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Click to search this book in our catalog Strange the Dreamer
by Taylor, Laini

Book list *Starred Review* By now, fans of Laini Taylor know what to expect: beautiful prose, strange and whimsical fantasy worlds, sympathetic monsters, and wrenching, star-crossed romance. Her latest, first in a two-book set, certainly delivers on that, and there's something quietly magical at play here. Lazlo Strange, an orphaned infant who grew up to be a librarian, has had a quiet first two decades of life. But Lazlo, reader of fairy tales, longs to learn more about a distant, nearly mythical city, called Weep after its true name was stolen. When a group of warriors from that very place come seeking help, Lazlo, never before a man of action, may actually see his dream fulfilled. Weep, though, is a city still reeling from the aftermath of a brutal war, and hidden there is a girl named Sarai and her four companions, all of whom have singular talents and devastating secrets. What follows is the careful unfolding of a plot crafted with origamilike precision. This has distinct echoes of Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone (2011), though ultimately it's a cut above even that: characters are carefully, exquisitely crafted; the writing is achingly lovely; and the world is utterly real. While a cliff-hanger ending will certainly have readers itching for book two, make no mistake this is a thing to be savored. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Taylor's long-anticipated latest arrives with a six-figure marketing plan, including a tour, promo swag, and plenty of publicity magic.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In the first book of a duology, Taylor (the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy) again creates a complex and layered world of battling gods and humans. The tale begins 200 years after humans wiped out the powerful Mesarthim in a war so devastating that the city where it took place was said to have vanished and became known only as Weep. Lazlo Strange, an orphaned young librarian raised by monks, is obsessed with Weep and dreams of traveling across a dangerous desert to find it. Almost miraculously, the opportunity comes his way, and Taylor's story takes shape in Weep itself where, unbeknownst to humans, five "godspawn"-each with a special power-and the ghosts that serve them still endure, waiting to take revenge. While the pace is initially slow, momentum and tension build as love blossoms between two young people from warring factions, mysteries of identity develop, and critical events unfold in dreams, thanks to the gifts of a blue-skinned godspawn named Sarai. Gorgeously written in language simultaneously dark, lush, and enchanting, the book will leave readers eager for the next. Ages 15-up. Agent: Jane Putch, Eyebait Management. (Mar.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Lazlo Strange is a foundling who has grown up alone and unloved, sustained only by his fantasies and stories of a city known as Weep. As an adult, Lazlo finds his way to the Great Library of Zosma and becomes a librarian, tasked with supporting scholars in their work. His fixation with Weep continues, and he searches for scraps of information about it and its inhabitants and even teaches himself its language from books in the library. Then Eril Fane, the liberator of Weep, pays a surprise visit to Zosma. Lazlo seizes the chance to join an expedition to the city he has dreamed of for so long, and he is caught up in an old conflict between Weep's mortal residents and blue godlike beings who had terrorized the city until Eril Fane slew them. Unbeknownst to the inhabitants of Weep, five children of these magical beings have survived and live in the giant seraph that hovers over the city, blocking the light. When Sarai, one of these Godspawn, visits Lazlo in his dreams, their growing relationship leads to the revelation of long-hidden secrets and opposition from other Godspawn, who desire revenge on mortals. This is the first in a pair of planned companion novels by the "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" author, and it has all the rich, evocative imagery and complex world-building typical of Taylor's best work. There is a mythological resonance to her tale of gods and mortals in conflict, as well as in Lazlo's character arc from unassuming, obsessed librarian to something much more. VERDICT This outstanding fantasy is a must-purchase for all YA collections.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Grandpa's Top Threes.
by Wendy Meddour

