Shelf Awareness for Readers for Friday, July 6, 2012


Harper: Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe

From My Shelf

Penguin Teen: Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Legendary Comics: Lupina Book One: Wax, 1 by James Wright, illustrated by Li Buszka

No Required Reading

Summer really begins on the Fourth of July, and one of the best things about the this time of year? There's no required reading.

With young people, however, touting the thrills of pure pleasure reading can be challenging. Nine months of assigned books may have left a sour taste. Here are some sweet temptations to get them back on board.

For youngest book-lovers, Boat Works by Tom Slaughter acts as a guide to ship-spotting oceanside or in the tub, while Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey by Mini Gray adds a layer of imaginary play to sand castle–building. Bink and Gollie: Two for One by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile, features the duo's hilarious adventures at the State Fair. Wumbers by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (reviewed below) may be a picture book, but for texters it doubles as a bounty of new, clever shortcuts.

Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo, and Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker both make terrific read-alouds for the whole family. For kids who crave series, try The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart, illustrated by Diana Sudyka, a newly minted prequel to a terrific, smart series, and A Search for WondLa, which beautifully sets up the fantasy world for the second newly released adventure, A Hero for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi.

And speaking of another world, teens will take a flashlight to bed to finish Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (reviewed below). If you enjoy mother-daughter reads, Between the Lines by Jody Piccoult and her daughter, Samantha Van Leer, may be just the ticket. Another riveting read, this one set against the backdrop of World War II, is Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

May your beach bags be filled with good books! --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness


Gallery Books: The Last Dance of the Debutante by Julia Kelly


Book Candy

Charming, Nerdy Videos; Queens in Fiction; Pie History; Steampunk

Looking for some "hilarious imagined conversations between comics legends Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore played out by puppets?" Flavorwire offered a peek at Sarcastic Voyage's "charming, utterly nerdy videos."

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"Do you know your ma'ams from your majestys?" asked the Guardian to introduce its "queens in fiction quiz."

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To celebrate Pie Week, NPR explored "three ways pie history is like HBO's Game of Thrones," noting that there "are great parallels between the show's medieval preoccupations and the medieval history of pies."

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Steampunk keyboard. Datamancer's Seafarer is "an intensely ornate, nautically-themed keyboard with a worn-in, weather-beaten aesthetic. It features a gold foil map faceplate, protected by thick acrylic, spiral cut rods, and engraved gold metallic keys."


Ballantine Books: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult


Inklings

The Wurst That Could Happen

Mary Daheim's most recent book is The Wurst Is Yet to Come (Morrow), the 27th in her Bed-and-Breakfast mystery series.

In early May 2011, I was racing to the finish line in my Alpine series for Ballantine Books when my William Morrow editor asked what the next B&B series book was about. I had no idea--hadn't given it a thought. But she needed the information for a catalogue meeting the next day. I had to act fast.

All I knew was that the Cousins would go out of town--they always do in every other B&B book. Where? Some place close by so I wouldn't have to do much research. "Leavenworth," I said, thinking of the town in Washington State. "They're going to Oktoberfest." Did I have a title? More fast thinking. "The Wurst Is Yet to Come," I said--if it was too dreadful, we could change it later. But she liked it.

I started the manuscript a week later. I don't plan my books. Where's the fun in that? If I'm not surprised, why should readers be? But that wasn't the problem--Leavenworth, Wash., is just over Stevens Pass from Alpine, so making the scenery different was a problem--it's still mountains, a river and trees. Luckily, the charming tourist town, which I called Little Bavaria in the book, features medieval German architecture, and Oktoberfest provided unusual settings.

However, law enforcement gave me pause. The local cops couldn't sound like Alpine's sheriff and his crew, so I created a police department with a chief who bears no resemblance to any other law officer I've described and hopefully to no one who actually exists. Despite the bumbling antics of Chief Duomo, I kind of liked him.

