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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Scythe.
by Shusterman, Neal

Book list *Starred Review* Publishers say that historical fiction is a hard sell, and books with religion at their core are few and far between. Kudos, then, to Berry (All the Truth That's in Me, 2013) for creating a sweeping saga that not only deeply entwines both but also dissects its characters' humanity as it looks at the often troubling beliefs that underlay their actions. The story-within-a-story begins in 1290. A friar is gathering papers and testimonies that will show how the inquisitions here on the border of France and Spain were God's holy work. But one tale troubles him, so much so that he begins to stitch the strands together, and that is where the main story begins. Botille is a sassy teenager who makes money in her seaside village of Bajas by matchmaking. A disruptive childhood and a drunken father has bound Botille and her sisters closely together, but their lives are good: Plazensa runs the tavern, Botille makes her matches, and Sazia tells fortunes with uncanny accuracy. To the north, in Tolosos, there is another girl, Dolssa. Aristocratic by birth and a mystic by the grace of God, she spends her days with her beloved, Jesus, who wraps her in his murmurs and consumes her with his love. That much love cannot be contained, and Dolssa begins telling others how much her beloved cherishes all people. The simplicity of her message is seen by the inquisitors as a threat to the church, a devil's deception, and there is only one place it can end: in a public burning. Miraculously, Dolssa escapes the pyre. She wanders until she meets Botille, who saves and shelters her. This beautifully crafted plot would be enough on its own, but Berry does so much more. First, she establishes a convincing setting, in part by peppering the dialogue with Old ProvenÁal language. Using many voices, some of which, including Botille and Dolssa, relate their own stories, she picks beneath words and actions to expose the motives of the heart, revealing how lofty ideas can turn into terrorizing actions, and how fear and self-preservation can make friends and neighbors turn on one another. Yet despite the book's gravity, Berry also manages to infuse her story with laughter and light welcome surprises. The final surprise awaiting readers at the book's conclusion adds yet another layer to the storytelling. Also at the book's end, Berry has included a wealth of back matter, a glossary, a list of characters (possibly of more help if placed at the book's beginning), and an author's note explaining the roots of the religious discord, inquisitions, and wars, and touching on such female mystics as Hildegard of Bingen, who is referenced in the novel. The beauty of historical fiction is that it brings to life long-ago times and places even as it shows how hopes, fears, and dreams remain constant across the ages. The strength of religious-centric novels is their revelation of the myriad ways people grapple with their faith and spirituality. The Passion of Dolssa's rich brew will leave readers thinking about all of these things, even as it profoundly influences their own struggles and questions.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Horn Book A (fictional) Catholic mystic, Dolssa de Stigata, escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 France; mostly, this is the story of Botille, an enterprising young matchmaker from a tiny fishing village who rescues Dolssa. Botille's spirited character, the heart-rending suspense of events, and the terrifying context of the Inquisition in medieval Europe all render the novel irresistibly compelling. Historical note appended. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2016. 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 7 Up-This magnificent tale is set in post-Crusades 13th-century France. A pious young noblewoman blessed with the gift of healing, Dolssa de Stigata is judged a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church and sentenced to burn at the stake. Forced to watch her beloved mother burn first, Dolssa is surprised when someone cuts the ropes binding her hands and feet and implores her to run. Driven into hiding from the churchmen dispatched to track her down, Dolssa is found nearly dead from starvation and exhaustion by a young tavern keeper and matchmaker, Botille, who vows to protect the young heretic despite the danger posed to herself and her family. Unlikely allies, the girls unwittingly put an entire village at risk in their effort to stand up for their beliefs. The account is told in alternating voices by Dolssa, Botille, and Arnaut d'Avinhonet, a Dominican friar. This lush and compelling book is enhanced by brilliant narration by Jayne Entwistle, Allen Corduner, and Fiona Hardingham. Lucky listeners will be haunted by their voices long after the book concludes. VERDICT Highly recommended for all junior high and high school audio collections. ["An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries": SLJ 3/16 starred review of the Viking book.]-Lisa E. Hubler, Charles F. Brush High School, Lyndhurst, OH © Copyright 2016. 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.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Botille is a matchmaker in the small seaside town of Bajas in medieval France. She struggles to run the family's tavern and keep her sisters and herself afloat. Dolssa is a young woman with a secret that she can't help but share-her lover is God, and she speaks to him regularly. When the two young women cross paths, both deep friendship and mortal peril await them. A beautifully rendered portrait of a little-known portion of history, this work is a meticulously researched piece of fiction. Yet it is not just in the accurate details that the novel shines. The strength and humanity of the almost entirely female set of characters are inspiring and well drawn. The panic and suspicion of post-Inquisition France is omnipresent, giving the story of a supposed heretic a constant edge of danger. As the novel slips in and out of magical realism, readers will be transported into Dolssa and Botille's world. VERDICT An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries.-Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter's Prep, Jersey City, NJ © Copyright 2016. 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.