Kirkus A gentle look at grief.This quiet picture book starts with Henry, a little chatterbox, talking in a garden shed crowded with plants and implements. "But Grandpa was gardening. Again." Grandpa doesn't want to play trains or tell anyone what he wants for lunch. "Just give him time," Mom says, hinting at something deeper. Henry engages his otherwise-mute grandfather by asking him about his "top three" sandwiches and jellyfish, generously offering his own opinions first. Slowly Grandpa comes out of his shell, a smile peeking out from behind his bushy beard. After a top-three day out (to the zoo, swimming pool, and park), Henry asks, "Who are your top three Grannies?" and goes on to answer: "Mine are Granny who is dead," followed by his living grandmother and a fictional one. Readers thus finally learn the reason for Grandpa's sadness and withdrawal as he shares more about his late wife, connecting with his grandson in the process. Well-paced and closely structured, this story works on every level, with Egnus' watercolors showing a range of emotion and activity, balancing clutter with space. It's not quite a story for children processing grief, as Henry seems fairly unaffected, but it may help families explain to children why the grown-ups in their lives are behaving differently after loss. Henry and his family present white.Peaceful and heartfelt. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Kirkus A gentle look at grief.This quiet picture book starts with Henry, a little chatterbox, talking in a garden shed crowded with plants and implements. "But Grandpa was gardening. Again." Grandpa doesn't want to play trains or tell anyone what he wants for lunch. "Just give him time," Mom says, hinting at something deeper. Henry engages his otherwise-mute grandfather by asking him about his "top three" sandwiches and jellyfish, generously offering his own opinions first. Slowly Grandpa comes out of his shell, a smile peeking out from behind his bushy beard. After a top-three day out (to the zoo, swimming pool, and park), Henry asks, "Who are your top three Grannies?" and goes on to answer: "Mine are Granny who is dead," followed by his living grandmother and a fictional one. Readers thus finally learn the reason for Grandpa's sadness and withdrawal as he shares more about his late wife, connecting with his grandson in the process. Well-paced and closely structured, this story works on every level, with Egnus' watercolors showing a range of emotion and activity, balancing clutter with space. It's not quite a story for children processing grief, as Henry seems fairly unaffected, but it may help families explain to children why the grown-ups in their lives are behaving differently after loss. Henry and his family present white.Peaceful and heartfelt. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Michael L. Printz Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Sontag: Her Life and Work
by Benjamin Moser

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Covenant Of Water
by Abraham Verghese

Publishers Weekly

The physician-writer Abraham Verghese's riveting, sprawling epic opens with a mother and her 12-year-old daughter crying. It is 1900 in Travancore, south India, today part of Kerala, and in the morning, the frightened girl is to marry a man who is 40 and a widower. She will do as she is told but she cannot imagine the future ahead. Her mother reassures her but soon her voice ebbs, her breathing slows, and then she is asleep, leaving her daughter awake. The body's need for rest overtakes the mother's anguish. And we are thus ushered into the next day and the girl's journey on a boat far from her childhood home.

Big Ammachi, as the girl will come to be known, will grow to love her husband; he, in turn, will treat her like the child she is for several more years. By the time she is 17, she will give birth to her first child, a daughter named Baby Mol. They live on their estate, Parambil, the labour handled dutifully by a man named Shamuel, who is part of the landless caste called the pulayan. Big Ammachi eventually has a son, Philipose, and he and Shamuel's young son, Joppan, are playmates, but when a school official prohibits Joppan from attending class, Big Ammachi finds herself struggling to explain the caste system that is forcing the friends to live increasingly segregated lives. "Its roots are deep and so ancient that it feels like a law of nature, like rivers going to the sea. But the pain in those innocent eyes reminds her of what is so easy to forget: the caste system is an abomination." Decades later, Philipose and Joppan will have uncomfortable conversations about what is owed by landowners to the pulayan, but any lingering anger that Joppan might have is put off for another generation.

Spanning from 1900 to 1977 in Kerala, The Covenant of Water reveals some of the contradictions of living in a colonised, segregated society. Dr Digby Kilgour, the lonely son of an impoverished alcoholic mother, flees Scotland for colonised India, only to discover that he is "oppressed in Glasgow; oppressor here. The thought depresses him." Yet the complicated questions that might develop as he negotiates with those increasingly fraught realities are set aside while he contends with his new hospital job and begins an affair with a woman who is married to a colleague. Tensions rise as that colleague makes a fatal medical error and places the blame on Digby. Any confrontation that would have occurred, however, is derailed by an accident that conveniently pushes Digby's storyline in another direction.