Some 50 pages into the book, the rest moved along at a typical B&B pace. As usual, Judith and Renie bicker, but they work together to bring a killer to justice. Maybe my frantic brainstorm wasn't the worst idea I've ever had. I mean, wurst.... --Mary Daheim


Milkweed Editions: Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South by Margaret Renkl


Literary Lists

Quintessential American Novels; Summer Reading

To celebrate the country's birthday, Flavorwire suggested "10 quintessentially American novels."

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Fodor's recommended "7 summer reads set in prime beach destinations" that "offer travelers the bluest of waters, finest sand to sink their toes into, and that summer-beach-coma state of mind."

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Did you know the first summer reading program started in Cleveland in 1895? The Village Voice offered a list of "10 things you should know about summer reading."

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Huffington Post BlackVoices compiled a list of "50 books that every African American should read."


Book Brahmin

Book Brahmin: R. Kayeen Thomas

R. Kayeen Thomas, 28, is a poet, playwright, hip-hop artist and social justice advocate. He received his bachelor's degree in African-American Studies from Carleton College and is studying for his Master's in Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary. His latest novel, Antebellum (Strebor Books, June 26), is about a rap star who is transported back to slavery times. Thomas lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

On your nightstand now:

I don't have a nightstand. Black people are still in a recession. I do have a copy of Kindred by Octavia Butler on the floor beside the bed, though. Almost everyone who has heard what my book is about has compared it with Kindred, so I decided to check it out. I must say, it's pretty good.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Any of the books from the Goosebumps series. R.L Stine is a sick man. Some of those story ideas were crazy. Still, I was highly addicted.

Your top five authors:

Percival Everett. Erasure is my favorite book of all time. Some of his other stuff was a little shaky, but Erasure was genius.
Walter Mosley. Easy Rawlins is one of my favorite characters of all time. You can't go wrong with Mosley.
Jean Toomer. A lot of people haven't heard of him, but he was a writer during the Harlem Renaissance. His book Cane inspired my first published work.
Maya Angelou. Have you read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings? Angelou's novels should be divided into verses and made into the first black epic poem--to hell with The Iliad.
Richard Wright. Bigger Thomas is my other favorite character of all time. I think every black man in America has a little bit of Bigger Thomas in him. That should scare the hell out of white folks, but not many people are reading Native Son these days, post-racial society and all....

Book you've faked reading:

Democracy Matters by Cornel West. I'm sorry, I love Cornel, but that book isn't written in English.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Antebellum by R. Kayeen Thomas. Evangelism starts at home.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Erasure by Percival Everett. They have since changed it, but on the cover of the first edition, there was a little black boy in a cotton shirt and suspenders, with what looked to be some type of crop field behind him. He had a huge grin on his face, a toy gun pointed at his temple, and his finger on the trigger.

Book that changed your life:

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. I'm a pastor's son, and I got hold of that book in college after I'd completely turned my back on the church. I felt like Baldwin's and my experiences with church were very similar, and that he was saying things I couldn't quite put into words yet.

Favorite line from a book:

"If growing up is painful for the southern black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult." --from Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

The Death and Life of Superman by Roger Stern. The novel, not the comic book. I read it in high school and almost failed Algebra II.


Book Review

Fiction

The Age of Miracles

by Karen Thompson Walker


In The Age of Miracles, the world is ending just as the life of a young girl is beginning. This coming-of-age story chronicles the parallel disintegrations of the world and the life and family of Julia, a sensitive 12-year-old girl buffeted with the angst of emerging adolescence. As apocalypse looms for the earth and its inhabitants, Julia grapples with the twin challenges of survival and growing up--in this instance much too fast.

The earth has suddenly begun to slow in its rotation. What starts as a minor oddity grows into catastrophe, as the lengthening periods of sunlight and darkness lead to drastic climate changes. As disasters multiply, it becomes clear that humans are living on borrowed time.

