April 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

A “Les Miz” Reboot, Diverse Sci-Fi, and Steampunk NYC | Middle School YA

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redstarCarey, Edward. Foulsham. 336p. (The Iremonger Trilogy: Bk. 2). Overlook. Jul. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781468309546.

Gr 6-9 –In this sequel to Heap House (Overlook, 2014), the tides of the Heap have turned, and James Henry Hayward, formerly a bath plug, is in possession of Clodius Iremonger, formerly a strange young man, now a half sovereign coin. James Henry does not, at the start, know the significance of the coin he holds, only that he shouldn’t lose it. Hunger overtakes him, though, and he sorrowfully spends it on a bun and a pie. Thus, Clod is introduced to life as an object, as he begins to hear the woes of the other coins in the cash drawer. Meanwhile, Lucy Pennant is renewed to her human form in the presence of a bizarre new character called Binadit, a man made of trash who lives in the Heaps. This is the story of Clod and Lucy trying to find their way back to one another, of James Henry Hayward’s search for his family, and the revelation of the heartbreaking background of Binadit. Black-and-white illustrations by the author are absolutely unsettling, and are integral to the story. The cliff-hanger ending is even more dramatic than in the first installment. Due to the extremely original, (and yes, very weird) nature of the tale, it’s imperative that readers start with the first book to be able to make any sense of this volume. VERDICT Fans of Heap House will be thrilled with this sequel—it shines with heart and creativity.–Mandy Laferriere, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX

redstarFletcher, Susan. A Little in Love. 288p. Scholastic/Chicken House. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545829601; ebk. ISBN 9780545830577.

Gr 7 Up –While staying true to Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, Fletcher crafts another masterpiece based upon the classic. With great care, she fleshes out minor characters until they live and breathe. This is Eponine’s story—her tale of strength, inner character, and self-sacrifice. Raised by vile pickpocket parents in rural 19th-century France, she is forced to lie, steal, and cheat, despite her prickling conscience. When beautiful young Cosette comes to live with Eponine’s heartless family, Eponine’s kindness is buried by her desire to be loved by her mother, who values only cruelty. When Cosette leaves with Jean Valjean, the protagonist’s life fills with longing for something more. After her family’s furtive escape to Paris, the teen finds beauty and love upon meeting Marius Pontmercy. Her pure, unselfish feelings are destined to be unrequited, for he loves the beautiful Cosette. Eponine, through fate or destiny, is the bridge between Marius and Cosette. Her selflessness leads to a tragic end as she sacrifices all to ensure the two lovers’ happiness. The heroine’s inner strength is powerful—she resists becoming cruel and bitter, showing how circumstances can influence behavior but not define one’s character. The lyrical writing completely immerses readers in 19th-century French life. Characters, mainly villains or the darkly inclined, are vivid and memorable. VERDICT The entire tale will be long remembered, and is a must-read for all Les Mis fans.–Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI

redstarMonninger, Joseph. Whippoorwill. 288p. HMH. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544531239; ebk. ISBN 9780544636491.

Gr 7 Up –The effects of a person’s actions and inactions are writ large in a small, modern-day New Hampshire town. To 16-year-old Clair’s way of thinking, she and the neglected black lab next door, Wally, have a lot in common. Though their circumstances differ physically, each has slipped into individual fogs of resignation. Wally’s pitiful state prompts Clair to action. She takes it upon herself to tend and train him. The neighbor’s teenage son, Danny, insists on helping. The girl’s journey toward confidence, optimism, and empathy matches step for step Wally’s journey toward a healthy, happy, well-adjusted pet. Soon, Clair and Danny’s relationship hiccups into uncertain romance. The teens are fully realized characters. At first, their paths are in sync as they try to spin color into the grayness of their lives. However, when Danny (rightfully) and Clair (by association) are arrested, tragedy strikes. How Clair chooses to handle this abrupt end to her carefully cultivated happiness is marked by new maturity and wisdom that come packaged, she learns, with benefits of their own. Peopling the corners of the story are robust secondary characters—Clair’s loving but unsure dad and Danny’s skeevy father. Wally’s goofy good nature is unrelenting and utterly endearing. The narrative adeptly portrays longing and belonging, and the heartbreak and hope of not only the human condition, but the canine one as well. VERDICT Monninger revitalizes the boy-and-his-dog trope in this sweet novel.–Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

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

Alender, Katie. The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. 336p. ebook available. Scholastic/Point. Aug. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780545639996.