Big Ammachi watches her family expand and shrink through births and tragic deaths that involve a family curse connected to water. India gains independence. Her granddaughter, her namesake, enters medical school and tries to find the cause for this curse. Other characters make their appearance and multiple plotlines converge through encounters that rely heavily on coincidence and sudden incidents. Over the course of the book, people do not change as much as accumulate and shoulder new experiences.

The psychological and emotional growth that could have fostered deeper understandings and greater revelations remains unexplored. Verghese chooses instead to reckon with biological realities: disfiguring scars and developmental challenges, incurable afflictions and hereditary diseases, fatal accidents and debilitating addictions. The novel's authority lies not in the excavation of psychological ambiguities, but in the dawning awareness that each character is beholden to something much more powerful and more encompassing than emotional turmoil: the physical bodies they inhabit.

This is a novel - a splendid, enthralling one - about the body, about what characters inherit and what makes itself felt upon them. It is the body that contains ambiguities and mysteries. As in his international bestseller Cutting for Stone, Verghese's medical knowledge and his mesmerising attention to detail combine to create breathtaking, edge-of-your-seat scenes of survival and medical procedures that are difficult to forget. Tenderness permeates every page, at the same time as he is ruthless with the many ways his characters are made vulnerable by simply being alive. Those scenes when a person must fight for their life make for some of the most gripping episodes that I have read in some time.

At the beginning of the book, Big Ammachi, the young bride, looks out at her new home. It is "a child's fantasy world of rivulets and canals, a latticework of lakes and lagoons, a maze of backwaters and bottle-green lotus ponds; a vast circulatory system because, as her father used to say, all water is connected". This concept of connectedness, the sense of family that can extend to those unrelated by blood, is carried through nearly every chapter of this novel. "This is the covenant of water," a character thinks towards the end, "that they're all linked inescapably by their acts of commission and omission and no one stands alone."

The Covenant of Water contains a larger question of community and belonging, one that feels most important in these days of escalating political wars and tensions: is it possible to be fragile and wounded, and still necessary and loved? The answer is rendered with care by a writer who looks at the world with a doctor's knowing, merciful gaze. As much as any moral reckoning or catastrophic plot point, this is why literature, in all its comforting and challenging forms, matters.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Publishers Weekly Verghese’s breathtaking latest (after Cutting for Stone) follows several generations of a South Indian family as they search for the roots of a curse. The watery setting of Travancore (later Kerala) is described in dreamlike terms, with “rivulets and canals, a latticework of lakes and lagoons, a maze of backwaters and bottle-green lotus ponds.” There, a member of the Parambil family has drowned in each of the last three generations. The story begins in 1900 when a 12-year-old girl, who becomes known as Big Ammachi, marries a 40-year-old widower with a two-year-old son, JoJo. Big Ammachi sees the curse firsthand after discovering JoJo drowned at 10 in an irrigation ditch. At 16, she gives birth to Baby Mol, a daughter gifted with prophecy, and then to a son, Philipose, who becomes a newspaper columnist and marries Elsie, a beautiful and talented artist. They live in Big Ammachi’s loving home with their son, Ninan, until an accident sends the couple reeling. Philipose becomes an opium addict and Elsie returns to her family, but they reunite briefly and have a daughter, Mariamma, until another tragedy leaves newborn Mariamma motherless. A parallel narrative involves Scottish surgeon Digby Kilgour, who runs a leprosarium, and by the end, Verghese perfectly connects the wandering threads. Along the way, Mariamma becomes a neurosurgeon and seeks the cause of the drownings, and the author handily depicts Mariamma’s intricate brain surgeries and Kilgour’s skin graft treatments, along with political turmoil when the Maoist Naxalite movement hits close to home. Verghese outdoes himself with this grand and stunning tribute to 20th-century India. Agent: Mary Evans, Mary Evans Inc. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal This new work from Verghese (Cutting for Stone) is not just a novel; it is a literary landmark, a monumental treatment of family and country, as sprawling in scope as Edna Ferber's Giant. The story spans over 70 years and three generations of a family living in Kerala on the western coast of India, a place where water has as much significance as land. But for this family, water is also a curse; in each generation, one family member has died by drowning, and the fear of water looms ominously. The story begins with the awkwardness of the arranged marriage of 12-year-old Mariamma—later known as Big Ammachi (Big Mother)—to a man 40 years her senior, an arrangement with which neither bride nor groom is happy at first. But as time passes, the couple adjusts, and a deep love infuses their union and the generations that follow. Big Ammachi oversees her family with patience and wisdom, remaining present even after death. VERDICT Writing with compassion and insight, Verghese creates distinct characters in Dickensian profusion, and his language is striking; even graphic descriptions of medical procedures are beautifully wrought. Throughout, there are joy, courage, and devotion as well as tragedy; always there is water, the covenant that links all.—Michael F. Russo