Kirkus A girl matchmaker in 13th-century southern France meets a mystic on the run from the Inquisition. A generation after the horrors of the Albigensian Crusade, the elders are still broken by memories of entire towns put to the sword, but the younger folk, such as Botille and her sisters, focus on the present. After a childhood on the run, the sisters seek stability in poverty-stricken Bajas: brewing ale, telling fortunes, and helping their neighbors. Bajas is depicted through a scattering of third- and first-person viewpoints (but primarily Botille's) as a town where all look out for one other as a matter of course, where goodness is found in prostitutes, fishermen, hustlers, and drunks. Bajas' generosity is challenged when Botille discovers Dolssa, an injured, spirit-shattered girl on the run. Dolssa's a convicted heretic for speaking publicly of her intimate relationship with "her beloved...Senhor Jhesus." She trails miracles like bread crumbs, from a never-emptying ale jug to repeated uncanny cures. The villagers venerate her, but the arrival of the Inquisitionin a world where branding and burnings are mild punishments compared to recent historyputs their goodness to the test. The slow build reveals Botille as a compelling, admirable young woman in a gorgeously built world that accepts miracles without question. The medieval Languedoc countryside is so believably drawn there's no need for the too-frequent italicized interjections in Old Provenal that pepper the narrative. Immersive and mesmerizing. (character list, historical note, glossary, bibliography) (Historical fantasy. 14-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Two young women-Botille, a tavern wench, and Dolssa, a noblewoman possibly in communion with God-form a deep bond in a world that seeks to destroy them. Berry has reimagined 13th-century France with vigor, from the small intricacies of daily village life to the brutal ruthlessness of the Inquisition. Readers looking for a work steeped in female friendship, mysticism, and blood, with extensive back matter to boot, will be well rewarded. © Copyright 2016. 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.

Publishers Weekly When Botille Flasucra finds Dolssa de Stigata lying on a riverside close to death, she takes the stranger to her family's tavern. Botille, a young matchmaker, and her sisters nurse Dolssa back to health in secret-a Dominican friar obsessively hunts Dolssa, whom he condemned as a heretic to be burned at the stake. The year is 1241 in Provensa (now Provence), where the aftereffects of the Albigensian Crusade have led to an inquisition meant to rid the Christian world of heretics. Dolssa, however, feels called to heal the sick in the name of her beloved Jhesus, and her miracles eventually bring danger to the small town of Bajas. Berry (All the Truth That's in Me) again delivers an utterly original and instantly engrossing story. Drawing from meticulous historical research (highlighted in extensive back matter), she weaves a tense, moving portrait of these two teenage girls and their struggle to survive against insurmountable odds. Love, faith, violence, and power intertwine in Berry's lyrical writing, but Botille's and Dolssa's indomitable spirits are the heart of her story. Ages 12-up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller
by Kate Read