Walker constructs a believable alternate reality in which every detail is accounted for, from the food sources of the irrevocably damaged earth to the societal conflicts that inevitably erupt worldwide. Equally realistic is the depiction of people's stubborn clinging to the rituals of ordinary life in the face of bizarre conditions, even certain death. Yet Julia forges a bond with Seth, a classmate, that is stronger than her fear of the future. They represent a moment of brightness in a world where such moments are fast fading, making their relationship deeply poignant for the reader.

The Age of Miracles may be most remarkable for what it does not do: it does not extend any hope. The darkness only increases until at last, we bid goodbye to Julia as she stands clear-eyed on the precipice of the end of all things. --Ilana Teitelbaum

Read more about The Age of Miracles and Karen Thompson Walker in our Maximum Shelf.

Discover: A highly readable coming-of-age novel in which the angst of adolescence is intensified by world catastrophe.

Random House, $26, hardcover, 9780812992977

Gold

by Chris Cleave


Chris Cleave's Gold spins a tire-ripping velodrama out of two subjects underrepresented in novels: the head-games of Olympic track cycling and the heart-splitting demands faced by female athletes who try to balance motherhood and elite competition. Readers who don't know an individual pursuit from a keirin will be able to feel the excitement in Cleave's clearly depicted racing scenes and readers who are devotees of high-stakes emotional triangles will find much to untangle.

While the disparate athletic and relationship motivations of lone ranger Zoe Castle and her married teammates Kate Meadows and Jack Argall are complicated by a long-running friendship/rivalry, the novel's deepest human resonance is pumped up by eight-year-old Sophie Argall, whose reliance on a Star Wars fantasy life as she strives to be a champion leukemia patient is depicted with beguiling tough-tenderness.

Cleave shares Gold's stream-of-consciousness perspective among his main protagonists and their crusty Australian coach, to yield a many-spoked view of what makes them surge or fall back. The timeline of Gold spans three Olympic Games, beginning with a short set piece in Athens before it focuses on preparations for London 2012, when Zoe, Kate and Jack are all 32 and vying for what is probably their final chance to compete for gold.

To an American reader, the celebrity of British track cyclists might seem far-fetched, and to any cycling fan the dearth of doping references might seem blinkered. The plot has to ratchet through a lot of gears, but Gold is well worth the ride for its contextual details, its generous supply of dramatic scenes and the steadiness of Cleave's storytelling pulse. --Holloway McCandless, blogger at Litagogo: A Guide to Free Literary Podcasts

Discover: The author of Little Bee returns with a heart-racing novel about Olympic rivalry, complicated friendships and high-stakes medical parenting.

Simon & Schuster, $27, hardcover, 9781451672725

Necropolis

by Santiago Gamboa, trans. by Howard Curtis


Santiago Gamboa's Necropolis is a hefty, Decameron-like a story-within-story-within-story set in war-torn Jerusalem, told by an unnamed 40ish narrator who, like Gamboa, is a Colombian novelist living in Rome. Receiving a letter inviting him to the International Conference on Biography and Memory, with no idea why he's been invited, the narrator finds himself in a hotel full of eccentric delegates--all storytellers, spinning tales of chess, God and drug addiction.

Gamboa expertly juggles an international cast of characters, including a muscular, tattooed ex-convict pastor of a cult religion, an Italian porn actress, a brave and honorable hotel switchboard operator and a pretty journalist from Iceland with a penchant for shedding her clothes. It's a literate feast, and the reader won't get 20 pages into the story before hitting references to Poe, Mann, Bolano, Balzac and Melville.

With room-rattling explosions creeping closer and closer, the novel dovetails narratives within narratives, like that of the hardworking young auto mechanic who dares to stand up to the paramilitary hoodlums terrorizing his village, or the pregnant woman knitting a sweater incorrectly while a tortured prisoner watches, or the Portuguese poet whose job as an air traffic controller forces him into a conversation with a pilot about to crash into the sea.