Burch, Heather. Summer by Summer. 288p. ebook available. Blink. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780310729631.

Butcher, Kristin. In Search of Sam. 176p. (Truths I Learned From Sam: Bk. 2). Dundurn. Jun. 2015. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781459729605; ebk. ISBN 9781459729629.

Childs, Tera Lynn & Tracy Deebs. Powerless. 304p. Sourcebooks Fire. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492616573; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781492616580.

Cooper, T & Allison Glock-Cooper. Oryon. 288p. (Changers: Bk. 2). Akashic/Black Sheep. 2015. pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781617753077; ebk. ISBN 9781617753688.

Cornwell, Betsy. Mechanica. 304p. Clarion. Aug. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780547927718; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780547927749.

Courage, Nick. The Loudness. 336p. ebook available. Sky Pony. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781632204141.

Duncan, Alexandra. Sound. 496p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062220172.

Estep, Jennifer. Cold Burn of Magic. 368p. (Black Blade: Bk. 1). ebook available. Kensington. 2015. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781617738241.

Henry, April. Blood Will Tell. 272p. (A Point Last Seen Mystery: Bk. 2). Holt/Christy Ottaviano Bks. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780805098532; ebk. ISBN 9780805098679.

Houck, Colleen. Reawakened. 400p. (Reawakened: Bk. 1). Delacorte. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385376563; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385376587.

Jarratt, Laura. Skin Deep. 384p. Egmont UK/Electric Monkey. Jul. 2015. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781405256728; ebk. ISBN 9781780310794.

Kaufman, Amie & Jay Kristoff. Illuminae. 608p. (The Illuminae Files: Bk. 1). Knopf. Aug. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780553499117; lib. ed. $21.99. ISBN 9780553499124; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780553499131. LC 2014017908.

Kinsella, Sophie. Finding Audrey. 288p. Delacorte. Jun. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780553536515; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780553536522.

Lytton, Deborah. Silence. 320p. Shadow Mountain. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781609079451.

Peterson, Alyson. Ian Quicksilver: The Warrior’s Return. 320p. (Ian Quicksilver: Bk. 1). Plain Sight/Cedar Fort. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781462116294.

Ramos, Dania. Who’s Ju? 185p. Northampton House. Aug. 2015. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781937997618; ebk. $3.99. ISBN 9781937997557. LC 2014951530.

Røssland, Ingelin. Minus Me. tr. from Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin. 228p. ebook available. One World. Jul. 2015. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781780746944.

Schreiber, Joe. Con Academy. 240p. HMH. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544320208; ebk. ISBN 9780544320222.

Shane, Rachel. Alice in Wonderland High. 304p. ebook available. Adams Media/Merit. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781440584664.

Simpson, Phillip W. Minotaur. 314p. (Minotaur: Bk. 1). ebook available. Month9. Sept. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781942664345.

Smelcer, John. Savage Mountain. 160p. Leapfrog. Aug. 2015. pap. $12. ISBN 9781935248651.

Swendson, Shanna. Rebel Mechanics. 320p. Farrar. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374300098; ebk. ISBN 9780374300173.

Touno, Mamare. Log Horizon: The Beginning of Another World. illus. by Kazuhiro Hara. 224p. Yen. 2015. pap. $14. ISBN 9780316383059.

Wagahara, Satoshi. The Devil Is a Part-Timer. illus. by Oniku. 240p. Yen. 2015. pap. $14. ISBN 9780316383127.

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