Book list Mixed media, collage, and paintings illustrate the tale of a sly and very hungry fox who's scouting out his next meal. The conceptual counting book takes readers from 1 to 10, building toward the anticipated end only to offer a surprise. Each of the numbers has a double-page spread with a brightly colored number placed over a short description: One famished fox is accompanied by an picture of a red fox curled into a circle, looking off the page seemingly thinking about what to eat. He decides on three hapless hens for his dinner, but things don't go as expected, and at the story's conclusion, he becomes one frightened fox. The large pictures are delightful the fox's coat and the hens' feathers are collages of many colors and textures and offer humor as well as great technique. Both white and black backdrops show off the vivid, clear colors, and the featured numbers appear in various quadrants on the pages. Teamwork wins the day, and youngsters will cheer on the ultimately fearless fowl.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Kirkus A hungry, sneaky fox silently approaches a henhouse and gets the surprise of its life.A farmyard serves as the setting for a counting book, with each numberone per double-page spreaddepicting how a ruddy, crimson fox with a long, flowing tail closes in on its prey. "1 / One famished fox." The fox curls on recto, pupils directed at the page turn. "2 / Two sly eyes." The fox's face dominates the verso, eyes focused on a single feather on recto. "3 / Three plump hens." The fearsome action builds and darkens as the fox's proximity increases until it is inside. "8 / Eight beady eyes" presents the shadowy outlines of three large hens with white worrying eyes looking at the fox's head, also shadowed, with white menacing eyes and sharp fangs. "9 / Nine flying feathers // 10 / Ten sharp teeth" gives the impression of a fatal conclusion. But turn the page, and amid the scurry and scuffle of feathers flying and hens running, strength in numbers prevails. "100 / One hundred angry hens" startle and chase away "1one frightened fox." In a manner reminiscent of Pat Hutchins' Rosie's Walk (1967), the intrigue and story arc are communicated visually while the counting progresses. Lovely, potent, brightly colored illustrations in a combination of textured collage and paint against white space transition to a dark, moonlit backdrop. Little ones will eagerly count in subsequent readings as they also learn new descriptive vocabulary and cheer for the brave hens.A classic scenario flips the script in this engrossing adventure. (Picture book. 3-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-K—This stunning "counting book thriller" features a hungry fox and tasty hens. Each number appears on a spread. For example, the words "1 famished fox" appears opposite a brilliantly colored fox curled in on itself, eyes peering off the page toward an as yet unrevealed prize. The count continues as the fox slinks forward, obviously lurking behind "3 plump hens" heading toward their hen house. The fox, its "4 padding paws" shown in the top half of a spread, follows. With "6 silent steps" it seems to engulf the hen house, its exaggeratedly long tail curled in the foreground. It knocks, and a page turn reveals the googily eyes of the three hens and their predator, whose sharp teeth flash in the dark interior. Feathers fly, the fox opens its wide mouth, and all seems lost until page turns provide welcome relief. Not three, but 100 "angry hens" chase the fox right back to being "1." Collage and paint in the mixed media illustrations create the various red-orange-gold hues of the fox's dazzling coat. White backgrounds give way to dark ones as the suspense builds. A striking double bleed depicts multicolored hens, their pursuit continuing onto the next page, where the fox appears as a tiny horizontal blur. VERDICT Just the right amount of tension, delicious vocabulary such as "sly," "plump," "famished," and "snug," and alliterative phrases make this a first purchase for group and one-on-one sharing. Count on requests for many readings.—Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA

