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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Mondays Not Coming.
by Jackson, Tiffany D.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Galvanized by real-life accounts of black girls whose disappearances went unnoticed, the author depicts a young African American teen unwilling to let her best friend fall through the cracks. Claudia frets when Monday misses the first day of eighth grade, and her worries increase when weeks, and then months, go by with no sign of the girl. Both outsiders, the two have always tried to protect each other: academically gifted Monday keeps teachers from realizing that Claudia has learning disabilities, and Claudia's stable family gives Monday a respite from her often erratic home life. Monday's mother and older sister offer conflicting stories about where she is, and even sympathetic adults are little help-Claudia alone becomes Monday's champion. Just as Jackson's suspenseful debut, Allegedly, explored the corrupt justice system, this thought-provoking thriller examines issues such as abuse, gentrification, and the marginalization of people of color with nuance and sensitivity. The narrative deftly moves back and forth between past and present, building to a devastating conclusion. The Washington, DC, setting is superbly rendered, and the author presents a rich portrayal of the girls' bond, displaying an intuitive understanding of adolescent friendship. VERDICT A spellbinding, profoundly moving choice for YA collections.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal Copyright 2018. 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.

Book list In her sophomore effort (Allegedly, 2017), Jackson offers up a suspenseful new mystery. Claudia and Monday have been friends since childhood. When Claudia returns from summer vacation, Monday isn't at school, and she's not returning calls. No one seems to know where she is. Claudia knows something is wrong, but what reason would anyone have to lie about Monday's whereabouts? Jackson hits all the right notes in this compelling mystery. Claudia has a strong voice that will resonate; she struggles with bullying, dyslexia, loss, and the pains of growing up. The plot weaves through time, slowly piecing together clues, until the painful truth is revealed. Jackson doesn't hold anything back when it comes to the pain of abuse and the ramifications of turning a blind eye. This is a powerful and emotional novel that is gripping and heartbreaking and hits upon serious topics. It's a frank, devastating read filled with real and flawed characters, and it's a story that needs to be read.--Konkel, Elizabeth Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Jackson's sophomore novel, following 2017's acclaimed Allegedly, features another ripped-from-the-headlines premise that will keep readers guessing through the final pages. After a summer in Georgia with her grandmother, Claudia returns to Washington, D.C., ready to take on eighth grade with her best friend, Monday, even though Monday didn't respond to any of Claudia's letters over the past two months. Claudia soon finds, though, that Monday is gone. Stories about where she is don't add up and no one seems concerned, but Claudia can't shake the feeling that Monday might be in real trouble. Time shifts-in chapters such as "Before the Before," "The Before," and "The After"-create a measured and intense buildup as Claudia realizes that Monday was keeping painful and potentially dangerous secrets. Claudia's mother's frequent reminder to check in at home-"Breadcrumbs, Claudia. Always good to leave breadcrumbs"-prompts both Claudia and the reader to remain vigilant. Jackson's characters and their heart-wrenching story linger long after the final page, urging readers to advocate for those who are disenfranchised and forgotten by society and the system. Ages 13-up. Agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary Agency. (June) 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 The Bell Rang
by James E. Ransome

Kirkus A girl's family life and plantation routines are interrupted when three enslaved boys run away. Most days start the same way: The bell rings, Daddy collects wood, Mama prepares breakfast, they eat together. The narrator's brother, Ben, her parents, and the other slaves go to the fields while the girl stays with the young ones to play. On Wednesday, Ben surprises her with a handmade doll. On Thursday, Ben and his two friends are gone. There are tears; the narrator's parents are beaten, and other slaves look mad or sad. On Friday, the girl cannot eat or talk. On Saturday, there are horses and dogs; Ben's friends have been caught, but there is no sign of Ben. "Out comes the whip. / All night we cry and pray for Ben." On Sunday, Big Sam preaches near the creek, "of being free. / We sing. / We hope. / We pray / Ben made it. / Free like the birds. / Free like Moses. / No more bells." The final spread shows the girl looking out, with the single word "Monday" and a bird flying away on the endpaper. The richly textured paintings make masterful use of light and space to create the narrator's world and interior life, from the glimmer of dawn as her father chops wood to her mother's fatigue and her own knowing eyes. Ransome's free-verse text is as accomplished as his glowing acrylics.With spare text and gorgeous illustrations, this work represents a unique and engaging perspective on enslaved families. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list *Starred Review* Every dawn begins the same for the enslaved family of four featured in this book: The bell rings, / and no sun in the sky. / Daddy gathers wood. / Mama cooks. / We eat. The father, mother, and son go to work in the fields, while the daughter spends her days with the younger children. One morning, her brother presents his sister with a handmade doll, a kiss, and a good-bye. The next day, the family discovers that Ben has run away. Tears, fear, and sorrow overtake the family as they wonder about the fate of their beloved son and brother. Beautifully rendered acrylic paintings reveal the closeness of the family, whose pleasure at being together is evident. The richly colored vignettes in Coretta Scott King Award-winning Ransome's single- and double-page-spread paintings clearly picture the emotions felt by the family and the day-to-day monotony of their lives. Swallows are seen flying on the endpapers and over the Sunday prayer gathering, signaling the freedom the family hopes Ben has achieved. The last illustration shows the girl looking at the detested bell, leaving readers to wonder if she is thinking of the day she might choose to run away also. A powerful tale of slavery and its two terrible options: stay or run.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

Horn Book Using deceptively simple, repetitive verse, an enslaved girl narrates her family's daily plantation activities over a week, every morning beginning with the bell ringing--until Thursday when her brother runs away. The author communicates the complex emotions of individuals fleeing enslavement and the aftermath for those left behind. Through lush watercolors that expertly frame and highlight the characters, the reader is drawn into scenes of tenderness, joy, terror, and despair. (c) Copyright 2019. 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.

