Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, August 12, 2014


From My Shelf

W. W. Norton & Company: Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition by Paul Watson

Algonquin Books: Our Short History by Lauren Grodstein

The Guns of August

One hundred years ago, World War I began when the Austro-Hungarian Empire invaded Serbia in retaliation for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28. In a matter of weeks, Germany invaded France and neutral Luxembourg and Belgium, Austria-Hungary and Russia attacked each other, and Russia invaded Germany. Both sides believed the war would be over by the end of the year, but, of course, it lasted for another four years. By its end, some 16 million people had been killed and the maps of Europe and the Middle East were redrawn. Sadly, because of the short-sightedness of the victors, the settlement of the war sowed the seeds for World War II, an even deadlier, ghastlier war, and the redrawn borders didn't usually take ethnic and religious differences into account, setting the stage for many conflicts that continue to rage today.

With the help of three very knowledgeable booksellers and Shelf Awareness's own Marilyn Dahl, we have compiled recommended titles for readers interested in learning more about and understanding "the war to end all wars"--one of the most erroneous nicknames in history. The list is divided into fiction, nonfiction and children's titles and originally appeared in Shelf Awareness's Pro edition, our daily e-mail newsletter for the book industry. Titles range from classics such as Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Lawrence of Arabia's memoir, Good-bye to All That by Robert Graves, August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman to A Century of November, a 2005 novel by W.D. Wetherell, about a man who travels from Canada to Belgium to visit the exact spot where his son died in battle. Click here and here to read about two dozen highly recommended titles that illuminate the Great War. --John Mutter, editor-in-chief, Shelf Awareness


Indiana University Press: What My Last Man Did by Andrea Lewis


Book Candy

Literary Pun Names for Cats; Knick Rx

Buzzfeed suggested "25 literary pun names for your cat." Among the wonderful groaners: Purrman Meowville, Jay Catsby and Harry Pawter.

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Inspired by Steven Soderbergh's new Cinemax TV series The Knick, Word & Film recommended "7 fascinating books on the history of medicine."

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"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book." Jon Walter, author of Close to the Wind, shared his choices for "top 10 first lines in children's and teen books" with the Guardian.

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Prescriptive reading: The Telegraph gathered "100 novels everyone should read."

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"The love of television is always tragic. We're doomed to fall in love with television shows and then lose them, again and again," io9 reported in featuring "awesome books to replace your favorite cancelled TV shows."


HarperCollins: Chester and Gus by Cammie McGovern


The Writer's Life

Richard Flanagan: 'I Understood Nothing'

Richard_Flanagan
photo: Ulj Anderson

Richard Flanagan was born in 1961 in Tasmania, where he lives still. His journalism has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Le Monde and The Daily Telegraph, and he is the author of six novels, including The Sound of One Hand Clapping (1997), Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish (2001) and Wanting (2008).

His newest novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North (see our review below) is the story of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian Army colonel and surgeon captured by the Japanese during World War II and forced to work on the Burma-Thailand "Death Railway." The book was published last year in Australia, the U.K. and the Commonwealth to great critical acclaim. It was shortlisted for the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award--Australia's most prestigious literary prize--and has been longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.

This book is dedicated to your father, who was a prisoner of war during World War II. Is Dorrigo Evans based on your father?

Built in 1943 by 250,000 POW and Asian slaves of the Japanese through the then wilderness of Thailand and Burma, the Death Railway claimed 150,000 lives. More people died building that railway than there are words in my book.

My father was a very different man than Dorrigo Evans, but it was my father's experience as a POW on the Death Railway that shaped my life growing up. I am a child of the Death Railway; The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a soul history; and Dorrigo Evans is me.

You've written elsewhere that this book took you more than a decade to write and that it went through many forms. What made this process so difficult for you?

After he famously walked the tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1973, Philippe Petit was arrested. As he was about to be driven away in a police car, a journalist thrust his microphone in through the police car rear window and asked Petit why.

"There is no why," Petit replied.

There is no why as to why I wrote this book, nor why it took it so long, nor why it is the way it is.

It just is.

What were some of the novel's earlier incarnations like? What made you decide on the novel's final form?

A novel of linked haiku. A haibun, a Japanese travel journal form combining poetry and prose. A family epic spanning a century and a vertiginous cast. A counterfactual history in which Japan occupies Australia. An Odyssean journey narrated in the first person plural by the POWs. All were burnt.

