ALA booth: 503.)

KILL MY MOTHER

Feiffer, Jules Liveright/Norton (160 pp.) $27.95 | Aug. 25, 2014 978-0-87140-314-8

Lila

Robinson, Marilynne Farrar, Straus and Giroux

If you associate Calvinism with the disapproving scowls of prim, pious fire-and-brimstone types, you probably haven’t been to Gilead, where an endlessly sympathetic pastor named John Ames tends to a flock whose lives are touched by sorrow, tragedy, joy, betrayal, bewilderment, loneliness and personal shortcoming—in short, the same stuff that besets everyone else everywhere in the world. That small Iowa town is the fictional creation of Marilynne Robinson, a transplant from back East who reckons that, though she spends time elsewhere, she’s found a home in the plainspoken, deliberately paced Midwest. “A lot of the energy in writing the Gilead stories, in fact, comes from the sense of discovery,” Robinson says. “I’ve been having my characters show me around, and through them I’ve been getting to know the place.” One such character, readers of Robinson’s 2004 novel Gilead will remember, is Lila Ames, the pastor’s much younger wife, who wandered into town quite by happenstance—or perhaps not. The story that Robinson tells in Lila (review on p. 19) takes its title character back in time into experiences that one doesn’t normally associate with a minister’s spouse. When the book publishes in early October, readers will find, though, that Lila’s not the only one who has had a hard road to travel. As Robinson brings her to center stage, Lila’s unfolding story turns on one of the author’s familiar themes: namely, an exploration of the Christian concept of grace and of what it means—and can mean—in everyday life. Lila follows Gilead by a full decade, and the second installment in the Gilead series, Home, by six years. “After I write a novel,” Robinson says of the long time between books, “the characters stay with me. I wait and wait for them to go away. Lila kept coming back, though. Yes, my characters stay in my mind, and I write books for them.” —Gregory McNamee 8

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Award-winning cartoonist/illustrator/ author/playwright Feiffer (Backing into Forward, 2010, etc.) delivers his first graphic novel, a sprawling, kinetic noir of giant women, jumbled identities and warped relations. Annie Hannigan hates her mother. The resentment—and teenage Annie’s incessant acting up—stems from her sense that mom Elsie has abandoned her since the murder of Annie’s father, an honest cop who ran afoul of the mob during Prohibition. Lately Elsie has been busy working as the secretary of alcoholic, abrasive private eye Neil Hammond, an associate of her late husband’s who promised to solve the murder, though he’s made little progress for two years. When a towering, classy blonde steps into Hammond’s office and hires him to track down an equally tall, equally blonde woman, it sets off a series of events that will pepper the subsequent decade with bullets, beatings and betrayals. Mixed in is a prizefighter who is light on his feet but down in the mouth; Annie’s milquetoast partner in crime who comes into his own while serving in WWII’s Pacific theater; fleshy scandals of golden-age Hollywood; a mysterious bat-wielding giant of a woman who communicates only through song; and Feiffer’s twistedly comic take on humanity. Things come to a head during a USO show in the jungles of Tarawa, where parties bristle with cross-purposes and secret agendas until gunfire lays the truth bare. The story is wickedly imagined and deftly plotted, drawing on numerous classic noir influences while including charmingly unique flourishes like Elsie thwarting a pack of street toughs (one of whom wears a crown à la Jughead) after appropriating a pistol from a disagreeable communist liquor-store clerk. Feiffer’s illustrations have a rough-hewn quality, with the jumbled lines of his figures and faces clumping evocatively like Giacometti sculptures, while his human forms move with the fluidity of Degas’ horses across open panels of dancing and boxing. The entire work feels pulled from an earlier time yet explosively modern, a madcap relic animated by an outrageous mind. An unusual, unforgettable, incomparable pulpy punch. (This review was first published in the 4/1/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 1921; ALA booth: 616.)

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NO LIMITS

Foster, Lori Harlequin (384 pp.) $7.99 paper | Aug. 26, 2014 978-0-373-77904-8

French, Tana Viking (464 pp.) $27.95 | Sep. 2, 2014 978-0-670-02632-6

A hint of the supernatural spices the latest from a mystery master as two detectives try to probe the secrets teenage girls keep—and the lies they tell— after murder at a posh boarding school. The Dublin novelist (Broken Harbor,  2012, etc.) has few peers in her combination of literary stylishness and intricate, clockwork plotting. Here, French challenges herself and her readers with a narrative strategy that |

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THE SECRET PLACE

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Rising mixed martial arts star Cannon Colter comes home to Warfield, Ohio, to learn he’s the recipient of an inheritance that ties him to a local business and to Yvette Sweeny, the girl he never forgot. Cannon Colter is a hero, in the ring and in his lower-middle-class neighborhood in (fictional) Warfield. Years ago, he took a stand against some unsavory characters— “[His mom’s] insistence on staying put was Cannon’s number one reason for learning to fight...determined to protect his mother and his sister”—which ultimately led to his career. But before he started fighting professionally, he helped save the life of an area pawnshop owner and his granddaughter, Yvette, when they were targeted by a violent gang of criminals. Yvette left for California soon after, but Cannon’s never forgotten the pretty girl he grew up with and whose life hung in the balance during those tense hours. Now her grandfather has left a deathbed request that Cannon help Yvette overcome her bad memories and move back to Ohio, where she has returned to settle her grandfather’s estate. Cannon reluctantly agrees, torn between wanting Yvette and not wanting to take advantage of her vulnerability. Meanwhile, Yvette is disgusted by her perceived inability to make Cannon see her as anything but a victim. The situation goes from bad to worse when a stalking ex-boyfriend begins to harass her and some shadowy enemy seems to want to drive her out of town. Yvette’s bid to be seen as a strong, independent woman occasionally has her coming across somewhere between annoying and stupid, a rare character blip for this popular author. Nonetheless, the sexual tension is electric. Foster’s new series revolves around Cannon’s gym and his MMA friends but links seamlessly to her popular Love Undercover titles. Readers will be thrilled with Foster’s new sexy batch of fight club heroes and the women who love them. (BEA booth: 3038; ALA booth: 363.)

finds chapters alternating between two different time frames and points of view. One strand concerns four girls at exclusive St. Kilda’s who are so close they vow they won’t even have boyfriends. Four other girls from the school are their archrivals, more conventional and socially active. The novel pits the girls against each other almost as two gangs, with the plot pivoting on the death of a rich boy from a nearby school who had been sneaking out to see at least two of the girls. The second strand features the two detectives who spend a long day and night at the school, many months after the unsolved murder. Narrating these chapters is Stephen, a detective assigned to cold cases, who receives an unexpected visit from one of the girls, Holly, a daughter of one of Stephen’s colleagues on the force, who brings a postcard she’d found on a bulletin board known as “The Secret Place” that says “I know who killed him.” The ambitious Stephen, who has a history with both the girl and her father, brings the postcard to Conway, a hard-bitten female detective whose case this had been. The chapters narrated by Stephen concern their day of interrogation and investigation at the school, while the alternating ones from the girls’ perspectives cover the school year leading up to the murder and its aftermath. Beyond the murder mystery, which leaves the reader in suspense throughout, the novel explores the mysteries of friendship, loyalty and betrayal, not only among adolescents, but within the police force as well. Everyone is this meticulously crafted novel might be playing—or being played by—everyone else. (BEA booth: 1521; ALA booth: 442/3.)

FALLING FROM HORSES

Gloss, Molly Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (336 pp.) $25.00 | Oct. 28, 2014 978-0-544-27929-2 Gloss (The Hearts of Horses, 2007, etc.) presents moviemaking as anything but glamorous in this fictional memoir by an aging artist recalling his year as a movie extra/stuntman in 1938 Hollywood. In a matter-of-fact, laconic, utterly authentic-sounding voice, narrator Bud Frazer describes the year he tried breaking into movies, as well as his childhood on a hardscrabble Oregon ranch and, to a lesser extent, the years after he left Hollywood to become an artist. Part of Bud’s charm is his own distrust of his memories, so readers forgive the old man (and by extension Gloss) for Bud’s tendency to ramble and repeat himself. Four years after his undemonstrative but loving family was rocked by his younger sister’s accidental death, barely 19-year-old Bud was working as an itinerant ranch hand in Oregon when he decided to head to Hollywood and become a movie cowboy. On the long bus ride south, he sat beside Lily Shaw, whose ambition was to write screenplays. Almost from the start, Bud makes it clear that while he and Lily would never be more than friends, their friendship was crucial to him while they were in Hollywood and

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In The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters Makes a Moment of the 20th Century a Little Darker Photo courtesy Charlie Hopkinson

has remained important long since their paths diverged. Lily began a slow rise from secretary to reader to writer while Bud’s first job at a barn supplying horses for low-budget films segued into work as a cowboy stuntman. The elder Bud looks back and second-guesses choices he made as a kid. But even as he drank and partied with a fast crowd, he continued attending movies with Lily once a week. While Lily persevered past her disillusionment to become a successful writer, Bud’s experiences on movie sets—the novel is brimming with instances of brutality to horses and their riders—made him realize Hollywood was not for him, and he moved on. Don’t expect a neatly structured plot, but the acute sense of time and place, coupled with a cast of characters drawn with unsentimental but abiding affection, makes for a hypnotic read. (BEA booth: 1657; ALA booth: 403.)

the paying guests

Waters, Sarah Riverhead

Sarah Waters is one of our best historical novelists— actually, one of our best novelists, period, but her novels do happen to take place in the past. Her first three, beginning with Tipping the Velvet, are set in Victorian England; The Night Watch and The Little Stranger are set in the 1940s. Her new book, The Paying Guests—about a genteel mother and daughter forced to take in lodgers—falls between them, in 1922. On my ideal bookshelf, there would be a Waters novel for every decade of the 20th century. That “would be a nice challenge,” the author said recently by email. “But really you’d need several per decade, to do the decade justice: There are always so many stories to tell, so many different perspectives.” Can we expect another novel set in the ’20s, then? “The Paying Guests was quite grueling to write, because its heroines have such a tough time of it; it would be interesting to try telling a very different ’20s story, something in which the characters get to have a bit of fun!” she says. “But I always think that when I finish a book. I always think ‘Phew. Let’s make the next one a nice romantic comedy’—and the next book just gets darker and darker.” Dark things do tend to happen in Waters’ books, and they’re always quite surprising. I wondered what Waters thinks about spoilers in reviews. “I like to think that with a novel, I’m sending my reader along a particular, well-constructed path, with revelations and surprises at carefully planned moments,” she says. Much of the drama of her new novel arrives in the second half of the book. “I can see already that it’s going to be hard to talk about the book without giving some of that away,” she acknowledges. “Does it matter? Maybe not. After all, it’s not so much what happens in a story as how the characters respond to it that should really hold our interest.” —Laurie Muchnick 10

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THE MAGICIAN’S LAND

Grossman, Lev Viking (416 pp.) $27.95 | Aug. 5, 2014 978-0-670-01567-2

Deeply satisfying finale to the best-selling fantasy trilogy (The Magicians, 2009; The Magician King, 2011). After being dethroned and exiled from the magical kingdom of Fillory for helping his friend Julia become a demigoddess, Quentin returns to Earth to teach at his alma mater, Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. But when his student Plum stumbles across the school’s resident malevolent demon, which Quentin refuses to kill because it was once his lover Alice, they’re both thrown out and forced to take a risky freelance magic job. This involves stealing a suitcase that once belonged to Plum’s great-grandfather Rupert, one of the five Chatwin siblings whose adventures in Fillory were the subject of best-selling books Plum thinks are fictional—until she opens the suitcase to find Rupert’s memoirs. They fill in some blanks about what really happened to the Chatwins in Fillory and provide clues that will help Quentin’s old comrades Eliot and Janet, still ruling over Fillory, who have been warned by the ram-god Ember that the land is slowly dying. As in the previous novels, Grossman captures the magic of fantasy books cherished in youth and repurposes it to decidedly adult ends. He slyly alludes to the Harry Potter series and owes a clear debt to J.K. Rowling’s great action scenes, though his characters’ magical battles have a bravura all their own. But his deepest engagement remains with C.S. Lewis, as Narnia is the obvious prototype for Fillory; the philosophical conclusion Grossman draws from his land’s narrowly averted apocalypse is the exact opposite of that offered in Lewis’ overbearing Christian allegory. Human emotions and desires balance unearthly powers, especially in the drama of Alice’s painful return. A beautiful scene in Fillory’s Drowned Garden reconnects Quentin with the innocent, dreaming boy he once was yet affirms the value of the chastened grown-up he has become.

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The essence of being a magician, as Quentin learns to define it, could easily serve as a thumbnail description of Grossman’s art: “the power to enchant the world.” (BEA booth: 1521; ALA booth: 442/3.)

THE HOUR OF LEAD

Holbert’s (Lonesome Animals, 2012) second novel is a tale of the American West as faithful to the legends as McCarthy’s Border Trilogy. Holbert’s work rings out with the hard, clean truths of love and loyalty, family and friendship, all flowering from thickets of poetic language, some simple (“work was praying the same prayer

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Holbert, Bruce Counterpoint (400 pp.) $25.00 | Jul. 15, 2014 978-1-61902-292-8

everyday”), some gut-wrenching (“When he finally took the baby from her and held her bloody stillness in his hands, he wept”). Matt and Luke Lawson are twins, born to the rich land and open skies of eastern Washington. In 1918, as they journey home from school one day, they’re trapped in an epic blizzard; their father leaves the farmhouse to search for them. Of the three, only Matt survives. Everything else that unfolds is set in motion by that tragedy. Matt’s mother turns inward. Still a young teen, Matt runs the farm while obsessively searching for his father’s body; he’s accompanied by Wendy, a storekeeper’s daughter, to whom he feels devotion. But Matt’s also angry, frustrated and simmering with violence. He’s the quintessential Western hero—taciturn and strong as iron with an unbreachable moral center. Rejected by Wendy, he abandons his mother and the farm; guilt-ridden Wendy moves to the farm to help. In this superb allegorical tale, Matt wanders through bar fights and ranch work and then settles in with Roland Jarms, a dissolute but good-hearted gambler. There, adrift in his great odyssey, Matt stays, and during his exile, he re-forms himself—“I believe I’m safe for people now”—before returning to Wendy

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Fourteen Years Later, Colm Tóibín Returns to Nora Webster Photo courtesy Phoebe Ling

bearing a motherless child he’s named Angel. From the great flat land where “[w]ind gusted from the north and geese sliced ahead of it through the sky,” Holbert’s powerful work echoes the romance of America’s Western experience. A masterpiece. (BEA booth: 1221; ALA booth: 322/327.)

THE KILLS Sutler, The Massive, The Kill, and The Hit

House, Richard Picador (1024 pp.) $35.00 | Aug. 5, 2014 978-1-250-05243-8

nora webster

Tóibín, Colm Scribner

Colm Tóibín’s Nora Webster, which will be out in October, has been called a “partial sequel” to his 2009 novel Brooklyn, but the creation of the two books is exactly the reverse of their publication dates. Nora Webster is about a young widow in a small Irish town in the 1960s who has to forge her own way in a world of people whose advice is unceasing and usually not very helpful. Tóibín started work on the novel in the spring of 2000, when he also was writing The Master, his bestselling novel that imagines the thoughts and motivations of Henry James. He continued working on The Master, which was published in 2004, and put Nora Webster down. When he returned to writing it, though, “I found Brooklyn in the first few pages” of Nora Webster and instead of Nora’s story, pursued the tale of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish woman from Enniscorthy who moves to Brooklyn in the ’50s. So now, 14 years after he began writing about her, the spotlight is on Nora rather than Eilis (although Eilis will occupy our attention again: The film adaptation of Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan and with a script by Nick Hornby, began shooting in April and is scheduled for release in 2015). In a starred review, we call Nora Webster a “subtle, pitchperfect sonata of a novel” (review on p. 21).. Tóibín evokes the messy mechanics of grief, as nearly everyone, it seems, in Nora’s small town vies for her attention to press upon her their various strains of advice. Meanwhile, she is uncertain how to handle her boys’ suffering while grappling with her own. The precision and sharp insights of Tóibín’s writing about what Nora experiences after her husband dies feels lived-in, perhaps even experienced. “Yes, I saw it and it stayed with me because it seemed strange and not the way anyone else described it,” Tóibín says about his own family’s experience of grief. “I remember in my family we were all trying to talk about something else and all these people came and said, ‘No, you need to talk about this.’ And we were trying to move on with life.” —Claiborne Smith 12

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A sprawling, subterranean, sometimes-surreal novel of the new world order, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, in which Bolaño and Pynchon wave in passing as we dodge between IEDs and sinister plots. House (Uninvited, 2001, etc.) has scarcely introduced us to civilian contractor John Jacob Ford before Ford is told to disappear: An op has been blown, and it’s best for him to skedaddle. What’s he been doing? All kinds of shady work in Iraq for a company named HOSCO; one mission involves the transport of millions and billions of dollars in cash (easily skimmable) in “backpacks, suitcases, briefcases, even brown-paper bags.” Ford, duly renamed Sutler, now finds himself in the thick of an elaborate project to construct a secret city in the desert of southern Iraq—to what purpose remains murky, but clearly it’s all for the fiscal benefit of the company and the various First World flags under which it flies. (It’s a nicely symbolic touch that the illusory city is to be founded atop a flaming garbage dump that doesn’t officially exist.) As the story progresses, Ford/Sutler’s attachment to the real world becomes increasingly tenuous: He’s a shadow in a world of spooks, a cipher barely moored to the planet the rest of us inhabit. As he travels through the desert and beyond, moving from book to book (there are three more-or-less closely related tales here and a fourth that, at least in a fashion, rules them all), the stories told about him and all the weird goings-on in the Mesopotamian sands become ever more hushed, ever more fraught. That a tumultuous place such as Iraq invites Rashomon-like treatment is a commonplace, but House’s tale, ingenious and well-written as it is, goes on much too long. And though he does a good job controlling details and making economical use of his secondary characters, the story is too clever by half, with threads too easy to lose. Ambitious and often brilliant. But, as one character says, “It’s confusing.”  And so it is. (BEA booth: 1738; ALA booth: 528.)

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NEVERHOME

Hunt, Laird Little, Brown (224 pp.) $26.00 | Sep. 1, 2014 978-0-316-97013-4

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A novel that takes us there and back again, “there” being the Civil War and back again, a farm in Indiana. Constance “Ash” Thompson and her husband, Bartholomew, are a young couple with a farm, though their roles are a bit inverted, for Ash is fearless and a crack shot while Bartholomew has bad vision and is much more timid. Ash feels strongly about supporting the Union cause, but one of them has to stay home and tend the crops and animals, so Ash enlists and passes for a male soldier. She narrates her adventures crisply and matter-of-factly as she goes through her slapdash basic training and soon finds herself at the Battle of Antietam. She becomes expert in carrying off her role as a man, spitting and cursing

with the boys but also showing herself invaluable as a marksman (even when this only involves foraging for squirrels to make a stew). Eventually, Ash is betrayed by someone she thought she could trust, and she finds the battle is not the most difficult challenge she faces, for rumor has it that a “whore from Chattanooga” has been dressing up as a man and infiltrating Union lines. When she persuades an officer that she’s neither a whore nor a spy, she’s incarcerated in an asylum, for it’s concluded that lunacy is the only other possible cause for her cross-dressing. After suffering abundant humiliations at the hands of a female “keeper,” Ash cleverly (and ironically) escapes by switching clothes with a Union guard. By this time, she’s determined to get home to Bartholomew—and she does—only to find that some local thugs have taken over the farm. Of course, she vows vengeance, though this revenge is exacted in a way that leads to tragedy. While comparisons to Cold Mountain are inevitable, Ash’s journey has its own integrity.  Hunt keeps the pace brisk and inserts some new feminist twists into the genre of the Civil War odyssey. (BEA booth: 1839; ALA booth: 423.)

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THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING

Johansen, Erika Harper/HarperCollins (448 pp.) $26.99 | Jul. 8, 2014 978-0-06-229036-6

Chick lit meets swords and sorcery in the perfect commodity for a hot demographic. But is it art? Debut novelist Johansen turns in a fantasy novel that’s derivative of Tolkien, as so many books in the genre are—it’s got its merry band of warriors, its struggle for a throne that has a long and tangled history, its battle for good and evil. That this novel just happens to have commanded a huge advance and a movie deal, with Emma Watson attached at this writing to play the heroine, Kelsea, is incidental to the tale, which, schematized, would be pretty by-the-numbers. As a worldbuilding exercise, it has many deficiencies: While the story is set in the not-too-distant future, its trappings are medieval and not, as in A Canticle for Leibowitz, because of an intervening apocalypse; it’s a churchy and mystical sort of place, but the heroine has a command of Mendelian genetics (“Red hair was a recessive gene, and in the three centuries since the Crossing, it had bred slowly and steadily out of the population”). But, continuity errors and improbabilities aside—when hiding from a deadly enemy, for instance, a troop of royal guards isn’t really likely to get drunk, sing loud songs and keep the orcs awake all night—Johansen adds value to the tale with well-crafted sentences that sometimes build into exuberant paragraphs: “The queenship she’d inherited, problematic enough in the abstract, now appeared insurmountable. But of course, she had already known the road would be difficult. Carlin had told her so obliquely, through years spent studying the troubled nations and kingdoms of the past.” On the plus side, too, is Johansen’s wise choice to make the heroine a plain-ish Jane who learns on the go, discovering her inner resources as she emerges from adolescence into adulthood. And applause, too, for some nicely gory closing moments. A middling Middle Earth-ian yarn, then, that seems destined to be the next big thing among the  Game of Thrones set. (BEA booth: 2038/9; ALA booth: 503.)

10:04

Lerner, Ben Farrar, Straus and Giroux (240 pp.) $25.00 | Sep. 2, 2014 978-0-86547-810-7 An acclaimed but modest-selling novelist (not unlike the author himself) muses semiautobiographically on time, life and art. “Proprioception”: The narrator of Lerner’s knotty second novel returns often to that word. It refers to the sense of where one’s own body is in relation to things, a signature theme for an author who’s determined to pinpoint exactly where he is 14

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emotionally and philosophically. As the novel opens, our hero has earned a hefty advance for his second book on the strength of his debut and a New Yorker story. This echoes Lerner’s real life, in which his first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station (2011), was a critical hit; the New Yorker story included in this novel did indeed appear in the magazine. What to make of such self-referentiality? More than you’d expect. Lerner blurs the lines between fact and fiction not out of self-indulgence but as a way to capture experience that emphasizes detail over narrative structure. That can pack both an emotional and an intellectual punch. Watching Christian Marclay’s art film The Clock (from which the book derives its title), Lerner is free to consider the distinctions between real time and imaginary time. Writing about his dead-ended attempt to make a novel out of fake letters between well-known writers, he plays with real and invented identities. There’s plenty of dry wit in  10:04  and some laugh-out-loud moments too (as when he’s asked to deliver a sperm sample on behalf of a friend eager to have a child). But as in his first novel, Lerner’s chief tone is somber; Topic A remains whether his ambition will fully connect with his art. At times he seems to strain to make scraps of experience (a residency in Texas; prepping for Superstorm Sandy; a shift at a Brooklyn grocery co-op) relevant to his themes, but few novelists are working so hard to make experience grist for the mill. Provocative and thoughtful, if at times wooly and interior. (BEA booth: 1738/39; ALA booth: 528.)

HOW TO BUILD A GIRL

Moran, Caitlin Harper/HarperCollins (352 pp.) $26.99 | Sep. 23, 2014 978-0-06-233597-5 From British humorist Moran (How to Be a Woman, 2012, etc.), an overweight, socially inept teen drops out of school to become a rock critic and sexual adventuress. Fourteen-year-old Johanna Morrigan shares a bedroom with both her older and younger brothers, though the frequency of her trysts with her hairbrush might recommend otherwise. The birth of unexpected twin siblings, so far known only as David and Mavid, have made the family’s Thatcher-era financial situation more desperate than ever. Her dad’s attempts to revive his music career by networking at the local pub have led Johanna to conclude “the future only comes to our house when it is drunk.” After a humiliating appearance on a local talk show, the unsinkable Johanna goes for re-invention from the ground up. She renames herself Dolly Wilde after Oscar’s niece (“this amazing alcoholic lesbian who was dead scandalous”), assembles a wall collage of inspiring women and sexy men (including “Lenin when he was very young—I don’t know exactly what he went on to do but I do know that he looks hot here”), and breaks away from her parents’ playlist, substituting Bikini Kill and Courtney Love for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. By 1992, 17-yearold “Dolly” has wangled herself a job writing reviews at Disc and

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“First-rate historical fiction: marvelously atmospheric and emotionally engaging.” from dark aemilia

DARK AEMILIA A Novel Of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady

Music Echo magazine, which leads to her encountering and falling in love with a perfectly imagined rock star named John Kite, “the first person I’d ever met who made me feel normal.” Their ecstatic, chaste night together is the high point of the book. After that, she weathers the perils of being both the meanest and easiest music critic in town. Hilarious autobiographical fiction debut for Britain’s Lena Dunham—if you can forgive a dot too much nasty sex and poignant lessons learned. (BEA booth: 2038/9; ALA booth: 503.)

O’Reilly, Sally Picador (448 pp.) $26.00 | $12.99 e-book | May 27, 2014 978-1-250-04813-4 978-1-250-04814-1 e-book

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British author O’Reilly makes her U.S. debut with a gripping novel that gives feisty feminist voice to the unknown woman who inspired Shakespeare’s sonnets. Their romance clearly has no future: She is the mistress of the elderly Lord Hunsdon; he is a playwright with little cash and a wife in Stratford. Yet for a few rapturous months in 1592, Aemilia Bassano and Will Shakespeare are swept away by a passion (vividly and earthily described by O’Reilly) neither of them will ever know again. When Aemilia becomes pregnant, she

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The Insanity Plea A New Legal Thriller By Larry D. Thompson

Best Selling Author of Dead Peasants, The Trial and So Help Me God

“...fierce courtroom drama...” “...intoxicating...and nail-biting...” “...the courtroom scenes often soar...”

— Kirkus Reviews

A young nurse is savagely killed during a pre-dawn run on Galveston’s seawall...a spell-binding tale of four amateur sleuths who must find, track and trap a serial killer as they prepare for and defend Wayne Little’s brother whose mind is trapped in psychosis. Available on Amazon and Kindle Publication and Film rights via Story Merchant Books

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atchity@storymerchant.com

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The Luminaries: Fiction Many of this summer’s and fall’s most anticipated fiction titles are reviewed in this issue. The galleys of some, however, weren’t available by press time; here are a few we’re eagerly awaiting: Dave Eggers’ Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? opens with two men, a kidnapper and the NASA astronaut he’s chained to a post, and is written entirely in dialogue. …Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is much shorter than 1Q84, his last blockbuster hit; and who else could get away with calling his main character “colorless” and still sell more than 1 million copies in a week in Japan? …Hilary Mantel has taken a break from her fictional life of Thomas Cromwell—to the dismay of her many fans—for a book of short stories with another controversial political figure in the title: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and Other Stories. …Ian McEwan’s The Children Act explores a hot-button issue: parents who refuse medical treatment for their children because of their religious beliefs. …David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks returns to the peripatetic structure of his earlier novels; it follows a woman from 1984 to 2044 in locations ranging from Ireland to Baghdad, Switzerland and New York. …Lauren Beukes had a hit last summer with her timetraveling serial-killer novel, The Shining Girls; her new book, Broken Monsters, is about a series of freakish crimes set among the abandoned warehouses of Detroit. …Brian Morton’s fans have been waiting eight years for a new book; he returns on Sept. 23 with Florence Gordon, about a 75-year-old feminist icon and “complete pain in the neck” who’s cantankerously trying to write her memoirs and avoid dealing with her son and his family. —Laurie Muchnick

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makes the pragmatic choice and convinces Hunsdon the baby is his; he arranges her marriage to a complaisant courtier. Will’s anguish turns to hatred when he walks in on the heavily pregnant Aemilia being raped by the dissolute Henry Wriothesley and takes Wriothesley’s word that it’s consensual. Of course he would believe another man, bitterly concludes Aemilia, who throughout the narrative engages readers’ sympathy with her outrage over the way women are kept down and denied a voice. Ten years later, when desperation to cure her plague-stricken son drives Aemilia to practice black magic, it’s utterly appropriate that she summons the demon Lilith, biblical Adam’s rebellious first wife. (The rather lurid supernatural elements are acceptable in the context of the Elizabethan worldview O’Reilly ably recaptures.) In return for her help, Lilith commands Aemilia to write The Tragedie of Ladie Macbeth, a savage affirmation of women’s power that—you guessed it—Aemilia offers to Shakespeare’s partner Richard Burbage, who promptly turns it over to Will to be remade as Macbeth. It’s an insult even worse than the vindictive portrait of her in his sonnets, but Aemilia and Will still love each other, painfully and without hope. O’Reilly brings her star-crossed lovers together and drives them apart through plot twists that are, for once, credible outgrowths of the characters’ personalities and beliefs, finally giving them a tender, heartbreaking parting. First-rate historical fiction: marvelously atmospheric and emotionally engaging. (This review was first published in the 4/15/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 528. )

ALPHABET

Page, Kathy Biblioasis (304 pp.) $16.95 paper | Oct. 14, 2014 978-1-927428-93-1 A moving novel about knowledge, self-awareness and the power of words, set in the purgatory of prison. This young man’s life demands our attention and refuses to let go. Simon Austen is serving life imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend in a fit of uncontrollable rage. It’s Margaret Thatcher’s 1980s England, but he is lost in time, attending sessions with institutional psychiatrists who might be able to help him gain parole. He learns to read with the aid of a prison volunteer and writes letters for his fellow inmates to lawyers, mothers and lovers, considering it his job. He also writes his version of his life story, tattooing his body with the words others have called him in spite and hate: “ARROGANT,” “WEIRDO,” “BASTARD,” “COLD,” “MURDERER.” Then “COURAGEOUS,” inspired by Bernadette “Bernie” Nightingale, a counselor he fantasizes about and works with to enter an experimental program that may move his parole forward. Page writes fiercely, drawing a fine portrait of a man who lives daily, routinely, fragilely in an environment that can erupt in violence at any time. It does, in a powerful scene where Simon is gangbeaten, has bleach poured down his throat, and is sent to a

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RED OR DEAD

Peace, David Melville House (736 pp.) $30.00 | May 27, 2014 978-1-61219-368-7 A story of faith, ambition, socialism and a last-place English football club, combining a true story with eternal truths. English novelist Peace is no stranger to mixing fiction with the football pitch (The Damned UTD, 2006, etc.), and in this volume he tells the story of elegant and elegiac Bill Shankly, the legendary coach of the Liverpool Football Club who took a downand-out team in a down-and-out town to the top ranks of English football. (You could think of him as a sort of British Joe Torre for the way he’s revered by fans.) This book is barely fiction—it’s more a fictionalized biography—but it’s a classic story about dedication, redemption and love, all set in a locker room and in football stadiums where tens of thousands, sometimes more, chant and cheer.

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hospital, where all we’ve learned about him is dramatically, but tenderly, unsettled. Vic is his roommate in the prison hospital and an unforgettable character as he transforms into Charlotte, disrupting Simon’s view of life’s predictability and moving him to a greater understanding. Charlotte is freed, figuratively and literally, but writes letters and visits Simon, giving him strength and a vision of life outside the cement and steel of incarceration and the confinement of his own history. The words that are inked over Simon’s body are simply prologue to the next chapter of his life. Page doesn’t sentimentalize the cruelty of life in a prison system but manages to transcend it through Simon, who writes his own story in tattoo ink and letters. This powerful novel is simply an epiphany. (BEA booth: 1102a; ALA booth: 343.)

