A bluesy tale of talent and triumph.

KID STERLING

A young African American boy yearns to live as free as his music in the Deep South.

The year is 1906, and nearly 11-year-old Sterling Crawford loves the sounds of New Orleans, especially those of his hero, top-rate trumpeter King Buddy Bolden. Even though Bolden knows Sterling as “Mirror Shine” for the expert way Sterling shines his shoes, Sterling hopes one day to follow in Buddy’s footsteps and become a great “musicianer.” Sterling plays tunes in the park for pennies with pals Sydney, Clancy, and his cousin Barrel. The coins help his mother pay the rent and hopefully one day nab the fancy trumpet he’s been eyeing at Jake’s Pawn and Loan. Sterling doesn’t want to end up like his brother, Syl, working for shady gangsters and worrying their mother. But the opportunities for the son of a single washerwoman are scarce, and the heavy hand of Jim Crow pushes Sterling into situations he is unprepared to face. Welldon’s early-20th–century New Orleans leaps off the pages and dances across the imagination, creating a vivid, tangible landscape, with the Louisiana heat steaming from each paragraph. Sterling’s journey is common to many Black boys all over America, with dreams detoured at the whim of White people. However, Sterling’s story is bracing and never without hope.

A bluesy tale of talent and triumph. (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-88995-616-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

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THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage.

THE NOBLEMAN'S GUIDE TO SCANDAL AND SHIPWRECKS

From the Montague Siblings series , Vol. 3

Adrian, the youngest of the Montague siblings, sails into tumultuous waters in search of answers about himself, the sudden death of his mother, and her mysterious, cracked spyglass.

On the summer solstice less than a year ago, Caroline Montague fell off a cliff in Aberdeen into the sea. When the Scottish hostel where she was staying sends a box of her left-behind belongings to London, Adrian—an anxious, White nobleman on the cusp of joining Parliament—discovers one of his mother’s most treasured possessions, an antique spyglass. She acquired it when she was the sole survivor of a shipwreck many years earlier. His mother always carried that spyglass with her, but on the day of her death, she had left it behind in her room. Although he never knew its full significance, Adrian is haunted by new questions and is certain the spyglass will lead him to the truth. Once again, Lee crafts an absorbing adventure with dangerous stakes, dynamic character growth, sharp social and political commentary, and a storm of emotion. Inseparable from his external search for answers about his mother, Adrian seeks a solution for himself, an end to his struggle with mental illness—a journey handled with hopeful, gentle honesty that validates the experiences of both good and bad days. Characters from the first two books play significant secondary roles, and the resolution ties up their loose ends. Humorous antics provide a well-measured balance with the heavier themes.

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291601-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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