Also published on this date: Thursday, September 4, 2014: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Jesus Jackson

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 4, 2014


Penguin Books: The Dying Game by Asa Avdic

Sourcebooks Fire: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Tarcherperigee: Men & Dogs by Alice Chaygneaud-Dupuy and Marie-Eva Chopin / Rescued by Peter Zheutlin

Random House: An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice by Khizr Khan

Chicago Review Press: The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History by Joseph A. Williams

Park Row Books: Hanna Who Fell from the Sky by Christopher Meades

News

Madeline McIntosh to Head New Penguin Publishing Group

In a major shift at Penguin Random House, Penguin's Adult Publishing Group and Berkley/NAL Group are being merged and made into the Penguin Publishing Group. Madeline McIntosh, who has been U.S. president and COO of Penguin Random House, has been named president of the Penguin Publishing Group. In a related move, Susan Petersen Kennedy, president, Penguin Group U.S., who most recently led the Penguin Adult hardcover and trade imprints, is leaving the company at the end of the year.

In addition, Nihar Malaviya has been named executive v-p, COO, Penguin Random House U.S., and Jaci Updike has been named president of sales, Penguin Random House U.S. Formerly senior v-p, director, adult sales, Updike began her career as a field rep for Bantam Books 25 years ago.

Madeline McIntosh
(photo: Michael Lionstar)

In announcing the changes to staff, Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle wrote, "As our marketplace continues to evolve, and as consumer demand shifts between formats, it is clear that capitalizing on our authors' opportunities for growth will require even greater collaboration and coordination, and even more unified publishing strategies across all formats. That is why the time is right to create a one-leader management structure for the entire Penguin adult business, while also maintaining the identity of each of its individual publishing imprints."

He emphasized that there is "no change being contemplated for the creative and entrepreneurial direction of Penguin's individual publishing imprints. We all know that the diversity and autonomy of these publishing programs are indispensable to their success, and integral to the future of our company. A signature ingredient in Penguin's success has been its vigorous investment of energy, creativity and attention by format-dedicated publishing teams to ensuring maximum sales across both hardcover and paperback phases of a book’s life. That focus and commitment will continue."

He added that yesterday's announcement has no impact on the Penguin Young Readers Group, which is headed by president Don Weisberg, who continues to report to Dohle.

Jaci Updike
(photo: Michael Lionstar)

Dohle praised McIntosh, calling her "one of our greatest champions in identifying and implementing the opportunities for growth and innovation--particularly in the digital arena--created by the evolving marketplace. Her drive to increase revenue and readership for our authors has been a touchstone for all our constituencies, especially for agents and booksellers, with whom she enjoys longstanding relationships--and, above all, for our colleagues across the company, whom she inspires to excel. In her corporate capacity, Madeline has gotten to know well our Penguin publishing, editorial, marketing, and sales colleagues and their lists. She has quickly become their ardent and knowledgeable advocate and supporter. In her new role, Madeline will clearly be uniquely qualified to ensure that Penguin publishing will continue to thrive."

McIntosh commented: "As a lifelong avid Penguin reader, I am humbled and thrilled to now join this publishing team full time. Since the merger, my admiration for the work of these world-class publishers, editors, designers, marketers, and publicists has become even stronger than it was when I was watching them from afar. Their love for Penguin's authors and books is both inspiring and motivating. I know we will learn a lot from each other, and hopefully also have fun together, as we go forward to publish our books the Penguin way."

Susan Peterson Kennedy

Dohle also praised Kennedy for her "extraordinary contributions to Random House, Penguin and now Penguin Random House during her 35 years of service to the company.... Penguin Random House will be a different place without her. Fortunately, the legacies she leaves us as president, Penguin Group U.S. are rich, diverse, and long lasting, especially her achievements as an imprint and business builder, and as a champion of the Penguin culture."

Dohle noted that in the 1980s, as head of the Ballantine Publishing Group, Kennedy oversaw the purchase of Fawcett from CBS and published that paperback imprint's first hardcovers. She joined the Putnam Berkley Group in 1994 and played a crucial role in its merger with Penguin in 1997. In 2001, she became president of the Penguin Group.