It's a dizzying mosaic and stunt-filled juggling act, with plenty of sexual hanky-panky, but with a few exceptions, the book is best enjoyed for its verbal pyrotechnics, because its fancy footwork seldom engages the heart. --Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle

Discover: Conference delegates in war-torn Jerusalem tell stories-within-stories-within-stories in Colombian novelist Gamboa's dizzying mosaic of narrative invention.

Europa Editions, $18, paperback, 9781609450731

Mystery & Thriller

Death in August

by Marco Vichi, trans. by Stephen Sartarelli


Just barely surviving the dog days of summer, Inspector Bordelli is roused from his heat-induced torpor by an assassination devious enough to make a Borgia blush and leave Poirot puzzled. When the caretaker of a wealthy recluse finds her elderly mistress dead in her bed, Bordelli and his fresh-faced new protégé set out to prove it's a case of murder disguised as accidental death.

Set in Florence during the summer of 1963, Death in August is the first novel in a new mystery series by veteran Italian author Marco Vichi. A World War II veteran, Inspector Bordelli is weary, aging poorly and alone, still haunted by his years of wartime service. Yet he is saved from the doldrums of melancholia by his humor and heart--traits that draw to him an odd but loyal cadre of petty thieves, happy hookers and general misfits. (Not to mention his dinner parties make the Marriage at Cana look like a church potluck.)

Vichi's prose transports readers to the deserted, sweltering streets of down-and-out Florence, thanks to a translation by Stephen Saltarelli that conveys the dialogue with a lyricism and tongue-in-cheek wit one instinctively senses were present in the original. Straight from the city that brought us da Vinci and Dante, Vichi is on a par with writers like Henning Mankell and Elizabeth George who have elevated the police procedural to a work of art. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Discover: The Florentine method for battling murderers and mosquitoes, as Marco Vichi introduces us to a new mystery hero.

Pegasus Books, $25, hardcover, 9781605983516

Say Nice Things About Detroit

by Scott Lasser


Scott Lasser's Say Nice Things About Detroit is a harsh but tender homage to his native city that tackles the city's racial tensions head on. It opens with the double murder of a retired black FBI agent and a beautiful white woman--not a typical urban murder about sex and drugs, though: Dirk Burton and Natalie Brooks were brother and sister, sharing the same German immigrant mother who left Dirk and his African-American father, then married an Englishman who fathered Natalie. Her children grew up in very different neighborhoods with very different opportunities and expectations.

Natalie's ex-boyfriend David, a divorced lawyer in Denver, comes home to help his father deal with his mother's dementia. Natalie's younger sister, Carolyn, unhappily married in Los Angeles, returns for her sister's funeral. David reconnects with Carolyn in a passionate love affair. When she becomes pregnant, they decide to move back to Detroit to raise their child together. Although she cautiously suggests "it's like moving back to Hiroshima," he answers, "But people live there now, I'm pretty sure."

Things are not so simple, however; there's the double murder to resolve, failing parents to care for and even more complicated interracial family dynamics that threaten to jeopardize their romance.

Lasser's (Battle Creek) intimate understanding of the city makes for a captivating novel rich with details of the local vernacular, weather, food, music, crime and, of course, cars. Detroit is not just the setting for Lasser's story--it's a place with a beating heart (weak pulse notwithstanding) and enough guts to have a future. --Bruce Jacobs

Discover: A Detroit native balances a complicated murder mystery with a character-rich story of personal renewal in a desolate city striving for rebirth.

W.W. Norton, $25.95, hardcover, 9780393082999

Nonfiction

Desert Reckoning: A Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt in Modern California History

by Deanne Stillman


In the northeast corner of Los Angeles County, just outside the city's sprawl, lies the empty isolation of the Mojave Desert. On August 2, 2003, Deputy Sheriff Steve Sorensen ("not ever a slacker, always on time") was investigating a complaint on the remote property of the reclusive Don Kueck ("basking semi-asleep like the rattlesnake in the bucket at his front door, the living embodiment of the great American battle cry, 'Don't tread on me' "). As Sorensen approached the shabby trailer, Kueck angrily came outside, fired a dozen assault rifle rounds into Sorensen and tied his body to the bumper of his yellow Dodge Dart, dragging it off into the desert.