To be a writer is to be defeated by ever-greater things, but it is in the defeats that you discover all that matters. And I discovered my novel had to be a love story, and it had to be about hope.

For a great love story demonstrates the great truth about love: that we discover eternity in a moment that dies immediately after. And a war story because war is the great story of death. Death illuminates love; love and hope grant the futility of life meaning.

What was your research process like for The Narrow Road to the Deep North?

I lived. The rest is irrelevant detail.

Mostly I got up, sat down, and made it up. For the pleasure of writing is writing. If I wanted to work in research, I'd join the NSA.

Having said that, I did go to Japan and tracked down some men who had been guards on the Death Railway, including one--the Ivan the Terrible of my father's camp--who had been sentenced to death for war crimes, but whose sentence was later commuted. I met him in an office at a Tokyo taxi company. I asked him to slap me as the prison guards had the POWs, and as he did, the room began to shake and toss. A 7.3 Richter scale earthquake had hit Tokyo.

Realising realism never adequately conveys reality, I went back home, sat down, and started making it up again.

What works of art, fiction or otherwise, influenced the novel's construction?

Too many to mention, yet without them I am a compass with no north.

Why did you choose The Narrow Road to the Deep North as the novel's title? Did you decide to do this early on?

The haiku poet Basho's great book, the travel journal The Narrow Road to the Deep North (1689), is one of the high points of Japanese culture. The Death Railway is one of its low points. I wanted to use the forms and influences of Japanese literature, so beautiful, so profound, in the hope of divining, if only a little, a story so terrible, so inexplicable. I wanted to come to understand love and death, evil and goodness. And when I finished the novel, I realised I understood nothing.

You've called this "the book I had to write if I was to keep on writing." Now that you've completed it, what will you work on next?

Perhaps a novelist really only ever writes one book. Each new novel is just another chapter of that book, in search of one word that will finally divine and define their soul. And not knowing what that word is, they keep writing. And so too me.  --Alex Mutter


Titan Books: Relics by Tim Lebbon


Book Review

Fiction

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

by Haruki Murakami, trans. by Philip Gabriel


Tsukuru Tazaki has always thought of himself as somewhat bland. In high school, each of his four best friends excelled naturally in some way or had a sparkling personality. In comparison, Tsukuru felt his quiet manner and dedication to his studies made him an odd man out, although his friends accepted him gladly into their "harmonious community." The five of them believed their bond would never change, even after Tsukuru went to university in Tokyo while the other four remained in their hometown of Nagoya. However, during their sophomore year in college, all four of his friends expressed a firm, almost angry desire to cut all ties with Tsukuru without giving any explanation.

Now a 36-year-old man, Tsukuru feels ready to commit to a stable relationship. However, when his sophisticated girlfriend learns of his long-ago expulsion from his social circle and how few friendships he has had since, she insists he solve the mystery of this earlier rejection before their romance can move forward. One by one, Tsukuru speaks with his former friends, and although they give him some answers, he learns that the truth can be subjective.

Neither Haruki Murakami's narrative nor his protagonist proves colorless. As Tsukuru meets each of his old friends in turn, he begins to learn his true worth. Murakami (1Q84) makes customary digressions through flashbacks to introduce a flare of the mystical, a sliver of philosophy, placed as deliberately as a painter's brushstrokes. By turns otherworldly and grounded in the essence of human experience, Murakami's look at becoming who you already are feels both new and timelessly essential. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Discover: A colorful exploration of self-perception through the melancholic but hopeful story of a man who has never understood his own worth.

Knopf, $25.95, hardcover, 9780385352109

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat


Butternut Summer

by Mary McNear


It seems like things always stay the same in Butternut, Minn.--or so Caroline Keegan used to believe. But this summer will bring a host of changes, not all of them welcome. As Caroline struggles to balance the books at Pearl's, the diner/cafe she owns, she must deal with her ex-husband Jack's sudden return to town and her complicated feelings toward him. Meanwhile, Caroline's daughter, Daisy, is swept up in the heady rush of first love, but is also preparing for her final year of college and building a relationship with a father she's just getting to know.