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

Publishers Weekly This clever “thriller” might sound like a familiar tale: hungry fox vs. unsuspecting hens. But Read’s playful twist on the story (akin to Pat Hutchins’s Rosie’s Walk) is also an amusing way to learn the numbers one through 10. It all begins with “one famished fox,” craftily curled with a roguish look on his face. A suspenseful tone is set as his “two sly eyes” spot “three plump hens” (comically wide-eyed and feasting on worms), and the fox hatches a devious plan, portrayed in dynamic collage illustrations that economically express layers of emotion and comedy against nighttime spreads. After the hunter’s “ten sharp teeth” make an appearance, things go sideways for the fox—and for the numerical order. This one wins for its subtle message of power in numbers. Ages 2–6. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book As ‚€˜one famished fox‚€™ stalks ‚€˜three plump hens,‚€™ readers count from one to ten (plus one hundred at the end) in Read's pleasingly alliterative text. Opening spreads feature ample white space, accentuating the menace: the ‚€˜two sly eyes‚€™ spread shows the fox crouching on verso with a feather on recto. An inky black dominates as the tension builds (‚€˜five snug eggs‚€™; ‚€˜six silent steps‚€™); all ends well (unless you're the defeated fox). (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.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Homewreckers
by Mary Kay Andrews

Publishers Weekly Andrews (The Newcomer) sparkles in this fast-paced tale of a reluctant TV star, a driven producer, and a long-dormant mystery on the Georgia coast. Widowed contractor Hattie Kavanaugh is in the middle of a plumbing disaster at the historic Savannah house she’s trying to flip when Mo Lopez, who creates reality shows for an HGTV-type network, stops by to pitch a show involving her project (“You’re passionate. You’re smart. You’ve got attitude.... And it doesn’t hurt that you’re damned attractive. The camera is going to love you,” he tells her). At first, Hattie wants nothing to do with it, but she reconsiders due to her bleak financial situation. She then purchases another fixer-upper, this one on nearby Tybee Island, and as she gets going on the demo work, with Mo and his camera crew at her side, she discovers in a wall a wallet that belonged to Lanier Ragan, her high school English teacher who went missing 17 years earlier. As she uncovers more clues about Lanier, it seems someone might be willing to kill to keep the house’s secrets. The author skillfully navigates the various threads—there’s sexual tension between Hattie and a slew of suitors, and a twisty third act involving Lanier’s fate. Andrews’s fans will eat this up. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal In Andrews's latest, widowed Hattie Kavanaugh has a chance to rescue her business by appearing in a beach-house renovation reality show called The Homewreckers, competing with a male lead who could be a new love interest—or her worst competitor ever (300,000-copy first printing). In debuter CaŮa's A Proposal They Can't Refuse, Kamilah Vega wants to update her family's Puerto Rican restaurant but can't get permission from her ailing octogenarian grandfather unless she marries his best friend's son, Irish American whiskey distiller Liam (75,000-copy first printing). In Colgan's Island Wedding, Flora MacKenzie is planning a sweet, small wedding on the Scottish island of Mure when she learns that rich, gorgeous Olivia is returning home to Mure for her own extravaganza wedding—planned for the same day (100,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing). In Foster's The Honeymoon Cottage, Jubil Long isn't thrilled that the little sister he's cared for since their parents' deaths wants an out-of-the-way country wedding, but then he meets wedding planner Yardley Belanger, who wishes she could have her own wedding one day (75,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing). Lauren's Something Wilder takes Lily Wilder to the Utah desert, where she uses her difficult treasure-hunting dad's old maps to conduct staged hunts and encounters the one man from the past who always saw her as the love of his life (100,00-copy first printing). A thief since childhood, when he scrambled to support a mother dying of cancer, the ever-honorable Harry Booth feels he can't follow up his feelings for Miranda Emerson—although maybe there's hope if he disentangles himself from the Nightwork he's been trapped into doing for bad-guy Carter LaPorte. This latest from Roberts has a million-copy first printing.