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Three generations of a South Indian family are marked by passions and peccadillos, conditions and ambitions, interventions both medical and divine. "Where the sea meets white beach, it thrusts fingers inland to intertwine with the rivers snaking down the green canopied slopes of the Ghats. It is a child’s fantasy world of rivulets and canals, a latticework of lakes and lagoons, a maze of backwaters and bottle-green lotus ponds; a vast circulatory system because, as her father used to say, all water is connected." Verghese's narrative mirrors the landscape it is set in, a maze of connecting storylines and biographies so complex and vast that it's almost a little crazy. But as one of the characters points out, "You can't set out to achieve your goals without a little madness." The madness begins in 1900, when a 12-year-old girl is married off to a widower with a young son. She will be known as Ammachi, "little mother," before she's even a teenager. Her life is the central stream that flows through the epic landscape of this story, in which drowning is only the most common of the disastrous fates Verghese visits on his beloved characters—burning, impaling, leprosy, opium addiction, hearing loss, smallpox, birth defects, political fanaticism, and so much more, though many will also receive outsized gifts in artistic ability, intellect, strength, and prophecy. As in the bestselling and equally weighty Cutting for Stone (2009), the fiction debut by Verghese (who's also a physician), the medical procedures and advances play a central role—scenes of hand surgery and brain surgery are narrated with the same enthusiastic detail as scenes of lovemaking. A few times along this very long journey one may briefly wonder, Is all this really necessary? What a joy to say it is, to experience the exquisite, uniquely literary delight of all the pieces falling into place in a way one really did not see coming. As Ammachi is well aware by the time she is a grandmother in the 1970s, "A good story goes beyond what a forgiving God cares to do: it reconciles families and unburdens them of secrets whose bond is stronger than blood." By God, he's done it again. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list Instantly and utterly absorbing is the so-worth-the-long-wait new novel by the author of Cutting for Stone (2009). Spanning 70 years, it opens with the 1900 marriage of a 12-year-old girl to a 40-year-old widower with a young child. The couple belong to India’s Saint Thomas Christian community, descendants of St. Thomas’ converts after his arrival in present-day Kerala almost two millennia prior. While toddler JoJo immediately accepts the bride as his mother, the groom maintains a watchful distance until she is ready for a husband. She matures into Big Ammachi, the beloved matriarch of Parambil, the family’s 500-acre estate. She births two children, a daughter who never outgrows a five-year-old’s delight and a son whose wanderings finally bring him home to stay. Always looming is “the Condition,” a mysterious history of drowning that claims a victim in every generation. Meanwhile, in faraway Glasgow, orphaned Digby becomes a doctor against impossible odds and escapes his tragic past to become a privileged white man in British India. His trajectory as a promising surgeon, estate owner, and gentle caretaker inevitably overlaps with many of Parambil’s inhabitants. Verghese—who gifts the matriarch his mother’s name and even some of her stories—illuminates colonial history, challenges castes and classism, and exposes injustices, all while spectacularly spinning what will undoubtedly be one of the most lauded, awarded, best-selling novels of the year.