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The Trends: What to Expect in Fiction As I was combing through books for this bea/ala special issue, I was struck by the number of fantasy series being published by big presses in the months ahead. Viking will have the conclusions to two blockbuster series over the summer: The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman and The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness. Harper is presenting The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, the first in a new series they’re comparing to both The Hunger Games and A Game of Thrones, which might tell you something about the appeal of these books: They’re read by men and women, young and old. Novels based on the lives of real people seem to be growing in popularity, perhaps inspired by the success of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell books. In Song of the Shank, Jeffery Renard Allen weaves an amazing tale out of the 19th-century life of Thomas Wiggins, a musical prodigy who was blind, autistic and born into slavery. David Peace’s Red or Dead tells the story of legendary Liverpool soccer coach Bill Shankly, incorporating a social history of 1970s Britain into a tale of sporting triumph. The wives of famous men continue to inspire; in Mrs. Hemingway, Naomi Wood conjures the lives of the writer’s four wives. Sally O’Reilly gives the genre a new twist by imagining the woman to whom Shakespeare addressed his sonnets in Dark Aemilia. And does it qualify as a trend when two of my favorite male writers produce novels with a woman’s name as the title? Brian Morton’s Florence Gordon and Colm Tóibín’s Nora Webster are proof that men can write women characters with insight and sensitivity. —Laurie Muchnick

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It’s a story about struggle—against wind, rain, snow and mud; against Arsenal Football Club and Sportgemeinschaft Dynamo Dresden and UD Las Palmas; against a tradition of failure; against the limits of athletes and ownership. But it’s above all a story of triumph—over other clubs, to be sure, but also over obstacles moral and financial—and a story about passage: one man’s (from the coal mines of Scotland), and one team’s (from the depths of the Second Division to the giddy heights of the First). Across its pages stride some of the greatest names in English sport, unknown on these shores but luminaries in Liverpool—and a cameo appearance by Harold Wilson, the one-time British prime minister. The result is a book to be savored with a cup of tea and a slice of orange—what the Liverpool players have at halftime. A novel without a single quote in 736 fast-paced pages— but one that might be quoted for decades. (This review was first published in the 3/15/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 2738.)

FIVES AND TWENTY-FIVES

Pitre, Michael Bloomsbury (384 pp.) $27.00 | Aug. 26, 2014 978-1-62040-754-7 The corrosive psychological effects— and the dark humor—of modern conflict are hauntingly captured in Iraq War veteran Pitre’s powerfully understated debut. Named after a procedure by which Marine convoys maintain the proper distance from a possible roadside bomb, the novel moves in oddly unsettling rhythms between present-day New Orleans, where members of a bombdefusing unit uneasily reunite, and Iraq, where they had to contend not only with lethal potholes and a nebulous enemy, but also Blackwater-like contractors who couldn’t care less about their well-being. At the heart of the novel is a gangsta rap–loving, increasingly vocal Iraqi translator nicknamed Dodge, who goes to work for the Americans even as his father and brother plot to kill them—not because they hate them but as a way of hastening their exit from the country. Pitre, who served two tours in Iraq, uses his superior powers of observation and empathy to maximum effect; he knows he doesn’t have to overdramatize sudden deaths and betrayals and PTSD. And though Dodge’s ongoing study of Huckleberry Finn provides metaphoric weight, Pitre plays down his literary aims in favor of a straightforward, even-keeled narrative. Among the many memorable scenes is one in which Lt. Pete Donovan, his nerves already stretched to the max, upbraids a callow young private security officer in an air-conditioned Suburban for exposing his heat-stricken men to a leaking stockpile of toxic chemicals. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Donovan; his drug-addicted fellow Marine, Doc; and Dodge. Though the narrative voices of Donovan and Doc sometimes blend together, and the scenes on the homefront, where Donovan gets a job with a money management firm, are a bit undercooked, those are minor flaws in a book in which everything rings so unshakably true.

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THE REMEDY FOR LOVE

A war novel with a voice all its own, this will stand as one of the definitive renderings of the Iraq experience. (BEA booth: 1749; ALA booth: 529.)

LILA

Robinson, Marilynne Farrar, Straus and Giroux (272 pp.) $26.00 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-0-374-18761-3

A closely observed meditation on isolation and loneliness “in a world in which no social problem was addressed till it was a disaster.” Eric is a middle-aged “small-town lawyer with no cases,” struggling with separation and lost love, when he lays eyes on a young woman in the supermarket line who’s just such a disaster. Danielle is a hot mess brimming with suspicion and hostility, to say nothing of being hobbled by a bad sprain and no immediate prospects. When Eric helps her with her groceries—and then, episode by episode, with bits of her torn-up life—young Danielle responds mostly with cagey bitterness, dismissing the train wreck that is her existence with tossed-off observations like “[p]eople are complicated.” Yes, they are, and Danielle—if that is her real name, for, as she tells him, it’s “Danielle, for now”—is more complicated than most. Set against the backdrop of a howling Maine blizzard (“Storm of the Century, that’s what I heard,” says Eric. “Of course that’s what they always say”), Roorbach’s story never takes an expected or easily anticipated turn. Eric makes a project of Danielle, a project that brings some glimmer of meaning into his life. Danielle, in turn, resents being made into said project. She’s an exceedingly strange bird, but strange is better than nothing—maybe, for Danielle is harboring enough secrets to keep an NSA agent busy for years. “I’m sure I lied,” she tells Eric, simply, in one typical exchange. And so she has, though she has her reasons, which we learn as Roorbach’s superbly grown-up love story unfolds. Lyrical, reserved and sometimes unsettling—and those are the happier moments. Another expertly delivered portrait of the world from Roorbach (Life Among Giants, 2012, etc.), that poet of hopeless tangles. (BEA booth: 839; ALA booth: 414.)

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More balm in Gilead as Robinson (When I Was a Child I Read Books, 2012, etc.) returns to familiar ground to continue the saga of John Ames and his neighbors. Ames, Robinson’s readers will know, is a minister in the hamlet of Gilead, a quiet place in a quiet corner of a quiet Midwestern state. Deceptively quiet, we should say, for Robinson, ever the Calvinist (albeit a gentle and compassionate one), is a master at plumbing the roiling depths below calm surfaces. In this installment, she turns to the title character, Ames’ wife, who has figured mostly just in passing in Gilead (2004) and Home (2008). How, after all, did this young outsider wind up in a place so far away from the orbits of most people? What secrets does she bear? It turns out that Lila has quite a story to tell, one of abandonment, want, struggle and redemption—classic Robinson territory, in other words. Robinson provides Lila with enough back story to fuel several other books, her prose richly suggestive and poetic as she evokes a bygone time before “everyone…started getting poorer and the wind turned dirty” that merges into a more recent past that seems no less bleak, when Lila, having subsisted on cattails and pine sap, wanders into Gilead just to look at the houses and gardens: “The loneliness was bad, but it was better than anything else she could think of.” She never leaves, of course, becoming part of the landscape—and, as readers will learn, essential to the gradually unfolding story of Gilead. And in Robinson’s hands, that small town, with its heat and cicadas, its tree toads and morning dew, becomes as real as Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, just as charged with meaning if a touch less ominous, Lila’s talismanic knife notwithstanding.    Fans of Robinson will wish the book were longer—and will surely look forward to the next. (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 528.)

Roorbach, Bill Algonquin (352 pp.) $24.95 | Oct. 14, 2014 978-1-61620-331-3

LOCK IN

Scalzi, John Tor (320 pp.) $24.99 | Aug. 26, 2014 978-0-7653-7586-5 In the near future, a meningitis-like disease has killed millions and left a small percentage of survivors “locked in”—fully conscious but unable to move any part of their bodies. Government-funded research has allowed the locked-in Haden’s syndrome survivors to flourish in a virtual environment and to interact with the real world via humanoid robots known as “threeps.” They can also use the bodies of a small group of Haden survivors known as

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“Integrators,” who have found that they can allow their bodies to be controlled by others. Right before a major rally by Haden activists to protest a law cutting support for survivors, a series of murders and the bombing of a major pharmaceutical company suggest that someone has developed the ability to take over Integrators’ bodies against their will. Rookie FBI agent and Haden survivor Chris Vance and his new partner, troubled former Integrator Leslie Vann, must find the culprit before an even more devastating act is committed. There’s only one real suspect from the get-go, so most of the mystery lies in determining his motives and finding the evidence to make an arrest before his plan can be fulfilled; but the novel—which contains plenty of action, great character development, vivid and believable worldbuilding, and a thought-provoking examination of disability culture and politics—is definitely worth the ride. This sci-fi thriller provides yet more evidence that Scalzi (The Human Division, 2013, etc.) is a master at creating appealing commercial fiction. (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 532.)

SOME LUCK

Smiley, Jane Knopf (416 pp.) $26.95 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-0-307-70031-5 Smiley (Private Life, 2010, etc.) follows an Iowa farm family through the thick of the 20th century. We first meet Walter Langdon in 1920 as he anxiously surveys his fields. Milk prices are down, and anyway “worry-shading-into-alarm [is] Walter’s ever-present state,” thinks wife Rosanna. The freakish accidental death of a toddler daughter is the only incident here that really justifies Walter’s apprehensions (it wouldn’t be a Smiley novel without at least one cruel twist of fate), but underpinning the comparatively placid unfolding of three decades is farm folks’ knowledge that disaster is always one bad crop away, and luck is never to be relied on. (The sardonic folk tale “Lucky Hans” is retold several times.) The Langdons raise five children to varied destinies. Smart, charismatic Frank leaves home for college and the Army. Steady, sensitive Joe stays home on the farm, its perennial round of backbreaking labor somewhat alleviated by such innovations as tractors and commercial fertilizer. Golden girl Lillian marries a government employee who gets Frank involved in spying on suspected communist agents after the war—ironic, since Rosanna’s sister Eloise is a Trotskyist. Times are changing: Henry, the family intellectual, will clearly end up in academia; Lillian and Frank are both living in Eastern suburbs. Youngest daughter Claire is less vivid than her siblings, and the names begin to blur a bit as the postwar baby boom creates a burgeoning new generation, but for the most part Smiley juggles characters and events with her customary aplomb and storytelling craft. The novel doesn’t so much end as stop, adding to the sense that we’ve simply dropped in on a continuing saga. Smiley is the 20

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least sentimental of writers, but when Rosanna and Walter look at the 23 people gathered at Thanksgiving in 1948 and “agreed in an instant: something had created itself from nothing,” it’s a moment of honest sentiment, honestly earned. An expansive, episodic tale showing this generally flinty author in a mellow mood: surprising, but engaging. (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 542.)

LOVE ME BACK

Tierce, Merritt Doubleday (224 pp.) $23.95 | Sep. 9, 2014 978-0-385-53807-7 An emotionally barren waitress hustles her way through life, dulled by sex, drugs and self-inflicted burns. This brutal, darkly poetic debut novel earned Tierce, a recent Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, a Rona Jaffe award and inclusion in the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.” It’s a flawed thing of beauty, as terribly uncomfortable to read as it is often brilliant. The tale jumps around in time and tone, feeling much like a series of short stories that have been stitched together to form a whole. When we first meet Marie in “Put Your Back Into It,” she describes four doctors she met at a catering event, three of whom she sleeps with. From there, we get her story in fits and starts: She gets married far too young to the teenage boy who fathers the little girl she’s not ready to take care of. The guy splits when she gives him an STD she caught sleeping around. To survive, she becomes a professional waitress, sleekly navigating the nuances of the restaurant floor while simultaneously taking bumps of coke and suffering the cock-and-bull machismo of the kitchen. As we follow her from Chili’s and The Olive Garden through classier cafes and finally to “The Restaurant,” a high-end Dallas steakhouse, we get stories of corrupt managers, kitchen hustlers, back-stabbing waiters and dim bussers, all sharply portrayed. If there’s a significant hurdle to believability, it’s Marie’s reckless, self-destructive sex life. We already know she’s a cutter, but the number of people she submits to is shocking, often letting men double-team her in walk-ins, pickup trucks and back rooms. “It pays to hustle, it pays to bend over,” she advises. “You keep your standards high and your work strong but these are necessary for success; you keep your dignity separate, somewhere else, attached to different things.” The cold and honest confessions of a damaged young woman who lives to serve. (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 542.)

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“A subtle, pitch-perfect sonata of a novel.” from nora webster

NORA WEBSTER

Tóibín, Colm Scribner (384 pp.) $27.00 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-1-4391-3833-5

Australian novelist Tsiolkas (The Slap, 2008, etc.) serves up a bracing poolside critique of Antipodean mores. The trope of athletic contest as coming-of-age backdrop is an old one, though more seen in film than literature since the days of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner. Tsiolkas’ latest takes an athletically gifted young man—Danny here, Dan there, Barracuda everywhere, thanks to his habit of churning |

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BARRACUDA

Tsiolkas, Christos Hogarth/Crown (384 pp.) $26.00 | Sep. 9, 2014 978-0-8041-3842-0

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A subtle, pitch-perfect sonata of a novel in which an Irish widow faces her empty life and, incrementally, fills the hole left by the recent death of her husband. Tóibín’s latest serves as a companion piece to his masterful Brooklyn  (2009), which detailed a young Irish woman’s emigration in the 1950s. Set a decade later, this novel concerns a woman who stayed behind, the opportunities that went unexplored and the comforts that support her through tragedy. Left with two young sons (as well as daughters on the verge of adulthood) by the death of her husband, a beloved teacher, Nora exists in a “world filled with absences.” Not that she’s been abandoned. To the contrary, people won’t leave her alone, and their clichéd advice and condolences are the banes of her existence. And there’s simply no escape in a village where everybody knows everything about everybody else. What she craves are people who “could talk to her sensibly not about what she had lost or how sorry they were, but about the children, money, part-time work, how to live now.” Yet she had lived so much through her husband—even before his unexpected illness and death—that she hadn’t really connected with other people, including her young sons, who now need more from her than perhaps she has to give. Without any forced drama, Nora works her way back into the world, with new priorities and even pleasures. There’s a spiritual undercurrent here, in the nun who watches over Nora, in the community that provides what she needs (even as she resists) and especially in the music that fills her soul. Explains a woman she would never have encountered, left to her own devices: “There is no better way to heal yourself than singing in a choir. That is why God made music.” A novel of mourning, healing and awakening; its plainspoken eloquence never succumbs to the sentimentality its heroine would reject. (BEA booth: 2638/9; ALA booth: 302/3.)

up the water and devouring his opponents—across two decades. As we find him at first, Danny, a working-class scholarship student, is on the loutish side, swimming for a school that he calls “Cunts College,” a place for the rich and privileged and not the likes of him. Only dimly self-aware, Danny flourishes under the tutelage of a Hungarian-born mentor who had coached the team “to first in every school sports meet of the last seven years.” The fact of Coach Torma’s foreignness is important, because everyone in Australia, it seems, is from someplace else, and immigration and exile underlie the Greek-descended author’s story. In time, Danny, now a grown-up Dan, will be someplace else, too, for though he is Olympic material, he fails to live up to his promise for reasons that move the story along, taking him to far-off Glasgow and into the complexities of sexuality, so torn up about events that he can’t bring himself to enter the water. Dan’s struggle to resolve the too-abundant conflicts that beset him, including hinted-at legal trouble, makes us sorry to see the once-golden boy stumble and fall. Still, he finds redemption of a kind in his homeland, which remains welcoming even though Dan/Danny has only an untutored, reflexive appreciation for its moderate politics; at the end, as Tsiolkas has one accidentally wise character note, “[w]e’re lucky here, Danny, this country just sails on, impervious to the shit that the rest of the world is drowning in. Jesus, no wonder any bastard who gets on a boat wants to come here.” A tough, unsparing, closely observed and decidedly R-rated look at the many challenges and disappointments that life brings, told against settings that American readers will find at once familiar and exotic. (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 542.)

THE PAYING GUESTS

Waters, Sarah Riverhead (560 pp.) $28.95 | Sep. 16, 2014 978-1-59463-311-9

An exquisitely tuned exploration of class in post-Edwardian Britain—with really hot sex. It’s 1922, and Frances Wray lives with her mother in a big house in a genteel South London neighborhood. Her two brothers were killed in the war and her father died soon after, leaving behind a shocking mess of debt. The solution: renting out rooms to Leonard and Lilian Barber, members of the newly emerging “clerk class,” the kind of people the Wrays would normally never mix with but who now share their home. Tension is high from the first paragraph, as Frances waits for the new lodgers to move in: “She and her mother had spent the morning watching the clock, unable to relax.” The first half of the book slowly builds the suspense as Frances falls for the beautiful and passionate Lilian, and teases at the question of whether she will declare her love; when she does, the tension grows even thicker, as the two bump into each other all over the house and try to find time alone for those vivid sex scenes. The second half, as in an Ian McEwan novel, explores the aftermath of

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a shocking act of violence. Waters is a master of pacing, and her metaphor-laced prose is a delight; when Frances and Lilian go on a picnic, “the eggs [give] up their shells as if shrugging off cumbersome coats”—just like the women. As life-and-death questions are answered, new ones come up, and until the last page, the reader will have no idea what’s going to happen. Waters keeps getting better, if that’s even possible after the sheer perfection of her earlier novels. (BEA booth: 1521; ALA booth: 449.)

ALL FALL DOWN

Weiner, Jennifer Atria (416 pp.) $26.99 | Jun. 17, 2014 978-1-4516-1778-8

A 39-year-old suburban mom turns to prescription painkillers to manage the compounding stresses of her downwardly mobile existence, her troubled marriage, her difficult 5-year-old daughter and her father’s descent into Alzheimer’s-related dementia. Allison Weiss is a blogger at a Jezebel-like site called Ladiesroom.com and is largely responsible for supporting her family as her reporter husband’s salary shrinks in the wake of the implosion of the newspaper industry. Certain aspects of Allison’s writing career mirror facets of Weiner’s (The Next Best Thing, 2012, etc.) own public battles against sexism in the media and publishing industries. Allison wonders whether or not to use the term “strident” to describe another woman, and after her picture appears in a Wall Street Journal article, the comments sections is barraged by disparaging remarks about her weight and appearance. Unhappy in the large house in an upscale Philadelphia suburb chosen by her husband, Allison develops a pill problem, starting with pain meds prescribed for a bad back. Before she knows it, she’s juggling several doctors to feed her habit, requiring larger and larger doses, and eventually turning to an illegal website to place her orders. Weiner manages to postpone the inevitable train wreck for a few hundred pages, as Allison dismisses and denies her addiction, comparing herself favorably to stereotypical junkies, whose lives are so different from her upscale Whole Foods and private-school existence that she can pretend there is no connection. Weiner relies on brand names as class signifiers; the other moms at her daughter’s school wear Lululemon workout clothes, Seven for All Mankind jeans, and carry Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bags. Even after entering rehab, Allison’s denial of her problem and inability to identify with lower-class addicts from broken homes carries on for another hundred pages or so before the inevitable revelations set in. Though it feels a bit like the literary equivalent of an after-school special for adults, Weiner does a good job of describing the mindset of the addict and provides a realistic portrayal of upper-middle-class addiction in a novel that will appeal to her many fans. (This review was first published in the 4/15/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 2639; ALA booth: 302.) 22

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MRS. HEMINGWAY

Wood, Naomi Penguin (336 pp.) $16.00 paper | May 27, 2014 978-0-14-312461-0 The four wives of Ernest Hemingway—each loved, each abandoned—are given understated yet telling voices as they recount their relationships with a mercurial giant of literature. “He is so good at being in love that Ernest Hemingway makes a rotten husband,” reckons Martha Gellhorn, the third and most rebellious of the writer’s four spouses. Hemingway’s life is familiar territory, and Wood (The Godless Boys, 2011) treads close on the heels of The Paris Wife, Paula McLain’s recent novel about Hadley, the first Mrs. Hemingway, but still brings freshness and grace to her matrimonial survey. Thrifty Hadley, from the Midwest, is the most conventional of the women, Hemingway’s companion during his poorest years. Her mistake is to try to stifle her husband’s affair with wealthy Fife (Pauline Pfeiffer) by embracing it; the trio’s tense 1926 holiday in the south of France ends with Hemingway selecting his mistress over his wife. Twelve years later, in Key West, it’s Fife’s turn to be displaced, this time by young Gellhorn, the future war correspondent. After his second divorce, Hemingway and Gellhorn live together idyllically in Cuba, but as he slows down and suggests children (despite already having three), she refuses to stop working. Tired of his selfishness, Gellhorn eventually asks for a divorce in Paris during its liberation in 1944; although Hemingway resists, he’s already writing love poems to Mary Welsh, to whom he will be married when he commits suicide in 1961. Evocative of place, neat in structure, Wood’s novel occasionally tries to understand Hemingway’s promiscuity but in essence leaves his perspective out of the picture, instead presenting his charisma, grandstanding, prodigious boozing and dark complexity from the individual points of view of the women: “such unlikely sisters.” With its delicate phrasing, softly voiced but insightful portraits, and unsensational handling of the love triangles, Woods’ novel revisits literary myth with restrained empathy. (This review was first published in the 5/1/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 1521; ALA booth: 442/3.)

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nonfiction THE HUMAN AGE by Diane Ackerman..............................................23

Ackerman, Diane Norton (352 pp.) $27.95 | Sep. 10, 2014 978-0-393-24074-0

ON IMMUNITY by Eula Biss............................................................... 24 A SPY AMONG FRIENDS by Ben Macintyre......................................30 THE HISTORY OF ROCK ’N’ ROLL IN TEN SONGS by Greil Marcus....................................................................................30 IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE by Hampton Sides....................................34 DEEP DOWN DARK by Héctor Tobar................................................. 35

THE ROOSEVELTS by Geoffrey C. Ward; Ken Burns.........................36 THE AMERICAN VICE PRESIDENCY by Jules Witcover................... 37 IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette

Sides, Hampton Doubleday (480 pp.) $28.95 Aug. 5, 2014 978-0-385-53537-3

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A shimmering narrative about how the human and natural worlds coexist, coadapt and interactively thrive. Prolific essayist and naturalist Ackerman (One Hundred Names for Love, 2011, etc.) offers absorbing commentary on both the positive and negative effects of human consumption and innovation on the Earth. We are an ever increasing population of “nomads with restless minds,” she writes, and her well-researched, substantiated observances take us from the outer reaches of space to view the world’s sprawling cities to the Toronto zoo, where the Orangutan Outreach initiative “Apps for Apes” improves the lives and expands the perceptions of primates whose population is declining. Humans have become “powerful agents of planetary change,” she writes, creating wildly fluctuating weather patterns and irreversible global warming, evidenced in our backyards and in the stratosphere and reflected in the migratory patterns of the animal world. Thankfully, Ackerman’s ecological forecast isn’t completely bleak; hope springs from fieldwork with geologists studying the fossilized record of the “Anthropocene” (the age of humanecological impact), tech scientists creating bioengineered body organs from 3-D prints, and a French botanist whose research demonstrates the ability to “reconcile nature and man to a much greater degree” by rebalancing the delicate ecosystems damaged by invasive species. Ackerman optimistically presents innovations in “climate farming,” the exploding popularity of rooftop farming and the urban-landscaped oasis of Manhattan’s High Line. She also examines European attempts to harness everything from body heat to wind energy. Ackerman is less certain about the longevity of the animal world or the true charm of the robotic revolution, but whether debating the moral paradoxes of lab chimeras or the mating rituals of fruit flies, she’s a consummate professional with immense intelligence and infectious charm. Through compelling and meditative prose, Ackerman delivers top-notch insight on the contemporary human condition. (BEA booth: 1921.)

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THERE WAS AND THERE WAS NOT by Meline Toumani................ 35

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THE HUMAN AGE The World Shaped By Us

These titles earned the Kirkus Star:

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Hampton Sides’ In the Kingdom of Ice: A WhiteKnuckle Adventure Story Photo courtesy Gary Oakley

ON IMMUNITY An Inoculation

Biss, Eula Graywolf (192 pp.) $24.00 | Sep. 30, 2014 978-1-55597-689-7

in the kingdom of ice

Sides, Hampton Doubleday

If you were ever to decide to go seek your fortune on the forbidding Arctic Ocean, you could do much worse than to have George Washington De Long as your captain. He was meticulous, scholarly, attentive to the tiniest detail concerning the ship he commanded, the Jeanette. He planned, doublechecked his plans, and listened to his men and, unusually for his time, the native people he encountered along the way. And what’s more, he packed a mean larder, with one storeroom “filled to the ceiling with barrels of brandy, porter, ale, sherry, whiskey, rum, and cases of Budweiser beer.” So writes veteran outdoor-adventure writer Hampton Sides in his August book In the Kingdom of Ice (review on p. 34) recounting the arduous journey De Long and crew embarked on in the summer of 1879. That story is well-known to nautical historians but to few others. Indeed, Sides stumbled on it while researching another story. “I was doing a piece for National Geographic,” he says, “and was in Oslo looking at Fritjof Nansen’s ship, Fram. In the museum there was a little placard that mentioned the Jeanette. I’d never heard of it, and tucked a note away that I later pursued.” The result is a vigorous tale of adventure that is unlikely to send any reader rushing to visit the Arctic—certainly not in winter. Sides himself traveled widely to follow in De Long’s footsteps but in summer, when, he recalls, “I was nearly eaten up by mosquitoes.” That trip took him to northernmost Siberia, to the Lena River delta and out into the Arctic Ocean to Wrangel Island—a trip, he says, that “probably wouldn’t be possible now, considering the tension between the United States and Russia.” —Gregory McNamee 24

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National Book Critics Circle Award winner Biss (Notes from No Man’s Land, 2009) investigates the nature of vaccinations, from immunity as myth to the intricate web of the immune system. The fears surrounding vaccines are not late-breaking news, as the author notes in this literate, rangy foray into the history and consequences of vaccination. In the 18th century—and frankly, little less today—it was understandable to associate vaccination with the work of witches: “The idea…that pus from a sick cow can be scraped into a wound on a person and make that person immune to a deadly disease is almost as hard to believe now as it was in 1796.” Indeed, the idea of poking yourself with a dose of virulent organisms to save yourself from them is not an intuitive leap. Biss ably tracks the progress of immunization: as metaphor— the protective impulse to make our children invulnerable (Achilles, Oedipus); as theory and science (the author provides a superb explanation of herd immunity: “when enough people are vaccinated with even a relatively ineffective vaccine, viruses have trouble moving from host to host and cease to spread”); as a cash cow for big pharma; and as a class issue—the notion of the innocent and the pure being violated by vaccinations, that “people without good living standards need vaccines, whereas vaccines would only clog up the more refined systems of middle-class and upper-class people.” Biss also administers a thoughtful, withering critique to more recent fears of vaccines—the toxins they carry, from mercury to formaldehyde, and accusations of their role in causing autism. The author keeps the debate lively and surprising, touching on Rachel Carson here and “Dr. Bob” there. She also includes her father’s wise counsel, which accommodates the many sides of the topic but arrives at a clear point of view: Vaccinate. Brightly informative, giving readers a sturdy platform from which to conduct their own research and take personal responsibility. (BEA booth: 1746; ALA booth: 528.)

FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES A Memoir

Blow, Charles M. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (240 pp.) $27.00 | Sep. 23, 2014 978-0-544-22804-7

New York Times columnist Blow’s hardscrabble memoir about growing up poor and black in rural Louisiana. It’s safe to say that debut memoirist Blow made his bones as a newspaper journalist in quite a different fashion than most of his peers at the stately Grey Lady. Brought up in dirt-poor Gibsland, La.,

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“...who can resist a text that works karma, Marcel Duchamp and iterative programming into a single thought?” from geek sublime

Carr, Nicholas Norton (288 pp.) $26.95 | Sep. 29, 2014 978-0-393-24076-4

Serious technophobic exploration of the dangers of machines superseding the role of humans in the workforce. Technology journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Carr (The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, 2010, etc.), the former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, is on a selfless mission to warn humanity about the dangers of robots and computers making human beings obsolete in the world of work. Although the book is certainly more than a Luddite tirade about the increasing subservience of humans to the machines they manufacture, the author’s arguments can sometimes venture into paranoiac territory, seemingly more for shock value than anything else. But his core argument—that man’s own mental faculties, natural instincts and vital creativity are being dulled by dependence on machines—is well-argued, and he cites more than a few compelling instances in which this technological dependency has proved fatal—e.g., pilots overly accustomed to flying on computerized autopilot who, when forced to act manually, freeze up and make costly mistakes in otherwise routine situations. Carr also takes a critical look at the potential problems and contradictions inherent in new technology, such as Google Glass, designed to allow tech geeks to stay connected with cyberspace without becoming alienated from their |

GEEK SUBLIME The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty Chandra, Vikram Graywolf (256 pp.) $16.00 paper | Sep. 2, 2014 978-1-55597-685-9

A fruitful exploration of computerage aesthetics, when artists are making use of programming even as programmers consider themselves artists. “Poetry’s beauty is infinite,” writes programmer and acclaimed novelist Chandra (Sacred Games, 2007, etc.). True enough, but Windows Vista’s code is still infinitely kludgy, even if, as the author argues, the “iterative processes of programming—write, debug (discover and remove bugs, which are coding errors, mistakes), rewrite, experiment, debug, rewrite—exactly duplicate the methods of artists.” It is an argument that Chandra advances with great subtlety, though it perhaps does not help his case that most of his more extensive examples come from the corpus of Indian, and particularly Sanskrit, literature, which will make that argument sometimes challenging to follow for some readers. In time, the book loosens into what at times seem to be only marginally connected essays: Gender parity and code parity are much different things, and the bigness of epics such as the Mahabharata is considerably different from the bigness of big data. Still, there is a charm to Chandra’s sometimes-exotic approach, even as he circles back to some of his central questions: What makes a poem beautiful? Can we use the criteria we employ to answer that question to evaluate a computer program as well? The answers he proposes occasionally open onto still other questions, as with this one: “When programmers say what they do is just like what writers do, or gardeners, or painters, the error is that they aren’t claiming enough, the fault is that they are being too humble. To compare code to works of literature may point the programmer towards legibility and elegance, but it says nothing about the ability of code to materialize logic.” An engaging exercise in interdisciplinary thought, both elegant and eloquent. Besides, who can resist a text that works karma, Marcel Duchamp and iterative programming into a single thought? (BEA booth: 1746; ALA booth: 528.)

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THE GLASS CAGE Automation and Us

surroundings while constantly checking text messages and such. The author proposes that human beings must take a more dominant and less dependent role in how computer technology is being implemented in society and not be mindlessly carried along by a blind faith in technological advancement—a task probably much easier said than done. An important if occasionally overbearing study of how machines are making us less human and what we can do about it. (BEA booth: 1921.)

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he worked his way from being an intern at the tiny Shreveport Times to eventually, by age 25, a graphics editor at the New York Times  and a columnist soon thereafter. But this memoir isn’t about his professional development as much as the psychosexual and emotional roller-coaster ride of his upbringing. Especially in the first half, Blow masterfully evokes the sights, sounds and smells of rough-and-tumble, backwater Louisiana. His portrait of his tough-as-nails mother—who raised five children on the wages from her poultry-plucking job and, at one point, shot her husband for cheating—is almost larger than life. But eventually we get to the crux of the memoir and the event in his young life that would understandably have serious psychological repercussions for years to come: being sexually molested by his cousin. When Blow moves on to his more conventional university life at Grambling State, a historically black college in his home state, readers begin to lose a sense of what made the memoir so original and compelling up to that point. The author still found himself in a struggle for both personal and sexual identity in college, but his experiences with hazing as a confused fraternity pledge, as trying and traumatic as they certainly were, don’t seem that far removed from the coming-of-age experiences of millions of other working-class university students. A well-written, often poetic memoir that nevertheless fails to fully live up to its initial promise. (BEA booth: 1657.)

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Euny Hong Articulates South Korea’s Shot Heard Round the World in The Birth of Korean Cool Photo courtesy Joshua Schwimmer

SO WE READ ON How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures

Corrigan, Maureen Little, Brown (224 pp.) $26.00 | Sep. 9, 2014 978-0-316-23007-0

the birth of korean cool

Hong, Euny Picador

Two years ago, when novelist and journalist Euny Hong (Kept, 2006) was commissioned to write an article about her childhood in Korea, little did she know it would launch her on a rich exploration of “Hallyu,” the widespread exportation of South Korean pop culture. The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation Is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture (review on p. 29) is a very funny book that combines Hong’s remembrances of growing up in the poor and fragmented postwar state with her sharp observations on the cultural shift that is changing the world. It’s Hong’s voice, a humorous, smart, often conflicted and witty combination of personal essay and observational journalism, that makes the book stand out. “I wasn’t sure whether the personal stories would be off-putting to readers,” she admits. “As I wrote the book, I became more and more sure about it, and I’m grateful to my editors for steering me in this direction and having faith in my story.” And yes, Psy gets a mention or two. “ ‘Gangnam Style’ was a very prominent example of social media’s ability to bridge gaps, not just in culture, but in accessibility,” Hong explains. “For a lot of people, this was the shot heard round the world. It was significant not just in making Korea cool: It was the first time anybody realized that you could achieve global penetration, irrespective of countries, borders, language or the context of the video.” Hong goes so far as to say that South Korea’s exportation of its pop culture will have global economic consequences, “not just in Korea rewriting their whole economy based on Hallyu, but also in people realizing that America no longer has a monopoly on popculture content.” —Clayton Moore 26

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NPR book critic Corrigan (Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books, 2005) offers an occasionally self-indulgent but mostly spot-on reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s greatest novel—and, according to some critics, the greatest novel in American literature. Those who know The Great Gatsby  only through Baz Luhrmann’s recent outing with Leonardo DiCaprio don’t know the book at all, for, among other things, writes Corrigan, Luhrmann had a “larger project, I think, to defang the novel’s class criticism.” A fundamental uneasiness underlies Gatsby: As rich as the title character is, he can never make his way into the much more rarefied world of the Old Rich; as rich as he is, he cannot ward off fate, justice, karma and what Corrigan wisely calls “the Void.” If Corrigan occasionally offers reading-group notes for the cashmere-sweater set—yes, Zelda was a loon; yes, Scott was a bad drunk; yes, Hemingway was an asshole—at other times, she’s right on the case, turning up fascinating and sometimes-controversial gems: Could part of Gatsby’s mystery lie in a mixed-race past? As to the race front, why is it that Fitzgerald has Tom Buchanan reading a book with the title The Rise of the Colored Empires, a book thinly modeled on one that Fitzgerald’s own publisher had just released? There’s much flowing under the surface of Fitzgerald’s novel, and though Corrigan puts too much emphasis on herself and not enough on Jay and company (“I try to breathe deep and accept my powerlessness, as recommended by the on-line daily meditation program I sporadically log onto”), she does a good job of pointing out what we should be paying attention to, which goes far beyond billboards and chandeliers. Corrigan’s close reading is welcome, though one hopes that readers will first revisit Fitzgerald’s pages before dipping into hers. (BEA booth: 2820; ALA booth: 423.)