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

Book list Young widow Hattie Kavanaugh just lost her shirt on her last attempted renovation of a historic house in Savannah, so she's desperate enough to accept Mo Lopez's offer to star in her own show on the Home Place Television Network. Though the network lets her best friend, Cass, stay on as foreman, they bring on hotshot designer Trae Bartholomew to spice things up in the house and maybe with Hattie, too. Unfortunately, the beach house they are renovating on Tybee Island is a total disaster, and the network's time line is tighter than the budget. Then Cass finds a wallet hidden in a wall, one that belonged to their favorite English teacher, who went missing their senior year. That, plus an overzealous inspector and a mysterious dumpster fire, makes it seem like this renovation is doomed, too. Andrews' latest, after The Newcomer (2021), is a frothy combination of a hectic old-house-renovation story and a cozy mystery with a hint of romance centered around a likable heroine who has been holding too many feelings at bay. A perfect summer escape.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Andrews' perennial summer-bestseller status plus the hot home-renovation theme means lots of demand.

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

Kirkus A young Georgia widow flips a historic house and finds evidence of a long-missing woman while developing a growing attraction for a co-worker. Hattie Kavanaugh married her high school sweetheart and lost him to a motorcycle accident after just a few years of marriage. Almost seven years on, she’s still living in her unfinished bungalow renovation near Savannah, grieving her husband, Hank, and flipping houses with his dad, Tug; her best friend, Cassidy Pelletier; and Cass’ mother, Zenobia. After a disastrous flip where Hattie loses all her savings on a gorgeous—but dilapidated—157-year-old home, Hattie decides to take an offer to star in a Home Place Television Network production with Cass that will bring in a steady paycheck as she works on her next flip and tries to earn back the money she’s lost. The catch—which she doesn’t know but her producer, Mo Lopez, does—is that the show she signed on for has changed in concept from a straight house-flipping show to a house-flip–meets–dating-show, where the goal is for the handsome designer, Trae Bartholomew, to seduce her over the course of the series. Hattie digs deep to fund the flip, pawning her engagement ring and taking a loan from her father, a wealthy ex-felon who has served time in prison for embezzlement. Author Andrews has packed a lot into this story: Not only is there drama from the reality show and Hattie’s growing attraction to a co-worker, but 17 years earlier beloved local schoolteacher Lanier Ragan went missing, and the story follows both the renovation of the long-abandoned beach home Hattie buys and the discovery of evidence in the cold case of the teacher’s disappearance. A fun story with twists and turns that will appeal to romantics and cold-case fans alike. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Higher Power of Lucky
by Susan Patron

Book list Gr. 5-8. Igus' prose poems and Wood's evocative paintings combine to give a succinct overview of African American music. A useful time line sets the social context, and brief paragraphs describe the various types of music, from African origins and slave songs through ragtime; the blues; big band, bebop, and cool jazz; gospel; rhythm and blues; and the contemporary sounds of rock, hip-hop, and rap. Igus effectively uses snippets from song lyrics to communicate both a feel for the music itself and a sense of how the various styles played to the emotions of the musicians and their fans ("From the basements to the rooftops, / I see the cool tones of modern jazz / escape the city heat"). Wood's paintings are equally suggestive. Mixing modernist and primitive styles and using color nicely to communicate musical style and tone, her art not only complements the text but vivifies it. Audience may be a problem: the supportive text is too sophisticated for younger readers to grasp themselves, and the format may alienate some older readers. Perhaps best used in a junior-high classroom with audio accompaniment, this striking book, in the hands of a creative teacher or librarian, could give kids a feeling for the majesty, creativity, and continuity of African American music. (Reviewed February 15, 1998)0892391510Bill Ott

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

Kirkus The collaborators on Going Back Home (1997) return with a stunning history of African-American music. They begin 500 years ago, on the African continent, chronicle the slave trade, and document the work songs and spirituals of American slaves. The blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, R&B, rock, funk, rap, and hip hop all come under scrutiny in free-verse poems that incorporate lyrics about and the rhythms of every style. In addition, Igus has added a brief description of each musical movement and a terrific timeline noting highlights of African-American history--both musical and more general information--which roots the whole book in a broader context. Wood's vibrant paintings are based in historical detail, and resonate with emotion. The color choices, postures of the figures, as well as the expressions on their faces, reflect various aspects of African-American music; the pictures broadcast joy, innovation, and exuberance in the face of systematic oppression. A child hidden in each scene adds a nice piece of personality for readers to interpret. Stylish and lively design pulls it all together into an absorbing, attractive package. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Reader
by Bernhard Schlink