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog When You Trap a Tiger
by Tae Keller

School Library Journal Gr 4–7—Lily has always loved her halmoni's stories; Korean folktales that begin, "long, long ago, when tiger walked like a man." But Lily never expected to encounter the fierce magical tiger in her sick grandmother's basement, or to strike a deal to heal Halmoni by releasing the powerful stories she stole as a young woman. Keller illuminates Lily's desperation to heal Halmoni and bring her family together through the tiger stories interspersed throughout the book; stories of heroism and self-sacrifice, of sisterhood and bravery. Yet the book's greatest strength is in its complex human characters, from Halmoni whose traumatic immigration story spurs her to unite her community through kindness and herbal remedies, to Lily's prickly older sister Sam, whose grief and fear stirred up by Halmoni's illness exists alongside a budding romance with a new girlfriend. Lily worries about her invisibility and living up to the "quiet Asian girl" stereotype she hates, but she doesn't know how else to cope with her volatile teenage sister or her mother's need to pretend that everything is okay, despite the weight of family trauma past and present. Keller weaves ancient folklore with Korean history through contemporary magical realism. She calls on the power of stories to bring families and communities together and the ability to heal by speaking to their pasts. VERDICT This deeply moving book is a must-purchase for all collections, showcasing vulnerable and mythic storytelling in the vein of Erin Entrada Kelly and Kacen Callender.—Molly Saunders, Manatee County Public Libraries, Bradenton, FL

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list If stories were written in the stars and guarded by tigers, this wondrous tale would be one of the brightest. Lily is happy when she; her mom; and sister, Sam, move, because it means they will spend more time with their grandmother, their halmoni, whose life is full of magic. Halmoni has always told beautiful stories about clever sisters and equally clever tigers not to be trusted but Lily soon finds that life is not how she expected it to be. Sam isn't so happy about the move, and worse, Halmoni is very sick, so when a tiger appears to Lily, offering her a deal, she thinks it could be what saves her grandmother. Lily's magic-realist world, rooted in Korean folklore, will envelop readers as she deals with growing up (and, at times, apart from her sister), finding new friends, and coping with her grandmother's illness. Keller's characters from Halmoni, who dresses up to go grocery shopping, to Sam, who hides her own heartbreaks will have readers wishing they were real. Every chapter is filled with a richness and magic that demands every word be treasured, a heartfelt reminder of the wonder and beauty in our everyday lives. Readers young and old will want to trap this story in a jar forever.--Selenia Paz Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Making deals with talking tigers was the one thing that biracial Lily’s glamorous Korean grandmother, Halmoni, warned her never to do. Yet when Halmoni falls ill, a magical tiger offers Lily an ultimatum: recover the stories that Halmoni stole years ago, or lose her forever. Keller weaves Korean folk tradition with warm scenes of Korean-American domesticity—preparing food for ancestral spirits, late night snacking on kimchi. The result is a story that seamlessly transitions from the mundane to the magical, never jarring when Lily’s contemporary America is sporadically replaced with a mythical land of sky gods and tiger girls. Beyond the magical elements, a diverse cast of characters populate Lily’s world—her sullen older sister, Sam; her widowed mother; the kind library staff; and Ricky, a new friend with more than one family secret. While the pacing is slow, the characters’ development feels authentic and well drawn. Keller’s (The Science of Breakable Things) #OwnVoices journey through Korean mythology begins with a fantastical quest and slowly transforms into a tale about letting go and the immortality that story can allow. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus A young girl bargaining for the health of her grandmother discovers both her family's past and the strength of her own voice.For many years, Lily's Korean grandmother, Halmoni, has shared her Asian wisdom and healing powers with her predominantly white community. When Lily, her sister, Samboth biracial, Korean and whiteand their widowed mom move in with Halmoni to be close with her as she ages, Lily begins to see a magical tiger. What were previously bedtime stories become dangerously prophetic, as Lily begins to piece together fact from fiction. There is no need for prior knowledge of Korean folktales, although a traditional Korean myth propels the story forward. From the tiger, Lily learns that Halmoni has bottled up the hard stories of her past to keep sadness at bay. Lily makes a deal with the tiger to heal her grandmother by releasing those stories. What she comes to realize is that healing doesn't mean health and that Halmoni is not the only one in need of the power of storytelling. Interesting supporting characters are fully developed but used sparingly to keep the focus on the simple yet suspenseful plot. Keller infuses this tale, which explores both the end of life and coming-of-age, with a sensitive examination of immigration issues and the complexity of home. It is at one and the same time completely American and thoroughly informed by Korean culture.Longingfor connection, for family, for a voiceroars to life with just a touch of magic. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 4–7—Lily has always loved her halmoni's stories; Korean folktales that begin, "long, long ago, when tiger walked like a man." But Lily never expected to encounter the fierce magical tiger in her sick grandmother's basement, or to strike a deal to heal Halmoni by releasing the powerful stories she stole as a young woman. Keller illuminates Lily's desperation to heal Halmoni and bring her family together through the tiger stories interspersed throughout the book; stories of heroism and self-sacrifice, of sisterhood and bravery. Yet the book's greatest strength is in its complex human characters, from Halmoni whose traumatic immigration story spurs her to unite her community through kindness and herbal remedies, to Lily's prickly older sister Sam, whose grief and fear stirred up by Halmoni's illness exists alongside a budding romance with a new girlfriend. Lily worries about her invisibility and living up to the "quiet Asian girl" stereotype she hates, but she doesn't know how else to cope with her volatile teenage sister or her mother's need to pretend that everything is okay, despite the weight of family trauma past and present. Keller weaves ancient folklore with Korean history through contemporary magical realism. She calls on the power of stories to bring families and communities together and the ability to heal by speaking to their pasts. VERDICT This deeply moving book is a must-purchase for all collections, showcasing vulnerable and mythic storytelling in the vein of Erin Entrada Kelly and Kacen Callender.—Molly Saunders, Manatee County Public Libraries, Bradenton, FL