MAKERS OF MODERN ASIA

Guha, Ramachandra–Ed. Belknap/Harvard Univ. (330 pp.) $35.00 | Aug. 1, 2014 978-0-374-36541-4

Mostly robust biographies of 11 galvanizers of modern Asian nationalism, from Gandhi to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, underscore the importance of politics before economics. Editor Guha (Gandhi Before India, 2014, etc.) reminds Western readers in his introduction that to concentrate on Asia’s stunning recent economic rise without studying the nationalist developments that preceded it is

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“Halpern brings unexpected literary heft to the world of debt collection.” from bad paper

Gwynne, S.C. Scribner (640 pp.) $30.00 | Oct. 21, 2014 978-1-4516-7328-9

Wide-ranging biography of the largerthan-life Confederate leader, a “sobersided, regulation-bound general” who emerges as an ever stranger figure with the passage of years. Texas-based journalist and historian Gwynne, having documented the free-riding Comanches of the plains (Empire of the Summer Moon, 2010), turns to another famed cavalry culture: namely, that of the residents of the valley of Virginia at the time that sectional divisions broke into open civil war. Few cavalrymen were as farsighted and successful as Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863), who carried a preternatural seriousness and piety with him at all times. As Gwynne writes, Jackson imagined as he was washing that he was cleansing himself in the blood of Christ and while dressing, might “pray to be cloaked in the Savior’s righteousness.” Jackson’s relentless Christianity did not halt him in the least from assuming the role of avenging angel Robert E. Lee’s right-hand man, whose death before Gettysburg deflated the |

BAD PAPER Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld

Halpern, Jake Farrar, Straus and Giroux (256 pp.) $25.00 | Oct. 14, 2014 978-0-374-10823-6

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REBEL YELL The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson

Army of Northern Virginia and marked the beginning of the end of the Southern cause. By the author’s account, Jackson was a caring yet hard, nearly tyrannical leader who pushed his men to the limit yet placed himself in every danger he subjected them to. He also habitually denied himself creature comforts in an effort to remain pure, though, as Gwynne points out, sometimes his explanations were less pious than all that. He did not partake of intoxicating drinks, he told a junior officer, “because I like the taste of them, and when I discovered that to be the case I made up my mind at once to do without them altogether.” A satisfying biography though less exhaustive in its approach than Robert Krick’s Conquering the Valley (1996) and somewhat less fluent than James Robertson’s Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend (1997). (BEA booth: 2638/9.)

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to ignore (again), at our great loss, the essential makeup and character of these nations. He argues that through understanding the lives of these founders, many of whom—Zhou Enlai and Ho Chi Minh, for example—gleaned their first political understanding from the West, we can grasp the wider political and social processes they effected in their own countries. Composed by various Western and Asian scholars and writers, these essays offer pithy highlights of each individual’s early life and political development, followed by delineation of how each applied his or her beliefs (for good or ill) to anti-colonial campaigns. Considerations of the subjects’ lasting legacies are too brief but provocative. Chiang Kai-Shek needed to modernize China desperately, yet his efforts at democratic and economic reform were subsumed by his need to defeat the Communists. Ho Chi Minh, brought up in a milieu of anti-colonial activism, was repeatedly rejected by Western democracies in his appeal “to pay more attention to the plight of the colonized,” before finding crucial support for Vietnamese independence in the Soviet Union. Mao Zedong’s colossal influence can still be felt throughout Chinese society in the breakdown of Confucian norms, emotional populist responses and the idea of an “individuated self ” (underexplored here by Rana Mitter). Strong-arm nationalists Sukarno of Indonesia and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore get their due as wildly popular, if problematic, leaders. Indira Gandhi is the sole female profiled, and none of Japan’s militaristic nationalists were deemed worthy of inclusion. A terrific teaching aid with helpful footnotes. (BEA booth: 1539; ALA booth: 1439.)

An investigation of the bottom-feeding underworld of debt collecting and its disreputable cast of rip-off artists. As journalist and novelist Halpern (Dormia, 2009, etc.) discovered, the world of debt collection is every bit as scummy (and possibly scummier) as its reputation has always suggested. “Some thirty-five million consumers—roughly 14% of all Americans—are currently being hounded over at least one loan,” he writes. The author delivers a tale of two kinds of lowlifes and their collaboration in a lowest-common-denominator business that makes Wall Street look meek and ethical. Halpern begins with a focus on former banker Aaron Siegel, who moved back to his financially downtrodden hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., rounded up $14 million from chummy investors and opened his own private equity fund specializing in debt collection. After being ripped off by his own shady employees, who stole a huge portfolio of debt out from under his nose and started their own rogue agency, Siegel decided to employ the help of ex-bank robber Brandon Wilson to help strong-arm the debt collection competition into submission. Halpern tracks not only Siegel and Wilson’s quixotic quest for the stolen debt, but also the ugly, everyday inner workings of the business as a whole, much of which is based in crime-ridden, economically destitute Buffalo. The predominantly unethical practice of buying, selling and collecting debt is carried out by just the sort of societal outcasts you’d expect— usually, ex-cons or other desperate, otherwise unemployable screw-ups fill the business’s ranks. Halpern’s story of the debt collection world is also a dramatic rise-and-fall tale that traces the anything-goes heyday of debt collecting businesses in the unregulated early 2000s and how it has changed with the consequential recent Obama-era crackdowns on the shadier practices

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Greil Marcus’ A History of Rock ’n’ Roll in Ten Songs: All the Big Questions in Songs with No Particular Place to Go Photo courtesy Thierry Arditti

in the field. As we see in the book, these new regulations make it much harder for miscreants like Siegel and Wilson to survive. Halpern brings unexpected literary heft to the world of debt collection. (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 528.)

THE SEA INSIDE

Hoare, Philip Melville House (384 pp.) $27.99 | Apr. 8, 2014 978-1-61219-359-5 the history of rock ’n’ roll in ten songs

Marcus, Greil Yale Univ.

Not long ago, a longtime editor approached noted historian and pop-culture critic Greil Marcus and asked him to write a history of rock ’n’ roll. “I thought about it for a while,” Marcus says, “and I thought, ‘Well, let’s go from the 1940s or whenever we decide rock begins, and take it up until now. No. That’s been done to death.’ I had absolutely no interest in writing that book.” Still, the idea stayed with him, and Marcus concocted the plan for a book that looked thematically at a few definitive songs—16 at first, whittled down to 10. Thus, The History of Rock ’n’ Roll in Ten Songs, which Yale University Press will publish in September (review on p. 30). Marcus immediately knew the first song he’d address: the shimmering pop jangle that is the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Shake Some Action,” blending the Stones’ swagger with the Beatles’ sweetness. That 1976 song has it all: It’s adolescent, it’s got a beat, it’s got no particular place to go. And it’s perfect—in part since it exemplifies an observation of Neil Young’s that though rock as a musical form is chronologically younger than blues and country, the spirit of rock predates its ancestors—in other words, as that goofy country novelty song has it, rock is its own grandpa. That spirit surrounds the big questions, such as a pocket that doesn’t jangle, the subject of Barrett Strong’s “Money,” the ocean into which, as Marcus writes, “all rock and roll songs about money…flow,” and such as love and heartache, the subject of Buddy Holly’s unspeakably tender “Crying, Waiting, Hoping”—but also of Marcus’ closing specimen, which we won’t spoil by naming here. And as for Marcus’ No. 1 desert-island rock tune? It doesn’t figure in Ten Songs— but that’s a matter for another book. —Gregory McNamee 28

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Do we come from the sea? Hoare’s (The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea, 2010, etc.) absorbing book may well lead you to think so. Could not man have come from the sea in search of the bounty of tidal beaches? Anyone who has an affinity, indeed a need, for the water will understand the author’s desire to swim every day near his home in Southampton, England, where “it is never not beautiful.” “At low tide,” he writes, “the beach is an indecent expanse laid bare by retreat, more like farmland than anything of the sea: an inundated field, almost peaty with sediment, as much charcoal as it is sludge.” No matter what country or continent he visits, the author makes a point to swim and become a part of that sea. He’s fearless as he leaps into oceans near and far to commune with any swimming mammal that may be near; whether whales or a superpod of 200 dolphins, the mammals of the sea circle him, inspect him and accept him. His travels and his meandering, humorous writing take us from the Isle of Wight to the Azores, Sri Lanka, and the nearly primeval Tasmania and New Zealand, and Hoare delivers delightful descriptions of sea creatures and shore birds, bemoaning animals newly and nearly extinct. This is not a book following the geography of the sea; nor is it a history of sailing. It is an attempt to establish and examine the oneness that the Maori have understood for years: There is no difference between life on land and life in the sea. While the author may digress occasionally, readers will relish his writing and devotion to nature and likely won’t begrudge him a bit of family history here and there. A beautifully written memoir/travelogue with readable diversions into philosophy. (This review was first published in the 2/1/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 3032.)

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“A pleasing mix of Margaret Cho, Sarah Vowell and a pinch of Cory Doctorow.” from the birth of korean cool

THE BIRTH OF KOREAN COOL How One Nation Is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture

THE SERPENT’S PROMISE The Retelling of the Bible Through the Eyes of Modern Science

Hong, Euny Picador (288 pp.) $16.00 paper | Aug. 5, 2014 978-1-250-04511-9

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British biologist Jones (Darwin’s Island, 2009, etc.) has fun examining miraculous biblical tales with the gimlet eye of science. The author doesn’t go in for hard-boiled trashing of the Bible but rather stands back, takes a fresh look and discovers where adherents and scientists part company. Sometimes the divide is fairly clear-cut: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth—or there was a “closed spherical space-time of zero radius.” But sometimes faith and science can coexist. Pituitary tumors could account for giants. Money may well be the root of all evil, although as Jones wisely points out, human beings (gender: male) come a close second or perhaps trump money, since it’s their creation. Celibacy? Like everything, there are pros and cons, though the pros are devilishly beguiling. After all, as Jones writes with his characteristic bright sense of humor, “[t]he cost of sex involves much more than the effort and annoyance associated with the act itself and the genetic events behind it. Liaisons with males force females to squander their energies in copying the genes of another individual, and to dilute their own investment with progeny who carry his DNA.” The author has some rough things to say about those who downplay or ignore the miraculous and the magical, which certainly can provide a spiritual lift. Still, in the end, Jones comes down on the side of rationalism: “From the cosmos to the continents and from primeval slime to philosophy, everything evolves. Science is an attempt to recover the process.” A central problem of faith is that quarrels frequently lead to disaster, and the more extensive the membership, the more the conflicts. What does God want? With enough believers, anything. Fair but uncompromising, counseling us to slough what William Blake called the “ ‘mind-forg’d manacles’ of organized religion” and practice something universal: science. (This review was first published in the 5/1/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 1921; ALA booth: 616.)

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A funny, iconoclastic Korean-American journalist and author turns her skewering lens on her own culture. Hong (Kept: A Comedy of Sex and Manners, 2006, etc.) has a mischievous sense of humor when it comes to culture clashes, so it’s a pleasure to see her turn her wicked talents on “Hallyu.” It’s a broad term that describes the proliferation of South Korean pop content into the world’s culture-scape. Along the way, Hong gives a thoughtful, self-deprecating and sly analysis of the movement that brought us not only the unescapable rapper Psy, but also brilliant filmmakers like Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy), culinary superstar Hooni Kim and game developers Blizzard Entertainment (the Starcraft and Warcraft franchises). The book’s opening stories give nice insight into the author’s odd place between two worlds: A fully Americanized Korean-American girl often mistaken for Chinese, her parents moved her back to Korea, specifically the district of Gangnam. “Korea was not cool in 1985,” she bemoans in her opening line. Through the exploration of various cultural tropes, government enterprises, and social and economic changes, Hong shows how Korea got cool in the past decade or so, almost by accident. One of the more interesting chapters looks at “Han,” a sociological meme involving oppression against impossible odds and the eternal thirst for vengeance. Hong levies a lot of different factors into the reasons behind what politicians like to call the “Korean Wave,” among them a technology- and economybased sophistication that birthed a new sense of irony, as well as a deliberate investment by the government in the creation and export of Hallyu. However, the author also believes that the wealth of addictive soap operas, video games and pop hits doesn’t represent lightning in a bottle, arguing that this brave new world is uniquely Korean. A pleasing mix of Margaret Cho, Sarah Vowell and a pinch of Cory Doctorow. (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth 528.)

Jones, Steve Pegasus (448 pp.) $27.95 | Jun. 15, 2014 978-1-60598-542-8

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The Luminaries: Nonfiction Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns, the dynamic duo of illuminating American history, return with The Roosevelts, which we gave a starred review and called “an eye-opening look at a political dynasty worthy of the name and at a state of politics far better than our own.” …Another award-winning popular historian, Hampton Sides, charts a course with early polar adventurers in a “grand and grim narrative of thrilling exploration,” In the Kingdom of Ice (see our interview p. 24). …Thrilling just begins to describe the latest espionage suspense story from Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends, which is “as well-crafted as an episode of Smiley’s People, full of cynical inevitability, secrets, lashings of whiskey and corpses. …Moving “case by case in an evenhanded, thoroughgoing study,” civil rights historian Bruce Allen Murphy provides the definitive biography of one of our most controversial Supreme Court justices, Antonin Scalia. …In Deep Down Dark, acclaimed journalist Héctor Tobar resurrects the 2010 story of the trapped Chilean miners in “an electrifying, empathetic work of journalism that makes a four-year-old story feel fresh.”…Though novelists and computer programmers may be strange bedfellows, Vikram Chandra, adept at both disciplines, combines them in his latest artful meditation, Geek Sublime. …Two well-known sports journalists have their says in candid memoirs: longtime Boston Globe writer Bob Ryan, in Scribe; and formerly disgraced radio and TV personality Pat O’Brien, in I’ll Be Back Right After This. …Of course, we weren’t able to cover all of the significant titles featured at BEA, as many of the manuscripts were not ready for review. However, we can’t wait to see new books from, among others, Girls superstar Lena Dunham, cultural critic Laura Kipnis, Boing Boing head Cory Doctorow, N.Y. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and acclaimed doctor-journalist Atul Gawande. —Eric Liebetrau

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A SPY AMONG FRIENDS Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

Macintyre, Ben Crown (384 pp.) $27.00 | Jul. 29, 2014 978-0-8041-3663-1

A tale of espionage, alcoholism, bad manners and the chivalrous code of spies—the real world of James Bond, that is, as played out by clerks and not superheroes. Now pretty well forgotten, Kim Philby (1912-1988) was once a byname for the sort of man who would betray his country for a song. The British intelligence agent was not alone, of course; as practiced true-espionage writer Macintyre (Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies, 2012, etc.) notes, more than 200 American intelligence agents became Soviet agents during World War II—“Moscow had spies in the treasury, the State Department, the nuclear Manhattan Project, and the OSS”—and the Brits did their best to keep up on their end. Philby may have been an unlikely prospect, given his uppercrust leanings, but a couple of then-fatal flaws involving his sexual orientation and still-fatal addiction to alcohol, to say nothing of his political convictions, put him in Stalin’s camp. Macintyre begins near the end, with a boozy Philby being confronted by a friend in intelligence, fellow MI6 officer Nicholas Elliott, whom he had betrayed; but rather than take Philby to prison or put a bullet in him, by the old-fashioned code, he was essentially allowed to flee to Moscow. Writing in his afterword, John Le Carré recalls asking Elliott, with whom he worked in MI6, about Philby’s deceptions—“it quickly became clear that he wanted to draw me in, to make me marvel…to make me share his awe and frustration at the enormity of what had been done to him.” For all Philby’s charm (“that intoxicating, beguiling, and occasionally lethal English quality”), modern readers will still find it difficult to imagine a world of gentlemanly spy-versus-spy games all these hysterical years later. Gripping and as well-crafted as an episode of  Smiley’s People, full of cynical inevitability, secrets, lashings of whiskey and corpses. (BEA booth: 2839.)

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THE HISTORY OF ROCK ’N’ ROLL IN TEN SONGS

Marcus, Greil Yale Univ. (320 pp.) $28.00 | Sep. 2, 2014 978-0-300-18737-3

Another allusive, entertaining inquiry by veteran musicologist Marcus (The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years, 2011, etc.). |


“The gifted, adventurous musician talks as brilliantly as she writes and sings.” from joni mitchell

Marom, Malka ECW Press (344 pp.) $29.95 | Oct. 9, 2014 978-1-7704-1132-6

Three deep-running interviews with singer-songwriter Mitchell, by singerjournalist Marom. Conducted in 1973, 1979 and 2012, these are more conversations than interviews; Mitchell picks up Marom’s questions and turns them about as she fashions an answer. She is as candid here as she is sometimes cryptic in her lyrics: revelatory, nervy, emotionally and existentially raw. She doesn’t belabor her romantic relationships (as Rolling Stone was fond of doing) but fills in blanks about her younger days, alone and pregnant and destitute in Toronto, strumming her way to the big stage via a ukulele and weeks of practice. Mitchell is happier, it seems, talking about Nietzsche, Jung and the I Ching or summoning what it is like to be uniquely alive on stage: “One of the things I have had to battle is an almost euphoric feeling….You’re up there alone and receiving all this mass adoration, and you’re liking it.” She bluntly shatters her fantasy-princess stereotype and speaks, without ornament, about a variety of issues. She |

REBEL SOULS Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians

Martin, Justin Da Capo/Perseus (352 pp.) $27.99 | Oct. 2, 2014 978-0-306-82226-1

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) is only the best known of Martin’s (Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, 2011, etc.) gallery of the 19th-century bohemians who haunted Pfaff ’s Saloon in New York City. The leader of this boisterous set was Henry Clapp (18141875), an irreverent moral relativist who thrilled in playing off his coterie of writers and artists for the best put-downs and bons mots. Clapp’s attitude sprang from his experiences in Paris’ Latin Quarter, where he met the true bohemians who formed the basis of La Vie de Bohème. They sat in Café Momus discussing, rather than producing, their art and drinking strong coffee and stronger alcohol. Mostly, they had no money, no prospects, multiple romances and lots of talk. Ultimately, these circumstances brought Clapp back to the saloon on the corner of Broadway and Bleeker Street to interact with the fascinating crowd he met there night after night. Though Whitman was often there, he was not always with Clapp’s crowd. He also spent time with new friends in the larger room, where one’s sexuality was not a matter of discussion. Many of the figures in Martin’s entertaining cultural history failed miserably, and many died young. Some, like actor Edwin Booth (brother to John Wilkes) and humor writer Artemus Ward, left their marks, while others faded away. As they spread across America and the Atlantic, they met writers as diverse as Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. Clapp vigorously promoted Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and gave Twain his first national break in the Saturday Press. Martin truly opens up the characters of these creative, sensitive men, examining their lives before the Civil War and the ways in which they reacted to it. The author’s solid research into the connections of these curiously varied men and women makes this a wonderful story of one of the world’s odd little cultural cliques. (BEA booth: 1406. 16 pages of b/w photos)

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JONI MITCHELL In Her Own Words

blazes contempt for the ignorance of our species, speaks up for the role of depression in her art, and considers the discomfiture of affluence and the meaning of work. About her career arc? Q: “What was actually the turning point?” A: “Turning point? I don’t see it as a turning point. I see it as a long, very slow gradual spectrum….” In a later interview, she rejects the onstage sublimity she once discerned. “I was never addicted to applause....The measure for me was the art itself.” But at any moment she can dive into the miracle of making music: “The great things nearly always come on the edge of an error. What comes after the error is spectacular.” The gifted, adventurous musician talks as brilliantly as she writes and sings. (BEA booth: 1329. 18 paintings; 26 photos, 4-color throughout)

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The opening is an accidental tour de force: a list that runs on for a full six pages of the inductees to date into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, one that, though full of lacunae, is still wildly suggestive of just how influential and deep-rooted the sound is in our culture. He takes Neil Young’s observation that “rock & roll is reckless abandon” and runs with it, looking into 10 songs that are particularly emblematic. Even though any other 10, 100 or 1,000 songs might have done just as well, one cannot fault Marcus’ taste. It is just right, on the reckless abandon front, that his survey should begin with the Flamin’ Groovies jittery, diamondlike anthem “Shake Some Action,” released to the world in 1976 and heard, if not widely, by at least the right people. “I never heard Young’s words translated with more urgency, with more joy,” Marcus avers, than in the goofily named Groovies’ (“a name so stupid it can’t transcend its own irony”) song. Yet there are other candidates for best paean to reckless abandon, or perhaps best inspirer thereof, including the prolegomenon to all other songs about filthy lucre and lolly, Barrett Strong’s “Money”; the lovely but portentous Buddy Holly ballad “Crying, Waiting, Hoping”; and the Teddy Bears’ 1958 hit “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” which, though tender, became something hauntingly lost in the hands of Amy Winehouse. It’s no accident that the originals of many of these tunes lay at the heart of the early Beatles’ repertoire, nor that Phil Spector played his part in the uproarious proceedings, nor that from every measure of music, thousands of tangled storylines flow—many of which Marcus follows wherever they will lead, to our edification. Essayistic, occasionally disconnected, but Marcus does what he does best: make us feel smarter about what we’re putting into our ears. (BEA booth: 1541.)

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The Trends: What to Expect in Nonfiction Each year, while pulling together the nonfiction choices for our BEA/ALA issue, I work to assemble a representative mix of brand-name authors, different sized publishers and varied subject matter. While my 30 selections certainly reflect that approach, there are always a few trends evident within the submissions. Here are a few I noticed this year. Memoir. No surprises here. This category continues to be one of the most robust in the world of nonfiction. With each passing year, I see even more examples of significant figures from outside the book world— entertainers, politicians, etc.—publishing memoirs. It seems everyone thinks they have a book in them, for both better and worse. This summer and fall, we’ll see memoirs from a wide variety of well-known people including Bob Ryan, Pat O’Brien, Charles Blow, Lena Dunham, Adam Carolla, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Toni Braxton and others. Doorstop biographies. Last year, we had John Eliot Gardiner’s massive bio of Bach, and this year, Jan Swafford joins the party with a 1,000-page life of Beethoven; Ellen T. Harris chimes in with the 500-page George Frideric Handel: A Life With Friends. Also of note are meaty biographies of Antonin Scalia (by Bruce Allen Murphy), Stonewall Jackson (S.C. Gwynne), Robert E. Lee (Michael Korda) and Robert A. Heinlein (William Patterson). Tales of human excess and folly. From Wall Street to big pharma to the stratosphere, there is no shortage of books about how we continue to wreak havoc on ourselves, the planet, its flora and fauna, and of course, other humans. Take a look at Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys, Diane Ackerman’s The Human Age, Eula Biss’ On Immunity, Meline Toumani’s There Was and There Was Not, Jake Halpern’s Bad Paper, Dave Zirin’s Brazil’s Dance with the Devil and Nicholas Carr’s The Glass Cage.

THE FORTUNES OF AFRICA A History of the Continent Over Fifty Centuries Meredith, Martin PublicAffairs (704 pp.) $35.00 | Sep. 23, 2014 978-1-61039-459-8

Broad-ranging history of Africa from the age of the pharaohs to the present, with a solid emphasis on economics. Former Observer  correspondent and longtime Africa expert Meredith (Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life, 2011, etc.) delivers a richly detailed, occasionally plodding examination of a region of the world that, though central to human history, is too often overlooked, except by the economic powers that be—the World Bank estimates that 40 percent of Africa’s wealth is held outside Africa. Concludes Meredith, “Africa thus remains a continent of huge potential, but limited prospects.” People have always moved from place to place across the continent looking for access to its resources, sometimes in small groups, sometimes in vast waves, as when the Bantu-speaking peoples who originally lived in southern Cameroon spread across southern Africa. Yet, by Meredith’s account, once those resources are in hand, they are always unevenly divided; the peasants of ancient Egypt may have had access to the water wheel and an elaborate system of irrigation, but they were also subject to an even more elaborate system of taxation “that kept them as poor as they had always been.” That situation did not improve with the spread of Christianity and Islam, nor with the arrival of the colonial powers and the conversion of a vast part of the continent to a factory for the production of slaves for trans-Atlantic transport. As Meredith writes, by the 1600s, the European powers were looking far inland for slaves and had established great trading ports along Africa’s west coast, “separated from one another by an average of ten miles.” Small wonder that, absent so much human and natural capital, Africa has been immiserated for so long—a condition not improved by the widespread pattern of one-party or one-man rule today. A useful study, though less interesting than John Reader’s Africa: A Biography of the Continent (1998). (BEA booth: 1406; ALA booth: 334.)

THE MARSHMALLOW TEST Mastering Self-Control

Mischel, Walter Little, Brown (304 pp.) $29.00 | Sep. 23, 2014 978-0-316-23087-2

Mischel (Psychology/Columbia Univ.) argues that our ability to voluntarily exercise self-restraint in pursuit of that just-got-to-have-it desire provides children with a powerful tool that can help them succeed later in life.

—Eric Liebetrau

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“Murphy moves case by case in an evenhanded, thoroughgoing study.” from scalia

Murphy, Bruce Allen Simon & Schuster (736 pp.) $35.00 | Jun. 10, 2014 978-0-7432-9649-6

A deeply probing biography of the controversial Supreme Court justice. Civil rights historian Murphy (Civil Rights/Lafayette Coll.; Wild Bill: The Legend and Life of William O. Douglas, 2003, etc.) begins by giving the long-serving justice Scalia the benefit of the doubt as a brilliant legal scholar and vigorous textualist. Ultimately, though, he becomes as incredulous and frustrated by the justice’s oppositional “originalism” and personal pugnacity as his oft-quoted observers, colleagues and critics. In setting out the life’s journey of this extraordinarily driven character, who carefully situated himself as an academic, writer, Republican team player and judge on the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from which the pool of Supreme Court justices were frequently plucked, the author notes an entrenched pattern of solipsistic self-righteousness that was engrained early on. Scalia was the only child (b. 1936) of ItalianAmericans in Queens; his intellectual father taught romance |

I’LL BE BACK RIGHT AFTER THIS A Memoir

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SCALIA A Court of One

languages at Brooklyn College and was himself a “literalist” in textual interpretation. A brilliant student, Scalia absorbed the rigor and competitiveness of his Jesuit education, delighting in debate, and was later inculcated by the political conservatism of Harvard Law School in the 1950s. From private practice in Cleveland to teaching to moving into the reaches of power under President Richard Nixon, Scalia proved his conservative bona fides by trying to scuttle the Freedom of Information Act. A founding member of the Federalist Society, Scalia’s strict adherence to an originalist (rather than “living”) interpretation of the Constitution won him appointment to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. However, Scalia would not become a “consensus builder.” Rather, his confrontational style, especially in attacking the very conservative justices, like Sandra O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, he hoped to sway, only alienated the middle, especially regarding such issues as freedom of speech, reproductive rights, and the separation of church and state. Murphy moves case by case in an evenhanded, thoroughgoing study. (This review was first published in the 5/1/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 2638/9. 16 pages of b/w photos)

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Numerous research studies have suggested that those who practice self-control do better on their SATs, lower their body weight, have great reserves of self-worth, reduce stress, and have less incidence of obesity and addiction. These are preliminary findings, notes the author, who developed the classic “marshmallow experiment,” which illustrates ideas of self-control and delayed gratification. The preponderance of evidence has not yet come down on one side or the other, and he acknowledges the powerful drive for instant gratification—he, too, wants it now, whatever it is, not at some nebulous time in the future. Mischel also notes that people with emotional grounding, advanced social skills and off-the-charts intellectual abilities can still be crippled by self-control issues. The exact source of self-control remains a mystery: Is it a product of nature, of nurture or an acquired cognitive skill of some kind? Researchers have been able to identity two types: “Hot” self-control is “emotional, reflexive unconscious”; the “cool” variety is “cognitive, reflective, slower and effortful.” Undoubtedly, there will be nuances down the road, further complicating the picture, but for now, Mischel gets to the heart of the matter. “The emotional brain’s predisposition to overvalue immediate rewards and to greatly discount the value of delayed rewards,” writes the author, “points to what we need to do if we want to take control: we have to reverse the process by cooling the present and heating the future….push the temptation in front of you far away in space and time, and bring the distant consequences closer in your mind.” No one will deny that self-control would make for a better planet, and this cogent guide suggests paths that may lead us to more conscious control of this desirable quality. (BEA booth: 2820; ALA booth: 423.)

O’Brien, Pat St. Martin’s (384 pp.) $26.99 | Aug. 19, 2014 978-0-312-56437-7

The star-filled career of one of America’s most famous entertainment show anchors, complicated by true confessions of a spectacular fall from grace. When Charlie Sheen tells you, “That was an excellent effort, my man,” it’s probably time to take stock of your life. That’s where O’Brien (Talkin’ Sports: A B.S.-er’s Guide, 2008, etc.) found himself in 2005 when a series of sexually graphic, drug-and-alcohol-fueled voice-mail messages appeared in the tabloid press. Recorded during an epic drunken blackout, the messages were just one red flag for a man racing toward destruction. “Mine is a story of daydreams and fulfilled and unfulfilled ambitions,” he writes in the introduction, “of the craving for love from strangers and for belonging at the table, of failure and of redemption.” From there, the author tells a rich and well-written—if not overly complex—history of his rise from modest roots in South Dakota to becoming one of the most well-known media commentators in the country. In addition to being quite entertaining, there’s something for everyone in O’Brien’s story. Sports fans will thrill to anecdotes about legends like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, told with obvious nostalgia for the 1980s and ’90s, when the author covered the Olympics, NBA Finals, Final Four and Super Bowl, among other sporting events. Consumers of tabloids will enjoy the juicy tales from a host who readily admits he’s a name-dropper. “And it goes both ways; there’s a reason people want to talk with us,” he writes.

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“A terrific memoir with lessons for young journalists, sports fans and anyone who shares the love of the games.” from scribe

“We are the link to the fans. So, it’s not me, folks, it’s the profession. If I didn’t get to know people, I wouldn’t be around long.” In the final third of the book, O’Brien covers his dramatic descent into a brutal, life-threatening alcoholism that took two stints in rehab to survive, complete with notes from his doctors that read, “Surrender or else.” A familiar, relatable story of dependence and repentance, filtered through the glam of Hollywood. (BEA booth: 1739; ALA booth: 528.)

THE IMPULSE SOCIETY America in the Age of Instant Gratification Roberts, Paul Bloomsbury (320 pp.) $28.00 | Sep. 2, 2014 978-1-60819-814-6

A book that pegs contemporary American society and politics for what they are: species of infantile disorder, demanding attention (and sweets) now. In this winding polemic—albeit a rather gentle one, lacking the fire and brimstone of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism (1978)—journalist Roberts (The End of Food, 2008, etc.) laments the end of the kind of long-term thinking that once allowed Americans to work their way out of the deep hole of economic depression. That has now given way to “a society that wants it now, regardless of the consequences”—that wants a quarterly dividend instead of long-view economic health and low or nonexistent taxes at the expense of infrastructure and education, two things that, of course, are themselves economic engines. For our sins, we have a political class that refuses to address pressing big-picture problems like educational reform, climate change, financial reform or meaningful economic growth—and we’re not likely to get one that’s better anytime soon, as long as we can amuse ourselves into the poorhouse and graveyard. Roberts tries not to wear too heavy a moralist’s helm, and he tries gamely to be bipartisan (“Here, too, we find room for left-right compromise”), but it’s pretty clear that his chief target is the fat-and-unhappy baby boomers who don’t want to play along with the rest of the world, which will one day mean that the rest of the world is going to take over our playground and eat our lunch. As befits a book more descriptive than prescriptive, Roberts doesn’t develop much in the way of a program out of the mess, but just to be reminded that Adam Smith wasn’t a right-wing advocate of an unregulated market and even Reagan made a few adult decisions might open a few eyes—once the screaming stops. More worthy of shelving alongside Allan Bloom than Ann Coulter, though still on the pop sociology side of things. (BEA booth: 1749.)