Book list *Starred Review* Publishers say that historical fiction is a hard sell, and books with religion at their core are few and far between. Kudos, then, to Berry (All the Truth That's in Me, 2013) for creating a sweeping saga that not only deeply entwines both but also dissects its characters' humanity as it looks at the often troubling beliefs that underlay their actions. The story-within-a-story begins in 1290. A friar is gathering papers and testimonies that will show how the inquisitions here on the border of France and Spain were God's holy work. But one tale troubles him, so much so that he begins to stitch the strands together, and that is where the main story begins. Botille is a sassy teenager who makes money in her seaside village of Bajas by matchmaking. A disruptive childhood and a drunken father has bound Botille and her sisters closely together, but their lives are good: Plazensa runs the tavern, Botille makes her matches, and Sazia tells fortunes with uncanny accuracy. To the north, in Tolosos, there is another girl, Dolssa. Aristocratic by birth and a mystic by the grace of God, she spends her days with her beloved, Jesus, who wraps her in his murmurs and consumes her with his love. That much love cannot be contained, and Dolssa begins telling others how much her beloved cherishes all people. The simplicity of her message is seen by the inquisitors as a threat to the church, a devil's deception, and there is only one place it can end: in a public burning. Miraculously, Dolssa escapes the pyre. She wanders until she meets Botille, who saves and shelters her. This beautifully crafted plot would be enough on its own, but Berry does so much more. First, she establishes a convincing setting, in part by peppering the dialogue with Old ProvenÁal language. Using many voices, some of which, including Botille and Dolssa, relate their own stories, she picks beneath words and actions to expose the motives of the heart, revealing how lofty ideas can turn into terrorizing actions, and how fear and self-preservation can make friends and neighbors turn on one another. Yet despite the book's gravity, Berry also manages to infuse her story with laughter and light welcome surprises. The final surprise awaiting readers at the book's conclusion adds yet another layer to the storytelling. Also at the book's end, Berry has included a wealth of back matter, a glossary, a list of characters (possibly of more help if placed at the book's beginning), and an author's note explaining the roots of the religious discord, inquisitions, and wars, and touching on such female mystics as Hildegard of Bingen, who is referenced in the novel. The beauty of historical fiction is that it brings to life long-ago times and places even as it shows how hopes, fears, and dreams remain constant across the ages. The strength of religious-centric novels is their revelation of the myriad ways people grapple with their faith and spirituality. The Passion of Dolssa's rich brew will leave readers thinking about all of these things, even as it profoundly influences their own struggles and questions.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Horn Book A (fictional) Catholic mystic, Dolssa de Stigata, escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 France; mostly, this is the story of Botille, an enterprising young matchmaker from a tiny fishing village who rescues Dolssa. Botille's spirited character, the heart-rending suspense of events, and the terrifying context of the Inquisition in medieval Europe all render the novel irresistibly compelling. Historical note appended. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2016. 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 7 Up-This magnificent tale is set in post-Crusades 13th-century France. A pious young noblewoman blessed with the gift of healing, Dolssa de Stigata is judged a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church and sentenced to burn at the stake. Forced to watch her beloved mother burn first, Dolssa is surprised when someone cuts the ropes binding her hands and feet and implores her to run. Driven into hiding from the churchmen dispatched to track her down, Dolssa is found nearly dead from starvation and exhaustion by a young tavern keeper and matchmaker, Botille, who vows to protect the young heretic despite the danger posed to herself and her family. Unlikely allies, the girls unwittingly put an entire village at risk in their effort to stand up for their beliefs. The account is told in alternating voices by Dolssa, Botille, and Arnaut d'Avinhonet, a Dominican friar. This lush and compelling book is enhanced by brilliant narration by Jayne Entwistle, Allen Corduner, and Fiona Hardingham. Lucky listeners will be haunted by their voices long after the book concludes. VERDICT Highly recommended for all junior high and high school audio collections. ["An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries": SLJ 3/16 starred review of the Viking book.]-Lisa E. Hubler, Charles F. Brush High School, Lyndhurst, OH © Copyright 2016. 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.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Botille is a matchmaker in the small seaside town of Bajas in medieval France. She struggles to run the family's tavern and keep her sisters and herself afloat. Dolssa is a young woman with a secret that she can't help but share-her lover is God, and she speaks to him regularly. When the two young women cross paths, both deep friendship and mortal peril await them. A beautifully rendered portrait of a little-known portion of history, this work is a meticulously researched piece of fiction. Yet it is not just in the accurate details that the novel shines. The strength and humanity of the almost entirely female set of characters are inspiring and well drawn. The panic and suspicion of post-Inquisition France is omnipresent, giving the story of a supposed heretic a constant edge of danger. As the novel slips in and out of magical realism, readers will be transported into Dolssa and Botille's world. VERDICT An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries.-Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter's Prep, Jersey City, NJ © Copyright 2016. 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.