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Korean American middle schooler Lily thinks she has to take on a magical tiger in order to save her beloved Halmoni (grandmother), but the truth is much more complicated. An ambitious number of themes--coming of age, family relationships (particularly between sisters and between generations), belonging, friendship, grief, and end-of-life--intertwine in a heartfelt novel. Debut author Keller incorporates Korean folktales throughout, adding richness and depth. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 3–7—Keller's narrative can't be faulted—the story is achingly gorgeous. A widowed Korean American mother and her two mixed-race daughters move from California to Washington to live with their glamorous, unconventional Halmoni—grandmother" in Korean. Older sister Sam—living in sullen teenagerhood—is resistant, but younger Lily can't get enough of Halmoni's magical tales. When Lily learns of Halmoni's illness, she negotiates a deal with a mythic tiger to save Halmoni's life. While Keller, whose own grandmother is Korean, has written an affirming book, the audio adaptation, narrated by Korean American Greta Jung, amplifies Keller's easily correctable cultural stumbles. Keller's use of "Unya" for "older sister" is particularly jarring; "unnee" is older sister, the suffix '-ya' akin to adding 'hey' or 'yo' when calling to someone—"This is it, Unya cried," translates to "hey, unnee cried." Perhaps Jung could only read exactly what's on the page, but as her Korean is uneven (the pronunciation of "Halmoni," for example, is inconsistent), writer, reader, and certainly the producers missed an obvious opportunity for improvement or correction. VERDICT Alas, this audio interpretation misses the mark.—Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list If stories were written in the stars and guarded by tigers, this wondrous tale would be one of the brightest. Lily is happy when she; her mom; and sister, Sam, move, because it means they will spend more time with their grandmother, their halmoni, whose life is full of magic. Halmoni has always told beautiful stories about clever sisters and equally clever tigers not to be trusted but Lily soon finds that life is not how she expected it to be. Sam isn't so happy about the move, and worse, Halmoni is very sick, so when a tiger appears to Lily, offering her a deal, she thinks it could be what saves her grandmother. Lily's magic-realist world, rooted in Korean folklore, will envelop readers as she deals with growing up (and, at times, apart from her sister), finding new friends, and coping with her grandmother's illness. Keller's characters from Halmoni, who dresses up to go grocery shopping, to Sam, who hides her own heartbreaks will have readers wishing they were real. Every chapter is filled with a richness and magic that demands every word be treasured, a heartfelt reminder of the wonder and beauty in our everyday lives. Readers young and old will want to trap this story in a jar forever.--Selenia Paz Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Making deals with talking tigers was the one thing that biracial Lily’s glamorous Korean grandmother, Halmoni, warned her never to do. Yet when Halmoni falls ill, a magical tiger offers Lily an ultimatum: recover the stories that Halmoni stole years ago, or lose her forever. Keller weaves Korean folk tradition with warm scenes of Korean-American domesticity—preparing food for ancestral spirits, late night snacking on kimchi. The result is a story that seamlessly transitions from the mundane to the magical, never jarring when Lily’s contemporary America is sporadically replaced with a mythical land of sky gods and tiger girls. Beyond the magical elements, a diverse cast of characters populate Lily’s world—her sullen older sister, Sam; her widowed mother; the kind library staff; and Ricky, a new friend with more than one family secret. While the pacing is slow, the characters’ development feels authentic and well drawn. Keller’s (The Science of Breakable Things) #OwnVoices journey through Korean mythology begins with a fantastical quest and slowly transforms into a tale about letting go and the immortality that story can allow. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus A young girl bargaining for the health of her grandmother discovers both her family's past and the strength of her own voice.For many years, Lily's Korean grandmother, Halmoni, has shared her Asian wisdom and healing powers with her predominantly white community. When Lily, her sister, Samboth biracial, Korean and whiteand their widowed mom move in with Halmoni to be close with her as she ages, Lily begins to see a magical tiger. What were previously bedtime stories become dangerously prophetic, as Lily begins to piece together fact from fiction. There is no need for prior knowledge of Korean folktales, although a traditional Korean myth propels the story forward. From the tiger, Lily learns that Halmoni has bottled up the hard stories of her past to keep sadness at bay. Lily makes a deal with the tiger to heal her grandmother by releasing those stories. What she comes to realize is that healing doesn't mean health and that Halmoni is not the only one in need of the power of storytelling. Interesting supporting characters are fully developed but used sparingly to keep the focus on the simple yet suspenseful plot. Keller infuses this tale, which explores both the end of life and coming-of-age, with a sensitive examination of immigration issues and the complexity of home. It is at one and the same time completely American and thoroughly informed by Korean culture.Longingfor connection, for family, for a voiceroars to life with just a touch of magic. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Drowning Ruth
by Christina Schwarz

