An intriguing introduction to young Louisa May Alcott as a spunky heroine.


Fifteen-year-old Louisa Alcott cares for her family while protecting a fugitive slave, coping with a budding romance and solving a puzzling murder.

Louisa’s philosopher father refuses to earn a living, forcing the Alcotts to live in perpetual penury despite mother Marmee’s endless economizing. In 1846, Marmee temporarily leaves her family in Concord to work in New Hampshire. A hot-tempered, strong-willed “force to be reckoned with,” Louisa would rather be scribbling stories, but Marmee relies on her to keep house for her father and sisters as well as a runaway slave the Alcotts are hiding. When a slave catcher named Finch discovers the Alcotts are ardent abolitionists, he stalks and threatens Louisa. Her distant cousin Fred arrives for a visit with romantic intentions, further complicating Louisa’s life. After Finch is murdered and her father implicated, Louisa’s determined to find the real murderer. Artfully integrated quotes from Little Women and biographical facts transform this fictitious plot into a tantalizing glimpse of the real Louisa May Alcott’s life, including her complex family relationships, unconventional convictions, and famous neighbors, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. A summary of this period in Alcott’s life separates fact from fiction.

An intriguing introduction to young Louisa May Alcott as a spunky heroine. (author’s note, further reading) (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3357-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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An inspirational read.


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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Vivid, chilling, and important.


Two 18-year-olds with traumatic pasts become entangled in a high-stakes manhunt for a serial killer targeting teenagers.

Emma Lewis isn’t your average psychology undergrad (and not just because she has a buzz cut). Two and a half years ago, she escaped a serial killer’s clutches and then helped the authorities apprehend him. Now a student at Ohio State, she’s been recruited for her unique qualifications by an agent in the FBI’s Behavioral Science department to spend the summer interviewing juvenile offenders. Alongside trainee Travis Bell, whose late father was killed while apprehending one of their subjects, Emma reluctantly ventures into the minds of teenage killers—and must confront her own past when one of the subjects offers unexpected insight into the motives of a new killer known as the Butcher. Set in the early 1980s, narrated in present tense, and told through Emma’s perspective as well as others’ (including the Butcher’s), the tightly plotted story moves inexorably forward with shocking twists alongside clear, applicable descriptions of the cognitive behavioral strategies Emma uses to navigate her PTSD. The narrative is critical of law enforcement work, emphasizing its psychological toll, and the '80s cultural references are handled with a light touch. Emma is white while Travis is cued as biracial (Mexican American and white); although most secondary characters appear white, two key figures are people of color.

Vivid, chilling, and important. (author's note) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49783-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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