Kirkus A girl matchmaker in 13th-century southern France meets a mystic on the run from the Inquisition. A generation after the horrors of the Albigensian Crusade, the elders are still broken by memories of entire towns put to the sword, but the younger folk, such as Botille and her sisters, focus on the present. After a childhood on the run, the sisters seek stability in poverty-stricken Bajas: brewing ale, telling fortunes, and helping their neighbors. Bajas is depicted through a scattering of third- and first-person viewpoints (but primarily Botille's) as a town where all look out for one other as a matter of course, where goodness is found in prostitutes, fishermen, hustlers, and drunks. Bajas' generosity is challenged when Botille discovers Dolssa, an injured, spirit-shattered girl on the run. Dolssa's a convicted heretic for speaking publicly of her intimate relationship with "her beloved...Senhor Jhesus." She trails miracles like bread crumbs, from a never-emptying ale jug to repeated uncanny cures. The villagers venerate her, but the arrival of the Inquisitionin a world where branding and burnings are mild punishments compared to recent historyputs their goodness to the test. The slow build reveals Botille as a compelling, admirable young woman in a gorgeously built world that accepts miracles without question. The medieval Languedoc countryside is so believably drawn there's no need for the too-frequent italicized interjections in Old Provenal that pepper the narrative. Immersive and mesmerizing. (character list, historical note, glossary, bibliography) (Historical fantasy. 14-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Two young women-Botille, a tavern wench, and Dolssa, a noblewoman possibly in communion with God-form a deep bond in a world that seeks to destroy them. Berry has reimagined 13th-century France with vigor, from the small intricacies of daily village life to the brutal ruthlessness of the Inquisition. Readers looking for a work steeped in female friendship, mysticism, and blood, with extensive back matter to boot, will be well rewarded. © Copyright 2016. 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.

Publishers Weekly When Botille Flasucra finds Dolssa de Stigata lying on a riverside close to death, she takes the stranger to her family's tavern. Botille, a young matchmaker, and her sisters nurse Dolssa back to health in secret-a Dominican friar obsessively hunts Dolssa, whom he condemned as a heretic to be burned at the stake. The year is 1241 in Provensa (now Provence), where the aftereffects of the Albigensian Crusade have led to an inquisition meant to rid the Christian world of heretics. Dolssa, however, feels called to heal the sick in the name of her beloved Jhesus, and her miracles eventually bring danger to the small town of Bajas. Berry (All the Truth That's in Me) again delivers an utterly original and instantly engrossing story. Drawing from meticulous historical research (highlighted in extensive back matter), she weaves a tense, moving portrait of these two teenage girls and their struggle to survive against insurmountable odds. Love, faith, violence, and power intertwine in Berry's lyrical writing, but Botille's and Dolssa's indomitable spirits are the heart of her story. Ages 12-up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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