With a reporter's eye for detail, a novelist's sense of pace and no fear of inserting her own voice into the action, Deanne Stillman takes us through the history of Kueck's deranged anger and the massive effort to take him down. For seven days, a combined county, state and federal task force assembled all their high-tech equipment and spare officers to hunt the cop-killer, as Kueck lay low in underground tunnels and sheltered rock formations. Finally, the SWAT team found Kueck back in his trailer, where he refused to surrender and was killed in the resulting firefight and conflagration. When the smoke clears, we are left only with Stillman's vivid images of cold violence in the hot wilderness of an American desert. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Discover: A sharp-eyed journalist's dramatic account of a brutal murder and massive manhunt in the Mojave Desert.

Nation Books, $26, hardcover, 9781568586083

Biography & Memoir

A Ship Without a Sail: The Life of Lorenz Hart

by Gary Marmorstein


Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart were one of the greatest teams on Broadway. As Gary Marmorstein (Hollywood Rhapsody) notes in A Ship Without a Sail, in 25 years of working together the duo wrote more than 800 songs, including "Blue Moon" and "My Funny Valentine." While Hart's lyrics always came after the music and only with greater effort, together they created masterpieces.

Marmorstein seamlessly weaves a vast amount of material to fashion his portrait of the man Wilfred Sheed called a "forlorn dwarf." Hart, then 23, met the 16-year-old Rodgers in 1919. They began to work together soon afterward, turning out their first collaboration, The Garrick Gaieties, in 1925, followed by A Connecticut Yankee two years later. Their relationship was one of opposites: Rodgers the consummate professional, a details and deadline man, while Hart was amiable but unreliable and moody. To go along with Rodger's glorious melodies, Hart is credited with overhauling the American lyric, bringing a new, profound yet simple poetry to the words. (The book's title comes from a song in the 1929 musical Heads Up!)

Rodgers described his partner as a "source of permanent irritation." He lived with his mother and was tortured emotionally throughout his life, keeping his homosexuality a secret. He drank morning, noon and night, and his alcoholism exacerbated many of his problems and led to his early death in 1943. Marmorstein perfectly captures this complex man in a beautifully written and poignant biography.--Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Discover: A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining biography of one of Broadway's greatest lyricists.

Simon & Schuster, $30, hardcover, 9781416594253

The Receptionist: An Education at the New Yorker

by Janet Groth


When 19-year-old Janet Groth landed a job as the receptionist at the New Yorker in 1957, she believed it was only a matter of time before she rose through the ranks to fact-checker, reporter and regular contributor. More than anything, she wanted to be a writer; she once even submitted a story to a contest in Mademoiselle, though she didn't win. ("Another blond with daddy problems won that year," she recalls. "Name of Sylvia Plath.")

Twenty-one years after starting the job, though, Groth was still taking messages for the people she once thought would be her professional equals. When she left the receptionist's desk in 1978, she took with her the friendship and respect of her co-workers, a long-earned Ph.D. in English and an arsenal of literary gossip--but no byline.

The Receptionist recounts Groth's two-decade stint at the magazine and how she eventually learned to throw off the "New Yorker mantle of borrowed fame" to find her own self-worth. While readers looking for dirt on the likes of John Berryman and Muriel Spark won't be disappointed, Groth devotes much of her memoir to life outside the magazine's office, including a rather exhaustive analysis of her many romantic exploits.