Kennedy said: "I am leaving the company that I love, books that I love, people whom I love. I have spent so many years in the service of this enterprise; it will take time for me to discover where Penguin ends and I begin. However, the world is endlessly fascinating to me. And I am looking forward to further adventures in the arts."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones


Bob Minzesheimer Leaves USA Today

Bob Minzesheimer, longtime book reviewer and reporter at USA Today, was among the 30-35 people laid off yesterday in the paper's newsroom. He covered books for 17 years and earlier was a political reporter and editor at USA Today, which he joined in 1986. He can be contacted at bookbobminz@yahoo.com, 914-944-3042 and on Twitter @bookbobminz.

In the last few years, several other book staffers have left USA Today, including Deidre Donahue, Carol Memmott and Craig Wilson. Editor Jocelyn McClurg is apparently the last full-time editor devoted to books.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 06.26.17


Amazon: CFO Retiring; Editor Leaves for Oyster

Amazon's chief financial officer Tom Szkutak will retire next year after more than a decade with the company. Brian Olsavsky, currently v-p of finance for global consumer business, is succeeding him.

"Tom's impact over the past 12 years is evident in every part of our business," said CEO Jeff Bezos. "Under Tom's stewardship, customers have benefited from category expansion and geographical expansion, along with amazing new businesses like [Amazon Web Services] and Kindle."

Forbes noted that Szkutak, often "the lead voice on Amazon's quarterly earnings calls," has been called the online retailer's "motivational speaker" and "was known for speaking in vague terms while talking up the retailer's future business prospects."

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Kevin Nguyen, former books editor at Amazon, has joined Oyster as editorial director. On the company's blog, co-founder Willem Van Lancker noted that "we have just begun to connect the dots between our expansive library and the creation of our own editorial voice. In order to make good on this vision, we needed to find someone who had their feet both in the world of technology and publishing. We needed someone with the tenacity and passion to build something new with the experience of having done it before." He added that at Oyster, Nguyen "will lead new editorial initiatives and build out a new content brand uniquely developed for our product and readers."

In a blog post titled "Why I Joined Oyster," Nguyen wrote: "So why leave Amazon? Leaving was one of the tougher decisions I've made, but the reality is that the company has changed. As Amazon grows, it continues to move away from its core books business. The company is interested in maximizing revenue and it doesn't matter whether those dollars come from books, music, video games, or pet supplies. In fact, at Amazon, we referred to our audience as customers; at Oyster, they're readers. It's a subtle but powerful distinction; one that reinforces that Oyster is a company that wants to build a lasting relationship with people who care about reading."


Geek & Sundry: The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein


France’s 'Anti-Amazon Minister' Resigns

French minister for culture Aurélie Filippetti, who "has been at the forefront of France's cultural offensive against Amazon and in favor of its own bookstores and publishing industry," has resigned, TeleRead reported, noting that "the campaign's significant lack of success is not listed as a major reason for her departure, but it hardly adds to her list of achievements. As recently as mid-August, Filippetti was publicly castigating Amazon again as a destroyer of literary diversity, and pledging her support for the Authors United anti-Amazon campaign."


Counterpoint: Gangster Nation by Tod Goldberg


Obituary Note: Penelope Niven

Penelope Niven, author of several notable biographies, a memoir and an award-winning children's book, died last Thursday, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. She was 75. Niven's books included biographies of Carl Sandburg, Edward Steichen and Thornton Wilder.


Notes

Images of the Day: Two Stores Celebrate Retiring Penguin Reps

Who said chocolate cake isn't good for breakfast? Above, Sarah Bagby and the staff at Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita, Kan., honored friend and sales rep Gerry Flavin (c. with Bagby on his left) on his upcoming retirement after more than 27 years with Penguin.

And the folks at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, N.C., had a surprise get-together (below) for Penguin rep Dave Kleigman, who's retiring after 30 years. The booksellers gave him a Penguin cake plus many good wishes and hugs for a job well done.


Grand Reopening Party for Orinda Books in California

Congratulations to Orinda Books, Orinda, Calif., which is holding a grand reopening party tomorrow with new owners Maria and Danny Roden, as well as previous owner Janet Boreta. There will be a 10% discount on all full-priced books and CDs, lucky dips, goody bags and cupcakes. At noon, representatives from the Chamber of Commerce will cut a ribbon.

In July, the Rodens bought the store from Boreta, who founded the store in 1976 with four other women and took over sole ownership several years later.


NEIBA Awards: President's, Rusty Drugan Scholarship

Sy Montgomery has won the NEIBA President's Award, given by the board president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association for lifetime achievement in arts and letters.

Montgomery is a naturalist, documentary scriptwriter and author of 20 books of nonfiction for adults and children, including the memoir The Good Good Pig. Her new book, The Soul of an Octopus: A Playful Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, will be published by Atria Books in May 2015.