Library Journal: Why did Ruth's mother, Mathilda, drown on that fateful night in 1919 and Ruth survive? That is the central question that this novel sets out to answer. Mathilda's sister, Amanda, who has been nursing soldiers in Milwaukee (it is right after World War I), has returned to the family farm in rural Wisconsin. Mathilda and Ruth are there to help her return to a normal life. Yet a year later, Mathilda's husband returns from the war to find his wife drowned and his sister-in-law raising his daughter. So continues the tale through 1941, as we watch Ruth grow up and try to remember what happened that winter night. Along the way, Ruth befriends Imogene, who has a closer connection to the family than Ruth can imagine. The story is recounted partly through flashback and moves from first-person to third-person narrative. What results is a gripping tale of sisterly rivalry, family loyalty, and secret histories. Already optioned for a film by Miramax, to be directed by Wes Craven, this first novel is an engrossing read. Recommended for all public libraries.

Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: "Ruth remembered drowning." The first sentence of this brilliantly understated psychological thriller leaps off the page and captures the reader's imagination. In Schwarz's debut novel, brutal Wisconsin weather and WWI drama color a tale of family rivalry, madness, secrets and obsessive love. By March 1919, Nurse Amanda Starkey has come undone. She convinces herself that her daily exposure to the wounded soldiers in the Milwaukee hospital where she works is the cause of her hallucinations, fainting spells and accidents. Amanda journeys home to the family farm in Nagawaukee, where her sister, Mathilda (Mattie), lives with her three-year-old daughter Ruth, awaiting the return of her war-injured husband, Carl Neumann. Mattie's ebullient welcome convinces Amanda she can mend there. But then Mattie drowns in the lake that surrounds the sisters' island house and, in a rush of confusion and anguish, Amanda assumes care of Ruth. After Carl comes home, Amanda and he manage to work together on the farm and parent Ruth, but their arrangement is strained: Amanda has a breakdown and recuperates at a sanatorium. As time passes, Ruth grows into an odd, guarded child who clings to perplexing memories of the night her mother drowned. Why does Amanda have that little circle of scars on her hand? What is Amanda's connection to Ruth's friend Imogene and why does she fear Imogene's marriage to Clement Owen's son? Schwarz deftly uses first-person narration to heighten the drama. Her prose is spare but bewitching, and she juggles the speakers and time periods with the surety of a seasoned novelist. Rather than attempting a trumped-up suspenseful finale, Schwarz ends her novel gently, underscoring the delicate power of her tale. Agent, Jennifer R. Walsh at the Writers Shop. Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Teen People and Mango Book Club main selections; film rights optioned by Miramax, Wes Craven to direct; foreign rights sold in Germany, France, the U.K., Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. (Aug.)