Intimate and breezily conversational, The Receptionist is less a juicy tell-all about a legendary magazine and more a woman's story of her own becoming amid the chaos and glitz of Manhattan in the 1960s. --Hannah Calkins, blogger at Unpunished Vice

Algonquin, $21.95, hardcover, 9781616201319

History

Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835

by Jefferson Morley


Francis Scott Key, best known for writing "The Star-Spangled Banner," was also a pro-slavery lawyer and chief prosecutor for the city of Washington, D.C., in the 1830s, where he did little to prosecute crime against blacks. This didn't worry Beverly Snow, a freed slave with a flair for cooking; he opened a restaurant to remarkable success and avoided the harassment free blacks often faced in the city--until August 4, 1835.

On that night, a young slave named Arthur Bowen drunkenly stumbled into the bedroom of his mistress, Anna Thornton, holding an ax. Mrs. Thornton ran screaming for help, and Bowen was arrested. But tensions were already high due to abolitionist pamphlets that had been circulating in the city, and a mob surrounded the jail screaming for Bowen to be lynched. Key and other city officials managed to hold off the mob that night--but, thwarted in their attempts to kill Bowen, the crowds quickly shifted to an attack on local African American‑owned businesses. As one of the most successful black men in the city, Snow was a main target, and the violence and destruction became known as the "Snow-Storm." Snow managed to escape, and Key prosecuted Arthur Bowen for the attempted murder of Anna Thornton.

Snow-Storm in August offers an absorbing look at a little-known period in American history, and a fascinating glimpse at a complicated man remembered by further generations only for writing a song. Jefferson Morley skillfully portrays the racial tension of the era, and the careful balance that was so easily upset by Bowen's drunken actions. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

Discover: A fascinating look at the Washington race riot of 1835, with a focus on the role of the city's district attorney, Francis Scott Key.

Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $28.95, hardcover, 9780385533379

Humor

The McSweeney's Book of Politics and Musicals

by Chris Monks, editor


Assembled from Internet postings by a range of writers, The McSweeney's Book of Politics and Musicals memorializes the political happenings of the early 21st century with satirical aplomb. While McSweeney's itself may be more familiar to readers left of center, the authors assault both sides of the aisle with vicious barbs that explode in bellyaching hilarity. No politician is beyond reproach or applause; Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, John Boehner and Mitt Romney are among those who serve as unwitting players in this artistic spin of words.

The lambasting occurs in the form of verse, role-playing games, one-act plays that cater to a politician's vanity or pure knuckleheaded malfeasance, and laundry lists of potential book titles that read like one of David Letterman's top 10 lists. Anthony Weiner's sexting debacle and Sarah Palin's love of moose-hunting become subjects for fodder in Ben Greenman's offbeat musicals, while Jen Statsky rewrites traditional nursery rhymes to reflect recessionary downsizing. The historical facelift continues with a timely lesson in sub-prime economics from Laura Ingalls Wilder. Chris Monks explains why TSA scanners have become the bane of travelers worldwide--men, size does matter. Why, even Occupy Main Street has the last laugh--against the miserable 99%.

McSweeney's features some of the sharpest tongues and wittiest minds to grace the earth, and while none of this will be new to fans of the website, for others it may become either the most life-changing eye-opener or most disgraceful baloney to exist on the written page. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer

Discover: Popular political personalities as they've never been seen before, stripped and bared to side-splitting hilarity from the creators of McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

Vintage, $14.95, paperback, 9780307387349

Children's & Young Adult

Bitterblue

by Kristin Cashore


In her third book of the Graceling series, Kristin Cashore returns readers to the seven kingdoms. In a Monsea devoid of the terrifying King Leck, whose Grace was to fog people's minds (and who acts as the through line in all three books), Bitterblue, his now 18-year-old daughter, rules as queen.

