Learning Express

Featured Book Lists
New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Institute
by Stephen King

Publishers Weekly King wows with the most gut-wrenching tale of kids triumphing over evil since It. In a quiet Minnesota neighborhood, intruders kidnap 12-year-old prodigy Luke Ellis and murder his parents. When Luke wakes up, he finds himself in a room identical to his own bedroom, except that he is now a resident of the Institute—a facility that tests telekinetic and telepathic abilities of children. Luke finds comfort in the company of the children in the Front Half: Kalisha, Nick, George, and Avery. Others have graduated to the Back Half, where “kids check in, but they don’t check out.” The Front Half are promised that they’ll be returned to their parents after testing and a visit to Back Half, but Luke becomes suspicious and desperate to get out and get help for the others. However, no child has ever escaped the Institute. Tapping into the minds of the young characters, King creates a sense of menace and intimacy that will have readers spellbound. The mystery of the Institute’s purpose is drawn out naturally until it becomes far scarier than the physical abuse visited upon the children. Not a word is wasted in this meticulously crafted novel, which once again proves why King is the king of horror. Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff & Verrill. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Narrator Santino Fontana brings King's (The Outsider) latest parapsychological thriller to life with dramatic skill that creates mood and tone. Late one night, a Minneapolis home is invaded. The parents are ruthlessly murdered; Luke, their precociously gifted tween son, is then kidnapped by a secretive government agency and taken to the Institute. There he will be the subject of torturous experiments designed to strengthen his mild telekinetic ability in order to weaponize him. The children and teens he befriends there and how they ultimately triumph make for a stay-up-all-night-to-finish read and prove yet again King's ability to create richly textured characters and a story featuring themes of conspiracy theory, child abuse, the occult, and Deep State malevolence. VERDICT Recommended for confirmed King fans and an excellent entry point to the author.—David Faucheux, Lafayette, LA

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

Kirkus The master of modern horror returns with a loose-knit parapsychological thriller that touches on territory previously explored in Firestarter and Carrie.Tim Jamieson is a man emphatically not in a hurry. As King's (The Outsider, 2018, etc.) latest opens, he's bargaining with a flight attendant to sell his seat on an overbooked run from Tampa to New York. His pockets full, he sticks out his thumb and winds up in the backwater South Carolina town of DuPray (should we hear echoes of "pray"? Or "depraved"?). Turns out he's a decorated cop, good at his job and at reading others ("You ought to go see Doc Roper," he tells a local. "There are pills that will brighten your attitude"). Shift the scene to Minneapolis, where young Luke Ellis, precociously brilliant, has been kidnapped by a crack extraction team, his parents brutally murdered so that it looks as if he did it. Luke is spirited off to Mainethis is King, so it's got to be Maineand a secret shadow-government lab where similarly conscripted paranormally blessed kids, psychokinetic and telepathic, are made to endure the Skinnerian pain-and-reward methods of the evil Mrs. Sigsby. How to bring the stories of Tim and Luke together? King has never minded detours into the unlikely, but for this one, disbelief must be extra-willingly suspended. In the end, their forces joined, the two and their redneck allies battle the sophisticated secret agents of The Institute in a bloodbath of flying bullets and beams of mental energy ("You're in the south now, Annie had told these gunned-up interlopers. She had an idea they were about to find out just how true that was"). It's not King at his best, but he plays on current themes of conspiracy theory, child abuse, the occult, and Deep State malevolence while getting in digs at the current occupant of the White House, to say nothing of shadowy evil masterminds with lisps.King fans won't be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list Over a prolific 40-year writing career most authors only dream about, King has turned almost every one of his novels into a bestseller on the strength of his ability to create sympathetic protagonists facing life-threatening and often otherworldly challenges. Following the tender and mysterious fable, Elevation (2018), King's latest supernatural yarn stays true to his signature focus by featuring a 12-year-old genius named Luke Ellis who's kidnapped and transported to a secret facility known simply as the Institute. As the shock of capture wears off, Luke discovers his fellow inmates are all other adolescents like himself with latent psychic powers powers that are exploited and enhanced by a team of abusive researchers. When Luke befriends a disenchanted housekeeper, he quickly seizes the opportunity to escape and reveal the Institute's undertakings to the outside world. King devotees will, of course, devour this latest suspenseful page-turner, but any reader looking for a smart thriller about an unusual black ops organization will find this compelling and rewarding. With his usual blend of plot twists and vividly drawn characters, King remains at the top of his game. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Abducted psychic teens, a black ops mission, and narrative magnetism ensure the usual King fever. Be prepared.--Carl Hays Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Inquisitors Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
by Adam Gidwitz>