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SCRIBE My Journey as a Sportswriter

Ryan, Bob Bloomsbury (288 pp.) $27.00 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-1-62040-506-2

The classic American sportswriter reflects on a half-century of covering the games we play. Boston Globe mainstay Ryan (The Best of Sport: Classic Writing from the Golden Era of Sports, 2005, etc.) is one of this country’s finest writers, period, fashioning wit, drama and sincerity into a wealth of stories about all kinds of sports until he went into semiretirement in 2012. Here, he recounts the arc of his career, shares advice from the golden age of old-school journalism and pens terrific anecdotes about some of basketball’s larger-than-life figures. He admits readily that his career was something of an accident, from his first internship at the Globe to inheriting the sports desk at the age of 23. “I was confident I could write a decent basketball story,” he writes. “But covering a team is something entirely different than writing about a sport. There is no manual. I’ve never discovered a course anyone can take. It is the ultimate trial-and-error experience.” Along the way, Ryan levies praise on giants like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, weighs in on the Michael Jordan versus LeBron James debate, and shares his memories of provocative coaches like Red Auerbach, Bob Knight and Chuck Daly. The author provides a solid mix of candid, respectful and honest assessments, with much of his trademark humor added in. Despite being known for his basketball lore, Ryan is also something of a multi-instrumentalist, offering thoughtful reflections on football, baseball, Olympic hockey and even the Great American Songbook. “I love sports and I want people to know it,” he writes. “I’d like to think the word people most associate with me is ‘enthusiasm.’ Give me a good game and I’ll be happy; as a fan I may regret the outcome, but as a journalist, I’ll appreciate the drama.” A terrific memoir with lessons for young journalists, sports fans and anyone who shares the love of the games. (BEA booth: 1749.)

IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette Sides, Hampton Doubleday (480 pp.) $28.95 | Aug. 5, 2014 978-0-385-53537-3

Another crackling tale of adventure from journalist/explorer Sides (Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin, 2010, etc.), this one focusing on a frigid disaster nearly 150 years ago.

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“An electrifying, empathetic work of journalism that makes a four-year-old story feel fresh.” from deep down dark

Tobar, Héctor Farrar, Straus and Giroux (320 pp.) $26.00 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-0-374-28060-4

The mind-boggling story of 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,000 feet underground for 10 weeks. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and novelist Tobar (The Barbarian Nurseries, 2011, etc.) spins a gripping narrative, taut to the point of explosion, of the 2010 story that made international headlines for weeks. He doesn’t rush a complex story with many strands: the men below and their cacophony of woes, the families above, the political maneuvering of the Chilean state, the tightfisted mine owners and the company of rescuers. The locale featured “harsh, waterless surroundings [that] serve as a laboratory for studying the possibility of life on other planets,” and the mine itself was a sweltering jackstraw of tunnels, some nearing 100 years in age and ripe for disaster, the rock groaning and hissing as the great tectonic plates collided deep below. Tobar’s depiction of the cave-in is cinematic: The ceiling and floor became “undulating waves of stone,” then the lights went out as colossal wedges of rock collapsed to seal the exits. The |

THERE WAS AND THERE WAS NOT Turkey, the Armenians, and the Story of a Neverending History

Toumani, Meline Metropolitan/Henry Holt (304 pp.) $28.00 | Nov. 4, 2014 978-0-8050-9762-7

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DEEP DOWN DARK The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free

author fully invests readers in the men’s plight by portraying the crushing realization of the dire circumstances, individual acts of decency and pettiness, and moments of sublimity and madness. He also devotes sympathetic attention to the gathering tent city of relatives who refused to leave, certainly not until the bodies were recovered. When the first bore hole punched through, suddenly, “the devil is present in the mine, taking form in all the greed, the misunderstanding, the envy, and the betrayals between the men.” Ultimately, once the miners made it out alive, via a frightening escape vehicle, life was good—until all the other stuff that surfaced along with the miners began to bring many of them down. An electrifying, empathetic work of journalism that makes a four-year-old story feel fresh. (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 528.)

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When the Jeannette, commanded by a dashing officer named George De Long, disappeared in the Arctic waters of Russia on a long expeditionary voyage that began in the summer of 1879, American newspapers thought it did not necessarily mean disaster: They preferred to see it as a sign that the ship had broken through the dreaded polar ice and was now sailing freely, if without communication, in the open polar sea. No such luck: As Sides documents, the Jeannette and its crew met a gruesome end; toward the end of his narrative, we tour their icy cemetery, here the Chinese cook gazing serenely into the sky, there De Long lying barehanded with arm upraised, as if he “had raised his left arm and flung his journal behind him in the snow, away from the embers of the fire.” When contemporaries took that tour and reports came out, the newspapers were full of speculation about even more gruesome possibilities, which Sides, on considering the evidence, dismisses. Given that a bad outcome is promised in the book’s subtitle, readers should not find such things too surprising. The better part of the narrative is not in the sad climax but in the events leading up to it, from De Long’s life and education at sea to the outfitting of the ship (complete with a storeroom full of “barrels of brandy, porter, ale, sherry, whiskey, rum, and cases of Budweiser beer”), personality clashes among members of the crew, and the long, tragic history of polar expedition. A grand and grim narrative of thrilling exploration for fans of Into Thin Air, Mountains of the Moon and the like. (BEA booth: 2839.)

A young Armenian-American journalist examines her identity and personal history. New York Times contributor Toumani grew up hating Turkey. She knew that between 1915 and 1923, nearly 1 million Armenians were massacred and another 1 million deported from the Ottoman Empire, a surge of violence that punctuated generations of oppression. She also knew that the Armenian diaspora was obsessed with world recognition of the conflict as genocide, a term that Turkey vehemently rejected. Even 100 years later, many Armenians are still ferocious in their abhorrence of all things Turkish. But for Toumani, that hatred had come “to feel like a chokehold, a call to conformity,” and she wanted “to understand how history, identity, my clan and my feeling of obligation to it, had defined me.” That search took her to Turkey, where she lived for more than two years, interviewing writers, historians, students, professors and activists about the fraught relationship of Turks to ethnic minorities. Cautious about admitting that she was Armenian, Toumani discovered that once she did, “the distance from ‘Nice to meet you’ to the words ‘so-called genocide’ was sometimes less than two minutes long.” Many Turks claimed to have Armenian friends, but stereotypes were deeply entrenched: Armenians were greedy, shifty and duplicitous. The murder of an outspoken journalist who worked to find common ground between Turks and Armenians brought political hatreds into stark view. Arriving with the idea that “soft reconciliation was important and valuable— that simply getting Turks and Armenians to interact as human beings seemed like a major step,” Toumani felt increasingly frustrated with the intolerance she encountered and with her own prejudices, which “seemed stronger than ever.” She came

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“Excellent, as we have come to expect from the team of Ward and Burns.” from the roosevelts

THE ROOSEVELTS An Intimate History

to believe that the term “genocide” is no more than a clinical label that dilutes the visceral reality of the past. This remarkable memoir serves as a moving examination of the complex forces of ethnicity, nationality and history that shape one’s sense of self and foster, threaten or fray the fragile tapestry of community. (BEA booth: 1738/9.)

THE FRENCH HOUSE An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All

Wallace, Don Sourcebooks (336 pp.) $14.99 paper | Jun. 3, 2014 978-1-4022-9331-3

A journalist and fiction writer’s account of how a crumbling house he bought on a French island became his family’s unexpected refuge and salvation. Wallace (One Great Game: Two Teams, Two Dreams, in the First Ever National Championship High School Football Game, 2003, etc.) and his wife, Mindy, were two wayward surfer-writers with big dreams when they first saw Belle Ile. Their other island home, Manhattan, “was doing its best to shake [them] off, the way a dog does fleas.” A French professor friend named Gwened told them about a cottage that was for sale in the Belle Ile town of Kebordardoue. Broke but craving stability, the couple bought the house almost sight unseen. Only after they saw the cottage two years later did they realize how they had been lured into becoming property owners by the charmingly manipulative Gwened to help spare Kebordardoue from becoming a seaside tourist attraction. The cottage was unlivable and needed costly repairs they could not afford, and it was also located in a village that did not easily accept new residents, especially foreign ones with the idea of becoming absentee landowners. Monetary and logistical challenges threatened to derail the Wallaces’ restoration plans, but with pluck, humor and help from the indomitable Gwened, they made the ruined cottage livable again. They also learned to navigate the tricky social waters that separated them from their colorful, often eccentric neighbors. Over time, Wallace and his wife went from being the laughingstocks of Kebordadoue to beloved community members who helped popularize surfing on Belle Ile. Family, career and financial crises inevitably intervened along the way. But the “maison saine, “or healthy house, that Gwened helped them rebuild to preserve a small island town became their own “sane” space of tranquility in the midst of life storms. Warm, funny and full of heart. (BEA booth: 921.)

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Ward, Geoffrey C.; Burns, Ken Knopf (576 pp.) $60.00 | Sep. 9, 2014 978-0-307-70023-0 The very definition of “lavishly illustrated”—an oversized volume containing nearly 800 photographs documenting the lives of Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt and (to a much lesser extent) their wives and families. Prolific historian Ward (A Disposition to Be Rich: Ferdinand Ward, the Greatest Swindler of the Gilded Age, 2013, etc.) opens with the promising assertion that “the similarities and not the differences” between Teddy and FDR are the more interesting avenue of study. Those similarities are qualified but very real. Both bucked the reins of their parties, though the one remained a Republican for most of his political career (said Teddy, “The man is not everything; the party is most of all”), and the other redefined Democratic Party politics; both were children of privilege whose sense of noblesse oblige included a fundamental sense of fairness that seems not to characterize the 1 percent of today. Ward chronicles the modest ironies that propelled both to the heights of political power—Franklin, for instance, was first picked to balance a ticket as “an easterner with an independent reputation [who] had a good record in wartime Washington and…bore a last name the party hoped would appeal to independent voters.” Both Teddy and Franklin, as Ward ably demonstrates in a lucid text, surpassed all that was expected of them and transcended class to embrace an American-ness for which many readers will be nostalgic. Ward’s text is top-flight, as always, but it would be much less so without the superbly curated photographs that accompany it, documenting such things as bracing hunts in the Rockies, anti-lynching demonstrations in Washington and boats full of teenage soldiers powering toward the beaches of Normandy. Excellent, as we have come to expect from the team of Ward and Burns—an eye-opening look at a political dynasty worthy of the name and at a state of politics far better than our own. (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 542. 778 photos. First printing of 250,000)

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THE AMERICAN VICE PRESIDENCY From Irrelevance to Power

CATALOGING THE WORLD Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age

Wright, Alex Oxford Univ. (360 pp.) $27.95 | Jun. 2, 2014 978-0-19-993141-5

Witcover, Jules Smithsonian Books (576 pp.) $34.95 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-1-58834-471-7

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The story of Paul Otlet (1868-1944), Belgian librarian and utopian visionary, who, long before the digital age, dreamed of a worldwide repository of media, accessible to all. As Wright (Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages, 2007), New York Times director of user experience and product research, explains in this shrewd, brisk biography, cataloging books was only one of Otlet’s aims—he “saw little distinction between creating a new classification of human knowledge and reorienting the world’s political system.” Partnering with Henri La Fontaine, winner of the 1913 Nobel Peace Prize, and eventually involving architect Le Corbusier, Otlet envisioned a site for collecting all knowledge: “any object manifesting any kind of graphic symbols—letters, numbers, images—captured in any form of media in order to express any form of human thought.” The Palais Mondial was a start, a 36-room exhibition space with a huge lecture hall and commodious library, where researchers worked to fulfill individuals’ requests for information, some stored on the new invention of microfilm. But Otlet wanted more: a Mundaneum—“a World City that might stand at the center of a new world government.” Knowledge, Otlet believed, was inextricably intertwined, and intellectual communities, working collectively, could achieve social, political and cultural progress: “a new international political system, a monetary policy designed to ensure the fair distribution of wealth, a judicial system, [and] a global language,” all “in the service of humanity.” The Palais Mondial, initially supported by the Belgian government, was ultimately undermined by war, political controversy, the stock market crash and European turmoil. With his plans for a Mundaneum quashed, Otlet turned to writing, insisting on the moral and ethical implications of an information network, “the possibility of a technological future driven not by greed and vanity, but by a yearning for truth, a commitment to social change, and a belief in the possibility of spiritual liberation.” Wright ends his illuminating story in the present, where Otlet’s thoughts about the connection of information to knowledge, and knowledge to insight, are still urgent. (This review was first published in the 4/15/14 issue of Kirkus. ALA booth: 1135.)

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A veteran journalist who has published copiously about the vice presidency offers an exhaustive survey. Syndicated politics columnist Witcover (Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption, 2010, etc.) relates the saga of all 47 vice presidents of the United States, from John Adams to Joe Biden. Although biographical information is abundant for each man, the author emphasizes the political context of each vice presidency, showing how each vice president became the nominee, whether each worked well in tandem with the president, and what happened to each when the four-year term expired. Only readers who have studied the White House in depth are likely to recognize names such as William R. King, Garret A. Hobart and Charles Curtis. Witcover explains why most vice presidents, despite impressive accomplishments before election, served their terms in near obscurity. The inattention of the Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the courts regarding sensible selection and succession procedures seems shocking when understood within the historical timeline Witcover presents. At first, the vice president was the runner-up in the election for president, meaning incompatible rivals might be thrown together. Later, tradition dictated the president and the vice president be from the same political party, but the line of succession remained unclear. In one of the most surprising chapters, Witcover examines the confusion in the mind of Thomas R. Marshall during the extended, mostly undisclosed incapacity of President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson’s wife and the medical staff refused to keep Marshall in the loop, despite the strong possibility that Marshall would become president. Not until 1967, with the adoption of the 25th Amendment, did the procedure for filling a vacant presidency become completely clear. That amendment became operative only six years later, when the disgraced Richard Nixon chose Gerald Ford as the new president. In a final chapter, Witcover looks back on the evolution of the vice presidency to surmise that it now can probably be considered an “assistant presidency” rather than a do-nothing sinecure. Extremely impressive research informs this valuable book of American history. (BEA booth: 2844. 50 b/w photos)

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“Millions will enjoy the World Cup and Olympics, but Zirin justly reminds readers of the real human costs beyond the spectacle.” from brazil’s dance with the devil

BRAZIL’S DANCE WITH THE DEVIL The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Struggle for Democracy Zirin, Dave Haymarket (240 pp.) $16.00 paper | May 27, 2014 978-1-60846-360-2

How the real costs to democracy and the body politic that come from hosting a World Cup or Olympics outweigh the temporal joy that such events bring. This summer, the world’s eyes will be on Brazil as it prepares to host the World Cup. Hundreds of thousands will descend, lured by the beautiful game and by promises of equally beautiful beaches and people. The same attractions will draw people (and the world’s media) to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics. While the Nation  sports editor Zirin (Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down, 2013, etc.) understands the appeal of the spectacle, he is under no illusions regarding its costs. The author ruthlessly tears apart the rationale of a country like Brazil—which aspires to the top tier of world powers but has entrenched problems with poverty and service delivery and health care and providing adequate schools and myriad other issues—hosting a World Cup and Olympics that will not only fail to alleviate, but will exacerbate the country’s problems. Zirin identifies the heart of the dilemma as “neoliberal plunder,” whereby wealth is transferred “out of the public social safety net and into the hands of private capital.” FIFA, the global body that governs football, and the International Olympic Committee are two of the chief villains in this scenario, but a range of political elites share accountability for using the events for the purpose of enriching themselves or accomplishing personal and political agendas. Zirin shows the boondoggle that are FIFA stadium demands and the flimsy pretexts behind the removals of and crackdowns on Brazil’s favelas, the so-called slums that really are vibrant neighborhoods of the lower classes. Millions will enjoy the World Cup and Olympics, but Zirin justly reminds readers of the real human costs beyond the spectacle. (This review was first published in the 5/1/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 1103.)

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picture books TRAIN!

These titles earned the Kirkus Star: QUEST by Aaron Becker...................................................................... 40 THE RIGHT WORD by Jen Bryant; illus. by Melissa Sweet............... 42 HUG MACHINE by Scott Campbell.................................................... 42 DRAW! by Raúl Colón..........................................................................43 FROM THERE TO HERE by Laurel Croza; illus. by Matt James.......43 DALIA’S WONDROUS HAIR / EL CABELLO MARAVILLOSO DE DALIA by Laura Lacámara; trans. by Gabriela Baeza Ventura.........45

BEN FRANKLIN’S BIG SPLASH by Barb Rosenstock; illus. by S.D. Schindler..........................................................................47 THREE BEARS IN A BOAT by David Soman.....................................47 SEBASTIAN AND THE BALLOON by Philip C. Stead...................... 48 SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL by Duncan Tonatiuh......................... 48 NANCY KNOWS by Cybèle Young...................................................... 49 DRAW!

Colón, Raúl Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster (40pp.) $17.99 | $10.99 e-book Sep. 16, 2014 978-1-4424-9492-3 978-1-4424-9493-0 e-book

A train ride is a mind-opening experience for a young train lover. Little Elephant has a one-track mind, and that track has a train on it. No matter what his Mommy and Daddy try to discuss or do with him, it always comes back to trains. So one day, they take him on a real train ride. But when fellow passengers Cat, Penguin and Rabbit want to play with their own favorite vehicles instead of Little Elephant’s beloved train, can the trip be rescued? Abbot’s bright cartoon toddlers charmingly say only one word at a time (and even then, at most they say four different words in the entire book), and she imbues them with emotion by way of raised or lowered eyebrows and crossed or upraised arms. Little Elephant’s initial exuberance slowly turns to disappointment and then indignation. But after a surprise trip through a dark tunnel and a toy mix-up, the shouting match as to whose obsession is best (and Little Elephant’s stomping tantrum) changes to a deliciously riotous and melodious chant as the four new friends discover the joys of other forms of transportation: “Train—plane—digger—digger! Train—plane—car!” And the best part of the whole train ride? The new friends that Little Elephant has made, of course. While this isn’t guaranteed to lessen readers’ own obsessions, it sure is fun to read aloud. (Picture book. 3-5) (ALA booth: 1342.)

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A PERFECTLY MESSED-UP STORY by Patrick McDonnell............. 46

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Abbot, Judi Illus. by Abbot, Judi Tiger Tales (32 pp.) $16.99 | Aug. 4, 2014 978-1-58925-163-2

IVAN The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Applegate, Katherine Illus. by Karas, G. Brian Clarion (40 pp.) $17.99 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-0-544-25230-1

Applegate reinterprets her Newbery-winning story about Ivan the shopping-mall gorilla for a younger audience of up-andcoming animal activists. Ivan’s idyllic early years in the jungle are described in the first few spreads in brief, simple, poetic lines. These are paired with warm, earth-toned watercolors. All comes to a halt on a page featuring one ominous line of text: “He did not learn about |

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Duncan Tonatiuh’s Separate Is Never Equal: A Civil Rights Struggle Years Before a Landmark Case

SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL

Tonatiuh, Duncan Abrams

Author-illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh lives in-between in more than one way—he lives some of the time in Mexico and some in the United States (he has dual citizenship), and his published name is half-Anglo and half-Aztec (“Duncan” is, intriguingly enough, his great-aunt’s first name, and he shares “Tonatiuh” with the Aztec god of the sun). There is nothing in-between, however, about Tonatiuh’s bold, unforgettable new picture book Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation, which was released earlier this month and which we starred. In it, Tonatiuh reveals the struggle that Sylvia Mendez’s parents endured to enroll their daughter in a public school near their farm in Orange County, Calif., seven years before Brown v. Board of Education. Tonatiuh creates stark images that don’t just reference, but actually mimic pre-Columbian iconography: tear-shaped eyes, blocky arms and legs, a curl in his characters’ ears that we spy in Aztec art. With those images, Tonatiuh makes it clear in Separate Is Never Equal that the Mendezes’ fight for justice was an emotional, personal one. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tonatiuh has an opinion about the debate that’s been raging lately about the lack of diversity in children’s books. “I think we’re all responsible in different ways,” he says. Publishers—not necessarily his own—may say there’s not enough profit in publishing books for minority markets, but Tonatiuh disagrees. In 2013, he published Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale. “Teachers and librarians and kids really appreciated it,” he says. “There’s definitely a market for them. I understand publishing is a business, but I think there is money to be made there and I think it’s a matter of being courageous and trying things out.”

humans / until it was too late.” Ivan and another baby are captured by poachers. A stark, dark spread depicts their imprisonment and journey in a crate from central Africa to Tacoma, Wash., to a man who “had ordered and paid for them, / like a couple of pizzas, / like a pair of shoes.” Youngsters will initially be lulled by how cute and satisfied the two appear upon arriving in their human home. However, the deficits of Ivan’s (in)human(e) environment soon become clear, starting with the death of his companion. Although years pass in just a few page turns, Applegate’s measured tone allows children to slowly digest Ivan’s situation and the change in attitude that eventually prompted his removal from the mall to a better setting, Zoo Atlanta. There, the story comes full circle, and Ivan is at last reunited with others of his kind. A note “About Ivan” provides further details. Gently paced, with moving but reassuring images, this is an age-appropriate introduction to the issues of captivity and animal welfare. (Informational picture book. 5-8) (BEA booth: 1657; ALA booth: 403.)

QUEST

Becker, Aaron Illus. by Becker, Aaron Candlewick (40 pp.) $15.99 | Aug. 26, 2014 978-0-7636-6595-1 On the coattails of Journey (2013), Becker gleefully expands and details his award-winning fantasyland, growing even more ambitious with his storytelling. When readers last saw the boy and girl protagonists, they were sharing a tandem bike; this adventure opens with the children sheltering from raindrops under a bridge, the bike propped up against the wall. Suddenly, a desperate king bursts through a door set into the base of the bridge. He charges the two young heroes with collecting the six magic crayons that will defeat his realm’s enemy once and for all. Supplied with a map indicating where the crayons are hidden, the kids find each one (the girl stores them in a crayon bandolier), leading to a showdown with the bad guy that ends with a brilliant, rainbow-hued win for the forces of good. Harold-like, the children use the crayons to draw themselves out of scrapes along the way. Broadening his palette, Becker fills his book with myriad colorful details that will reward sharp-eyed fans. At the same time, his ink and watercolors evoke different kinds of architectural wonders (everything from Atlantis to Chichén Itzá). Part Indiana Jones, part Avatar: The Last Airbender, this book proves to be more exciting than its Caldecott Honor predecessor, emphasizing adventure over evocative metaphor. Breathtaking in scope, consider this a wordless testament to the power of not just imagination, but art itself; picture books rarely feel this epic. (Picture book. 4-8) (BEA booth: 2857; ALA booth: 602.)

—Claiborne Smith 40

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“This whimsical ode to the codex is an endorsement both of reading and of what has been coined the “thingyness” of books….” from a book is a book

A BOOK IS A BOOK

and empowering jingle. While it’s not as complete a vehicle for inculcating emergent language skills as many of Boynton’s other books, there’s no denying it’s got verve. A swell read for the lighthearted. (Board book. 1-3) (BEA booth: 839/939; ALA booth: 414.)

Bornholdt, Jenny Illus. by Wilkins, Sarah Gecko Press (40 pp.) $14.95 | Sep. 1, 2014 978-1-877579-92-9

MADAME MARTINE

Brannen, Sarah S. Illus. by Brannen, Sarah S. Whitman (32 pp.) $16.99 | Sep. 1, 2014 978-0-8075-4905-6

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Adopting a stray dog inspires a routine-bound woman to take a new view of the world. Madame Martine follows a strict schedule: Each day she takes the same walk wearing the same coat, shopping at the same stores. And even though she lives near the Eiffel Tower, she’s never climbed it. “Eh. It’s a tourist thing,” says Martine.

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This whimsical ode to the codex is an endorsement both of reading and of what has been coined the “thingyness” of books—and it avoids the fatal, superior tone that concludes Lane Smith’s similarly themed, otherwise-ingenious It’s a Book. The opening double-page spread sets a humorous tone: Hats, human heads and a pair of rabbit ears reveal readers behind a long, bleeding-off-the-page line of colorful, many-sized, open books. The recto bears the simple sentence, “A book is to read.” The next page hastens to explain that “[a] book is paper,” lest anyone should consider other options. Even a page devoted to clandestine bedroom reading ignores possible advantages of e-books. Later, a fanciful, double-page spread advises people to use books in order to traverse “your room without touching the floor”: A pajama-clad girl flees alligators as she hops from book to book. (“You should only use your biggest, worst books for this game.”) Pronouncements range from obvious to funny to downright bizarre, all accompanied by stylized, lighthearted ink-and-watercolor artwork. The one disappointment in the art is a lack of cultural diversity in the numerous people and in the settings—only a few of these avid readers appear to be anything other than Caucasian; this partly diminishes the text’s theme of books as universally beloved objects. The diminutive size—approximately 5 inches by 7 inches—negates group use but makes this perfect for a child on a lap or as a stocking stuffer for older bibliophiles. (Picture book. 4-9) (ALA booth: 240.)

THE BUNNY RABBIT SHOW!

Boynton, Sandra Illus. by Boynton, Sandra Workman (24 pp.) $6.95 | Sep. 9, 2014 978-0-7611-8060-9

The bunnies that inhabit Boynton’s colorful world put on a musical show for

the other animals. The rabbits have taken over the theater. They dance and sing, bragging about their long ears and twitchy noses for the pigs and chickens in the audience. The rhythmic chorus—“We are ten terrific rabbits and we like to dance and sing. / Ten terrific rabbits. We can do almost anything”—is mighty infectious. The author’s trademark wit and humor are on full display as the other animals dress up like bunnies and join the massive grand finale. The barnyard cast forms a musical troupe that amuses and delights. Adults will appreciate the clever sight gags, and small children will appreciate the tasteful boasting |

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“Sweet tops herself—again!” from the right word

One day she discovers a wet, dirty dog in a bush, and after determining he’s a stray, she takes him home. She gives him a bath and names him Max, and he promptly falls contentedly asleep on her bed. Then one Saturday, on their routine walk near the tower, a squirrel dashes by, and Max takes chase, pulling the leash from Martine’s hand. Max continues running but heads up the stairs of the tower, forcing Martine to hastily buy a ticket to catch him. Vertiginous views of the tower’s skeleton emphasize its height. When they reach the second level, Max slips into the elevator, and Martine follows. The doors open at the top to a spectacular two-page spread of Paris at twilight, with Martine and Max in the foreground. After that, Martine and Max resume their daily routines but with a twist: They always try something new on Saturday. The exquisitely rendered watercolor illustrations are full of charm and expression, becoming more colorful and saturated as Martine’s heart gets fuller. Enchanting. (Picture book. 4-7) (BEA booth: C1685; ALA booth: 517.)

THE RIGHT WORD Roget and His Thesaurus Bryant, Jen Illus. by Sweet, Melissa Eerdmans (42 pp.) $17.50 | Sep. 15, 2014 978-0-8028-5385-1

After award-winning collaborations about poet William Carlos Williams and artist Horace Pippin, Bryant and Sweet return to investigate the life of Peter Mark Roget. Born in London in 1779, Roget was plagued by lifelong setbacks. His father died early; his mother was unstable. Frequent moves and pronounced shyness engendered solace in books. Partial to classifying his knowledge and experiences, Peter composed his first book of lists by age 8. Inspired by the taxonomy of Swedish physician and botanist Linnaeus, teenage Peter studied medicine in Scotland, eventually establishing a practice in London, and he worked on a book of word classifications, completing it in 1805 for his own reference. Roget lectured, invented (the slide rule and the pocket chess set) and, inspired by the publication of several contemporary, inferior books of lists, returned to his own. His Thesaurus, published in 1852 and nurtured by his descendants, has never gone out of print. Bryant’s prose is bright and well-tuned for young readers. She goes gently, omitting Roget’s darkest traumas, such as witnessing his uncle’s suicide. Sweet tops herself—again!—visually reflecting Roget’s wide range as a thinker and product of the Enlightenment. Injecting her watercolor palette with shots of teal, scarlet and fuchsia, Sweet embeds vintage bits (ledger paper, type drawers, botanical illustrations and more), creating a teeming, contemplative, playfully celebratory opus. In a word: marvelous! (chronology, author’s and illustrator’s notes, selected bibliography, suggested reading, quotation sources, photograph of manuscript page) (Picture book/biography. 6-10) (BEA booth: 1039; ALA booth: 402.) 42

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HUG MACHINE

Campbell, Scott Illus. by Campbell, Scott Atheneum (40 pp.) $16.99 | $9.99 e-book | Aug. 26, 2014 978-1-4424-5935-9 978-1-4424-5936-6 e-book A feel-good ride, full of droll artistic asides and an abundance of caring. A little boy calls himself the Hug Machine. He is a squat little guy, with an oblong head and arms that would surely drag on the floor if he ever put them down. But that just means they are perfect for hugging. The Hug Machine wraps his arms around his family, neighbors, everyone he meets. He also hugs things that are hard (a rock), big (a bear), square (an ice cream truck) and spiky (a porcupine—while wearing adequate protection, of course). No one can resist his unbelievable hugging! Admittedly, the Hug Machine can look a tad forbidding while looking for his next cuddle recipient; his large eyes pop, and his arms stretch wide. But as soon as the hug starts, his face relaxes into a serene calm. With each hug, Campbell depicts him hilariously perched in the same position, as if he were perfectly inserted exactly where he should be. Unadorned, hand-lettered text and deliberately muted watercolors increase the warmth of this adorable little fellow. The story rests on a simple string of hugs and one plucky little hero doing his part to make the world a better place. In his first outing as an author, Campbell shines. (Picture book. 3-6) (BEA booth: 1721; ALA booth: 603.)

THE BOY ON THE PAGE

Carnavas, Peter Illus. by Carnavas, Peter Kane/Miller (32 pp.) $11.99 | Sep. 1, 2014 978-1-61067-245-0

A picture-book allegory about life and, to some extent, love. It is undeniably adorable, with a winsome protagonist, sweet animals, and great but not aggressive production (lovely paper and a light-catching glaze). Less a meditation on metafictional existence than a stand-in story for an existential quest (why am I here?), the tale of this “boy” is actually fairly low-key: “One quiet morning, a small boy landed on the page.” Though a little nonplussed, the boy quickly finds himself exploring the limits of his world. His animal companions—a friendly pig and a small yellow bird—stick with him as he experiences art, music and adventure. Later, he grows a beard, still looking endearingly like his young self despite facial hair, and becomes a partner and a father. Near the book’s end—the pages’ end—the elusive, universal “why” has him leaping into the unknown—whether disconcertingly or boldly will depend on individual readers or listeners: “Looking for answers, he tried something he had never tried before. / Jumping off the page… // …waiting for him there kirkus.com

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DRAW!

was every…person he had ever loved.” The boy, now clearly a grown and elderly man, is both enlightened and reassured. Will the young readers and listeners feel the same way? The impressive kindness of the art has its own power and could make it work—the ambiguity inherent in this sort of question does not guarantee success. (Picture book. 4-8) (BEA booth: 2569; ALA booth: 218.)

Carnesi, Mônica Illus. by Carnesi, Mônica Nancy Paulsen Books (32 pp.) $15.99 | Aug. 14, 2014 978-0-399-25667-7

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In a gentle tale for the very young, a rabbit named Beatrice finds an ingenious way to share winter with her hibernating best friend, Bear. The first sentence, appearing over a winsome bear sitting in a carrot patch, announces, “Beatrice and Bear met on a clear spring day.” Little readers will squeal with delight when they comprehend the next page, which says, with great understatement, “They did not get off to a good start.” Bear looks down at an irate rabbit vainly trying to shift Bear’s large bottom off the squashed carrot plants. But the relationship improves. The story of their blossoming friendship continues, with sweetfaced Beatrice and Bear engaging in all sorts of human activities throughout spring, summer and fall. Beatrice’s naïveté will evoke chuckles when, after a friendly squirrel kindly explains that “hibernation” is not a place, Beatrice jumps to the conclusion that it’s a sleepover and rushes to “hibernate” with Bear. Very funny pictures, including one of Beatrice wearing a sleep mask, illustrate her inability to join Bear’s deep sleep. The squirrel again comes to Beatrice’s aid, helping her arrive at a “brilliant idea” (begging the question of why the squirrel cannot be a third, named friend). The illustrations are simple cartoons with watercolor washes, and they skillfully convey both the many anthropomorphic touches, such as Beatrice’s carrot-decorated blanket, and a subtle range of emotions on the best friends’ faces. Winningly sweet. (Picture book. 2-5) (BEA booth: 1521; ALA booth: 442/3.)