Montgomery will receive the award at NEIBA's Fall Conference Awards Banquet on October 1 in Providence, R.I.

Ann Zimmerman, who is a bookseller at Everyone's Books, Brattleboro, Vt., has won Rusty Drugan Scholarship, which helps pay for much of her stay at NEIBA's Fall Conference.


Pennie Picks The Monogram Murders

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062297211) as her pick of the month for September. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"Forget binge-watching Breaking Bad or Orange Is the New Black. I'm here to make a stand for binge-reading. I've always been a binge-reader, and one of the first series I devoured was Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot novels. When the author passed away, I felt the pain of saying goodbye to a character I'd grown to think of as a good friend. Now, Sophie Hannah has written a new Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which is this month's book pick.

"I'd almost forgotten how much I loved the witty banter between the Belgian detective and his young Scotland Yard protege, Edward Catchpool.

"A variety of other Christie novels will also be available in most Costco warehouses."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: William Deresiewicz on the Cycle

Tomorrow morning on Morning Joe: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (Simon & Schuster, $22, 9781416547877).

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Tomorrow on Today: Naomi Riley, author of The Faculty Lounges: And Other Reasons Why You Won't Get the College Education You Pay For (Ivan R. Dee, $22.95, 9781566638869).

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: William Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life (Free Press, $26, 9781476702711).

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Tomorrow on the Jim Bohannon Show: Todd Brewster, author of Lincoln's Gamble: The Tumultuous Six Months that Gave America the Emancipation Proclamation and Changed the Course of the Civil War (Scribner, $27, 9781451693867).


TV: Downton Abbey Season 5 Trailer

A trailer has been released for Downton Abbey Season 5, which will premiere in the U.K. September 21 and in the U.S. January 4 on PBS Masterpiece. Deadline.com reported that guest stars this year include Richard E. Grant and Anna Chancellor.


This Weekend on Book TV: In Depth with Mary Frances Berry

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, September 6
12 p.m. Book TV interviews authors and visits literary sites in Cheyenne, Wyo. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:45 a.m.)

1:15 p.m. Coverage from the National Book Festival's Science Pavilion. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

6 p.m. Live interview with Marc Kaufman, author of Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission (National Geographic, $40, 9781426212789), at Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

8:30 p.m. Pat Buchanan, author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority (Crown Forum, $28, 9780553418637). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:15 a.m.)

10 p.m. Mike Gonzalez, author of A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans (Crown Forum, $26, 9780804137652). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Sister Simone Campbell, author of A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062273543). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)


Sunday, September 7
12 p.m. Live In Depth q&a with author Mary Frances Berry. E-mail questions from this page. (Re-airs Monday at 12 p.m.)

4 p.m. More coverage from the National Book Festival's Science Pavilion. (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

8 p.m. Ian Morris, author of War! What Is It Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30, 9780374286002).

10 p.m. Richard Vague, author of The Next Economic Disaster: Why It's Coming and How to Avoid It (University of Pennsylvania Press, $15.95, 9780812247046).


Books & Authors

Awards: Flaherty-Dunnan; Ngaio Marsh; Lane Anderson

The shortlist for the annual $10,000 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, sponsored by the Center for Fiction, formerly known as the Mercantile Library, is:

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (Harper)
Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson (Ecco)
The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil (Grove Press)
The Invention of Exile by Vanessa Manko (Penguin Press)
Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique (Riverhead Books)
The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson (Little, Brown)
We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas (Simon & Schuster)

The short-listed writers will read from their books on December 8 at the Center for Fiction, and the 2014 winner will be announced on December 9 at the Center for Fiction's Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner.

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Liam McIlvanney's Where the Dead Men Go won the NZ$1000 (about US$830) Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, which honors the best crime, mystery or thriller novel written by a New Zealand citizen or resident, Books+Publishing reported.