This second book in Mary McNear's planned Butternut Lake trilogy paints an idyllic picture of small-town American life. (Allie, the main character in McNear's debut, Up at Butternut Lake, makes a cameo as one of Caroline's best friends.) McNear explores the mother-daughter bond between Caroline and Daisy, now tested by Caroline's financial worries, Jack's unsettling presence and Daisy's new boyfriend, Will, of whom Caroline does not approve. Jack, a recovering alcoholic anxious to make amends for his past wrongs, is the novel's most complex character, and McNear portrays his struggles sensitively. Daisy and Will's relationship is a typical story of first love, but their romance does give Will the impetus to make some unexpected choices. And while Caroline's worries resolve themselves neatly, her decisions (both in business and in love) will necessitate some adjustments.

Full of likable, realistic characters, Butternut Summer is a heartwarming (if predictable) read for fans of light women's fiction. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: A charming story of first love, second chances and family bonds in small-town Minnesota.

Morrow, $14.99, paperback, 9780062283160

Yearling Books: Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar


Virgin

by Radhika Sanghani


When 21-year-old Ellie Kolstakis catches sight of her profile on a doctor's computer, she is mortified to see the word "virgin" glowing on the screen. The truth is that she's not a virgin by choice--in fact, she'd love to "swipe her V-card"--it just hasn't happened yet, and she isn't sure why. Virgin, journalist Radhika Sanghani's debut novel, is the story of one woman's bumbling, hilarious, heartwarming attempt to cross the threshold of physical intimacy to the mysterious other side.

Despite its premise, Virgin is about much more than sex. It is through Ellie's sexual exploration that Sanghani invites readers to consider broader questions about identity, self-awareness and the power of socially constructed expectation. During one of many impassioned discussions among Ellie's friends, one girl remarks, "Walt Disney has made an entire generation of independent women turn to jelly the second they meet a decent guy because they pray to God he is going to be their Aladdin. And he never is, because no men are going to live up to their cartoon representations."

Eventually, Ellie and her (proudly promiscuous) friend Emma take the conversation online, creating a blog to discuss their sex lives in hopes of informing other women. It is this sense of "we're-in-it-together" friendliness that makes her such an endearing heroine. And in many ways, her blog echoes Virgin itself, which, much like Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, is sure to provide frank truths and lighthearted condolences to anyone who has ever felt alone in the pursuit of sexual normality. --Annie Atherton

Discover: An endearing 21-year-old woman is determined to lose her virginity as soon as possible.

Berkley, $16, paperback, 9780425276310

HarperCollins: Curiosity House: The Fearsome Firebird (Curiosity House #3) by Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester


A Song for Issy Bradley

by Carys Bray


Faith, guilt, family responsibilities and cultural norms overlap and clash in Carys Bray's debut novel. A Song for Issy Bradley explores the effects of the sudden death of its youngest member on a Mormon family living on the English coast.

As a convert to the Mormon church, Claire Bradley has often found life as a bishop's wife challenging, but when four-year-old Issy is suddenly and fatally stricken with meningitis, she no longer has any strength for, or interest in, the struggle. Issy could not be saved by her father's blessing, and Claire blames herself and her weak faith, doubling the loss to the rest of the Bradleys. Rather than provide comfort, the family's beliefs seem to complicate the way Claire and her husband Ian respond to the loss; Bray's depiction of Claire's grief is particularly stark and affecting.

Meanwhile, the older Bradley children, Zipporah and Al, are adrift and resentful of the expectations that their community and their father have placed on them in the wake of Issy's death, and their younger brother Jacob--with a seven-year-old's understanding of his church's teachings--is intent on making a miracle happen to set things right for his family.

The Bradleys' Mormon identity is central to the story. Bray's portrayal of a community practicing this American-born faith in England offers a fresh and particular perspective. At the same time, her rendering of a family finding its way through grief strikes a universal, sympathetic chord. --Florinda Pendley Vasquez, blogger at The 3 R's Blog: Reading 'Riting, and Randomness

Discover: A family is challenged to stay faithful following the sudden loss of its youngest member.

Ballantine Books, $26, hardcover, 9780553390889

Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Greatest Story Ever Told--So Far: Why Are We Here? by Lawrence M. Krauss 03.21.17


Charlie Glass's Slippers: A Very Modern Fairy Tale

by Holly McQueen


Holly McQueen's modern twist on the Cinderella tale is more enchanting than a wonderful pair of designer shoes. Overweight, overworked Charlotte "Charlie" Glass has spent the better part of the last decade caring for her sickly father, genius footwear designer Elroy Glass. Meanwhile, her two half-sisters (one a snippy control freak, the other a ditzy party girl) have been indifferent to their ailing father and downright rude to poor Charlie. When Elroy dies, it's understood that he will leave his London-based shoe empire to the half-sisters and his cruel ex-wife, Charlie's stepmother, Diana. But at the reading of the will, the wheels fall off the coach and all hell breaks loose: Charlie is bequeathed controlling interest of her father's company.