A wordless picture book celebrates the power of art and imagination. A little boy reads about Africa and then creates his own adventures with his pencils and paints. Wordless books require readers to slow down and read the pictures, and careful children will see beyond the main storyline by looking at the whole illustration. Why is the boy in bed and not outside? The inhaler and bottle of medicine on the side table are hints. But binoculars and an umbrella on the other side of the table tell them that he is not always bedridden. As he draws, he falls deeply into the rich world of his imaginary Africa. First he draws an elephant, and then he rides away on it. He paints zebras, has a sandwich for lunch, records a giraffe stampede and shares one of his many other sandwiches with the gorillas. After a hair-raising encounter with an aggressive rhino, the little artist shares his pencils and food with other primates, who return the favor and sketch him. Colón’s signature scratched-watercolor technique adds richness and emotion to this warm story, but it’s the framing scenes at beginning and end that really sparkle here. Simple line-and-color washes put the young man at the center of the story and help readers identify with him. Young artists, reach for your sketchbooks. (Picture book. 4-8) (BEA booth: 2638/9; ALA booth: 302/3.)

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SLEEPOVER WITH BEATRICE AND BEAR

Colón, Raúl Illus. by Colón, Raúl Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster (40 pp.) $17.99 | $10.99 e-book | Sep. 16, 2014 978-1-4424-9492-3 978-1-4424-9493-0 e-book

FROM THERE TO HERE

Croza, Laurel Illus. by James, Matt Groundwood (36 pp.) $18.95 | $16.95 e-book | May 13, 2014 978-1-55498-365-0 978-1-55498-366-7 e-book Following the spare, deeply felt I Know Here (2010), a just-moved child compares her old home in rural Saskatchewan to her new Toronto one. “It’s different here,” she begins. Instead of tall trees, the aurora borealis and trailers parked by the roadside, she sees tall buildings, lawns, streetlights and paved roads. There are other changes too: Her big brother can take a bus into town, and her father, working on a highway project rather than a dam, doesn’t come home for lunch now. Using thickly daubed brushwork and roughly drawn figures to give his illustrations a childlike atmosphere, James echoes the child’s ruminative observations with contrasting city and forest scenes. Though the city seems to suffer in comparison, a knock at the door brings one difference |

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that casts all the others in a more positive light: a new friend who is also “[e]ight, almost nine.” “It was different there,” she concludes, with a subtle but significant shift of emphasis. “Not the same as here.” Once again, a low-key, emotionally true approach to a common and usually upsetting childhood experience. (Picture book. 6-8) (This review was first published in the 3/1/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 1332; ALA booth: 322.)

RUPERT CAN DANCE

Feiffer, Jules Illus. by Feiffer, Jules Michael di Capua/Farrar, Straus and Giroux (32 pp.) $17.95 | Aug. 5, 2014 978-0-374-36363-5 A feline and his girl become a dancing duo. Mandy loves to perform jazzy moves for her cat, Rupert, who only watches in return. But when Mandy is asleep, Rupert puts on Mandy’s dance shoes and performs for himself. “Dancing was Rupert’s secret!” Keeping that secret is of paramount importance. Alas, Mandy awakens to see what she is not ever supposed to see, and Rupert hides under the bed, steadfastly refusing to come out. Mandy tries to entice him by demonstrating steps, but Rupert, like all cats, is “not meant for lessons. Cats are free spirits.” Finally, Mandy devises a plan that involves reverse psychology, meant to work on recalcitrant children—oops—cats, and a lasting partnership is the happy result. Feiffer has crafted an engaging tale of friendship, dance and cat psychology. The text appears on each page as captions under and alongside each drawing—it’s almost a graphic-novel format, minus the panels. The free-form illustrations, done in bright strokes of black, ginger, pinks and greens, swirl gracefully about the pages and pop off the white backgrounds. A happy romp for terpsichorean cat lovers. (Picture book. 4-7) (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 522.)

LATKE, THE LUCKY DOG

Fischer, Ellen Illus. by Beeke, Tiphanie Kar-Ben (24 pp.) $17.95 | $7.95 paper | $7.95 e-book Sep. 1, 2014 978-0-7613-9038-1 978-0-7613-9039-8 paper 978-1-4677-4669-4 e-book A rescued dog chosen as a Hanukkah present at an animal shelter relates his good luck as he learns to adapt to his new family and home. Zoe and Zach welcome their new pet, a playful, mediumsized, golden-brown dog, and name him Latke (he’s exactly the color of one). The newest member of the family assumes all the 44

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celebratory aspects of the eight-day Hanukkah holiday are just for him and innocently creates a mild disturbance on each night. Latke eats the sufganiyot and latkes, rips open presents, chews up the dreidels and candles, slobbers all over the chocolate gelt and knocks the bowl of applesauce over. With each mishap, Zoe and Zach find a way to forgive, letting the curious new dog know he is very fortunate indeed. Ever remorseful, Latke finally accepts his own gift of a chew toy and understands he is one lucky dog to be part of a great family. Latke relates his own story, folding his innocent misdeeds into the basic structure of the eight nights of remembrance. Simple, childlike gouache scenes favor the star of the story, a sweet and personable mutt sporting floppy black ears against a brown happy face. He has rather more personality than the overall presentation, which cannot shed its inherent didacticism. Though it’s fairly unoriginal at its core, this story’s charismatic star will have appeal in dog-loving households. (Picture book. 3-5) (BEA booth: 1847; ALA booth: 623.)

ANIMAL TEACHERS

Halfmann, Janet Illus. by Hudson, Katy Blue Apple (40 pp.) $17.99 | Aug. 12, 2014 978-1-60905-391-8

Just like human children, animal babies from chicks to bear cubs learn lessons from adults around them. Spread by spread, the conversational text of this instructive title presents skills a dozen different young animals have to learn and connects them to readers. Two paragraphs describe the learning task: finding what’s good to eat; learning to swim, defend, feed and shelter oneself; learning to recognize and make particular sounds. Questions to readers follow. “Who sings to you?” the narrator asks after presenting information on penguins. Some shared skills may surprise. It takes time for elephants to learn to use their trunks for drinking, just as it does for children to learn to drink from a water fountain. Great apes learn tool use: Chimps crack nuts with stones, and orangutans gather leafy branches for umbrellas. Hudson’s realistic pen-and-watercolor illustrations show animal parents and their child or children in their natural environments. (The leafy endpapers are less relevant, showing an unlikely collection of unmentioned though recognizable birds and a few animals, some placed so far toward the edges they will likely be hidden by the cover flaps.) A final spread offers two to four additional interesting facts about each of the creatures described. Nicely connecting the child to the natural world, this would be a useful opener for a unit about animals as well as a title to share with young animal lovers. (Informational picture book. 4-8) (BEA booth: 1206; ALA booth: 456.)

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“The mixed-media illustrations depict tender interactions between Dalia and the natural world, enhancing the feeling of whimsy.” from dalia’s wondrous hair / el cabello maravilloso de dalia

CHANDRA’S MAGIC LIGHT

Heine, Theresa Illus. by Gueyfier, Judith Barefoot (40 pp.) $16.99 | $8.99 paper | May 31, 2014 978-1-84686-493-3 978-1-84686-866-5 paper

Jenkins, Steve; Page, Robin Illus. by Jenkins, Steve HMH Books (32 pp.) $17.99 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-0-544-23351-5

Noses and teeth, horns and beaks, tusks and frills—odd, silly and sometimes scary-looking animal features help them survive. Jenkins and Page have chosen 25 animals from around the world to tell readers how this works. The presentation of these adaptations gives the artist great scope to show off the remarkable images he can create out of cut and torn papers. A single animal head stares out from most pages. The eyes pop, and the curious features are prominent in these striking images, set on solid-colored backgrounds. The informational text is introduced with a question: “Dear hamster: Why are your cheeks so fat?” The voice of the animal answers: “That’s not fat—it’s my dinner.” Feathers can threaten predators or direct sound; feathery appendages on an axolotl are actually gills. A carrion-eating vulture stays clean without feathers on its face. A blobfish out |

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Lacámara, Laura Illus. by Lacámara, Laura Translated by Baeza Ventura, Gabriela Arte Público (32 pp.) $17.95 | May 31, 2014 978-1-55885-789-6 One magical morning, Dalia awakes to find her hair has grown up toward the sky, “tall and thick as a Cuban royal palm tree.” Throughout the day, to the shock of her neighbors, Dalia covers her wondrous hair with natural material from the environment around her in order to do something truly special, making for an imaginative story. She stuffs and squishes wild tamarind, coontie leaves and mud into her hair, turning it into a butterfly garden overnight. The mixed-media illustrations depict tender interactions between Dalia and the natural world, enhancing the feeling of whimsy. Further enriching the story is the appearance of flora and fauna specific to Cuba. The vibrant illustrations stretch across full pages, the deeply saturated colors and assured lines drawing readers’ eyes across each spread. The placement of the bilingual text is a little sporadic, at times being side-by-side and other times above-and-below, but the presentation of the book overall is excellent. A bilingual author’s note provides further information about the plants and animals referenced and presents instructions for creating one’s own butterfly garden. A delightful account of one fanciful little girl’s enchanted day in Cuba. (Bilingual picture book. 3-6) (This review was first published in the 4/1/14 issue of Kirkus. ALA booth: 225.)

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CREATURE FEATURES 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do

DALIA’S WONDROUS HAIR / EL CABELLO MARAVILLOSO DE DALIA

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Two young sisters work hard to bring the “magic” of solar energy to their family. Chandra and her older sister, Deena, are shopping in the marketplace when they see solar tukis, lamps that are both safer and cheaper in the long run than the usual kerosene lamps. They are determined to buy one to make their home healthier for Akash, their baby brother, who has a lingering cough, but their father has no money to spare. Though they already have many chores, the sisters take on the project of earning money by selling rhododendrons, Nepal’s national flower. As Deena tells her sister about Surya, the sun god, and Chandra, the moon god (the little girl is named for him), religion is woven into the story. Created with acrylics, collage elements and colored pencils, the vivid two-page spreads are filled with everyday details, and a few have a magical, Rousseau-like quality. The backmatter includes information on Nepal and topics including markets, health and the technology of solar tukis, useful for teachers and librarians. Instructions for a pizza-box solar oven include a reminder about asking a grown-up to help cut the box with a knife but do not extend that to recommending adult assistance with actual cooking. Making its point engagingly, this story will help young readers see how small environmental changes can make a difference. (Picture book. 6-9) (This review was first published in the 3/15/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 1671.)

of water is squished by gravity; a puffed-up puffer fish is hard to swallow. The question-and-answer approach draws readers in, offering room for surprise and a child’s own theories. The last page shows all 25 creatures (plus an adult human) in silhouette and to scale, noting what each eats. Maps show where on various continents or in which oceans each can be found. From a skilled team, another intriguing invitation to explore the animal world. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-8) (BEA booth: 1657; ALA booth: 403.)

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“The blank backgrounds that throw Louie’s freakout in relief, the interplay between narrative text and Louie’s frantic speech bubbles, and Louie’s prostrate despair are all brilliant.” from a perfectly messed - up story

PIG AND SMALL

Latimer, Alex Illus. by Latimer, Alex Peachtree (32 pp.) $15.95 | Sep. 1, 2014 978-1-56145-797-7

Can a pig and a bug become friends, or will the matter of size get in their way? Pig’s nose has never squeaked before, but one morning, it does nothing but. It squeaks when he eats, when he feeds the pigeons and when he takes a bath. He can’t find an answer in the big medical book, so he inspects his snout himself. What he finds is a squeaky bug who seems to want to be friends. Pig’s agreeable. He gets out his tandem bicycle, but when they ride, he feels he does most of the work. Bug makes Pig a cake to apologize—but Pig eats it in one bite without even remarking on the decorations. Their vastly different sizes get in the way of everything they try to do, so they go their separate ways….Then Pig sees an ad for a movie and realizes there are a ton of things the two can do together. They enjoy the movie, a museum, the aquarium and the zoo. There are still things they don’t enjoy doing together (like playing catch), but mostly they don’t even notice the difference in their sizes any more. South African author-illustrator Latimer isn’t quite as successful here as in Lion vs. Rabbit (2013) and other previous, slightly skewed outings. Here the absurdity may induce a smile—but not a laugh. It’s a fine message, but it lacks a certain pizzazz. (Picture book. 4-8) (BEA booth: 2813; ALA booth: 212.)

A PERFECTLY MESSED-UP STORY

McDonnell, Patrick Illus. by McDonnell, Patrick Little, Brown (40 pp.) $17.00 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-0-316-22258-7

Here’s an existential dilemma: What if you were a character in a book, and sandwich fillings fell onto your page from above? Louie skips across a calm green field under mild skies and neat, fluffy clouds. His footie pajamas are yellow, and his paperwhite face is merry. “Tra la la la la,” he sings. Suddenly, a blob of jelly falls from above, inferably dropped by a less-than-fastidious reader. “HEY!” shouts Louie in a speech bubble that obscures the text, nonplussed. He sniffs and licks the jelly for positive identification, squinting and declaring dissatisfaction with this sticky mess, when suddenly from above—“PLOP!” This time it’s peanut butter. Enjoyable cartoon physics are at work: The peanut butter falls right onto Louie’s face and covers it, but when he leans sideways, he’s free of it. The ultrarealistic digitally collaged PB&J splotches retain their exact shape from spread to spread; McDonnell also uses pen and ink, brush pen, crayon and watercolor. More messes deface the idyllic countryside—fingerprints, juice, scribbles and, worst of all, a paper towel that smears rather than cleaning—and Louie has a 46

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meltdown. The blank backgrounds that throw Louie’s freakout in relief, the interplay between narrative text and Louie’s frantic speech bubbles, and Louie’s prostrate despair are all brilliant. Happily, the backgrounds reappear (clean, but what’s that on the endpaper?), and so does Louie’s equilibrium. A playful, funny and friendly treatment of anxiety and life’s unpredictable messes. (Picture book. 3-7) (BEA booth: 1838; ALA booth: 422.)

BEAR HUG

McEwen, Katharine Illus. by McEwen, Katharine Templar/Candlewick (32 pp.) $15.99 | Sep. 23, 2014 978-0-7636-6630-9 A childlike version of a bear’s life story. Recognizing that winter is coming, a young bear prepares, just as he learned to do from his parents. He makes a warm bed in his cave, catches fish and finds berries to eat, and finds a companion for the long winter’s sleep. They wake up in the spring to another season and a cub to teach in turn. This sweet story of Mama and Papa raising their child together is, sadly, directly contrary to the facts of brown bear life. Brown bears are usually solitary. Like nearly 30 percent of the children in this country, bear cubs are raised by a single parent. Male and female parents share neither winter dens nor parenting duties. McEwen has illustrated her idyllic depiction of family life with appealing earth-toned collages. The bears’ natural world includes stylized trees and snowflakes, a “shivery river” filled with “fat silvery fish,” and grand birds. At one point, the family perches on a bee tree from which one parent pulls a ribbon of honey. Some illustrations are full-bleed, sometimes extending across a spread, while others spill out of a background frame. The gentle text, set in a very thin serif type, is sometimes difficult to distinguish from the textured background. Romantic and attractive but ultimately unsatisfying. (Picture book. 2-4) (BEA booth: 2857; ALA booth: 602.)

ANDREW DRAWS

McPhail, David Illus. by McPhail, David Holiday House (36 pp.) $16.95 | $16.95 e-book | Sep. 1, 2014 978-0-8234-3063-5 978-0-8234-3233-2 e-book A young boy discovers he can work magic with his drawings. It all starts when Andrew finds a crayon under the sofa. First, he gives it a test drive by scribbling on the floor until his mother tells him to stop, and his grandmother comes to the rescue with a thick pile of paper. Soon, it’s clear that drawing’s become a passion; he’s never without his crayon and paper, keeping them kirkus.com

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COLOR FOR BABY

Four accordion-fold board books create a miniature art gallery of 20thand 21st-century works, each book focus-

ing on a different hue. “Yellow” shares the geometric designs of Josef Albers and a photo of a sculpture by Urs Fischer of a golden croissant with a red butterfly resting on the tip, among others. “Blue” presents Henri Matisse’s paper-cut birds and Sarah Morris’ minimalist painting dubbed Novotel (Nice). “Green” showcases Cy Twombly’s abstraction of peony blossoms as well as Julian Opie’s cartoon of a crawling baby. “Red” features one of Andy Warhol’s iconic soup-can paintings and a photo of Jeff Koons’ bright red Balloon Dog sculpture. Many of the images will draw young viewers in immediately, like Keith Haring’s boldly outlined dog, but others are too small or too low-contrast to have their desired impact, particularly a faint painting of a candle by Zhang Xiaogang. The only text comprises captions that label each reproduction and a hard-to-read list of all the artworks on the back panel of each book. The entire set comes in a large, sturdy box, which is handy for home use but poses problems for library circulation. While larger pages would have served these masterworks better, this set is sure to become a tummy-time favorite for baby art lovers. (Board book. 0-1) (BEA booth: 2857; ALA booth: 602.)

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Rosenstock, Barb Illus. by Schindler, S.D. Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills (32 pp.) $16.95 | Sep. 2, 2014 978-1-62091-446-5 Is another picture book about Ben Franklin really needed? The answer is yes, as unlike many of its predecessors, this one takes a fresh approach by focusing on a single childhood fascination—swimming. As a boy, Ben was unusual in that he loved to swim at a time when it was thought that swimming caused sickness. Ben’s frustration was that he could not swim like a fish, and true to his nature, he searched for a solution, one that would enable him to swim like a fish. He first made swim fins out of wood and string (they looked like a painter’s palettes), then swim sandals. Emphatic, alliterative verbs accentuate both his enthusiasm and his methodical nature: “Ben SPRINTED straight to the river, STOOD on the bank, STRIPPED OFF his clothes, STRAPPED his feet into the sandals, STUCK his thumbs back in the swim fins, SPREAD his arms wide, STOMPED his feet, and SPLASHED IN.” This first discovery would lead to bigger and better scientific creations. The finely detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations, varying type sizes and colors, and clever page design effectively and delightfully depict this significant American scientist. (Schindler deftly keeps Ben’s privates underwater.) While the subtitle claims the book is “mostly true,” the backmatter provides solid information. As inventive as Ben himself, this presentation is awash with delight and definitely makes a big splash. (author’s note, timeline, sources, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 6-9) (BEA booth: 1946; ALA booth: 569.)

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Peel, Yana–Ed. Big Picture/Candlewick (48 pp.) $21.99 | Sep. 9, 2014 978-0-7636-7124-2

BEN FRANKLIN’S BIG SPLASH

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with him even in the bath and while sitting on the toilet. Next he goes out to sketch the world, drawing animals at the zoo and copying his favorite paintings at the art museum. Then—a miracle: One day he draws a picture of a bird for his grandmother, and it flies off the page and lands on her shoulder. He bestows gifts on his family, drawing a cat for his mother and a comfy chair for his father. When word of his talent reaches the White House, the president calls to enlist Andrew’s help. Soon trucks are en route to the hungry, and schools and hospitals are sent flying by paper airplane to where they are needed. Finally, with one sheet of paper left and only a stub of the crayon, Andrew finally draws something just for himself. Is the magic in the crayon, or is it Andrew? The story and its wild-haired protagonist are simply charming, and its lovely watercolor-and-line illustrations are sure to spark readers’ imaginations. Inspiring. (Picture book. 5-8) (BEA booth: 956; ALA booth: 415.)

THREE BEARS IN A BOAT

Soman, David Illus. by Soman, David Dial (40 pp.) $17.99 | May 20, 2014 978-0-8037-3993-2

Taking a break from Ladybug Girl, Soman uses his watercolors to paint a playful tale of responsibility. When Dash, Charlie and Theo—three sibling bears growing up by the sea—break their mother’s treasured blue seashell while attempting to get into the honey pot, they don’t ’fess up. They instead sail away in their boat, thinking maybe they can find another shell to replace the broken one before their mother gets home. An old, “salty bear” advises them to sail to a faraway island, but when they get there, there’s no shell. A sudden storm, conveyed in a brilliant page turn, helps the quarreling bears realize both their common vulnerability and their culpability, and they sail home, finding a blue shell on their own beach. They apologize to Mama Bear, offering the replacement shell. She |

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forgives them, of course, but with a twist that will make readers smile as they remember another naughty adventurer and his “still hot” dinner. Filled with illustrations that insert lighthearted visual nods to classic books (a boat named Melville is filled with Moby Dick-ish bears, and a raft carries Huckleberry Finn-like bears), this tale is a treat for both eye and ear. Humorous and intelligent—and with watercolor seascapes so luminous that readers will want to jump in—this is a book to be treasured for years to come. (Picture book. 2-8) (This review was first published in the 4/1/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 1521; ALA booth: 442/3.)

SEBASTIAN AND THE BALLOON

Stead, Philip C. Illus. by Stead, Philip C. Roaring Brook (40 pp.) $17.99 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-1-59643-930-6 Sebastian, an Everychild from his plain, russet face and nondescript hair to his striped socks, creates a hot air balloon from his grandmother’s quilt scraps and goes on a joyous, never-ending journey. When Sebastian decides that he needs to see the world beyond his tired street of identical houses, he gathers “all the things he would ever need” and boards his huge hot air balloon. “He charted a course. He checked the breeze. He cut the strings… // and floated free.” Those last three words float over a large white moon, which in turn is suspended in a double-page spread of vast, textured, blue-and-black sky. Against the moon is Sebastian in his colorful balloon, his faithful cardinal friend hovering nearby. This is the first of many frame-worthy pictures, as Sebastian and the bird form friendships with a winsome bear, a “very tall bird” and—yes, Shakespeare enthusiasts—three weird (but charming) sisters, all of whom eventually crowd into the balloon and advance the journey. Expressive charcoal drawings colored with layers of pastels and oil paints add to the dreamlike quality of the tale. The sophisticated nature of the book requires readers to slow down and read the pictures as carefully as the text—and both carry equal, impressive weight. Stead does not disappoint, giving readers another beautifully rendered picture book full of whimsy, heart and delight. (Picture book. 3-7) (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 522.)

SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation

Tonatiuh, Duncan Illus. by Tonatiuh, Duncan Abrams (40 pp.) $18.95 | May 6, 2014 978-1-4197-1054-4

A little-known yet important story of the fight to end school discrimination against Mexican-American children is told with lively text and expressive art. Most associate the fight for school integration with the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. However, seven years earlier, Mexican-American students in California saw an end to discrimination there. The little girl at the center of that case, Sylvia Mendez, was the daughter of parents who looked forward to sending her to the school near their newly leased farm. When her aunt attempted to register the family children, they were directed to the “Mexican school,” despite proficiency in English and citizenship. No one could explain to Mr. Mendez why his children were not allowed to attend the better-appointed school nearby. Despite the reluctance of many fellow Mexican-Americans to cause “problems,” he filed a suit, receiving the support of numerous civil rights organizations. Tonatiuh masterfully combines text and folk-inspired art to add an important piece to the mosaic of U.S. civil rights history. The universality of parents’ desires for better opportunities for their children is made plain. The extensive author’s note provides context, and readers can connect with the real people in the story through photographs of Sylvia, her parents and the schools in question. Helpful backmatter includes a glossary, bibliography and index. Even the sourcing of dialogue is explained. A compelling story told with impeccable care. (Informational picture book. 6-9) (BEA booth: 2727; ALA booth: 628.)

DOJO DAYCARE

Tougas, Chris Illus. by Tougas, Chris Owlkids Books (32 pp.) $16.95 | Sep. 15, 2014 978-1-77147-057-5 Ninja training begins early, but before any power moves are taught, young ones must first learn to control their emotions—practical advice for any 3-year-old. The morning starts swiftly, as families drop down from nothing but thin air—an appropriate entrance for ninjas. The children bow, and all seems well, until “KABOOM! KAPOW!” Little feet and fists kick up clouds of dust as the ninjas push and pull and fight over toys. Master claps his hands and yells, “QUIET!” He pleads, “It is time for you to all reflect / On honor, kindness, and respect.” (Delightfully, Master sounds an awful

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“Colorful shapes in abstract design and amazingly detailed, seemingly three-dimensional objects demand intense, close examination, and fingers will tingle with the wish to lift them off the page.” from nancy knows

DOUG UNPLUGS ON THE FARM

Yaccarino, Dan Illus. by Yaccarino, Dan Knopf (40 pp.) $17.99 | Jul. 22, 2014 978-0-385-75328-9

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Nancy is an elephant who has forgotten something, and she just can’t remember what it could be. She uses all the tricks she can as she struggles to come up with the missing information, but nothing works. She thinks of clothes, things with wheels, colors, things that fly, food, and all kinds of other odds and ends and ideas just out of reach. It is only when she relaxes and stops thinking about it that she remembers a play date at the park. The slight tale is charming, but it is merely the vehicle for a truly beautiful and unique visual tour de force. Young creates delicately worked, detailed illustrations of the things Nancy does remember and sorts them into a wide variety of categories shown within graphite-pencil outlines of Nancy’s elephantine body in front, back, overhead and sideways perspectives. She appears standing or rearing, sleeping or sitting. Things are remembered neatly or jumbled up; sights, sounds and smells are recalled, as well as places and objects, all in interesting juxtapositions. Each item is a tiny, intricate sculpture made with Japanese papers. Colorful shapes in abstract design and amazingly detailed, seemingly three-dimensional objects demand intense, close examination, and fingers will tingle with the wish to lift them off the page. It’s a work to be shared in wonderment and delight. Pure fascination. (Picture book. 3-10) (BEA booth: 2838; ALA booth: 245)

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Doug is back, and he’s ready for handson fun and learning down on the farm. During a drive to visit his “grandbots,” Mom and Dad tell Doug to “plug in” so that he “can learn all about farms on the way.” In the following spread, he learns several things that end up coming in handy as the story progresses. His screen time in the car is interrupted when a herd of sheep runs into the road in front of them, forcing the car into a ditch. Luckily, the robot family is unharmed, but they are all unplugged. Doug is delighted by this development, and he draws on his screen knowledge that “sheep tend to follow each other” to quickly aid the farm girl in rounding up her sheep. He draws on his screen knowledge to help with other tasks as well, and then he ends up learning new things about cows, hay, apple picking and such animals as ducklings, pigs and roosters through ensuing hands-on learning. Yaccarino’s flat, retro-futuristic compositions utilize unmodulated matte colors and sharp edges to create a world in which a robot boy interacts with human girls, spare use of curving lines investing organic creatures with warmth; the cow that turns her head to lick Doug as he milks her is a very model of mammalian contentment. A fine farm story that doubles nicely as a lesson about experiential learning. (Picture book. 3-7) (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 543.)

NANCY KNOWS

Young, Cybèle Illus. by Young, Cybèle Tundra (40 pp.) $17.99 | Aug. 12, 2014 978-1-77049-482-4

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lot like Miss Clavell.) Order is restored…until the lunch gong is rung. “KABOOM! KAPOW!” Udon goes flying. Chaos ensues yet again at storytime. The weary Master slumps in defeat. But he may have imparted more wisdom than he thought, as suddenly, one little ninja steps up to stop the riot. Tougas’ blackclad tots are alert and ready to pounce—and when they do, it’s a flurry of action. The rhyming text does well to keep up. Added details of one poor, masked teddy bear’s increasingly mangled state and a particularly gassy ninja are fun to spot. Day care is full of covert purposes, ninja or not; this rollicking read-aloud will fit right in. (Picture book. 3-6) (ALA booth: 245.

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The Luminaries: Children’s & Teen The sky that spans the world of children’s and teen literature is a broad and well-lit one, and the luminaries are out in force in the books being highlighted at BEA and ALA. There are longestablished ones that have burned brightly for decades as well as newer ones that twinkle with equal brilliance this summer and early fall. In picture books, Jules Feiffer brings his inimitable, flowing line to the story of a terpsichorean cat with Rupert Can Dance. …Sandra Boynton puts a flock of bunnies on stage in The Bunny Rabbit Show, her newest board book. …And the award-winning duo of Melissa Sweet and Jen Bryant team up once again for The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, a gorgeous survey of the life and career of the famed verbal taxonomist. … Among the rising stars is double Pura Belpré honoree Duncan Tonatiuh, who offers readers the powerful story of Sylvia Mendez, who integrated California’s schools for Mexican-American children seven years before Brown v. the Board of Education. (Read more about Tonatiuh in our feature on page 40.) …Likewise, 2014 Caldecott honoree Aaron Becker is back with Quest, a thrilling companion to last year’s Journey. … And Laura Lacámara pulls out all the magical-realism stops in Dalia’s Wondrous Hair/El maravilloso cabello de Dalia, the bilingual story of a little Cuban girl whose hair is something else. This year’s middle-grade books offer the same inspiring mix of stars. Children’s-literature Ambassador Emeritus Jon Scieszka continues his Guys Read series with a clutch of True Stories. …Canadian veteran Marthe Jocelyn teams up with Richard Scrimger and Claudia Dávila for the rip-roaring graphic-novel fantasy Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book. …And Eugene Yelchin presents Arcady’s Goal, a moving companion to his Newbery Honor book, Breaking Stalin’s Nose. (Read more about Arcady’s Goal in our feature on page 52.) …Newcomers abound: S.E. Grove’s The Glass Sentence and Esther Ehrlich’s Nest are among 50

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this year’s standout debuts. These freshmen authors join the likes of Jonathan Auxier (The Night Gardener), William Alexander (Ambassador) and Kelly Barnhill (The Witch’s Boy), who all bring energy and vision to speculative fiction for middle graders. The teen stars are shining brightly as well. Candace Fleming ventures into European history with The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia, a fascinating chronicle of that doomed dynasty. (Read more about it in our feature on page 64.) …The always-inventive Andrew Smith gives readers the hysterical 100 Sideways Miles, just the latest in a string of successes. …And R.L. Stine returns to Fear Street for the first time in years with Party Games. …Confidently taking their places among these veterans are Austin Aslan, who astonishes with The Islands at the End of the World, a science-fiction series opener set in Hawaii; Ryan Graudin, who takes readers into an all-too-real dystopia with Walled City, set in modern China; and Adi Alsaid, who sends readers on an unforgettable road trip with Let’s Get Lost, the charismatic, enigmatic Leila at the wheel. Fortunately, ours is an expansive and accommodating firmament. —Vicky Smith

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middle-grade books AMBASSADOR

These titles earned the Kirkus Star: THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier; illus. by Patrick Arrasmith....................................................................52 THE WITCH’S BOY by Kelly Barnhill................................................. 53 STRIKE! by Larry Dane Brimner.........................................................54 HOOVES OF FIRE by Denys Cazet......................................................55 NEST by Esther Ehrlich........................................................................ 55

ABSOLUTELY ALMOST by Lisa Graff.................................................56 THE GLASS SENTENCE by S.E. Grove.............................................. 57 VIMINY CROWE’S COMIC BOOK by Marthe Jocelyn; Richard Scrimger; illus. by Claudia Dávila........................................ 57 VOICES FROM THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON by J. Patrick Lewis; George Ella Lyon.................................................58 RAIN REIGN by Ann M. Martin.........................................................58 TRUE STORIES Edited by Jon Scieszka...............................................59 HOOVES OF FIRE

Cazet, Denys Illus. by Cazet, Denys Creston (208 pp.) $15.95 | Jun. 23, 2014 978-1-939547-08-8 Series: Minnie & Moo

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An interstellar embassy, alien assassins, galactic mass extinctions: These are Gabe’s small problems. Gabriel Fuentes is looking at a summer of nothing but babysitting his toddler siblings at home in Minneapolis, so he’s pleasantly surprised when an animate purple blob arrives in his bedroom, asking him to be the ambassador for Earth. The Envoy looks like a giant purple eyeball, eats baking soda and grows a pseudopod mouth whenever it needs to speak, but its mission is a serious one: Earth is without any representation in the galaxy, and 11-year-old peacemaker Gabe is perfect for the job. The Envoy quantum-entangles all of Gabe’s particles to enable virtual communication with the other ambassadors (in a process peppered with snarky, science-inflected humor from Gabe). But no sooner has Gabe begun his ambassadorial duties than real life intrudes in all its ugliness. While Gabe is American-born, the same is not true for his archaeologist mother or chef father— and their immigration paperwork is not in order. The turn to the devastatingly serious, handled with grace and empathy, may hit some readers like a sucker punch after the humorous opening, despite its foreshadowing. Even though his family has troubles, Gabe can’t ignore his extraterrestrial obligations, if only because somebody from space is trying to kill him. It will take all of Gabe’s diplomatic skills to find the assassin, save himself and deliver a perfect setup for Book 2. Physics lovers will enjoy this clever series opener— but so will those who enjoy comedy, politics, diplomacy or strange-looking aliens. (Science fiction. 11-13) (BEA booth: 2638/9; ALA booth: 302/3.)