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Finalists have been announced for the Lane Anderson Award, which recognizes the best Canadian science books published the previous year, Quillblog reported. Three adult and three young reader titles are in contention for the $10,000 prize in each category. The finalists are:

Adult
Manitoba Butterflies: A Field Guide by Simone Hébert Allard
The Oil Man and the Sea: Navigating the Northern Gateway by Arno Kopecky
The Peace-Athabasca Delta: Portrait of a Dynamic Ecosystem by Kevin P. Timoney

Youth
Before the World Was Ready by Claire Eamer, illustrated by Sa Boothroyd
Chitchat: Celebrating the World's Language by Jude Isabella, illustrated by Kathy Boake
Pterosaur Trouble by Daniel Loxton with Jim W.W. Smith


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcovers
A Colder War: A Novel by Charles Cumming (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250020611). "This is another smashing tale of spycraft from Cumming. MI6 veteran Thomas Kell, who readers will recall from A Foreign Country, is sent to Istanbul to determine what really happened to a colleague killed in the crash of the small plane he was piloting. Beautiful women and treacherous double agents are present, but more prominently the reader experiences the beginning of the psychological wiles that ushered in the eponymous 'colder war.' Cumming's descriptions are so evocative I felt as if I had actually traveled to the Bosporus and experienced the intrigue firsthand!" --Clay Belcher, Signs of Life, Lawrence, Kan.

Tigerman: A Novel by Nick Harkaway (Knopf, 26.95, 9780385352413). "Harkaway's books are known for their expansive, fantastical settings and narratives. With Tigerman he creates a quieter, but no less thrilling, novel. It's a story filled with geopolitical and criminal intrigue and escapades, but at its heart Tigerman is about the friendship between a man and the boy he befriends. This is a deeply emotional book, but with the narrative drive of pulp fiction novels. Extremely satisfying on all levels." --Vladimir Verano, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

Paperback
Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America's Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus & Giroux by Boris Kachka (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781451691917). "Roger Straus, editor and publisher at FSG, was loved, loathed, feared, and admired, and the publishing house with which he came of age was (and still is) perhaps the mightiest producer of quality literature in America. Hothouse perfectly captures the often uneasy alliance of commerce and culture. Through anecdote and first hand reminiscences, Kachka weaves a compelling--and sometimes hilarious--history of 20th Century American publishing, involving the geniuses, egotists, and neurotics, namely most of the important voices in writing and publishing of a golden era of American literature." --Mark LaFramboise, Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, Washington, D.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Greatest Star on Earth: Three-Ring Rascals by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise (Algonquin Young Readers, $15.95, 9781616202453). "The friends from Sir Sidney's Circus--the Best Circus in the World--are back for another adventure. Everyone except Sir Sidney is excited about a contest that will name one performer as the Greatest Star on Earth! Before long, Sir Sidney is not feeling well. A case of worrywarts means a week off--doctor's orders. But who will run the circus? And what about the contest? The perfect blend of gentle drama and humor and plenty of appealing art make The Greatest Star on Earth another winner in a terrific series!" --Chris Rose, The Spirit of '76 Bookstore, Swampscott, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


John Burningham: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at 50

John Burningham was offered the opportunity to illustrate Sir Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Jonathan Cape, 1964) almost immediately after winning the Kate Greenaway Medal--England's most prestigious accolade for an illustrated book for children--for his first picture book, Borka (Jonathan Cape, 1963). Fleming had already published his books about James Bond. Here Burningham reflects on their collaboration and on the 50th anniversary publication, recently released by Candlewick Press.

How did the manuscript for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang come to you?

I was asked if I wanted to do it, and of course I said, "Yes, I'd love to." I can't remember whether I had to submit an example of my work, I just remember being delighted to do it. It was a very prestigious piece of work.

[Fleming] died just before the publication of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was a pity. He was not particularly old, but he wasn't well at that time of his life.

Did you ever meet Sir Ian Fleming?

I did meet him briefly. When I had finished the books [originally published as a trio], I met him in the office of Jonathan Cape. There was only one thing he wanted me to change, and that was to add a mark to a tobacco shop in Paris. The shops are called "Tabac" in France. They have a marker, a red-and-white stripe pole, or used to have, that came out at the top, and he wanted that put into one of the scenes in Paris. I look at the drawings, and I'm never sure whether I did it or not. If he hadn't liked something, he would have told you.

Prior to this project, you had written and illustrated your own work, Borka. Did illustrating Fleming's work pose new challenges for you?

Yes, but at the same time, you're halfway there, aren't you? You don't have that problem of working out the story as well as doing the drawings. I haven't done a lot of illustration [for other authors] in my time. Wind in the Willows is about the only other one I've done.

What attracted you to the project as an artist?

It's a lovely challenge to make a flying car. It was a great adventure story for kids.

What materials did you use for the artwork? They have so much spontaneity.

I made a model of the car, which I hung up in my studio, then had it photographed for more different kinds of angles, and then added the background. They're a mixture. The model was the way I decided to do it. I used the photographs as the basis for the illustration.