Bitterblue, fed up with her advisers' attempts to thwart her inquiries, walks her city's darkened streets disguised as a boy. Bitterblue is a coming-of-age story in which the heroine realizes she can truly trust only herself. Her nightly outings lead her to "story rooms" where fablers recount historical events and legends. On several nights, she meets two young men: Saf (short for Sapphire), a graceling who says he knows not what his Grace is, and Teddy, a kind and well-read printer. They begin to confide in "Sparks," as they call her (she conceals her true identity), and she develops feelings for Saf.

Saf and Teddy belong to a group of truthseekers attempting to bring about their own kind of justice as recompense for her father's transgressions. Bitterblue discovers her advisers are keeping things from her. Are they compromising her safety? Meanwhile, Po and Katsa--the heroes of Graceling--arrive to inform the queen that King Drowden has been deposed in Nander, and the people of Estill are mounting a coup against King Thigpen. Cashore's plot will sweep readers while she explores larger themes of the vital need for literacy and the nature of truth and trust. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: The riveting third book in the Graceling series, in which Queen Bitterblue of Monsea must learn whom she can trust.

Dial Books, $19.99, hardcover, 576p., ages 14-up, 9780803734739

Once: An Eve Novel

by Anna Carey


In this follow-up to Eve, in which girls learned to fear men in the New America--with the exception of the King--Eve will risk everything she holds dear to save the ones she loves, including Caleb, the boy she has grown to trust.

The sequel picks up where the last book ended, at Califia, the all-female settlement founded more than a decade ago as a refuge for women and girls in the wild, and where Eve was forced to leave Caleb at the entrance for her own safety. Three months later, the now strong Eve still resides in Califia, where she's safe only until the soldiers hunt her down. Eve was promised to the King as the future wife who would bear his heirs. After successfully dodging the city's soldiers in the first book, Eve is captured and taken to the City of Sand. The King comes to her and confides a secret that raises the stakes for the final installment of the trilogy.

Caleb returns, but a twist reveals his true motives. Anna Carey skillfully reveals inner motivations for all her primary characters, including the King. The monarch's prominence throughout the novel allows the author to build sympathy for him as his story unfolds.

Readers allured by the elegant settings and sisterhood of Lauren DeStefano's Wither and who craved the forbidden romance of Lauren Oliver's Delirium will revel in this sequel. --Adam Silvera, assistant, Books of Wonder

Discover: The sequel to Eve, in which Eve's imprisonment in the City of Sand leads to revelations that strengthen the series arc.

HarperCollins, $17.99, hardcover, 368p., ages 13-up, 9780062048547

Wumbers

by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld


Pure fun, from 1 to 80, this book by the creators of Duck! Rabbit! once again makes us see things differently.

Together, author and artist create words made from letters and numbers. The cover offers the first clue, then the endpapers before the official start of the book: "Have you ever tiptoed through the 2lips?" asks one thought balloon. An especially amusing double-page spread depicts a girl decked out like a ballerina serving tea to her friend in a princess costume, as a kitten tugs at her royal sash. "Would you like some honey 2 swee10 your tea?" the ballet-clad hostess asks. "Yes that would be 1derful. Oh, and I just love your 2-2." The text on the page reads, "They are pre10ding." The wumbers translate into 4eign languages, too, as when a French guide takes Americans on a tour of the Eiffel Tower: "C'est 4midable, non? It's gr8, right?" Their response: "S2pendous!" The book closes with more contemplative moments: a boy and his dog snoozing side by side ("Pure con10tment") and a girl with her journal and book beneath a tree: "A sh80 spot 4 reading and writing."

Like William Steig and his C D B!, to whom Rosenthal and Lichtenheld dedicate their volume, this creative team will launch as many imaginations as the wumber of young people who read this book (artists and texters alike). --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A playful way to describe scenes and situations, with a combination of letters and numbers.

Chronicle, $16.99, hardcover, 40p., ages 4-up, 9781452110226

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Author Buzz

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Boy Now From Kobo

 

Publisher: 
1001 Dark Nights Press

Pub Date:
June 22, 2021

ISBN:
9781951812461

List Price:
$2.99 e-book

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