After the startling first chapter of this appealing story, the action jumps ahead to a new and improved Charlie. She's got a rockin' bod (due to a three-month boot camp), blonde highlights and an innovative idea for continuing her father's legacy. Her life isn't free of problems, though: Charlie now has a rich and handsome boyfriend who seems like a real Prince Charming, but still pines for Ferdy, a close male friend who's dating a head case named Honey. And her jealous sisters keep Charlie on her toes while vindictive Diana tries to sabotage the company's new direction. Can sweet Charlie conquer the boardroom and get the guy?

With a bit of whimsy, a bushel of laughs and just enough light-hearted intrigue, McQueen (There Goes the Bride) leaves readers hoping that dreams do come true. --Natalie Papailiou, author of blog MILF: Mother I'd Like to Friend

Discover: A modern Cinderella story with a fabulous twist.

Atria, $16, paperback, 9781476727059

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

by Richard Flanagan


The Narrow Road to the Deep North, the virtuosic sixth novel from Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan (Gould's Book of Fish, The Sound of One Hand Clapping), chronicles the life of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian Army colonel and surgeon who is captured by the Japanese during World War II and forced to work on the Burma-Thailand "Death Railway." On the Line--as the prisoners of war call the railway's ever-progressing construction site--Dorrigo and his comrades contend with interminable monsoon rains, starvation, disease and brutal, almost perfunctory beatings at the hands of the Japanese guards.

The narrative skips forward and backward through time and among different points of view, sometimes focused on Dorrigo's childhood in rural Tasmania; his prewar love affair with his uncle's wife, Amy Mulvaney; or his future as a conflicted, doubt-filled war hero in contemporary Australia. The bulk of the chapters follow the course of a single day on the Line while Dorrigo watches the murder of a POW unfold. Through it all, Dorrigo's love for Amy serves as the novel's tragic through line, but Flanagan also explores the postwar lives of the colonel's fellow prisoners and their captors, deftly avoiding the pitfall of turning those Imperial Japanese Army officers into caricatures or monsters.

Flanagan's book is as harrowing and brutal as it is beautiful and moving. He's filled the pages with poetry: Basho and Issa are quoted as frequently as Tennyson and Kipling, and his own prose is at turns lyrical and stark. This deeply affecting, elegiac novel will stay with readers long after it's over. --Alex Mutter, Shelf Awareness associate editor

Discover: Squalor, death, suffering and enduring love in a haunting historical novel.

Knopf, $26.95, hardcover, 9780385352857

Graphic Books

How the World Was: A California Childhood

by Emmanuel Guibert, trans. by Kathryn M. Pulver


Emmanuel Guibert first introduced Alan Cope as the gentle, philosophical, flawed American GI serving on the European front during World War II in his graphic biography Alan's War. With How the World Was, Guibert continues Cope's saga by offering an intimate black-and-white portrait of Cope's years growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles during the Great Depression--a more-innocent time before the quiet, picture-perfect landscape became a black-topped metropolis. Despite the scarcity of money, Cope's life is enriched by the constant companionship of his grandparents, the mysterious comings and goings of various relatives, and the insulating and comforting rituals of childhood before the trials and tribulations of adulthood would take their toll.

After Cope's death, Guibert traveled to California, spending much time in Pasadena, to relive the childhood of the man he had come to call a friend. Whereas Alan's War carried an air of gravitas with its confessional tone, How the World Was is tranquil and deferential, Cope's voice dictating the pace. Guibert's delicate details--the inked reproductions of family photos, scenes of spirited conversations at the kitchen table in the company of grandparents--evoke an awed and respectful reverence that could only come from a graphic biographer with considerable insight into his subject's character. The result is a revelatory and fluid documentary not only of an extraordinary man who survived hardship and war to bequeath an up-and-coming artist the gift of his memories, but of the nation's growth during the rise of its Greatest Generation. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer and technical consultant

Discover: An earlier chapter in the real-life saga of American GI Alan Cope, as drawn by Emmanuel Guibert.

