JACOB HAVE I LOVED

We meet Louise Bradshaw in the summer of 1941, smarting under the disproportionate attention lavished on her fragile, musically talented twin sister Caroline since their birth 13 years earlier. We get to know her better the next summer when she and her cumbersome male friend Cal take up with old "Captain" Wallace, a 70-year-old native of their Chesapeake Island who has returned after a 50-year absence. Louise resents Cal's special relationship with the Captain, and resents even more her sister's subsequent friendship with both Cal and the Captain. She is devastated when the Captain offers to send Caroline off to music school; and when Cal and the other young men go off to war, Louise willingly drops out of high school to help her waterman father with the crabs and oysters. Perhaps the biggest blow is when Cal returns from the war all grown up, and announces his intention of marrying Caroline, now off at Juilliard. The interesting aspect of all Louise's torment and self-sacrifice is the growing realization that it isn't being forced on her. But not until she has settled down as a nurse-midwife (the only medical help) in a small Appalachian community—marrying a man with three children to boot—does she recognize and freely accept that she was destined to fulfill herself in a life of service. Paterson has to get into these later years to make the point, and to avoid the instant realizations that substitute in too many juvenile novels. However, this tends to flatten the tone and blur the shape of the novel. Louise's earlier, intense feelings evoke recognition and sympathy, but this hasn't the resonant clarity of Bridge to Terabitha or The Great Gilly Hopkins.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 1980

ISBN: 0064403688

Page Count: 276

Publisher: T.Y. Crowell

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1980

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Artful, cathartic, and most needed.

AIN'T BURNED ALL THE BRIGHT

A profound visual testimony to how much changed while we all had to stay inside and how much—painfully, mournfully—stayed the same.

Reynolds’ poetry and Griffin’s art perform a captivating dance on pages of mixed-media collage and emotive reflection on the pronounced threats facing a contemporary Black family. In “Breath One,” the opening of the verse narrative, the unnamed boy protagonist struggles with the onslaught of TV news coverage of the systemic violence and death experienced by Black people—coverage that is both overwhelming and insufficient. The television then forms the backdrop of the narrator’s concerns for his bedridden father, who is struggling with an acute respiratory illness while isolated in a bedroom. The art is sometimes spare and monochrome before shifting to a bright and striking palette as Griffin deploys aesthetics that enliven the rich flow and rhythm of Reynolds’ words. The two skillfully go back and forth like rap duos of old, each with a distinct voice that enriches the other. The result is an effective critique of the ways we’ve failed as a society to care for one another. By “Breath Three,” however, a complicated optimism shines through for a family that perseveres through closeness and connection despite what is broadcast from their TV. While grounded in 2020, many of the issues touched on explicitly are very much not over and not even new, making this remarkable work both timely and timeless.

Artful, cathartic, and most needed. (conversation between creators) (Illustrated poetry. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3946-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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