Publishers Weekly In 1242 France, weary travelers at an inn trade stories about three miraculous children and their dog, Gwenforte, who has returned from the dead. The children-Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions of the future; William, an oblate of partial African heritage with uncanny strength; and Jacob, a Jewish boy with the power to heal the sick and injured-are the subject of much rumor and debate. Are they saints, frauds, or in league with the devil? Gidwitz (the Grimm trilogy) continues to toy with narrative in a well-researched and rambunctiously entertaining story that has as much to say about the present as it does the past. Evoking the oral storytelling traditions of the time, multiple characters including a nun, troubadour, and brewer alternately describe their encounters with the children to produce the whole story. Amid mugs upon mugs of ale, the tale that comes into focus is one of religious persecution and faith, friendships that transcend difference, and a dangerously flatulent dragon-Gidwitz continues to have no problem mixing high and low. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10-up. Author's agent: Sarah Burnes, Gernert Company. (Sept.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Gidwitz leaves the fairy-tale realm of his Grimm trilogy behind and plunges into medieval France to tell the incredible story of three gifted children, a holy greyhound, and the people whose lives they touch. It is a time of miracles and saints, of fiends and dragons, all of which Gidwitz has meticulously teased from legends and histories of the Middle Ages. The story is relayed in the style of The Canterbury Tales, as travelers gathered at an inn share what they know of the children: Jeanne, a peasant girl with visions of the future; William, an African oblate with incredible strength; Jacob, a Jewish boy with healing powers; not to mention Gwenforte, their guardian greyhound. Religion lies at the book's heart, as Jewish and Christian beliefs come into conflict and the children's potential for sainthood is debated. It also triggers an act of defiance against the king that makes the miraculous threesome the most wanted people in France. Ten different narrators lend their voices to the tale including a brewster, nun, butcher, librarian, and troubadour while drinking a fair amount of ale, resulting in a boisterous, conversational tone. Gidwitz proves himself a nimble storyteller as he weaves history, excitement, and multiple narrative threads into a taut, inspired adventure. Though final artwork was unseen, the book will be fittingly illuminated with illustrations and marginalia. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The work put into the physical book should tell you the publisher's belief in best-seller Gidwitz's latest. Also: the national tour, the floor display, and all that.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-A hodgepodge of different narrators in 1242 France introduce readers to three unusual children and one remarkable dog. As their individual stories unfold and their paths collide, tension reaches a fever pitch as an agent of the Inquisition nips at their heels. Gidwitz's epic medieval adventure packs in boisterous action, richly depicted history, and lovable underdog characters, all illuminated by Aly's stunning artwork. The Middle Ages have never been as exciting or as funny. 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 5-10-What is a miracle? Is a miracle what happens when, faced with murderous bandits, a teenage monk rips a leg off his donkey, beats them to death with it, then restores the donkey's leg? Or is it a miracle when a cranky innkeeper is so moved by a little girl's friendliness that he risks his life to help her and her companions flee a posse of armed knights? Maybe the real miracle happens when readers attracted to the action and violence a particular author is known for find themselves strongly invested in the moral questions that plague bandit-killing monk and friendly peasant girl alike-along with every other character they encounter, from a young minstrel/pickpocket to Louis IX. Gidwitz's tale of medieval France successfully combines the epic with the personal, aiming for that heart-stopping moment when characters readers have come to care about find themselves on a collision course with one of the great wood chippers of history-the Inquisition, agents of which are in hot pursuit of three underdog characters (and one actual dog) from the very start. It is left to the titular Inquisitor to discover the truth behind the legends that quickly rise to surround these kids. He nudges it from each of the travelers at a roadside inn, the narrative tension rising as each facet is revealed. VERDICT This book appeals to the heart, to the mind, and to any reader's appetite for action: read it for the thrilling escapes, the fart jokes, the stinky cheese, and the palace intrigue. Read it for the Talmudic wisdom, commonsense philosophies, and moments of doubt. Read it for the palaces and monasteries and the unbelievable descriptions of food. But read it.-Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson 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.

Powered by: YouSeeMore © The Library Corporation (TLC)