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BECAUSE THEY MARCHED by Russell Freedman.............................56

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AMBASSADOR by William Alexander............................................... 51

Alexander, William McElderry (240 pp.) $16.99 | $10.99 e-book | Sep. 23, 2014 978-1-4424-9764-1 978-1-4424-9766-5 e-book

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Eugene Yelchin’s Arcady’s Goal: Awakening a Sense of Compassion FROSTBORN

Anders, Lou Crown (320 pp.) $16.99 | $10.99 e-book | $19.99 PLB Aug. 5, 2014 978-0-385-38778-1 978-0-385-38780-4 e-book 978-0-385-38779-8 PLB Series: Thrones & Bones, 1

arcady’s goal

Yelchin, Eugene Henry Holt

Whether author and illustrator Eugene Yelchin is creating a piece of art or a story, he must “feel the material,” he says. “It has to really move me emotionally.” In the case of Arcady’s Goal (review on p. 61), a story about two survivors of Stalinist oppression who learn to become a family, Yelchin was moved by a photograph of his father, Arcady, pictured in 1945 with team members on the Red Army Soccer Club. Yelchin’s character Arcady, a courageous 12-year-old soccer talent, lives in a starkly brutal orphanage (his parents, deemed enemies of the people, are dead), and much of the story is about Arcady learning to trust Ivan, the kind and decent man who adopts him. A meticulous researcher who values what he calls “adherence to historical and psychological truth,” Yelchin says he has an “enormous” collection of archival material and looked through stacks of photographs of orphanages in Russia to get every detail in the story and the penciled illustrations right—including Arcady’s unsmiling face. (“In thousands of photographs, no one is smiling. A smile was a rare commodity.”) As author-illustrator, Yelchin wanted to create a “new kind of book, one where the interplay between text and image is where the meaning and emotion come through…both are equal partners in delivering the scene and evoking emotion.” Writing for children is both a responsibility and an opportunity: “Those years when you first read on your own, and read someone else’s voice, when you come upon a phrase or passage that mirrors your own experience…you feel not so alone. You realize others have similar pain and fear, that you’re part of humanity.” Yelchin believes that the resulting sense of compassion (first for the self, then others) “only happens in childhood. That’s why I’m writing...toward this moment of realizing we are human, we are the same.…Aha! We are not so alone in this world.” —Jessie Grearson 52

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An obsessive gamer and a sassy halfgiant affirm that power lies in being underestimated. As the heir apparent to a powerful farm in Norrøngard (think a fictional Norway), 12-year-old Karn is expected to comprehend bartering techniques (six ewes + six lambs = one cow). His predilection for Thrones and Bones (a traditional Norrønir board game) and disdain for a bucolic existence don’t invite any confidence from his father. Thianna is a 12-year-old half-giant and half-human (by way of her deceased mother). At 7 feet tall, she’s considered diminutive by giant standards and would “cut her human half out in an instant if she could.” When their fathers meet for several days of trading goods, Thianna and Karn strike up an unexpected friendship. Their need for an alliance is accelerated when nemeses from Thianna’s mother’s past surface, and Karn’s life is designated an obstacle by his Machiavellian uncle. Enter: wyverns, a seemingly silent horn, undead assailants, flatulent trolls and one massive dragon. A merging of comedy, action and suspense maintains a promising pace. As present as the lurking danger are two important messages: Focus your energy toward accentuating your strengths rather than regretting weaknesses, and always stand downwind from a troll. Future fans of Tolkien and George R.R. Martin can happily cut their serial-fantasy teeth on this first book of an eventual series. (map, illustrated guide to the Thrones and Bones game) (Fantasy. 10-14) (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 543.)

THE NIGHT GARDENER

Auxier, Jonathan Illus. by Arrasmith, Patrick Amulet/Abrams (384 pp.) $16.95 | May 20, 2014 978-1-4197-1144-2

Replete with engaging figurative language and literary allusions to works ranging from the Bible to Paradise Lost, Auxier’s creepy Victorian ghost story is an allegory on greed and the power of stories. Fourteen-year-old Molly and her younger brother, Kip, orphans fleeing the Irish famine, seek work in England. The destitute siblings become servants at the Windsor estate, at the center of which is a decrepit house entwined with a huge and sinister tree. Although warned that this place contains something ominous that changes people, they are unprepared for the |

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“Barnhill skillfully interweaves the stories of Ned, Áine, Sister Witch and the stones, along with an intriguing group of secondary characters.” from the witch’s boy

THE WITCH’S BOY

Very little is as it seems at a survival camp for “troubled” teens in this trilogy opener. Still deeply upset nearly two years after the disappearance of his stage-magician older brother, Clay writes “Magic sucks!” in a notebook after turning in a blank paper on Shakespeare’s Tempest. He’s astounded to find the sentiment painted on a wall at school the next day—with his signature. The resultant fallout lands him on a remote Pacific island, where he encounters peers named Leira (spell it backward) and Mira, a grotesque puppet dubbed “Caliban” and a llama with a sign on its neck reading “Hola. Cómo se llama? Yo me llamo

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Barnhill, Kelly Algonquin (368 pp.) $16.95 | $16.95 e-book | Sep. 16, 2014 978-1-61620-351-1 978-1-61620-433-4 e-book

BAD MAGIC

Bosch, Pseudonymous Illus. by Ford, Gilbert Little, Brown (384 pp.) $17.00 | $9.99 e-book | Sep. 16, 2014 978-0-316-32038-2 978-0-316-32040-5 e-book

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evil they encounter. The master, mistress and their two children grow pale and thin; their eyes and hair blacken. Entering the forbidden room at the top of the stairs, Molly finds a knothole in the tree—a knothole that produces whatever one wishes for (money, jewels, sweets). The price is a piece of the petitioner’s soul. Muddy footprints and dead leaves in the house attest to an evil nocturnal visitor, the titular Night Gardener, who wipes the sweat of fear from their nightmare-ridden brows to water the tree. In a heart-stopping climax, Molly and Kip attempt to stop this specter and the ancient curse. Lots of creepiness, memorable characters, a worthy message, Arrasmith’s atmospheric drawings and touches of humor amid the horror make this cautionary tale one readers will not soon forget. (Fantasy. 10-14) (This review was first published in the 3/1/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 2727; ALA booth: 628.)

Nine enormous boulders are awakened from their long sleep by the actions of a seemingly powerless boy and the daughter of the Bandit King. Since his identical twin’s death and his own near-drowning, Ned has spoken with a stutter, and villagers believe that “the wrong boy” survived. Ned doesn’t know that his mother, Sister Witch, in desperation, used the magic she holds and protects to join his brother’s soul to his, despite the fact that “[i]t was a dangerous thing, her magic. With consequences.” Áine, meanwhile, is growing up with a father whose behavior increasingly worries her, especially the way he fondles a pendant he’s begun wearing and the fact that he has been bringing home a frightening group of bandits. In fact, the Bandit King is after Sister Witch’s magic, and when she leaves town, he tries to force Ned to surrender it to him. Instead, Ned takes the magic upon himself, at a cost of great physical pain as the words burn into him and the magic keeps talking to him, and he is kidnapped. Barnhill skillfully interweaves the stories of Ned, Áine, Sister Witch and the stones, along with an intriguing group of secondary characters. The third-person narration switches perspective smoothly, and it’s all related in a precise, flowing prose that easily places readers into the fantastic setting and catches them up in the story. The classic fantasy elements are all there, richly reimagined, with a vivid setting, a page-turning adventure of a plot, and compelling, timeless themes. (Fantasy. 10-15) (BEA booth: 839; ALA booth: 414.)

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“Brimner’s evenhanded, well-researched narrative uses apt quotes to convey a sense of the people, their actions and their emotions.” from strike!

Como C. Llama.” He also discovers not one but two libraries of rare books—one stocked with oddly behaving grimoires. After climbing a live volcano and sliding back down on a board, he discovers (as he had been suspecting for some time) that it’s all been a setup—further developments to come. “Bosch,” a confirmed Lemony Snicket bandwagoneer, repeatedly interrupts with authorial rants, pleas and footnotes. The Shakespearean parallels aren’t particularly integral to the plot, and the twists, Como’s sign apart, are more inscrutable than clever. The book comes complete with multiple appendices and Ford’s illustrations (not seen for review). Clay is Everykid enough (“almost handsome, in a driedsnot-on-his-sleeve sort of way”) to keep readers hanging around to see what happens to him next. (Fantasy. 12-14) (BEA booth: 1838; ALA booth: 422.)

STRIKE! The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights

Brimner, Larry Dane Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills (170 pp.) $16.95 | Oct. 6, 2014 978-1-59078-997-1

A skillful, compelling account of the complicated history of César Chávez and the farm workers movement, set in the context of the social and political tensions of the times. “We used to own our slaves. Now we just rent them,” said a farmer in Harvest of Shame, a 1960 documentary about migrant workers. Union leader Chávez started picking produce as an adolescent and knew firsthand the brutal conditions farmworkers endured. Driven to change those conditions and raise wages, Chávez worked ceaselessly to organize California’s migrant workers into a union, which became the United Farm Workers. It successfully pioneered the use of boycotts to support strikes and adopted techniques such as fasting and protest marches from Gandhi and the civil rights movement. But hard-won victories were followed by setbacks at the hands of powerful farm owners and their Teamster allies. The UFW also suffered from increasing tension between Chávez and Filipino-American union leaders, while others criticized Chávez’s emphasis on Catholicism and his aversion to dissent. Brimner’s evenhanded, well-researched narrative uses apt quotes to convey a sense of the people, their actions and their emotions. Appropriately enough, green and purple accent the pages. With an appealing design and many black-and-white photographs, this paints a vivid, detailed picture of an important labor movement and its controversial yet inspiring leader. (author’s note, further reading, websites, places to visit, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16) (BEA booth: 1946; ALA booth: 569.)

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RETURN OF THE PADAWAN!

Brown, Jeffrey Illus. by Brown, Jeffrey Scholastic (176 pp.) $12.99 | $12.99 e-book | Jul. 29, 2014 978-0-545-62125-0 978-0-545-66643-5 e-book Series: Star Wars: Jedi Academy, 2 The line between humor and heartbreak is very thin in this new Star Wars graphic novel. Readers who’ve seen a horror movie or two know that anyone who says, “I’ll be right back!” is doomed. The second Jedi Academy book follows the same sort of logic. Roan is training to be a Jedi pilot, so the moment he says, “…I’m going to beat all of their test scores by a whole bunch,” readers will know that the starpilot simulator is about to start smoking and shooting off sparks. The whole book is a series of disasters, which is to say that it’s a classic comedy. Before the end of the story, the class pet has disappeared, and Roan’s friends have stopped talking to him. The more horrors he faces, the funnier the comedy gets. Brown’s doodles of teachers are hilarious, too. Most of them are takeoffs on Star Wars characters, like off-brand versions of the originals; the instructors include librarian Lackbar and Kitmum the Wookiee gym teacher. If you haven’t seen a Wookiee with a sweatband, you haven’t lived. Roan is a very sympathetic main character, and readers will feel his pain and laugh at his misfortune in equal measure. Roan’s hand-lettered journal entries alternate with short paneled sequences and “screenshots” of academy message boards and other ephemera. Future installments—and further disasters—will be most welcome. (Graphic fantasy.  8-12) (BEA booth: 1439; ALA booth: 430.)

LIFE ON MARS

Brown, Jennifer Walker (240 pp.) $16.99 | Aug. 5, 2014 978-1-61963-252-3 In a tale built on well-worn tropes and characters, Brown twists together an impending cross-country move, a budding friendship with a crusty old neighbor and some basic astronomy. As part of a family that looks to the stars for its names, seventh-grader Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers—Arty—knows his constellations but also believes that he can contact Martians with a contraption cobbled together from mirrors and a flashlight. His settled world is knocked askew first by the arrival of a secretive new neighbor with a spooky habit of sneaking off into the woods at night and then by the revelation that his father’s new job will require that the family move far away. The neighbor turns out to be, excitingly, Cash Maddux, an embittered ex-astronaut who never flew but still goes out to gaze at the heavens. Their shared interest brings the two |

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together. The author outfits Arty with a comically inept friend (who learns grace at ballet school), a mom who copes with stress by baking and two stereotypical sisters with equally typecast friends to ridicule. It may be formulaic, but the comic byplay is often nicely gross, and the science talk dovetails with current pedagogical fads. (appendix of Mars facts) (Fiction. 10-12) (BEA booth: 1749; ALA booth: 529.)

Cavanaugh, Nancy J. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (320 pp.) $12.99 | Oct. 1, 2014 978-1-4022-9303-0

HOOVES OF FIRE

Cazet, Denys Illus. by Cazet, Denys Creston (208 pp.) $15.95 | Jun. 23, 2014 978-1-939547-08-8 Series: Minnie & Moo

In an extremely belated second chapter-book-length outing, Cazet’s bovine best buds kick up their heels in Red Tractor Farm’s “First Annual Hoot, Holler, and Moo Talent Festival.” |

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A sixth-grade girl has to decide between friendship and popularity. Winning a coveted place on the middle school pompom squad means popularity, cool guys and schoolwide fame. To list-loving protagonist Abigail, who narrates the story in the first person in a list format, it means the world. But, unlike Abigail’s two barely differentiated best friends, Alli and Cami, Abigail only makes alternate. Worse, Gabby Marco, “the number one outcast at Crestdale Heights,” is assigned to be Abigail’s partner for the friendly-letter assignment. Slowly, grudgingly, Abigail comes to both like and admire Gabby, and together, the two of them volunteer to read stories to kindergarteners, which they both enjoy. But after a bit of luck secures Abigail a permanent spot as a pompom girl, she has to decide if Gabby’s low position on the school totem pole makes friendship tenable. Gabby, though eccentric, is portrayed as all good, while the pompom girls don’t have an ounce of kindness or compassion among them. And unrealistically, Abigail’s choice is set up as a binary choice between pompom girl and everything it represents or Gabby and the kindergarteners, with no flexibility to move between worlds. Nonetheless, this kind of dilemma is very pertinent for middle school girls, and Cavanaugh largely handles it with tact and sensitivity, taking her heroine on a psychological journey from superficial to thoughtful. (Fiction. 9-13) (BEA booth: 921; ALA booth: 682.)

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ALWAYS, ABIGAIL

From the outset, it’s a struggle to keep the audience and the scheduled performers in line—both groups being a mix of domesticated or thoroughly undomesticated sheep, chickens, wolves and weasels (plus Irene the rhino and a few fourlegged vacationers from “Africa World”). Unsurprisingly, a steady string of minor disasters keeps things fizzing. A chorus of overexcited chickens lets loose a barrage of eggs (“Geeze Louize, girls!…Couldn’t you use precautions?”); an impromptu port-a-potty race breaks out during intermission; the crowd enjoys much amateur poetry (“Getting milked / I find quite pleasin’. / I think it’s the way / They does the squeezin’ “), and the money box repeatedly disappears. Despite all this, the two redoubtable ruminants carry the day to a weary but triumphant close. As in Minnie & Moo and the Seven Wonders of the World (2003), Cazet rolls out a tale equally rich in urbane innuendo and slapstick hilarity, cast in well-spaced lines of fluent prose and illuminated with lots of comical monochromatic ink-and-wash views that feature expressively posed animals in casual human dress or, in aptly named Elvis the rooster’s case, a “white luminescent jumpsuit.” Another romp with nary a dull nor serious moment; welcome back, girls. (Animal fantasy. 9-11) (This review was first published in the 4/1/14 issue of Kirkus. ALA booth: 322.)

NEST

Ehrlich, Esther Wendy Lamb/Random (336 pp.) $16.99 | $10.99 e-book | $19.99 PLB Sep. 9, 2014 978-0-385-38607-4 978-0-385-38609-8 e-book 978-0-385-38608-1 PLB A little girl’s world disintegrates after her mother’s illness and severe depression result in family tragedy. Nicknamed “Chirp” because she loves bird-watching in her native Cape Cod, 11-year-old Naomi’s devoted to her freespirited mother, who’s always been a dancer. Unfortunately, her mother’s inability to cope with a multiple sclerosis diagnosis leads to her hospitalization for depression. Ironically, Chirp’s hyperanalytical psychiatrist father seems clueless about what’s happening emotionally to his family, while her older sister blames him for sending her mother away. Meanwhile, Chirp quietly withdraws, finding comfort in her birds and the unlikely companionship of her neighbor and classmate, Joey, whose own family has “significant issues.” When her mother returns and commits suicide, Chirp’s shocked, bereft and in deep denial, until Joey helps her find her way. Chirp’s first-person account of how she and her family react to the events leading to her mother’s funeral presents a nuanced chronicle of loss. Ehrlich’s ability to get inside Chirp’s head, to create beautifully rounded characters and to flesh out details of life for this Jewish family in 1972 Cape Cod adds to the overall realism. Frequent textual references to wild birds and relevant children’s books provide interesting depth. middle-grade books

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A poignant, insightful story of family crisis and the healing power of friendship. (Historical fiction. 8-12) (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 543.)

BECAUSE THEY MARCHED

Freedman, Russell Holiday House (83 pp.) $20.00 | $20.00 e-book | Oct. 1, 2014 978-0-8234-2921-9 978-0-8234-3263-9 e-book One of the most decorated nonfiction writers in the field brings his style to a well-told story of the struggle for voting rights in the American South. Fifty years ago, as the civil rights movement took hold, the attempts to ensure African-American access to the vote increasingly took center stage. A newly passed Civil Rights Act did not guarantee voting rights, so activists in the South continued to press for them at both the state and federal levels. The barriers to voting—poll taxes, literacy tests, limits on registration—were difficult to overcome. Physical abuse and financial intimidation also kept people from the polls. Activist churches were subject to firebombs and burning. Selma, Ala., became a flashpoint. As Freedman begins his narrative, student activism had propelled teachers and other middle-class blacks to get involved. The death of an unarmed demonstrator drove organizers to plan a march from Selma to the state’s capital, Montgomery—an attempt that resulted in “Bloody Sunday,” one of the single most violent moments of the movement, and served to prod action on the Voting Rights Act in Congress. Freedman’s meticulous research and elegant prose brings freshness to a story that has been told many times. Familiar figures populate the account, but they are joined by many lesser-known figures as well. Richly illustrated, this deserves a place alongside other important depictions of this story. (timeline, bibliography, photo credits, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16) (BEA booth: 956; ALA booth: 415.)

THURSDAYS WITH THE CROWN

George, Jessica Day Bloomsbury (224 pp.) $16.99 | $11.99 e-book | Oct. 7, 2014 978-1-61963-299-8 978-1-61963-300-1 e-book Series: Castle Glower, 3 Tossed into a faraway land, Celie and company try to figure out how to heal their sentient castle in this third entry to the series. At the end of Wednesdays in the Tower (2013), the Castle flung 12-year-old Celie, two elder siblings, a couple of friends and Celie’s griffin Rufus into a realm called the Glorious Arkower. 56

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Most of the Castle hasn’t come with them, though it was built here. The kids cross a poisoned lake, raid a king’s tomb and survive a forest fire, all the while trying to figure out why the Castle (back at home) has been so upset and erratic lately. They seek historical information, which requires untangling “lies and half-truths” from two angry wizards who bicker and tell contradictory stories. Although there’s plenty of action, all the heavy significance rests on ancient history and exposition, dousing the immediacy of the story. When Celie deciphers a truth or hears a big reveal, the actual information often doesn’t end up mattering: Whichever land this is, whatever the Castle’s and the griffins’ histories may be, clearly both wizards are bad, and goals stay the same. George’s characters and griffins still charm, but readers may miss the vital Castle’s larger presence, and the title is, sadly, purely decorative (there’s no pattern of Thursdays). Here’s hoping the next installment (Fridays, coming in fall 2015) will recover the series’ early bounce and zip. (Fantasy. 8-11) (BEA booth: 1749; ALA booth: 529.)

ABSOLUTELY ALMOST

Graff, Lisa Philomel (304 pp.) $16.99 | Jun. 12, 2014 978-0-399-16405-7

In a tale about not being good enough, Graff introduces readers to a young hero who struggles to measure up. Graff, whose A Tangle of Knots was on the 2013 National Book Award longlist, here gracefully fuses heartache with a gentle humor and candor. Life is stressful for Albie. Mom and Dad struggle to understand him, and his grandpa Park creates tension with his withering appraisal. When he gets kicked out of his pricey Manhattan private school due to academic shortcomings, Albie must deal with his parents’ outbursts and his own dizzying emotions. This marks a turning point, though; with his move to P.S. 183, he gains an ally in a fellow outcast, the stuttering Betsy, and his new babysitter, free-wheeling art student Calista, listens to him in a way the other adults in his life do not. These relationships carry him through some improbable plot twists into understanding and self-acceptance. The prose is sparse, simple and conversational, capturing turmoil both internal and external perfectly: “Potential. Struggling. Achievement gap. [These are words] that make my dad slam his fist on the table and call my teacher to shout…and my mom to go out and buy fruit. When Mom comes back with strawberries, her face is always crystal clear. Not an almost-crying face at all. I used to really like strawberries.”  Achingly superb, Albie’s story shines. (Fiction. 8-12) (BEA booth: 1521; ALA booth: 442/3.)

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“Grove’s intelligent and challenging debut is brilliant in concept, breathtaking in scale and stellar in its worldbuilding; this is a world never before seen in fiction.” from the glass sentence

THE LEAGUE OF SEVEN

Gratz, Alan Illus. by Helquist, Brett Starscape/Tom Doherty (352 pp.) $16.99 | Aug. 19, 2014 978-0-7653-3822-8 Series: League of Seven, 1

Grove, S.E. Viking (512 pp.) $17.99 | Jun. 12, 2014 978-0-670-78502-5 Series: Mapmakers, 1

In this opening volume of the Mapmakers trilogy, 13-year-old Sophia Tims travels into mysterious and uncharted lands in search of her kidnapped uncle and must save the world while she’s at it. In the Great Disruption of 1799, the world came apart. Continents were unfastened from time and flung into different Ages. Europe plunged into a remote century, the Spanish Empire fragmented, and the United States became an uneasy mix of adjoining Ages: the Baldlands in the West, Prehistoric Snows to the north, New Patagonia to the south—and Sophia’s Boston is now in New Occident. Sophia’s parents are missing in a different Age, and politicians are about to close New Occident’s borders, forever trapping them on the outside. When Sophia’s uncle, master cartologer Shadrack Elli, is kidnapped, her search for him sets her on an adventure with |

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Holm, Jennifer L. Random House (208 pp.) $16.99 | $10.99 e-book | $19.99 PLB Aug. 26, 2014 978-0-375-87064-4 978-0-307-97436-5 e-book 978-0-375-97064-1 PLB

What would it be like if your grandfather turned up in your house as a 13-yearold boy? For sixth-grader Ellie, this leads to a recognition of the importance of the cycle of life and the discovery of her own passion for science. After her scientist grandfather finds a way to regain his youth, he’s denied access to his lab and must come to live with Ellie and her mother. Although he looks young, his intellect and attitudes haven’t changed. He still tells Ellie’s mother what to wear and when to come home, and he loathes middle school even more than Ellie does. There’s plenty of opportunity for humor in this fish-out-of-water story and also a lesson on the perils as well as the pluses of scientific discovery. Divorced parents, a goth friend and a longed-for cellphone birthday present are among the familiar details setting this story firmly in the present day, like Holm’s Year Told Through Stuff series, rather than in the past, like her three Newbery Honor-winning historical novels. The author demonstrates understanding of and sympathy for the awkwardness of those middle school years. But she also gets in a plug for the excitement of science, following it up with an author’s note and suggestions for further exploration, mostly on the Web. Appealing and thought-provoking, with an ending that suggests endless possibilities. (Science fiction. 10-14) (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 543.)

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THE GLASS SENTENCE

THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH

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Gratz works an unusual twist into the familiar teens-saving-the-Earth-from-monsters trope: The protagonist is both archetypal hero and, at least potentially, nemesis. Said twist adds major complications as this opener brings together the first three of seven young team members, each specifically typecast, destined to battle the Mangleborn—huge, unkillable monsters that previous Leagues of Seven have tackled at regular intervals down the ages. In an alternate 1875, a giant statue of Hiawatha stands in the harbor of the United Nations’ (rather than States’) New Rome, and technology is based on clockworks rather than electricity. An attack on his librarian parents and the secret Septemberist Society to which they belong leads 12-yearold Archie, his wind-up sidekick, Mr. Rivets, and two capable new friends into a desperate scramble to keep the insectile Mangleborn Swarm Queen from escaping her subterranean prison in Florida. Archie’s discovery that, like his doomed predecessors Heracles and Cú Chullainn, his special powers come with a dark side leaves him (not to mention his fellow League members) profoundly disturbed at the close. (Helquist’s illustrations not seen at time of review.) Action, banter and steampunk-style tech aplenty—plus truly icky foes inspired, the author acknowledges, by the creations of H.P. Lovecraft—make this an appealingly fast-paced trilogy opener. (Steampunk fantasy. 11-13) (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 532.)

the fate of the whole world at stake. Grove’s intelligent and challenging debut is brilliant in concept, breathtaking in scale and stellar in its worldbuilding; this is a world never before seen in fiction. Sophia is a likable heroine, a girl with no sense of time who must use her wits and her uncle’s maps to save the world before time runs out. Wholly original and marvelous beyond compare. (Fantasy. 10 & up) (This review was first published in the 4/1/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 1521; ALA booth: 442/3.)

VIMINY CROWE’S COMIC BOOK

Jocelyn, Marthe; Scrimger, Richard Illus. by Dávila, Claudia Tundra (336 pp.) $17.99 | $10.99 e-book | May 13, 2014 978-1-770-49479-4 978-1-770-49480-0 e-book A harmonious blend of narrative and intertwined graphic sequences finds two preteens at a comics convention closer to the action than they ever imagined. middle-grade books

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“Martin has penned a riveting, seamless narrative in which each word sings and each scene counts.” from rain reign

Wild-haired Addy Crowe, accompanied by her best friend, Catnip the rat, is helping her uncle, Viminy Crowe, at his booth at the International Comic Book Festival in Toronto.Viminy is the creator of Flynn Goster, the favorite comic of Wylder Wallace, a young attendee at the convention whose mother worries over him endlessly. A magical trip to a convention-hall bathroom sends the two young heroes (and Catnip) through a portal and into the pages of Viminy’s comic. As in real life, their presence in his comic begins to change the course of events. Can the kids change it back before Viminy’s publisher sees it—or before they get killed? The book’s creators clearly had a grand time, filling it with fantastic steampunk creations such as mechanizmos, robot goons with human skin who transform into vulturelike robot birds, and VaporLinks, a robot-assisted form of telegram, and cleverly named characters like the villainous Aldous Lickpenny. This wholly imagined fantasy is well–fleshed out and keeps the pages flying with its extremely clever story within a story. As it embraces so many different genres and formats—comics, steampunk, adventure—expect this to resonate with a wide readership. A thrilling and imaginative reminder that adventure and magic can be found anywhere, especially where one least expects it—and even if your mother texts you incessantly. (Fantasy/steampunk. 8-12) (BEA booth: 2838; ALA booth: 245.)

VOICES FROM THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

Lewis, J. Patrick; Lyon, George Ella Wordsong/Boyds Mills (114 pp.) $15.95 | Oct. 1, 2014 978-1-62091-785-5 Lewis and Lyon join forces for a fictionalized account of one of the pivotal moments in U.S. civil rights history. Adult readers may recall Aug. 28, 1963, a searing summer Wednesday, as the occasion on which hundreds of thousands gathered in the nation’s capital to participate in the March for Jobs and Freedom. Better known as the March on Washington, this landmark occasion is often remembered for the epic “I Have a Dream” speech Martin Luther King Jr. delivered that day, along with galvanizing remarks and performances from other civil rights leaders and well-known African-American artists. Later, the March would be recognized for its critical role in helping to facilitate passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. While Lewis and Lyon include all of that historical import, what sets their account apart is less their rendering of the event’s fabled leaders than the varied “voices” in the throng who traveled from all over as “the day swelled to keep faith with its promise / of distressing the assured and assuring the distressed.” Through over 70 largely first-person poems, the poets rekindle the spirit of the fight for racial equality in the United States with imagined voices of young and old, black and white, educated and underprivileged, supporters and detractors and drive home the volume’s theme of taking personal responsibility in helping this country “steer toward justice together.” 58

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A powerful yet accessible guide to “one day in 1963 [that] [b]elongs to every age.” (authors’ note, guide to participants, bibliography, websites, further reading, index) (Poetry/fiction. 10 & up.) (BEA booth: 1946; ALA booth: 569.)

SALLY RIDE Life On A Mission: The RealLife Story

Macy, Sue Aladdin (160 pp.) $17.99 | $10.99 e-book | Sep. 9, 2014 978-1-4424-8854-0 978-1-4424-8856-4 e-book

A fast-moving, straightforward and up-to-date biography of the first American woman astronaut. Arranged chronologically, the 10 chapters are narrated with appealing energy, interspersed quotations humanizing the book’s subject. From a tennis championship in high school through a Ph.D. in physics to her flight into space, Ride was a dedicated model of achievement, scientific and otherwise. Macy provides detailed descriptions of her training and the many hurdles involved in selection as an astronaut, and she answers the basic questions about everyday functions in space (eating, washing, toileting, etc.). Boxed insets here and there add side information and context. Macy makes it clear that Ride’s career did not end with her groundbreaking flight, celebrating her activism in the fields of science and women’s rights. Privacy was of utmost importance to Ride, but the glare of publicity made it difficult to maintain. There were two issues that she managed to keep from the public until her last days: She had pancreatic cancer, and she was gay. The introduction addresses both up front. The extensive backmatter provides scholarly data, while the writing imparts the drive and character of this famous woman. Macy’s slim, empathetic account makes readers see the woman behind the achievement. (author’s note, timeline, further reading and viewing, bibliography, source notes, index, endnotes) (Biography. 9-14) (BEA booth: 2638/9; ALA booth: 302/3.)

RAIN REIGN

Martin, Ann M. Feiwel & Friends (240 pp.) $16.99 | Oct. 7, 2014 978-0-312-64300-3 A story about honorable living in the autistic-narrator genre that sets the bar high. Rose has a diagnosis of Asperger’s, and her world of comforting homonyms, rules and prime numbers is repeatedly challenged by social interactions of which she has no innate understanding. Newbery Honor author Martin crafts a skillful |

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FULL STEAM AHEAD!

Twin mice solve a problem using STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics—in this series opener. When a heat wave threatens to kill the window-box flowers the twins need for their muchanticipated Art in Bloom show, they have to both figure out why their third-story window won’t open (the water cycle is to blame) and how to get water to the thirsty flowers (an invention of Archimedes’ is the answer). Luckily, several dei ex machina lead the twins to some people who can help them spark some ideas. Sydney and Simon, the offspring of an inventor mother and poet father, are steeped in the arts and sciences that will help them in “thinkering” about their problem and finding a solution. Sydney expresses herself through drawing, using her spiral-bound Wonder Journal to jot down ideas, record hypotheses and draw what she observes. Simon’s Wonder Journal is on a tablet, allowing him to take pictures, record video and sound, and combine all these into something new. Sydney and Simon are solid, though perhaps idealized, models for those aspiring to STEAM careers—though in this chapter book, readers accustomed to STEM programs will be struck by the emphasis on the arts piece. (STEM to STEAM is a Rhode Island School of Design initiative to add the arts and design to STEM). Ink-andwatercolor-wash illustrations complement the text. Inspiration for young scientists, artists and inventors. (glossary, author and illustrator’s note) (Fiction. 7-10) (BEA booth: 2950; ALA booth: 557.)

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The daughter of a famous pirate hopes to sail the high seas, but first she must survive finishing school. Twelve-year-old Jocelyn Hook prefers sword fighting, bawdy sea shanties and spitting over embroidery, hygiene and ladylike decorum. But then, as the daughter of one of the most feared pirates ever, Capt. Hook, her proclivity for dangerous, raucous behavior is to be expected. Quick thinking and her new friend, Roger, make finishing school bearable. But when Roger disappears and the headmistress reveals her big plan for sealing Jocelyn’s position in high society, everything falls apart. Jocelyn’s life takes an unexpected turn when Edgar Allan, a giant messenger raven, arrives bearing a letter from her father. She must travel to Neverland, acquire a ship and crew, and avenge her father’s death by killing the crocodile. The world of Peter Pan, Mr. Smee and the lost boys is turned on its head with Jocelyn’s arrival. Unfortunately, this potentially exciting treatment of the familiar tale is forced and uneven. While Jocelyn is spunky, flawed and endearing, the supporting characters are flat and uninteresting. However, there are bright spots. Jocelyn uses her wit and manners to defeat bloodthirsty cannibals, angry fairies and her own fears. An incompletely satisfying return to Neverland. (Fantasy. 8-12) (BEA booth: 3016; ALA booth: 603.)