You painted right on top of the photographs?

Yes. The first picture--with the car taking off over the traffic--that is probably a photograph of the car, which I then put the figures in afterwards, and did all that smoke and stuff. I've always used all kinds of stuff in pictures, and I still do.

We love the full-spread image of the car spilling Joe the Monster, Soapy Sam and Man-Mountain Fink onto the road.

That's the car being photographed, and it's hanging on fishing line. You move the car at speed toward the camera, so the camera records that sort of movement. The villains spilling I drew afterwards. I like certain bits of that image. The movement of the villains is not quite right for the speed of the car.

And the black-and-white images? Are those pen-and-inks and watercolor?

It's probably pen and ink and then in-fill with watercolor. I forgot to put the mouth in for the mother and the boy, I'm noticing.

What about siblings Jeremy and Jemima--did you spend time thinking about what they'd look like?

I didn't think they were that important, honestly. It's absolutely adventure-packed, that story. The way that Fleming does it, there's never a dull moment. There's always something happening.

Are you pleased with this new edition?

This is a compilation of the three original books. The reproduction is better than the original, and that is because it was re-photographed. We didn't want to send the artwork out to China, or wherever. The facilities now for reproduction are superior than they were when this book was first brought out. You've got more detail and it's a better production.

Good stories last. It's 50 years old, but it doesn't matter because it's a good tale. --Jennifer M. Brown


Book Review

Review: Our Lady of the Nile

Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga, trans. by Melanie Mauthner (Archipelago Books, $18 trade paper, 9780914671039, September 16, 2014)

Scholastique Mukasonga's entertaining first novel about a girls' school in Rwanda in the early '90s is far more than just a prelude to the coming bloodbath. Our Lady of the Nile is written with the glee of storytelling and plenty of humor, depicting the dire Rwandan conflict through some very likable teenagers. The titular Our Lady of the Nile is a four-story lycée located close to the source of the Nile River, presided over by the black Madonna, a statue of the Virgin Mary that's been repainted. The isolated, high-altitude school was built in 1953, about a decade before Rwanda gained independence from Belgium. There, the students remain virgins--or, at least, avoid getting pregnant.

The novel is a series of interrelated stories featuring a different girl in each chapter, with the same recurring ensemble of students throughout. Most dangerous is Gloriosa, a militant Hutu student prone to persuasive stump speeches, who pries into everyone's business as the watchful eye of the powerful Hutu Party. Gloriosa decides to erase any Tutsi features of the black Madonna by breaking off the statue's nose in the night and reshaping out of clay a "true Rwandan majority" nose. Godelive gets the worst grades, but has mysteriously posted a full-length portrait of the Belgian royalty in her alcove and keeps her suitcase under the bed, padlocked. Immaculée arrives on her boyfriend's motorbike, and seeks out an ancient woman who talks to the rain for a love spell to make him faithful.

Next door to the school is the neglected coffee plantation of Fontenaille, the crazy, solitary European who organizes digs for bones and is notorious for sketching the girls. Convinced that the Tutsi are descended from the empire of the black pharaohs, he tells Veronica, the most beautiful student, and her best friend, Virginia, that they are the return of Isis and Candace. When he shows them the Egyptian temple in his garden built over the bones of an ancient queen, the awakened regent's spirit begins to seek refuge in Virginia's dreams.

Sometimes the school itself is the source of conflict. Girls at the lycée are not allowed to speak Swahili, the language of Muhammad. They are forced to eat white people's food, which usually comes in cans. The treacherous chaplain who heads the Catholic Relief Services reserves the loveliest donated dresses for his favorite students; to receive the "gifts," the girls must undress in front of him.

Despite the serious setting, Mukasonga proves to be a playful author, and a chuckling good humor pervades the book. Her deliciously limpid, melodious style makes Rwandan daily life vividly accessible. Our Lady of the Nile offers a total immersion in a way of life--with its own customs and morality--through a handful of comical and compelling schoolgirls swept up in the divisive politics of a nation. Mukasonga expertly draws together all her threads and stories in the climactic sequences to create a skillfully orchestrated vision, both loving and fearful, of her beloved homeland ripped apart by vicious racial hatred. --Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Shelf Talker: An isolated girls' school becomes the center of a frequently funny tale of teenage students caught in a nation's crisis, just before the Rwandan genocide in 1994.


Disney-Hyperion: Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Serafina # 3) by Robert Beatty
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