November 17, 2017

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The Latest from Kindl, Picoult, and Stead | Middle School YA

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redstarKindl, Patrice. A School for Brides: A Story of Maidens, Mystery, and Matrimony. 272p. ebook available. Viking. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780670786084.

Gr 7 Up –Fairly exploding with intrigue, nefarious governesses, secret suitors, and marriage plots galore, this follow-up to Kindl’s well-received Keeping the Castle (Viking, 2012) isn’t a Regency romp but a roller-coaster. The book shares a setting with its companion novel but focuses on the girls of Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy, a school for young ladies aspiring to marry. However, fans of the original title will be cheered at brief glimpses of Althea (now Mrs. Fredericks), whose niece is a student at the academy. The girls of Winthrop would be the first to point out that the marital prospects in Lesser Hoo are most unsuitable—that is, until a traveling young man with a broken leg turns up. Soon Lesser Hoo is buzzing with visitors, some of whom wear out their welcome faster than others. The novel boasts a plethora of characters (eight students, three headmistresses, and a bevy of suitors, among others), and keeping all of them and their various exploits and adventures straight may prove daunting for some. While the strength of Keeping the Castle was its Lizzie Bennett–esque protagonist Althea, the draw of this wonderfully over-the-top send-up of the genre is its humor; indeed, the dialogue will have Downtown Abbey creator Julian Fellowes enviously cribbing notes. The author once again displays an intuitive understanding of upper-crust English society and a masterly ability to play with well-established genre conventions and types. VERDICT An enchanting addition, sure to charm Jane Austen lovers and those who live for the next big Downton Abbey reveal.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

redstarStead, Rebecca. Goodbye Stranger. 304p. ebook available. Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. Aug. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385743174.

Gr 6-9 –Ah, seventh grade! A year when your friends transform inexplicably, your own body and emotions perplex you, and the world seems fraught with questions, and the most confusing ones of all concern the nature of love. Stead focuses on Bridge Barsamian, her best girlfriends, and her newest friend Sherm—a boy who is definitely not her boyfriend (probably). They’re navigating the shoals of adolescence on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Emily has suddenly developed a figure that attracts a lot of attention, Tabitha is an increasingly committed human rights activist, and Bridge has taken to wearing a headband with black cat’s ears for reasons that are unclear even to her. The seventh graders aren’t the only characters working out relationships. There are married parents and divorced parents and then there’s Sherm’s grandfather who has suddenly left his wife of 50 years and moved to New Jersey. There’s also a mysterious character whose Valentine’s Day is doled out in second-person snippets interspersed within the rest of the story. Love is serious, but Stead’s writing isn’t ponderous. It’s filled with humor, delightful coincidences, and the sorts of things (salacious cell phone photos, lunchroom politics, talent show auditions) that escalate in ways that can seem life-shattering to a 13-year-old. The author keeps all her balls in the air until she catches them safely with ineffable grace. VERDICT An immensely satisfying addition for Stead’s many fans.–Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

Amoss, Berthe. Mischief and Malice. 183p. ebook available. Ig/Lizzie Skurnick. May 2015. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781939601445.

Anderson, T. Neill. Massacre of the Miners. 144p. (Horrors of History). maps. notes. reprods. Charlesbridge. May 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781580895200. LC 2014015800.

Bross, Lee. Tangled Webs. 304p. ebook available. Disney-Hyperion. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781423184232.

Bruchac, Joseph. Walking Two Worlds. 160p. (Pathfinders). 7th Generation. 2015. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781939053107; lib. ed. $16.95. ISBN 9781939053138.

Carey, Anna. Deadfall. 256p. Harper Collins/Harper. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062299765; ebk. ISBN 9780062299789.

Clark, Jay. Finding Mr. Brightside. 224p. Holt/Christy Ottaviano Bks. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780805092578; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780805096385.

Connolly, Tina. Seriously Wicked. 208p. Tor Teen. May 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765375162; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781466880740.

Cozzo, Karole. How to Say I Love You Out Loud. 224p. ebook available. Feiwel & Friends/Swoon Reads. Aug. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781250063595.

Elliott, Kate. Court of Fives. 448p. (The Fives: Bk. 1). Little, Brown. Aug. 2015. Tr $18. ISBN 9780316364195; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316364249.

Emond, Stephen. Bright Lights, Dark Nights. illus. by Stephen Emond. 320p. Roaring Brook. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626722064; ebk. ISBN 9781626722071.

George, Jessica Day. Silver in the Blood. 336p. Bloomsbury. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781619634312.

Hokenson, Terry. Leif’s Journey. 172p. ebook available. Namelos. 2015. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781608981830; pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781608981847.

Jacobs, Evan. Varsity 170. 250p. (Gravel Road: Bk. 10). ebook available. Saddleback. May 2015. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781622508891.

McQueen, Janie & Robin Karr. The Motherless Child Project. 328p. ebook available. Burning Sage. 2014. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9780981611440.

Maetani, Valynne E. Ink and Ashes. 368p. ebook available. Lee & Low/Tu Bks. Jun. 2015. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781620142110.

Mathieu, Jennifer. Devoted. 336p. Roaring Brook. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781596439115; ebk. ISBN 9781596439122.

Mullen, Diane C. Tagged. 288p. ebook available. Charlesbridge. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781580895835. LC 2013049032.

Oliver, Jana. Briar Rose. 480p. ebook available. Palgrave Macmillan. May 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781447241096.

Picoult, Jodi & Samantha van Leer. Off the Page. 384p. ebook available. Delacorte. May 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780553535563.

Schow, Betsy. Spelled. 352p. ebook available. Sourcebooks Fire. Jun. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781492608714.

Sedgwick, Chantele. Love, Lucas. 288p. ebook available. Sky Pony. May 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781632204172.

Staniszewski, Anna. I’m with Cupid. 240p. (Switched at First Kiss). Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Jul. 2015. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781492615460; ebk. $7.99. ISBN 9781492615477.

Volponi, Paul. Game Seven. 256p. ebook available. Viking. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780670785186.

This article was published in School Library Journal's May 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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