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Reynolds, Peter H. Illus. by Reynolds, Paul A. Charlesbridge (48 pp.) $12.95 | Sep. 9, 2014 978-1-58089-675-7 Series: Sydney & Simon, 1

HOOK’S REVENGE

Schulz, Heidi Illus. by Hendrix, John Disney-Hyperion (304 pp.) $16.99 | Sep. 16, 2014 978-1-4231-9867-3

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tale that engages readers’ sympathy for everyone portrayed in the story, even Rose’s garage-mechanic, hard-drinking single father. He has given Rose a stray dog he found after an evening of drinking at the local bar, and Rose names her Rain. Through touching and funny scenes at school—where Rose has an aide but is in a regular classroom—and discomfiting scenes at home, readers come to understand how Rose’s close relationship to Rain anchors her. But Rain goes missing during a storm, and when, with the help of her sympathetic uncle, Rose finds her dog weeks later, she is told that Rain was microchipped and actually belongs to someone else. Since following rules is vital to Rose, she must find Rain’s original owners and give her dog back. Martin has penned a riveting, seamless narrative in which each word sings and each scene counts. There is no fluff here, just sophisticated, emotionally honest storytelling. (Fiction. 8-12) (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 522.)

TRUE STORIES

Scieszka, John–Ed. Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins (272 pp.) $16.99 | $6.99 paper | Sep. 16, 2014 978-0-06-196382-7 978-0-06-196381-0 paper Series: Guys Read, 5 A stellar lineup of nonfiction writers offers true stories, which, like the previous volumes in the Guys Read series, are written to appeal especially to boys. Steve Sheinkin leads off with a survival tale, as Capt. James Riley and his crew are shipwrecked off the coast of West Africa in the summer of 1815 and survive the Sahara desert by drinking their own urine and eating their peeling, sunburned skin. Enslaved, they are eventually saved by Muslim traders, and Riley joins the anti-slavery movement upon his return to the United States. Sy Montgomery writes a beautiful ode to the rain forest of French Guiana and profiles tarantulas and Sam Marshall, a scientist who studies them and who is featured in Montgomery’s The Tarantula Scientist (2004). Jim Murphy delivers an unsettling history of dental horrors from 6,500 years ago to the present day (or at least his second visit to the dentist); Candace Fleming profiles middle-grade books

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Jumbo, the world’s largest elephant; Elizabeth Partridge writes about Alan Lomax and Muddy Waters; and T. Edward Nickens is almost killed canoeing frigid Alaskan waters. The stories—prose, poetry and a graphic story—are full of action and lively, sometimes-gross details that make their subjects come alive. An unusually strong volume—a smorgasbord for young nonfiction readers (both boys and girls) and a good pick for the classroom. (Short stories. 8-14) (BEA booth: 2039; ALA booth: 503.)

THE SWAP

Shull, Megan Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins (400 pp.) $16.99 | $9.99 e-book | Aug. 26, 2014 978-0-06-231169-6 978-0-06-231171-9 e-book Seventh-grader Ellie O’Brien and eighth-grader Jack Malloy are given a surprising gift when they are suddenly able to literally view life through each other’s eyes. Ellie feels lost and afraid following her parents’ divorce and a brutal dumping by her best friend. Jack’s life, dominated by his father’s regimented control and his overpowering brothers, feels claustrophobic. Switching minds gives each kid the opportunity to experience life on the other side while gaining perspective on his or her own. Navigating the world of fist-bumping and older brothers helps Ellie develop the mental toughness to fight her own battles. In Ellie’s life, Jack finds the parental acceptance and love that has been missing from his own. Alternating chapters offer each a chance to tell his or her story. The internal lives of both boy and girl come across as authentic and heartwarming. Unfortunately, when Jack and Ellie interact, it is often unclear who is who, which muddies what could be some of the most engaging passages. Occasionally clunky dialogue and a too-perfect ending are the only bumps in this otherwise engaging switch-up. Readers curious about how the other half lives will thrill at this view from the far side of the fence. (Fiction. 10-14) (BEA booth: 2039; ALA booth: 503.)

MAGIC DELIVERY

Smith, Clete Barrett Illus. by Dziekan, Michal Disney-Hyperion (288 pp.) $16.99 | Aug. 5, 2014 978-1-4231-6597-2 A middle school con artist finds unexpected possibilities in…magic. Middle schooler Nick Stringer can make as much as $100 from his classmates for throwing a test or hacking a teacher’s computer. When the beautiful and wealthy Hayley Millard comes to him for help, Nick and best friend Burger’s 60

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negotiations include something even more valuable than money: an invitation to her Halloween party. Things take a strange turn when a delivery truck driven by what looks like a bear almost runs them down as they are riding home. They investigate, finding a truck filled with magical costumes. While wearing the gorilla costume, Burger finds he can swing from the roof. Nick’s robot costume comes with laser technology and the ability to fly. Curious, the boys return to the truck to find the school’s bullies have also discovered the magical cargo. It is up to them to save the town and the hapless delivery driver from magic gone haywire. Unfortunately, while the premise is quirky, the execution is less than masterful. The relationship between Nick, the good-hearted hustler, and Burger, the slack-jawed sidekick, holds promise, but any authenticity is lost in a sea of predictable humor and one-dimensional characterizations. The depiction of middle school dynamics, likewise, intrigues, but the magic angle almost intrudes on rather than enhances the tale. An unfortunate misstep from an otherwise solid author. (Fantasy. 8-12) (BEA booth: 3016; ALA booth: 603.)

DESMOND PUCKET AND THE MOUNTAIN FULL OF MONSTERS

Tatulli, Mark Illus. by Tatulli, Mark Andrews McMeel (240 pp.) $13.99 | Aug. 5, 2014 978-1-4494-3549-3 Series: Desmond Pucket, 2

Will monster maven Desmond Pucket get to ride the awesome, animatronic-enhanced Mountain Full of Monsters roller coaster with dreamy Tina Schimsky? No. Mr. Needles, head of Cloverfield Memorial Junior High’s disciplinary office, has it in for Desmond, even on the field trip to Crab Shell Pier amusement park. Desmond and his best friend, Ricky, ditch Needles, but the guy comes back like a bad rash. Desmond ends up having to go on his dream ride with Mr. Needles—repeatedly. Then Desmond learns that the ride is scheduled for demolition at the end of the summer. He vows to raise money to save the animatronic monsters, but what can one kid do? What he does best: scare kids…for which their siblings will gladly pay cash. Will Desmond be able to raise enough to get the park’s manager to let him save the monsters from destruction? In a mixture of comic panels, doodlelike spot illustrations and text, Tatulli continues his chronicle of sixth-grade special-effects expert Desmond in a funny and cheerfully gross tale of perseverance and friendship that is realistic and wacky all at once. Other secrets come to light over the course of the story, and fans will rejoice that more adventures are on the way. The icing on the exploding birthday cake are the many pages from Desmond’s notebook with instructions on duplicating his scary successes. (Humor. 8-11) (BEA booth: 2657; ALA booth: 309.)

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“[Yelchin’s] many pencil-and-charcoal illustrations, spot and full page, are action- and emotion-packed and gracefully complement the story.” from arcady ’s goal

SNAP DECISION

Whitaker, Nathan Illus. by Phillips, Dave Zonderkidz (272 pp.) $15.99 | Jul. 1, 2014 978-0-310-73700-1 Series: Game Face, 1

LUG, DAWN OF THE ICE AGE

Zeltser, Dave Egmont USA (192 pp.) $15.99 | $15.99 e-book | Sep. 9, 2014 978-1-60684-513-4 978-1-60684-514-1 e-book

A Stone Age comedy features a caveboy guilty of “uncavemanlike behavior.” The summary exile that Lug earns by failing to capture a “jungle llama” to ride in an upcoming headstone match turns out to be a blessing in disguise, as it leads to a meeting with Hamela—a member of the rival Boar Rider clan who has turned from the customary all-dodo diet to vegetarianism. She in turn introduces him to Woolly, an errant young mammoth atop whom he goes on to lead his headstone team to victory. Lug lands in further hot water when his forbidden cave paintings are discovered— but following the arrival of snow, a pride of saber tooth tigers and more mammoths, he manages to convince at least some of his simpleminded people that big changes are coming. By the end, he even has them using fire (“storm light”). The animals all talk (except the dodos), and Lug’s frog-licking proto-hippie sidekick leads a notably rock-headed supporting cast. Happily, characters speak in complete sentences and with standard syntax, and the banter is nicely snappy. Preliminary sketches indicate that suitably primitive art will accompany the story. Fred Flintstone would feel right at home in this lightas-pumice comedy. (Fantasy. 9-11) (ALA booth: 454.)

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ARCADY’S GOAL

Yelchin, Eugene Illus. by Yelchin, Eugene Henry Holt (240 pp.) $15.99 | Oct. 14, 2014 978-0-8050-9844-0

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Two teenage boys struggle to shine on their varsity football team even while their own friendship suffers after one of them is injured. Archie F. Carr School is unusual in that it serves all students grades one through 12 in Lincoln, Fla. This means that the varsity football team is potentially open to even eighth-graders like Chase. He’s thrilled when he’s asked to start practicing with the varsity team and attend their games as a backup quarterback, but this realization of his dream doesn’t come without a price. His best friend, Tripp, suffers a head injury on the field, and when Chase tells the truth about the severity of the concussion, Tripp ends the friendship. Will their bond be strong enough to weather the rough patches? Whitaker’s (Uncommon Marriage, 2014, with Tony and Lauren Dungy, etc.) foray into middle-grade fiction never manages to break free of its flat tone. The characters, both children and adults, display a lack of energy, even on the football field. Their dialogue is stiff and monotonous. Emotional issues that deserve center stage—such as Chase’s fraught relationship with his dad and his sister’s recurring nightmare— are mostly ignored in favor of play-by-play accounts of football losses and wins. A sports tale infused with moments of Christian prayer and frequent lessons in morality that never establishes itself as a realistic account of young teens, either on the field or off. (Fiction. 9-12) (BEA booth: 2038; ALA booth: 508.)

of anti-Stalinism. The two find there’s almost no escape from labels, but there may be strength in their relationship. Yelchin once again examines the lasting effects of the horrors of Stalinism on the Russian people in a simple story told from the point of view of a child. His many pencil-and-charcoal illustrations, spot and full page, are action- and emotion-packed and gracefully complement the story. An author’s note provides a moving, real-world example of the lasting impact of Stalin’s atrocities. An uplifting, believable ending makes this companion lighter—but no less affecting—than its laurelled predecessor. (Historical fiction. 9-12) (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 522.)

Two survivors of Stalinist oppression attempt to form a family in this companion (not sequel) to the 2012 Newbery Honor-winning Breaking Stalin’s Nose. All young Arcady knows of his parents is that they were declared “enemies of the people”; their supposed crimes ended their lives and landed him in a “children’s home.” Having lived in several “homes,” Arcady has learned to take care of himself and to play soccer so well he can beat kids twice his size oneon-one. When one of the government inspectors decides to adopt Arcady, the boy hopes Ivan Ivanych is a soccer scout or at least a coach who can help him win a place on the Red Army Soccer Club team like his idol Fedor Brutko. But Ivan is just a former teacher who lost his wife to whispered accusations |

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The Trends: What to Expect in Children’s & Teen Books In looking at the books of summer and early fall of this year—both those featured here in this special BEA/ALA issue and among books whose manuscripts weren’t ready for review by press time—it’s hard to avoid noticing some trends. Literature for teens, the most volatile and fastest-growing segment of the youth market, shows the most evidence of change. We appear to be on the other side of the dystopian glut (knock wood); though a handful of series have started in the past year or two, most of what can be seen are trilogy conclusions. Within these, a happy sub-trend is emerging—even trilogies that began with largely white, heteronormative casts are responding to calls for diversity and introducing secondary characters who are gay or lesbian or of color—sometimes even overlapping them. Here’s hoping that this expansion continues into what looks to be the next generation of teen trends: thrillers and romances. Within middle-grade, fantasy seems to be back after a bit of a post–Harry Potter slump. Lovers of the genre may find themselves hoping for a slow build rather than another blockbusting game changer that will bring carbon copies out of the woodwork for the next several years. As it stands now, there is a nice blend of the light and the dark, the cozily familiar and the startlingly fresh. In the department of realistic fiction, trends are overwhelmingly toward contemporary settings—there’s nary a bonnet nor a wagon wheel in sight. And for the younger edge of middle-grade, after an onslaught of spunky chapter-book heroines in the last decade, there appears to be a compensatory swing toward chapter books with male protagonists. Picture books seem still to be enjoying the ferment of creativity that has characterized the form since the market contracted in the mid-2000s. There are still plenty of metafictive picture books, a subgenre that seems evergreen, as well as Common Core–friendly informational picture books—both have great crossover application in classrooms as well as thought-provoking one-on-one appeal. Familiar creators abound—Chris Van Allsburg, Rosemary Wells, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Tomie dePaola—and they are joined by a host of new talent. The fairy- or folk-tale picture book is still a rara avis these days, and, as also seems the norm, alas, 62

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there are not enough new early readers to carry children from preliteracy to reading confidence. Trends come, and trends go—thank goodness there is still plenty of room in the literary universe for great books. Happily, there are plenty of them on the way. —Vicky Smith

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LET’S GET LOST

These titles earned the Kirkus Star: THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Austin Aslan........63 GUY IN REAL LIFE by Steve Brezenoff................................................65 THE FAMILY ROMANOV by Candace Fleming.................................. 66 THE DEVIL’S INTERN by Donna Hosie...............................................67 GIRL DEFECTIVE by Simmone Howell.............................................. 68 KNOCKOUT GAMES by G. Neri..........................................................70 JACKABY by William Ritter............................................................... 71

KNOCKOUT GAMES

Neri, G. Carolrhoda Lab (304 pp.) $17.95 | Aug. 1, 2014 978-1-4677-3269-7

Road-tripping Leila acts as agent of change for four different teens. Hudson tunes up her car in Vicksburg, sparking an immediate romantic connection that leads to one great night and then a disaster. Bree, estranged from her older sister since their parents’ deaths, is on a road trip of her own, encountering Leila in Kansas, where the two flirt with the law. Elliot is deeply in love with Maribel, but after she rejects his romantic advances, he flees the prom and, drunk, is clipped by Leila’s car in Minneapolis, launching a farcical attempt at recovery. Sonia, caught between her love for her deceased boyfriend and a new romantic interest, ends up in Washington state on the wrong side of the border without her passport, where she’s rescued by Leila. The final section is Leila’s own as readers discover her tragic back story and motivation for the road trip. Her frenetic adventures with the other teens are told from their respective third-person points of view, maintaining her air of mystery and emphasizing her role as catalyst. Characters are portrayed attractively and with a colorful authenticity, although the plot necessarily strains at times to accommodate the structural conceit. Within each story, the end is fairly predictable, but as with all road trips, the point is how they get there. An entertaining and romantic road-trip debut. (Fiction. 13-18) (BEA booth: 3038; ALA booth: 363.)

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100 SIDEWAYS MILES by Andrew Smith.......................................... 73

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Alsaid, Adi Harlequin Teen (348 pp.) $17.99 | Jul. 29, 2014 978-0-373-21124-1

THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Aslan, Austin Wendy Lamb/Random (384 pp.) $17.99 | $10.99 e-book | $20.99 PLB Aug. 5, 2014 978-0-385-74402-7 978-0-385-37421-7 e-book 978-0-375-99145-5 PLB Hope for a promising epilepsy treatment brought Leilani, 16, and Mike, her ecologist father, to Honolulu; when a global catastrophe plunges the world’s most isolated metropolitan area into chaos, they’re desperate to return to family on the Big Island of Hawaii—it won’t be easy. |

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With The Family Romanov, Candace Fleming Leaves American History Behind Photo courtesy Joshua Schwimmer

the family romanov

Fleming, Candace Schwartz & Wade/Random

Though her picture-book and fiction oeuvres are extensive and varied, Candace Fleming has made a name for herself in the world of long-form nonfiction with her works of American history. Such titles as Our Eleanor, The Great and Only Barnum and Ben Franklin’s Almanac have become fixtures, and in this context, The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia (review on p. 66) is quite a departure. When I asked Fleming what brought about her shift in focus, she traced it to school visits she’s made all over the globe. After presenting on the Lincolns or Eleanor Roosevelt, she found herself answering questions about Anastasia from curious students. Realizing this curiosity was likely prompted by the Disney film about the doomed grand duchess, Fleming decided this book would be her answer to those “seekers of truth [who] recognized there was” something underneath “that terrible, ridiculous” storyline that Disney presented. Having made the decision to venture offshore, Fleming found the project “unbelievably fun.” For all the exhilaration of the research, however, she faced challenges. She initially planned to zero in on Anastasia—“I knew the reader for that; I’d been talking to them”—but she found that Anastasia “was not particularly interesting. That’s a terrible thing to say, isn’t it? She…didn’t make any choices on her own.” Deciding to expand her focus to all five children, she felt confident she’d have a story, but she learned that “not one of those kids was particularly fascinating.” Pulling out further to include Nicholas and Alexandra, she was dismayed to discover that “wow, [they were] unbelievably dull—not particularly curious people at all.” Of course, the events swirling around the Romanovs were fascinating, and Fleming uses the counterpoint between the essential blandness of her characters and the dramatic plot they unwittingly inhabited to tell a mesmerizing tale. “I ended up with these unbelievable, nagging questions.…Really, did [Nicholas and Alexandra] really have no way to change their fate? Was it inevitable, or were they just completely blind? Pretty soon that became [the story] to chase.” And what a story it is. —Vicky Smith 64

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Lei—half-Hawaiian, half-white—still feels like an outsider three years after moving from California to Hilo. Nevertheless, her island heritage speaks to her and could be the key to understanding the cataclysmic technological disruptions changing the world. Satellite-based GPS and other electronic communications systems fail, and only well-heeled tourists can buy their ways home. To combat mounting chaos, the military herds those at large, including Leilani and Mike, into internment camps. Leilani’s seizures carry voices to her, while an alarming discovery makes her quest to unravel their message and escape from the camp increasingly urgent. Seeking home drains their dwindling resources but strengthens their trust in each other. Flashes of kindness and empathy provide respite from the chaos and cruelty. Anchoring the story, the powerful bond between father and daughter reminds readers that love is as potent as fear and greed. Aslan’s debut honors Hawaii’s unique cultural strengths—family ties and love of home, amplified by geography and history—while remaining true to a genre that affirms the mysterious grandeur of the universe waiting to be discovered. A suspenseful and engaging series opener made all the more distinctive through its careful realization of setting. (Science fiction. 12 & up) (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 543.)

ZAC AND MIA

Betts, A.J. HMH Books (304 pp.) $17.99 | Sep. 2, 2014 978-0-544-33164-8 Desperate to reconnect with the outside world, teen bone marrow recipient Zac’s very precise mind is distracted by the arrival of new cancer patient Mia in the 4-by-5-meter room next to his. A single rock track plays on repeat next door (“The newbie’s gone Gaga. The girl’s got cancer and bad taste?”) until Zac pounds on the wall, and a tense bond begins to form. Zac, now “99.9 percent someone else,” is a model patient with extended family support back home on an Australian farm. He tracks cancer deaths with grim dedication: “I don’t want them to die, but they make my odds look better. I have to believe in the math.” Mia—not a Gaga fan after all, it’s just parent repellent—tells her high school friends she’s just on vacation, rejects her mother and lets anger threaten her treatment. Surrounded by the uncertainty of illness, Zac works from “logic and math,” while Mia’s decisions are “whipped up by emotion and impulse and I want, I want.” Taking its cue from the title, the first-person account starts with Zac’s voice, alternates between Zac and Mia in the middle, then seamlessly switches to Mia for the finale, with snappy dialogue throughout. A brief epilogue provides satisfying and realistic closure. Above average in this burgeoning subgenre; it’s the healing powers of friendship, love and family that make this funny-yet-philosophical tale of brutal teen illness stand out. (Fiction. 14 & up) (BEA booth: 1657; ALA booth: 403.) |


“The realistic dialogue, internal and otherwise, captures the uncomfortably iterative process of adolescent self-discovery….” from guy in real life

GUY IN REAL LIFE

Brezenoff, Steve Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins (400 pp.) $17.99 | $9.99 e-book | May 27, 2014 978-0-06-226683-5 978-0-06-226685-9 e-book

Chupeco, Rin Sourcebooks Fire (304 pp.) $16.99 | Aug. 5, 2014 978-1-4022-9218-7

WHEN MR. DOG BITES

Conaghan, Brian Bloomsbury (384 pp.) $17.99 | Jun. 10, 2014 978-1-61963-346-9

Tourette’s syndrome gives a distinctive voice to Conaghan’s first American novel. Savvy readers might guess what’s up, but that won’t keep them from following the catchy beat of Dylan’s smarttalking, cockney-rhyming, rapping voice as he resolves to get his dad home from Iraq, have sex with the unapproachable Michelle Malloy and help his best friend, Amir, find a new buddy. It’s going to be harder than he thought— his Tourette’s is the rare swearing type, exacerbated by stress. Fortunately, Dylan has a good heart and sense of humor. (His sheltered naïveté is also often unintentionally funny; his confrontation with a couple of thugs is simultaneously uncomfortable and hilarious.) Sympathetically rendered, Dylan’s Tourette’s punctuates the rhythms of Scottish slang and teenage banter. Drumhill Special School, where kids don’t bat an eye at the occasional outburst, blurs normalcy: When your peers and teachers are hurling racist epithets at your best friend, is unleashing Mr. Dog really inappropriate behavior? A plot twist occurs so late as to feel arbitrary but is resolved well, if hastily. An appealingly offbeat look at friendship, sex and what’s really “normal.” (Fiction. 14-18) (BEA booth: 1749; ALA booth: 529.)

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THE GIRL FROM THE WELL

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Sulky metal head boy meets artsy gamer girl. Awkward teenage love ensues. When Lesh’s and Svetlana’s worlds collide—literally—in Saint Paul, Minn., it precipitates a time-honored culture clash wherein magic happens, but that’s where predictability ends. In a first-person narration that alternates between the boy in black and the girl dungeon master, Brezenoff conjures a wry, wise and deeply sympathetic portrait of the exquisite, excruciating thrill of falling in love. What might easily have been a stale retread feels fresh and lively in Brezenoff ’s hands; he weaves multiple perspectives (school life, game life, dream life) together in threads that tangle into an inevitable knot, with startling consequences. The realistic dialogue, internal and otherwise, captures the uncomfortably iterative process of adolescent self-discovery as Lesh and Svetlana struggle to figure out who they are and what they stand for. The typical obstacles to true love (tempting teen sirens, parents who just don’t understand) are handily and gently overcome, and a subplot involving a jealous suitor peters out unexpectedly early. The juxtaposition of live, real-time role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons against the detached anonymity of MMORPGs, plus a playfully thoughtful exploration of gender identity and politics, gives the novel depth and heart that will appeal to audiences beyond the gaming set. This is not the teen love story you’ve read a thousand times before. (Fiction. 14 & up) (This review was first published in the 3/15/14 issue of Kirkus. BEA booth: 2039; ALA booth: 503.)

There, they meet some women who can try to free Tarquin from his spirit tormentor, but exorcisms aren’t easy. Chupeco bases her modern horror story on an old Japanese folk tale about a vengeful spirit named Okiku. She writes in Okiku’s formal, ghostly voice, requiring readers to piece together strange episodes that introduce not only Okiku, but also Tarquin and his family, only slowly revealing the severity of the danger Tarquin faces. They come together eventually to reveal the full story and, with their opacity, contribute to the book’s slowly mounting suspense. A chilling, bloody ghost story that resonates. (Paranormal suspense. 14-18) (BEA booth: 921; ALA booth: 682.)

A Japanese ghost tries to fight an evil spirit that haunts a 15-year-old boy in this strange, Stephen King-like horror story. Okiku was brutally murdered 300 years ago at age 16 and has roamed the world ever since, killing child murderers. Murderers unwittingly carry the ghosts of those they have killed on their backs, making them easy for Okiku to spot. She’s chasing down a particularly nasty serial killer when she encounters Tarquin, the son of an American man and a Japanese woman. Now institutionalized, Tarquin’s mother inscribed strange tattoos on the boy, which act as seals to imprison the evil ghost inside him. The family travels to Japan after Tarquin’s captive spirit horribly murders his mother so they can scatter the dead woman’s ashes at a shrine. |

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“Award-winning author Fleming crafts an exciting narrative from this complicated history and its intriguing personalities.” from the family romanov

THE WRENCHIES

Dalrymple, Farel Illus. by Dalrymple, Farel First Second (304 pp.) $19.99 | Sep. 16, 2014 978-1-59643-421-9 Children must fight a complicated evil in this dark, disturbing sci-fi tale. While out playing one fateful day, brothers Sherwood and Orson stumble upon a horrible and mysterious cave. Inside, the boys encounter a demon that will forever alter the paths of their lives. In a parallel universe, a motley crew called the Wrenchies band together in a violent, futuristic wasteland trying to survive numerous foes, especially the Shadowsmen. In yet another place/time, a comics-loving misfit named Hollis (who takes to running about in a scarlet superhero costume) finds himself immersed—literally—in the pages of an enigmatic, purloined comic. These three tales twine together in a somewhat confusing fashion, full of reaching sci-fi leaps into other times and dimensions, creating a brain-aching nonlinear plot. Couple this with a handful of epilogues and an esoteric “fotogloctica” that kind of but not really wraps things up, and expect readers’ brains to be smoking. Dalrymple’s art is impeccable, capturing the horrors of demons that routinely spear eyeballs and great swarms of parasitic insects that can crawl into ears and need to be killed by swords and/or knives; it’s beautiful, dreamy and nightmarishly violent. Think of this as an insidiously macabre Coraline-esque tale meets Charles Burns. Morbid and discomfiting; not for the faint of heart, but what a ride for those who go with the flow. (Graphic science fiction. 15 & up) (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 522.)

BLACKFIN SKY

Ellis, Kat Running Press (304 pp.) $9.95 paper | Sep. 2, 2014 978-0-7624-5401-3 If Sky didn’t die like everyone says, then where has she been for the last three months? Blackfin has always been a small, odd town. Even so, its residents still wonder how Skylar returned when everyone knows she fell off the pier and drowned on her 16th birthday. They even saw her corpse pulled from the water and later buried. No one wonders more, however, than Sky herself, especially since she recalls a different version of the events. Fans of Lisa McMann and Gail Giles will welcome this debut thriller that immediately grabs readers with an intriguing premise. When Sky’s parents seem reluctant to answer her questions, she seeks help from some unusual sources: her boyfriend, whom she may or may not have kissed the night she “died”; her mechanic father’s apprentice, who’s also the town’s only newcomer in years; the old gypsy woman in the woods; and even her own home, known as the Blood House as it was once a butcher 66

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shop…and possibly more. As Sky slowly discovers her family’s and town’s mysteries, she also realizes her own remarkable gift. Perhaps so too does a villain, drawn to her power for his own evil intentions. The plot-driven ending is less effective than the atmospheric beginning and suspenseful buildup of events, but by then, readers are already hooked. Overall, a satisfying thriller. (Supernatural thriller. 13-18) (BEA booth: 1406; ALA booth: 334.)

THE FAMILY ROMANOV Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia

Fleming, Candace Schwartz & Wade/Random (304 pp.) $18.99 | $10.99 e-book | $21.99 PLB Jul. 8, 2014 978-0-375-86782-8 978-0-375-89864-8 e-book 978-0-375-96782-5 PLB Fleming examines the family at the center of two of the early 20th century’s defining events. It’s an astounding and complex story, and Fleming lays it neatly out for readers unfamiliar with the context. Czar Nicholas II was ill-prepared in experience and temperament to step into his legendary father’s footsteps. Nicholas’ beloved wife (and granddaughter of Queen Victoria), Alexandra, was socially insecure, becoming increasingly so as she gave birth to four daughters in a country that required a male heir. When Alexei was born with hemophilia, the desperate monarchs hid his condition and turned to the disruptive, self-proclaimed holy man Rasputin. Excerpts from contemporary accounts make it clear how years of oppression and deprivation made the population ripe for revolutionary fervor, while a costly war took its toll on a poorly trained and ill-equipped military. The secretive deaths and burials of the Romanovs fed rumors and speculation for decades until modern technology and new information solved the mysteries. Award-winning author Fleming crafts an exciting narrative from this complicated history and its intriguing personalities. It is full of rich details about the Romanovs, insights into figures such as Vladimir Lenin and firsthand accounts from ordinary Russians affected by the tumultuous events. A variety of photographs adds a solid visual dimension, while the meticulous research supports but never upstages the tale. A remarkable human story, told with clarity and confidence. (bibliography, Web resources, source notes, picture credits, index) (Nonfiction. 12 & up) (BEA booth: 2839; ALA booth: 543.)

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THE WALLED CITY

Graudin, Ryan Little, Brown (432 pp.) $18.00 | $9.99 e-book | Nov. 4, 2014 978-0-316-40505-8 978-0-316-40504-1 e-book

Zombies Jake and Amanda head to Iowa for a hoped-for cure, psychic exgovernment agent Cass in tow. As in the first book (Eat, Brains, Love, 2012), the narration alternates between underachiever Jake, kicking himself at his good fortune to have become beloved of the superhot Amanda, and insecure, maladjusted Cass, reluctantly acknowledging that her psychic attraction to Jake is both insane and hopeless. Iowa is something of a new Wild West, all access points barricaded to keep zombies (and the dwindling human population) in and humans out. Once on the other side, a series of misadventures |

THE DEVIL’S INTERN

Hosie, Donna Holiday House (288 pp.) $16.95 | $16.95 e-book | Oct. 1, 2014 978-0-8234-3195-3 978-0-8234-3265-3 e-book A comic, time-traveling trip to Hell and back. After four years in Hell, Mitchell thinks he’s found a way to escape by going back in time and preventing his death. Inside Hell’s vast bureaucracy, he works as an intern to Septimus in the accounting department. It seems that most souls go to Hell rather than Up There, as the damned call Heaven. Hell is becoming seriously overcrowded and has financial issues. When Mitchell learns that Septimus has possession of the Viciseomater, a pocket-watch–like time-travel device, he unites with almostgirlfriend Medusa and best friends Alfarin, a Viking prince from the year 970, and his girlfriend, Elinor, who died in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The team first lands in New York and checks into the Plaza. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go according to plan, and the group begins to sense that some nasty characters from Hell are after them. Hosie writes with a decidedly wry comic style even as she unfolds her dramatic story. The worst job in Hell, cleaning out the ground-floor toilets, is reserved, for example, for reality TV stars. For all the story’s lightness, she doesn’t ignore the ever-present problem of paradox: What happens if these characters succeed in preventing their own deaths? Just outstanding fun for those who enjoy snarky comedy and suspense. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18) (BEA booth: 956; ALA booth: 415.)

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UNDEAD WITH BENEFITS

Hart, Jeff Harper/HarperCollins (416 pp.) $9.99 paper | $9.99 e-book Aug. 26, 2014 978-0-06-220036-5 978-0-06-220037-2 e-book Series: Eat, Brains, Love, 2

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Heroin addicts, crime lords and murderers wreak havoc upon the residents of Hak Nam Walled City, a neglected, filthy place in this teen thriller told in alternating viewpoints. Inspired by Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, Graudin’s prose uncovers a contemporary dystopia where despair is so rampant, “even the sunlight won’t enter.” Disguised as a boy, Jin Ling runs like the wind and searches Walled City for her beloved sister, Mei Yee. Mei Yee, taken to a brothel run by Brotherhood drug lord Longwai, longs for the sea and her sister, while her nights are spent servicing Ambassador Osamu. And Dai Shing, full of personal demons and running from the law, ticks off the days leading up to the New Year, the day his dubious freedom within lawless Walled City will end. He needs an “in” to the brothel in order to clear his name, but first, he’ll need help—from the two sisters. As their paths cross, the three teens struggle with their biggest obstacle, as mountainous as the walls surrounding the city: trusting one another. With gritty, vehement details, Walled City looms large, like a fourth character, its alleyways as twisted as Longwai’s mind. Violence runs deep throughout the book, but it’s written with care and never feels gratuitous. In particular, one rape scene becomes Mei Yee’s source of strength. It’s key moments like these that offer humanity in this sea of inhumanity. Readers, rapt, will duck for cover until the very last page. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up.) (BEA booth: 1838; ALA booth: 422.)

separates the teens, forcing Cass and Amanda into an uneasy truce and sending Jake on his own into Des Moines, shambling after the mythic cure. Des Moines, under the control of zombie overlord Lord Wesley, consciously recalls the horrors of such catastrophically lawless zones as Mogadishu, though with a better soundtrack. Hart balances humor and heartbreak with expert precision, Jake’s slacker voice lending itself to some pretty funny reflections: “What if [Amanda and Cass had] been eaten? Or, well, what if one of them had eaten the other? And the noneaten one was all mad at me?” But Hart never lets readers forget that this is the zombie apocalypse, man, with all the spilling entrails that entails, and their emotions ring true. These zombies are so touchingly human it’s impossible not to love them. (Horror. 14-18) (BEA booth: 2039; ALA booth: 503.)

