A thrilling alternative history that sparkles with wit and charm.

MY CALAMITY JANE

A posse of werewolf hunters disguised as a traveling troupe of sharpshooters roam the Old West in search of a particularly vicious werewolf known as the Alpha.

Under the watchful eyes of the paternal Wild Bill Hickok, protagonists Calamity Jane, Frank Butler, and Annie Oakley track the Alpha, all while navigating budding romances and family quarrels. While each teen is dedicated to the collective, they are each driven by their own motivations. Frank, for example, hopes to one day give up werewolf hunting and be a full-time entertainer. Annie—who must convince the group to hire her as a sharpshooter in the show—flees a family that wants to force her into marriage. All Jane wants is to settle down on a plot of land somewhere, far away from prying eyes. As the plot unfolds, readers learn each of the characters’ origin stories—including their deepest secrets. The book’s thrilling plot is driven by a brilliantly clever, collective narratorial voice that frequently intercedes with historical tidbits, witty asides, and political statements ranging from critiquing America’s lack of gun control laws to the shameful genocide and violent displacement of Native Americans. While most of the characters are white, the story does include two Lakota characters and a protagonist who comes out as queer. Full of twists, turns, and laugh-out-loud humor, this tongue-in-cheek feminist alternative history is impossible to put down.

A thrilling alternative history that sparkles with wit and charm. (further reading) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-265281-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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An inspirational read.

THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES

A true story of faith, love, and heroism.

Stefania “Fusia” Podgórska longed for nothing more than to leave the rural Polish farm she was born on for the city of Przemyśl where her older sisters lived. At the age of 12, she did just that, finding a job with the Diamants, a family of Jewish shopkeepers who welcomed her into their lives. For three years they lived peacefully until the Germans dropped bombs on Przemyśl. The family struggled on as the war and anti-Semitism ramped up, but eventually, the Diamants were forced into a ghetto. Then 17, Catholic Fusia was determined to help them survive, even at the risk of her own safety, while also caring for her 6-year-old sister, Helena, after their family was taken by the Nazis for forced labor. Knowing the risks involved, Fusia made a bold decision to harbor Jews. As the number of people she sheltered increased, so did her panic about being caught, but she was determined to do what was right. Cameron (The Knowing, 2017, etc.) used Stefania’s unpublished memoir as well as interviews with family members as source material. She deftly details Fusia’s brave actions and includes moving family photographs in the author’s note. Narrated in the first person, the story highlights essential events in Fusia’s life while maintaining a consistent pace. Readers will be pulled in by the compelling opening and stay for the emotional journey.

An inspirational read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35593-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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An entertaining story of forbidden love, family drama, and elegant couture.

THE LAST LEGACY

Since the moment Bryn was born, she was destined to take her place among the Roths.

Even after her parents died and she was taken to live with her great-aunt Sariah in Nimsmire, far away from the filth of the big city and the infamous Roth reputation, Bryn was destined to eventually become wrapped up in her family’s less-than-proper line of work—which was the cause of her parents’ deaths. When she returns to the city of Bastian on her 18th birthday, something she has eagerly anticipated after growing up in a small city under Sariah’s watchful eye, she is finally forced to come to terms with her identity and assume her rightful position in her family’s mysterious business. This feat would have been difficult enough on its own, for Bryn isn’t accustomed to her family members’ crude behavior, but she certainly isn’t prepared to meet the handsome, strong, brooding silversmith in her family’s employ; Ezra Finch definitely complicates things. This fast-paced tale with a Victorian feeling is filled with an abundance of scandal, high fashion, intrigue, and, of course, romance. While the large cast of characters is at times difficult to keep straight and the plot-driven prose would have benefited from more worldbuilding detail, the delightfully swoonworthy love story will keep readers engaged and the pages turning eagerly as they hurtle toward the book’s satisfying conclusion. Characters are White by default.

An entertaining story of forbidden love, family drama, and elegant couture. (family tree) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-82372-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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