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal: YA-A wonderfully constructed gothic suspense novel set on a stark Wisconsin farm in 1919. The story goes backward and forward in time and is told by Amanda, her niece Ruth, and an omniscient narrator. The ties that bind the two women are as fragile as they are fierce and have their origin in the relationship of two sisters, Amanda and her sister Mattie, Ruth's mother. The narrative begins with Amanda as she recounts her childhood and the responsibility she came to feel for her younger sister and the parents who favored her younger sibling. Amanda finally wrests herself away from home to become a nurse, but her independence is short-lived. Overwhelmed and sickened by the care of the wounded, and heartsick over the love of a married man, she suffers a nervous breakdown and seeks solace by returning to the farm to help Mattie care for her tiny daughter as they await the return of Mattie's husband from World War I. But tragedy follows with Mattie's mysterious drowning during a winter blizzard and guilty lies soon engulf Amanda and threaten to change the lives of several others in the small rural community. A compelling complex tale of psychological mystery and maddeningly destructive provincial attitudes.-Jackie Gropman, Kings Park Library, Fairfax, VA

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Olive Kitteridge:
by Elizabeth Strout

Library Journal : In her third novel, New York Times best-selling author Strout (Abide with Me) tracks Olive Kitteridge's adult life through 13 linked stories. Olive—a wife, mother, and retired teacher—lives in the small coastal town of Crosby, ME. A large, hulking woman with a relentlessly unpleasant personality, Olive intimidates generations of community members with her quick, cruel condemnations of those around her—including her gentle, optimistic, and devoted husband, Henry, and her son, Christopher, who, as an adult, flees the suffocating vortex of his mother's displeasure. Strout offers a fair amount of relief from Olive's mean cloud in her treatment of the lives of the other townsfolk. With the deft, piercing shorthand that is her short story—telling trademark, she takes readers below the surface of deceptive small-town ordinariness to expose the human condition in all its suffering and sadness. Even when Olive is kept in the background of some of the tales, her influence is apparent. Readers will have to decide for themselves whether it's worth the ride to the last few pages to witness Olive's slide into something resembling insight. For larger libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/07.]—Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

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Coretta Scott King Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Goin Someplace Special
by Jerry Pinkney

Publishers Weekly : McKissack draws from her childhood in Nashville for this instructive picture book. "I don't know if I'm ready to turn you loose in the world," Mama Frances tells her granddaughter when she asks if she can go by herself to "Someplace Special" (the destination remains unidentified until the end of the story). 'Tricia Ann does obtain permission, and begins a bittersweet journey downtown, her pride battered by the indignities of Jim Crow laws. She's ejected from a hotel lobby and snubbed as she walks by a movie theater ("Colored people can't come in the front door," she hears a girl explaining to her brother. "They got to go 'round back and sit up in the Buzzard's Roost"). She almost gives up, but, buoyed by the encouragement of adult acquaintances ("Carry yo'self proud," one of her grandmother's friends tells her from the Colored section on the bus), she finally arrives at Someplace Special a place Mama Frances calls "a doorway to freedom" the public library. An afterword explains McKissack's connection to the tale, and by putting such a personal face on segregation she makes its injustices painfully real for her audience. Pinkney's (previously paired with McKissack for Mirandy and Brother Wind) luminescent watercolors evoke the '50s, from fashions to finned cars, and he captures every ounce of 'Tricia Ann's eagerness, humiliation and quiet triumph at the end. Ages 4-8.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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