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CONVERSION

Howe, Katherine Putnam (448 pp.) $18.99 | Jul. 1, 2014 978-0-399-16777-5 Fingers are pointed and chaos ensues when a group of high-achieving high school seniors begin exhibiting bizarre behaviors in an all-girls private school located in Danvers, Mass.—formerly known as Salem Village. After queen bee Clara Rutherford falls into a seizure at St. Joan’s, and her best friends are similarly afflicted, fellow student Colleen Rowley receives anonymous texts that urge her to study Arthur Miller’s The Crucible for clues. More girls fall victim to the seizures, and reporters and environmental crusaders descend on Danvers. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health finally declares that the girls are suffering from “conversion disorder,” an illness in which the body “converts” stress into physical symptoms. But after seeing how one of her friends seemed to disperse her sadness over a doomed love affair into other people, Colleen wonders if supernatural powers may be at play. In parallel chapters, Ann Putnam, a primary figure in the actual Salem witch trials, confesses to her local minister that she and the other accusers were lying when they named people as witches. The richly drawn characters and period language of the familiar Salem story are far more compelling than the stereotypically rendered Danvers teens. After a deliberate buildup of escalating tension and suspense in the contemporary narrative, Howe hastily wraps up the story based on actual events that took place in La Roy, N.Y., in 2012 with a series of unsatisfactory solutions that are dropped on the reader with little or no ceremony. Slow boil, flat finish. (author’s note) (Fiction. 13-18) (BEA booth: 1521; ALA booth: 442/3.)

GIRL DEFECTIVE

Howell, Simmone Atheneum (320 pp.) $17.99 | $10.99 e-book | Sep. 2, 2014 978-1-4424-9760-3 978-1-4424-9762-7 e-book Skylark Martin lives above her family’s vintage vinyl shop that—like its merchandise—is an endangered species in their re-gentrified, forward-looking Melbourne suburb. In the five years since Mum left to “follow her art” in Japan, Dad’s kept the shop going, drinking homebrew and mourning the past (musical and otherwise). Sky, 15, and Gully, 10, aka Agent Seagull Martin, who wears a pig-snout mask 24/7 and views the world as a crime scene waiting to be investigated, hold down the fort. Sky harbors no illusions about their dreary status quo— Dad’s drinking, Gully’s issues, her own social stasis—but she 68

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does have dreams, recently ignited by a new friend, the beautiful, wild and fearless Nancy. Other agents of change include Eve, Dad’s old flame, and Luke, the shop’s attractive, moody new hire. Drawn, mothlike, to Nancy’s flame, Sky’s dreams are haunted by Luke’s sister, whose similarly wild lifestyle led to tragedy. The family business grounds Sky. Its used records and cassettes, like time capsules, store music that evokes the past’s rich emotional complexity for the Martins and their quirky customers, while the eternal present and frantic quest for the next big thing hold no appeal. Funny, observant, a relentless critic of the world’s (and her own) flaws, Sky is original, thoroughly authentic and great company, decorating her astute, irreverent commentary with vivid Aussie references; chasing these down should provide foreign readers with hours of online fun. (Fiction. 14 & up) (BEA booth: 2638/9; ALA booth: 302/3.)

BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE

Kenneally, Miranda Sourcebooks Fire (304 pp.) $16.99 | Jul. 1, 2014 978-1-4022-8479-3

Running the marathon that her boyfriend can’t will change Annie’s life—and not just for 26 miles. It’s been months since her boyfriend, Kyle, was killed in a car accident, right after he and Annie had reconciled from a fight about their futures. To deal with her grief, Annie resolves to run the Music City Marathon, the race Kyle was training for when he died. The training doesn’t come easily to her—she’s slow, her knees hurt, her stomach is sensitive, and there’s even some embarrassing chafing. But her coach, Matt, and her new running friends keep cheering her on, not to mention Matt’s brother, Jeremiah, a daredevil who makes Annie feel so many things: fear, guilt, lust…and maybe love? But to move on with Jere, Annie will have to make peace with the loss of Kyle, while adjusting to leaving home and starting college. If she keeps breathing, she might just make it. While experienced runners might question pitfalls that don’t seem to negatively affect Annie’s running times, most readers will be more frustrated with the stop-and-start progress of her relationship with Jere. More importantly, though, Annie’s grieving and growth are realistic, and she makes it to the starting line in the best shape— physical and emotional—to tackle the challenges ahead. Despite the racing theme, a pleasingly deliberate look at grief and healing. (Fiction. 14-18) (BEA booth: 921; ALA booth: 682.)

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“...this setting of the first-person free verse poem includes grippingly evocative spreads by 30 artists.” from to this day

EVIL LIBRARIAN

Knudsen, Michelle Candlewick (352 pp.) $16.99 | Sep. 9, 2014 978-0-7636-6038-3

Koyczan, Shane Annick Press (72 pp.) $19.95 | Sep. 1, 2014 978-1-55451-639-1 One poet and 30 artists’ rallying cry against bullying. Award-winning Canadian spoken-word artist Koyczan finally sets on the page a poem whose animated video has created a YouTube sensation. Posted in February 2013, Koyczan’s video of the same name has generated nearly 13 million hits, challenging kids everywhere to reflect on themselves and their treatment of others. As in the video, which involved the collaboration of 86 animators and motion artists, this setting of the first-person free verse poem includes grippingly evocative spreads by 30 artists. In the introductory note outlining the work’s genesis, Koyczan includes a number of sobering facts about bullying, smartly points to the damage resulting from bullying behavior—from being ignored entirely to becoming the brunt of unwanted negative attention—and finally charges readers: “Remember that the world will never hear you if you choose to say nothing.” In the poem, |

Lewis, R.C. Hyperion (336 pp.) $17.99 | Oct. 14, 2014 978-1-4231-8507-9

“Snow White” gets an upgrade in this clever, surprisingly gritty sciencefiction version. Essie has spent eight years hiding in the hardscrabble mining settlements of Thanda, cage fighting for cash and “stitching” machine code, especially for her seven autonomous drones. When Dane, the charming offworlder she rescues from a shuttle crash, discovers that she is the long-lost Princess Snow, he can’t leave behind such a valuable pawn in the ongoing interplanetary war. But what if Essie refuses to go home? Elements of the classic fairy tale are skillfully woven into this update, with a particularly delightful nod to the Disney dwarves. But Essie is no passive, pretty princess; she is tough, cynical, paranoid and prone to violent rages—rough edges that gradually make sense as the horrific truths about her childhood are revealed. Dane, in contrast, is the perfect prince: strong, gentle, devoted and (irritatingly) slightly better than Essie at everything. Sweet romance and graphic violence, earthy humor and chilling abuse, space-opera settings and vintage derring-do—they all intertwine with unexpected panache. If the wicked king and the downright monstrous stepmother are cartoonishly evil, their villainous schemes implausibly over-the-top and the climactic revolt against their tyranny ludicrously simple…well, the source tale is hardly free of plot holes, either, and who cares when it’s so entertaining? A fine addition to the ever popular subgenre of fairytale adaptations. (Science fiction. 12-18) (BEA booth: 3016; ALA booth: 603.)

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TO THIS DAY

STITCHING SNOW

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The spirit of Buffy is alive and kicking in this bloody debut for teens from an author better known for her children’s books (The Princess of Trelian, 2012, etc.). Cyn is a backstage genius with an unrequited crush of epic proportions on popular, talented Ryan, the sort of boy who seems to move “in slow motion like some stupid sequence in a bad summer movie.” She’s got a best friend, she enjoys a healthy relationship with her own carnal desires, and she’s snarky and smart and generally the kind of heroine everyone wants. Which is handy, since the hot new librarian is a demon in search of souls to suck as well as a child bride—and he’s got his sights set on Cyn’s best friend. Luckily, Cyn has a sort of natural demon immunity. And, it turns out, she’s got support from Ryan, so she takes on the evil librarian—and then the demonic new principal and a host of other demons, too. Bloodshed and creepy rituals abound, but the horror is always campy and carefully undercut by the entirely realistic, slightly silly nonprogression of Cyn and Ryan’s romance (when they finally kiss, it’s cathartic for all). Snappily narrated, tightly plotted and generally just right. Forget paranormal romance; this horror-humorromance pastiche is where those in search of hot nonhumans should set their sights. (Humorous horror. 13 & up) (BEA booth: 2857; ALA booth: 602.)

the speaker describes the detrimental long-term effects bullying can have on one’s self-image: “[W]e grew up believing no one / would ever fall in love with us / that we’d be lonely forever.” Artistic styles are wildly varied, but each spread packs a punch, modulating emotionally with the poem. Anti-bullying resources are appended. Powerful on a number of levels, Koyczan’s timeless work proves at once confrontational and healing. (Poetry. 10 & up) (BEA booth: 1549; ALA booth: 325.)

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“Martinez uses nicely specific physical details to relate Masi’s experiences, and the moments in the bakery seem particularly authentic and are suffused with love.” from pig park

THE GREEN TEEN COOKBOOK

Marchive, Laurane; McElroy, Pam–Eds. Zest Books (146 pp.) $14.99 paper | Jul. 29, 2014 978-1-936976-58-4

This by-teens, for-teens cookbook focuses on specific ways teens can live a healthy, environmentally conscious life without sacrificing the food they love. Early chapters define and present six green ideas. These include eating healthfully, seasonally, locally and organically, as well as vegetarianism and fair trade. The evenhanded presentation focuses on how these ways of eating can benefit both the individual as well as the entire planet. The recipes that follow are simple and utilize easily found ingredients. A photo and a quote from the contributing teen as well as its seasonality precede each recipe. Recipes for such favorites as homemade chocolatehazelnut spread, vegetable smoothies and Oreo cupcakes are inexpensive and produce dishes that are portable and friendly to the teen palate. Sections feature snacks, DIY kitchen staples, entrées, desserts and more. Quick tips as well as ways in which a recipe might be altered for variety accompany many of the recipes. Cleanly laid out with photos of the teen contributors and the dishes themselves, this introduction to green eating is informative without being preachy. However, other than the fact that it is by teens, this resource fails to differentiate itself from the many other green cookbooks on the market. A good resource for teens who don’t want to use adult cookbooks. (Nonfiction. 12-18) (BEA booth: 1657; ALA booth: 403.)

PIG PARK

Martinez, Claudia Guadalupe Cinco Puntos (248 pp.) $15.95 | $9.95 paper | Jul. 8, 2014 978-1-935955-76-4 978-1-935955-77-1 paper Residents of a declining neighborhood band together to turn their economy around by building a tourist attraction. Masi spent her life working in her family’s bakery in Pig Park, so named for the lard company that, until outsourcing, provided most of the area’s jobs. The multiethnic Chicago neighborhood agrees to the outlandish scheme of building a “Gran Pirámide” in their park, as a famous community developer suggests. Masi, at 15, is just happy to have a job outside with her friends, and she is also delighted to meet Felix, a college student from outside the area who shows up to offer help in the neighborhood. In a subplot, Masi’s mother leaves for an extended stay with her parents in Texas, where she is diagnosed with diabetes, while her father struggles to keep the bakery going. Masi’s anguish over her mother’s absence is palpable, though it also distracts somewhat from the pyramid project. The story of a community working together is uplifting, but the project itself occasionally strains credulity, as the teens 70

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confidently frame the interior walls and measure for electric switches and plumbing. Martinez uses nicely specific physical details to relate Masi’s experiences, and the moments in the bakery seem particularly authentic and are suffused with love. The warm, diverse community setting and the realistic family interactions help overcome the somewhat jumbled plotlines. (Fiction. 12-16) (BEA booth: 1102; ALA booth: 343.)

PILLS AND STARSHIPS

Millet, Lydia Black Sheep/Akashic (256 pp.) $18.95 | $11.95 paper | Jun. 3, 2014 978-1-61775-275-9 978-1-61775-276-6 paper Millet imagines a dystopic near future in which the well-heeled make death a family affair. Their parents have brought Nat, 16, and her brother, Sam, 14, to the island of Hawaii to witness their chosen death in a six-day, drug-drenched farewell ceremony, carefully scripted by its corporate sponsor. Even for the well-off, long life in a world of anoxic oceans and animal extinctions no longer appeals. Like most other kids, Nat’s resigned to a future without parents; rebellious Sam is less accepting. When, from beneath the glossy surface, a disturbing reality begins to emerge, Nat’s emotionally flat narration makes it hard to care. Passive and without affect, she accepts her parents’ choices and later abandons her brother during a horrendous storm with elegiac regret. Despite exposition that’s rarely interrupted by dialogue, this world’s puzzlingly out of focus, real places carelessly portrayed. The novel’s narrative conceit has Nat explaining her story to a hypothetical distant reader. Summarizing the action robs it of suspense and interest: Readers do not see the story unfold and watch characters act and interact, making it difficult for them to interpret their behavior for themselves. Detail may be the lifeblood of fiction, but storytelling is its pumping heart; without it, this all-premise effort is DOA. (Science fiction. 12-16) (BEA booth: 1105; ALA booth: 343.)

KNOCKOUT GAMES

Neri, G. Carolrhoda Lab (304 pp.) $17.95 | Aug. 1, 2014 978-1-4677-3269-7

New girl Erica falls in with the wrong crowd in an exploration of racial tension in St. Louis. In the wake of her parents’ separation, Erica finds herself in a new city and new school. After showing off her skills with the camera her estranged father gave as a parting gift, Erica wins the attention of a boxing club called the TKOs and the affection of their |


IF YOU’RE READING THIS

A moving study of war’s long-reaching effects on families. Mike Wilson’s father “had been dead seven years the day his first letter arrived.” How can this be? Who is sending them? His father died in Afghanistan on Aug. 28, 2005, and 15-year-old Mike, his mother and his younger sister have moved on with their lives, though his mother avoids the painful subject of his father. It’s difficult, though, to navigate high school without a father’s guidance, and this letter and those that follow are intended to help. Many contain a mission for Mike—get involved with a sport, ask a girl out, go to church, get your driver’s license, go easy on your sister, and be nice to your mother. The letters offer Mike an approach to succeeding in high school and a means of saying goodbye to his father, and they offer readers, along with Mike, a compelling mystery: How can a dead man send letters? Mike is a believable character, his first-person narration capably spun. A whole story constructed around letters intended to teach life lessons can’t help but feel didactic, though earnest and well meaning. Readers will anticipate each letter right along with Mike, and they may receive some good guidance about life along with him. (Fiction. 10-16) (BEA booth: 1439; ALA booth: 682.)

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Ritter, William Algonquin (288 pp.) $16.95 | Sep. 16, 2014 978-1-61620-353-5

A Sherlock Holmes-style adventure featuring the egotistical and eccentric R.F. Jackaby and his bewildered but invaluable assistant, Abigail Rook. Inspired by her father’s paleontological expeditions and frustrated by her mother’s expectations of femininity, Abigail arrives in the New England city of New Fiddleham with a suitcase of inappropriate attire and a need for money. She finds employment with the oddball supernatural investigator Jackaby, whose previous assistants have met unfortunate or fowl ends (literally). Aiding Jackaby, flirting with the secretive Detective Charlie Cane, and trying to avoid the wrath of Chief Inspector Marlowe and Commissioner Swift, Abigail discovers that the world is stranger and more dangerous than she ever imagined. Although Abigail is not a seer like Jackaby, able to pierce the glamour of New Fiddleham’s fairy-tale and folklore inhabitants, she learns that to “see the ordinary is extraordinary indeed.” Abigail’s attention to the everyday serves as a foil to Jackaby’s paranormal perception and makes her a refreshingly realistic and agreeable heroine. Secondary characters—including Jackaby’s house—are equally enchanting and well-drawn. Ritter’s debut skillfully blends science with the supernatural and balances whimsy with violence. The smartly paced plot wraps up neatly, but the rich world of this debut demands sequels. A magical mystery tour de force with a high body count and a list of unusual suspects. (Paranormal. 12-18) (BEA booth: 839; ALA booth: 414.)

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Reedy, Trent Levine/Scholastic (304 pp.) $16.99 | $16.99 e-book | Aug. 26, 2014 978-0-545-43342-6 978-0-545-70049-8 e-book

JACKABY

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leader, Kalvin. The TKOs play the horrific “Knockout Game,” in which kids assault total strangers with a single punch for no reason other than the adrenaline rush. Erica is enamored by the TKOs and their worldview, but as things get real, Erica makes moves to get out. The results are thrilling. At every fork in the road, Erica makes the wrong decision, but surprisingly, this only makes her more endearing. The book’s second half, detailing Erica’s struggles to escape the TKOs and Kalvin’s tightening grip, is even stronger than the beginning; it’s where the author’s meaty ideas and exciting action sequences blend together perfectly. Kalvin may seem like every parent’s worst nightmare for their daughter, but the author draws him with a complexity that helps illustrate the larger themes being explored. Neri’s main concern is the “post-racial” urban landscape, raising many talking points while letting readers come to their own conclusions. Harsh and relentless, a tough but worthy read. (Fiction. 12-16) (BEA booth: 1846/7; ALA booth: 623.)

INLAND

Rosenfield, Kat Dutton (304 pp.) $17.99 | Jun. 12, 2014 978-0525426486 A move from Wyoming to the Gulf Coast improves Callie’s debilitating asthma while also awakening a dark inner voice that lures her toward the open ocean, where her mother drowned years earlier. Callie and her father spent years traversing the landlocked inner United States, where Callie led the lonely life of the perpetually sickly new girl. But the move to the Gulf Coast quickly improves her health. Soon Callie gains friends and a new gregarious boyfriend, Ben. But her short-lived happiness is destroyed by a dark family secret that many readers will have guessed from the very beginning. Callie’s slow acknowledgement of her unusual heritage, in spite of copious “mysterious” clues from her maternal aunt, may build patient readers’ anticipation for the big reveal, but many will kirkus.com

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CATCH YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS FROM LITTLE , BROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS

PATRICK MCDONNELL

LEMONY SNICKET

PSEUDONYMOUS BOSCH

HOLLY BLACK

A.S. KING

AT BOOK EXPO BOOTH #2820

THURSDAY, MAY 29TH

FRIDAY, MAY 30TH

10:00 – 11:00 am LEMONY SNICKET

2:30 – 3:30 pm HOLLY BLACK

Table #1 in the Author Autographing Area

Table #19 in the Author Autographing Area

11:30 am – 12:30 pm A.S. KING

SATURDAY, MAY 31ST

Table #15 in the Author Autographing Area

1:00 – 2:00 pm PATRICK MCDONNELL

1:00 – 2:00 pm PSEUDONYMOUS BOSCH

AT ALA ANNUAL BOOTH #422

SATURDAY, JUNE 28TH

12:00 – 1:00 pm HOLLY BLACK 2:00 – 3:00 pm A.S. KING 4:00 – 5:00 pm PSEUDONYMOUS BOSCH

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SUNDAY, JUNE 29TH

9:00 – 10:00 am PATRICK MCDONNELL

MONDAY, JUNE 30TH

9:00 – 10:00 am LEMONY SNICKET

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“...perhaps the most hilarious condom-buying scene ever imagined.” from 100 sideways miles

BREAKING FREE True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery Sher, Abby Barron’s (240 pp.) $9.99 paper | Jun. 1, 2014 978-1-4380-0453-2

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Smith, Andrew Simon & Schuster (288 pp.) $17.99 | $10.99 e-book | Sep. 2, 2014 978-1-4424-4495-9 978-1-4424-4497-3 e-book A wickedly witty and offbeat novel involving (among many other things) best friends, first love, classroom behavior outrageous enough to bring about a teacher’s aneurysm and a stunningly described shadow-puppet show. Sixteen-year-old Finn Easton has his share of struggles. A bizarre childhood accident killed his mother and left him epileptic. Further, he has spent much of his life living down public assumptions, as his father penned a controversial, well-known science-fiction novel that featured a protagonist also named Finn. However, none of this stops him and his larger-than-life best friend, Cade Hernandez, from participating in wildly funny misdeeds. These include leading a chant of “Oldfucker! Oldfucker!” to welcome the governor, who is cursed with the phonetically similar name Altvatter, at a school assembly and participating in perhaps the most hilarious condom-buying scene ever imagined. Yet the story also offers nuance and depth, including but not limited to Finn’s headlong, sweetly real stumble into love with a girl named Julia, vivid descriptions of Southern California canyon country, Finn’s touchingly honest, kind relationship with his dad, and his fascinating habit of viewing time in terms of miles rather than minutes. All of this and so many more exquisite details make this a breathtaking read. (Fiction. 14 & up) (BEA booth: 2638/9; ALA booth: 302/3.)

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The harrowing real-life stories of three girls who turned their experiences as sex-trafficked children into a fight to destroy the practice. This set of brief biographies opens with 9-year-old Somaly Mam in Cambodia around 1979. Sold to a brothel by her ostensible caretaker, Somaly experiences rape, beatings, starvation and punishment—she is covered in snakes and sewage. Her torments may seem alien to some readers, at least partly due to inadequate contextualization of Cambodia’s historical moment (the immediate aftermath of genocide). It’s therefore useful that the next story is Minh Dang’s in 1990s California; her parents force her into prostitution when she’s only 10. Her story seems otherwise so commonplace American (she plays soccer, gets A’s in school, and is expected to attend and graduate from college) that the overlap between her experiences and Somaly’s seems that much more horrific. The final biography is of Maria Suarez, a Mexican immigrant who’s kidnapped, forced into a sexual relationship with an older man, arrested after his death, imprisoned for two decades and nearly deported on her eventual release. The girls’ stories could be too devastating to read save for each tale’s conclusion, detailing the efforts these women have made to rescue girls and eliminate childhood slavery. Minh Dang is upset when people speak of her as an inhumanly brave heroine; the focus here on activism after suffering may be enough to show the women as people, not victims. Harrowing, yes—and inspiring. (glossary, resources, afterword) (Nonfiction. 14-17) (BEA booth: 1448/9; ALA booth: 2144.)

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be disappointed when Callie expresses little shock, disbelief or horror when she finally understands its enormity, easily accepting her destiny. Ultimately, many questions about the family’s lineage and Callie’s mental health remain frustratingly unanswered. The story is at its best in the sensory details that create its vaguely sinister atmosphere; the way the characters all feel trapped by their small town and yet also suffer a sort of terrifying lethargy that prevents them from escaping recalls the stellar Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone (2012). Unfortunately, both haphazard plotting and inadequate articulation of Callie’s heritage make understanding the truth of her story difficult. (Fiction. 14-18) (BEA booth: 1521; ALA booth: 442/3.)

PARTY GAMES

Stine, R.L. St. Martin’s Griffin (288 pp.) $17.99 | Sep. 30, 2014 978-1-250-05161-5 Series: Fear Street The teens of Shadyside are in for more scares now that Stine has returned to his beloved franchise. Rachel Martin’s got a big-time crush on Brendan Fear. She’s incredibly excited to be invited along with the cool kids to Brendan’s birthday party on Fear Island, so much so that she’s willing to ignore an ominous dead animal in her bed and the warnings of her best friend. Of course, once the party starts and the guests start to drop like flies in gruesome ways, Rachel’s only concern is getting off the island in one piece. The author’s  instinct for  creative  kills remains strong despite a 15-plus-year absence from the series. There isn’t a lot to chew on when it comes to character or theme, although it’s hard to imagine anyone looking for such a thing in a Fear Street novel. These books are designed kirkus.com

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“Kit…is as brave, clever and good-natured an orphan lad as ever buckled a swash.” from the accidental highwayman

THE ACCIDENTAL HIGHWAYMAN Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides

to be a pleasant diversion as well as fodder for nightmares, and in that aspect, the author doesn’t disappoint. The only frustration is the lack of a supernatural element to the string of murders. Ghosts and zombies are the author’s strength, not masked killers and kidnappers. The frights make up for this misstep but only by a little. More of the same—yet here, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  (Horror. 12-16) (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 532.)

FAT & BONES And Other Stories

Theule, Larissa Illus. by Doyle, Adam S. Carolrhoda (112 pp.) $16.95 | $12.95 e-book | Oct. 1, 2014 978-1-4677-0825-8 978-1-4677-4623-6 e-book

Short, peculiar, inexplicable: This won’t be for everyone. When Bald the farmer dies, his miserable son, Bones, is determined to get rid of Fat the fairy, who lives on the farm, once and for all. Their rivalry sets off a series of interconnected tales, each one dark and surreal and imbued with a kind of meaning, although the meaning is not always immediately apparent—and there’s little to no morality on display, although there are glimmers of a very dark sense of absurdity. While there are occasional moments of kindness (a vindictive, nearly footless pig tries to ensure the prettiest pig’s trotter ends up in a stew but sacrifices herself instead at the last moment; a misfit spider finds love), most of the tales are dark indeed. A lovelorn mouse sets up his rival for defeat by cat; a tulip becomes an assassin of smaller flowers; and Fat and Bones both come to nasty ends. The tales link together across the space of a single day, at the end of which peace reigns on the farm. Tonally these read a bit like folk or fairy tales, but the edges are sharp; the dark, ink-blotted design and pen-and-ink art make this an object to admire as well as read. Strange and strangely compelling, this is one of those books that needs the right reader—who will eat it up. (Short stories. 14 & up) (BEA booth: 1846/7; ALA booth: 623.)

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Tripp, Ben Tor (304 pp.) $17.99 | Oct. 14, 2014 978-0-7653-3549-4

Spells, wishes and fantastical creatures aside, this rollicking yarn owes more to R.L. Stevenson than J.K. Rowling.      While the aging George II rules Britain, young Kit Bristol enjoys respectability as a gentleman’s servant, a step up from his past as a wandering circus trick-rider—until his mortally wounded master reveals himself as a notorious highwayman and bequeaths to Kit his magnificent horse, his golden sword, the ferocious enmity of the law and a mysterious mission to kidnap a runaway Faerie princess. Soon, Kit (along with a mad impresario, two fair damsels, the horse Midnight, the baboon Fred, and a brace of wee glowing feyín) is up to his ears in intrigue, disguises and daring escapes, pursued by the armies of two kings, a foul duchess and “[g]oblings and trolls and whatnot.” Kit’s wry voice provides a fine pastiche of old-fashioned tale-telling, slightly hampered by the sprinkling of didactic footnotes but enlivened by breakneck pacing, colorful similes and a sly wit aimed at modern sensibilities. While the lovely Princess Morgana, alas, does little but look pretty, act feisty and need rescuing, the rest of the characters are delightfully over-the-top, and Kit himself is as brave, clever and good-natured an orphan lad as ever buckled a swash. The promise of more adventures to come provides happily-ever-after enough. They can still write ’em like they used to; hurrah! (Fantasy. 12-18) (BEA booth: 1738/9; ALA booth: 532.)

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12 Most Cinematic Indie Books of 2014 (So Far) This year, more than 1,300 books have traveled through IndieLand so far. Some went on to grab a Kirkus star, media attention or a movie deal. Lori St. John, author of The Corruption of Innocence, an account of her fight to save a convicted murderer from execution, emailed to tell us, “I recently sold the movie rights to a well-known Hollywood producer who is a perfect fit!” Which other Indie books might lend themselves to the big screen? With Noah in theaters, the world of Plague of Angels, a shadowy fantasy in which “demons find themselves free to torment the human race,” begs to be CGIed. Henry’s Re-Entry, a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas–style picaresque set in New Mexico, with dialogue that is “by turns probing, poignant and hilarious,” seems like a natural. And Sutro’s Glass Palace, about the long-defunct San Francisco bathhouse—“a lavish complex of pools, bleachers, changing rooms, restaurants, exhibits and displays”—may inspire a documentarian to reimagine and resurrect, via archival materials, the giant glass, iron and wood landmark. We present to you a dozen of our most cinematic books; you supply the Milk Duds and Twizzlers. —Karen Schechner

EPIDEMIC OF CHOICE A DEA Story Don Nelson CreateSpace

pictur e books

While dealing with family issues, personal demons and office politics, Special Agent Jake Shaunessey and fellow Drug Enforcement Administration agents try to track down the elusive kingpins of a Minneapolis-area heroin network. Hits all the targets for fans of police drama.

HENRY’S RE-ENTRY

Welcome Cole Caelstone Press

Cole’s (The Pleasure of Memory, 2013) novel is equal parts snark-filled road trip and bittersweet confrontation of past sins. Cole maps out a propulsive emotional journey.

middle-gr a de

JUSTICE DENIED The United States vs. the People

Howell Woltz Woltz Media

A BECKONING WAR

Matthew Murphy CreateSpace

The harrowing account of one man’s persecution by a justice system indifferent to law and morality; Woltz has created a stirring legal drama made more thrilling by sharp, journalistic prose.

Rendered in beautifully poetic prose, Murphy’s debut novel follows Capt. James McFarlane of Canada’s A Company, 1st Irish, in war. An empathetic yet flawed man drives this wonderful novel, the first from an author ready for a glittering literary career.

MIDNIGHT RUMBA 1950s Cuba in all its Doomed, Glamorous Glory Eduardo Santiago CreateSpace

APEX PREDATOR Kelvin Kwa CreateSpace

In Santiago’s (Tomorrow They Will Kiss, 2006) masterful novel, a daughter dedicates her life to reuniting with her father in 1950s Cuba during the revolution. A historically sound, sublimely heartbreaking novel about the soul of the Cuban revolution.

Chinese soldiers and Navy SEALs race to retrieve a fallen satellite in the Arctic Circle only to discover a common enemy in a gigantic sea creature in Kwa’s debut sci-fi thriller, written with the speed and precision of a tightly edited action film, headlined by a colossal monster that could give the kraken a run for its money.

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12 Most Cinematic Indie Books of 2014 (So Far) PLAGUE OF ANGELS The Descended

THE CORRUPTION OF INNOCENCE A Journey for Justice

John Patrick Kennedy CreateSpace

Lori St. John Creative Production Services Inc.

A dark fantasy about an alliance between the Queen of Hell and the Son of God. An intriguing, intensely readable combination of Game of Thrones and the New Testament.

An account of a woman’s four-year fight to save a convicted murderer from execution that becomes an effective exposé of the criminal justice system that casts convincing doubt on the guilt of a death row inmate.

QUEEN OF HEARTS Volume One: The Crown

THE ELECTRIC AFFINITIES

Colleen Oakes Sparkpress

Wade Stevenson BlazeVOX

A story set in the world of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as seen from a very different perspective. A wonderfully entertaining twist on an old classic.

A free-love opus set in a bygone era that’s an atmospheric, evocative tale of youth endeavoring to live free.

SEX, RAIN, AND COLD FUSION

A.R. Taylor Ridgecrest House

A surreal novel about a promising young academic trying to change his life: an unpredictable, winningly bizarre academic satire.

SUTRO’S GLASS PALACE The Story of Sutro Baths John A. Martini Hole in the Head Press

Martini relates the history of a nowdefunct California attraction in this lavishly illustrated volume. A beautiful resource about a mysterious San Francisco landmark.

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Heart-pounding stories, electrifying tHrillers

The Garden of Burning Sand

by Corban Addison

“If you like stories of good people struggling to do right in the world’s forgotten places, there is no one better suited to take you on the ride of your life.” —John Hart Hardcover • 9781623651299 Now available • $26.99

Eden in Winter

by Richard North Patterson

#1 New York Times-bestselling author Richard North Patterson concludes his Blaine Family Saga with a stunning flourish. Hardcover • 9781623651473 On sale 7/1/14 • $26.99

Two Soldiers by Roslund & Hellström New from The New York Times bestselling authors, ex-con Börge Hellström and investigative journalist Anders Roslund. Hardcover • 9781623651350 On sale 6/10/14 • $26.99

The Blackhouse by Peter May

“A writer I’d follow to the ends of the earth . . . intricately plotted.” — Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review Trade Paperback • 9781623659998 On sale 8/5/14 • $14.99

Distributed by Random House

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BEA/ALA Special Issue  

Kirkus Reviews Special Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Hottest Books at BEA and ALA 2014.