First Second, $19.99, paperback, 9781596436640

Biography & Memoir

In a Rocket Made of Ice: Among the Children of Wat Opot

by Gail Gutradt


Gail Gutradt, a photographer and freelance writer in Maine, had just attended to her mother during her year-long losing fight with cancer. In her late 50s, she was adrift and depressed with "a sense of uselessness... fresh out of ideas" when a colleague suggested that she ask former Vietnam War medic Wayne Dale Matthysse to accept her as a volunteer at Wat Opot, a community in Cambodia he founded to shelter and care for HIV/AIDS-afflicted and orphaned children. In a Rocket Made of Ice is Gutradt's story of how this orphanage saves and nurtures young lives--and how it saved and nurtured hers. It is part memoir, part biography of the Wat Opot children, part photo journal and part how-to for philanthropists seeking to make a difference--"to walk into the chaos of a post-apocalyptic country and wrest from the devastation a small island of compassion and comity."

In a digression to recount Matthysse's own troubled personal journey through postwar wandering, Gutradt admits that the Cambodian community he founded works well partly because he is not only a stern and compassionate father to the children but also something of a benevolent despot. Yet Gutradt also admires his simple philosophy of success: "Just start where you are, and do what you can, and don't let yourself be paralyzed by the naysayers."

During the time between her four extended visits to Wat Opot, Gutradt was diagnosed with breast cancer. Suffering through her treatments, she came to appreciate even more the strength of the children she cared for. Neither sentimental nor solicitous, Gutradt's memoir is a compassionate window into both their lives and hers. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Discover: A memoir of one woman's work in a small Cambodian community for orphans afflicted with AIDS.

Knopf, $25.95, hardcover, 9780385353472

History

When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944

by Ronald C. Rosbottom


When Nazi troops marched into Paris in June 1940, the city surrendered without firing a shot. In When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944, historian Ronald C. Rosbottom explores face-to-face interactions between the occupiers and the occupied, the effect of the Occupation on daily life in Paris, its psychological and emotional impact on Parisians and its legacy of guilt and myth.

Drawing from sources that include official records, memoirs, interviews and ephemera, Rosbottom tells a story that is more complicated than a simple choice between courageous resistance or collaboration, though he offers examples of both. He discusses the distinction between individual acts of resistance and the Resistance, and how the French and the Germans both used the hide-and-seek possibilities of the iconic Parisian apartment building. He considers the act of waiting in line both as an illustration of the difficulties of everyday life and as a replacement for forbidden political gatherings. Above all, he describes the Occupation as gradual constriction of Parisian life within ever-narrowing boundaries.

Rosbottom does not limit his discussion to the Parisian perspective. Some of the most interesting sections of When Paris Went Dark deal with the German experience in the city, a complex mixture of tourism, conquest, envy and isolation. His account of Hitler's early-morning tour of the capital soon after its surrender is particularly illuminating about the Nazi leader's ambivalence toward cities in general and Paris in particular.

When Paris Went Dark is an important and accessible addition to the social history of World War II. --Pamela Toler, blogging at History in the Margins

Discover: Cooperation, resistance, accommodation and guilt in Occupied Paris.

Little Brown & Company, $28, hardcover, 9780316217446

Science

This Is Improbable Too: Synchronized Cows, Speedy Brain Extractors, and More WTF Research

by Marc Abrahams


In This Is Improbable, Marc Abrahams made addictive, laugh-out-loud, literary art from the world's oddest and most unlikely research projects. As the "Improbable Research" columnist for the Guardian and founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, Abrahams has amassed a fresh collection of screwball scientific and technological oddities serious enough to pique the intellectual curiosity of the average Joe. In This Is Improbable Too, he introduces readers to the engineer who used mathematical calculations to pinpoint the antichrist (he claims it's Mikhail Gorbachev, by odds of 710,609,175,188,282,000 to 1) and an Italian economist whose theory of human stupidity ("ignorance is bliss") was confirmed by Cornell scientists.

Abrahams also discovers evidence that crime doesn't pay ("an industrious robber can expect, statistically, to work steadily at his trade for only about a year and a half before being caught and canned"), that "nasal packing" with cured salt pork  can stop nosebleeds, and that Botox reduces armpit odor. His final research stops include the old question of breast versus buttocks preferences for men in "Islands of Interest" and the role beans play in flatulence in "Overblown Beans."

The examples Abrahams highlights are so bodaciously "out there" and salacious that they seem to defy reality, escalating the reader's random chuckles into gut-wrenching guffaws. Like Uncle John's Bathroom Reader or an episode of Jeopardy, This Is Improbable Too delivers science as it might be most easily ingested--in small doses, one chapter of disbelieving hilarity at a time. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer and technical consultant

Discover: A collection of the world's oddest scientific and technological accomplishments by the world's foremost expert on improbable research.

Oneworld, $15.99, paperback, 9781780743615

Children's & Young Adult

Hermelin: The Detective Mouse

by Mini Grey


Mini Grey's (Toys in Space; Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey) latest diminutive hero is not a toy, but rather an observant mouse who types up messages to reunite lost things with their owners.

The mouse narrator takes his name from the empty box of Hermelin cheese he sleeps in (a cheese rather like Camembert). The fact that he can read the cheese's name tips readers off that this is no ordinary rodent. The row houses in the opening scene introduce the residents of Offley Street, where Hermelin, with the aid of binoculars, detects all sorts of incidents, large and small. Children will madly flip back and forth from the "Offley Street Notices" bulletin board of missing items to that opening scene, to see where the various lost things went astray. There's Mrs. Mattison's missing black leather bag, a "vanished" diamond bracelet belonging to Lady Chumley-Plumley, Lucky the goldfish and Captain Potts's cat, Parsley. (Could these last two be linked?) Hermelin types up notes to the humans, pointing them to where they'll find their lost things, in a series of comics-style panels. At the climax, a just-in-time note helps the McMumbos rescue their baby from peril.

A thank-you gesture on the part of the Offley Street neighbors goes terribly wrong when the guest of honor shows up and residents don't recognize the valiant fellow for who he is. Grey's portrait of a lively city block chock full of hidden treasures will bring readers back again and again. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: Another winner from the creator of Traction Man, this time with a living, breathing (though still small) hero.

Knopf, $17.99, hardcover, 32p., ages 5-8, 9780385754330

The Kiss of Deception

by Mary E. Pearson


Mary Pearson (the Jenna Fox Chronicles) delivers action, romance and intrigue in the launch title of the Remnant Chronicles. Strong, independent female characters and an irresistible love story elevate this romantic fantasy above others in the genre.

Princess Lia defies her family and escapes from the kingdom on the morning of her wedding day. As a First Daughter, she risks everything rather than wed a man she has never met. She escapes to a quaint town on the outskirts of the kingdom and assumes a new life as a tavern maid. She meets two intriguing men, both masking their identities: an assassin sent to kill her, and the Prince she refused to marry. Seventeen-year-old Lia is a fierce, independent protagonist who suffers from the typical self-doubt of most young women. She's a thoroughly modern princess in an ancient world. Torn between the affections of two attentive men, she falls for the prince she was intended to marry, unaware of his true identity.

War, intrigue, duty and honor interfere with the romance. Pearson offers us several points of view in alternating chapters, and her male characters are as well developed and sympathetic as her heroine. Pearson creates a complex mythology and delivers a fantasy world rich with texture and description. With an exciting and romantic cliffhanger, she leaves readers wanting more. --Nan Shipley, literary scout

Discover: A romantic fantasy world worth getting lost in, with a credible, defiant protagonist.

Holt, $17.99, hardcover, 496p., ages 14-up, 9780805099232

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Kids Buzz

Star-Crossed

by Barbara Dee

Dear Reader,

Here's Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted) on STAR-CROSSED: "Star-Crossed delighted me! Barbara Dee has a light touch and a pitch-perfect middle school voice." And Donna Gephart (Lily and Dunkin): "Star-Crossed takes...Romeo and Juliet and transforms (it) perfectly to the middle school stage."

STAR-CROSSED is a gentle comedy about a girl crushing on the girl playing Juliet.  Kirkus Reviews calls STAR-CROSSED "a sweet story of young love amid middle school theatrics."

Email Barbara@BarbaraDeeBooks.com to enter to win a free copy!

Happy reading!

Barbara Dee

 

Buy this book

KidsBuzz: Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

PUBLISHER: Aladdin

PUB DATE: March 14, 2017

AGE RANGE: 9 to 13

TYPE OF BOOK: Middle Grade Fiction

ISBN: 9781481478489

PRICE: $16.99

 

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