Publishers Weekly Bold, painterly spreads by Ransome (Before She Was Harriet) give shape to the lives of a slave family whose days are ruled by the overseer's bell. On Monday, "The bell rings,/ and no sun in the sky./ Daddy gathers wood./ Mama cooks." Daddy; Mama; their son, Ben; and the narrator, Ben's little sister, sit close and share a meal. On Wednesday, Ben gives his sister a kiss and a handmade doll, whispering "Good-bye" before walking away with two companions. Thursday, the family realizes that Ben is really gone. "Overseer comes/ to our cabin./ Then dogs come./ Overseer hits Mama,/ then Daddy." The other boys are found, but not Ben: "We pray/ Ben made it./ Free like the birds." In an image of startling force, a flying swallow is seen darting off the last, blank page. Stories about escaping slaves often follow the journeys of those leaving; this one imagines what life was like for a family left behind. The recurring image of the bell throughout each day underscores the way slaves' lives were continually regimented and surveilled. Ransome's gracefully sculpted figures give Ben's family heroic stature; his story makes their hunger for freedom palpable. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Run, Rose, Run
by Dolly Parton and James Patterson

Kirkus A singer/songwriter at the beginning of her career is befriended by a retired country-music luminary, but will the young woman's past destroy her before her star can ascend? "Underneath that sweet, doll-faced exterior, there was something fierce and furious about AnnieLee Keyes. Some dark pain powered those pipes; Ruthanna was sure of it." Like Bill Clinton before her, Parton has hooked up with Patterson to channel the details of her profession into a thriller framework—and in this case, to provide an album of songs purportedly written by the three main characters to be released at the same time. When we meet AnnieLee, she is on the run, hitchhiking to Nashville to escape some mysterious nightmare situation. Standing in the rain, she starts singing to herself: "Is it easy / No it ain't / Can I fix it? / No I cain't." This will become "Woman Up (and Take It Like a Man)," one of the songs she debuts in a roadside dive called the Cat's Paw, begging a place on the stage and playing a borrowed guitar before slinking off to sleep in a public park. But she has already been noticed by Ethan Blake, a handsome Afghanistan veteran–turned–Nashville session player and secret songwriter—"Demons, demons, we've both had enough of our own / Demons, demons, we don't have to fight them alone." He will take word of this tiny, skittish prodigy to his boss, the beloved Ruthanna Ryder, who has stepped back from a mega-career after personal tragedy—and who happens to own the Cat's Paw. Ruthanna, who recalls the great Parton in coiffure, jewelry, generosity, and business know-how, sees her former self in AnnieLee—"Big dreams and faded jeans / Fit together like a team"—and immediately goes to work to help her climb the slippery ladder of stardom. But between AnnieLee's durn pride and the vicious, violent marauders who are on her tail, it won't be easy. Good thing Patterson was there to give Ethan those military superhero moves. Showdown in Vegas, y'all! The fairy-tale characters and details of the country-music scene are so much fun you won't mind the silly plot. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Yes, that's the Dolly Parton, contributing plot points to this story of a talented young singer-songwriter who has followed her dream to Nashville but remains terrified of the seething troubles she left behind. Will shadowy figures from her past come get her? Parton wrote 12 songs especially for the book. With a one-million-copy first printing.

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

Publishers Weekly Country music legend Parton’s strong debut, an exhilarating rags-to-riches story coauthored with bestseller Patterson (The President Is Missing with Bill Clinton), revolves around the troubled past of plucky singer/songwriter AnnieLee Keyes. AnnieLee’s plan is to “get the hell out of Texas” and hitchhike to Nashville, Tenn., where she hopes to start her career as a performer. In Nashville, AnnieLee encounters ruthless, predatory agents and managers, but she also meets positive role models, notably Ruthanna Ryder, “one of country music’s grandest queens,” who takes AnnieLee under her wing. “If you want to make it in this town,” Ruthanna tells her, “being talented is just one little tiny part of the battle. Fearlessness is mandatory. And shamelessness sure as hell don’t hurt.” Her other ally is guitarist Ethan Blake, who brings her to Ruthanna’s attention. When AnnieLee’s life is threatened, she needs the help of her new friends to survive. Never mind that the mystery element runs a distant second to the story of AnnieLee making good in Nashville. Parton fans will relish this timeless fairy tale, which displays the singer’s lively way with words and draws liberally from her experience in the music business. Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (Mar.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus A singer/songwriter at the beginning of her career is befriended by a retired country-music luminary, but will the young woman's past destroy her before her star can ascend?"Underneath that sweet, doll-faced exterior, there was something fierce and furious about AnnieLee Keyes. Some dark pain powered those pipes; Ruthanna was sure of it." Like Bill Clinton before her, Parton has hooked up with Patterson to channel the details of her profession into a thriller frameworkand in this case, to provide an album of songs purportedly written by the three main characters to be released at the same time. When we meet AnnieLee, she is on the run, hitchhiking to Nashville to escape some mysterious nightmare situation. Standing in the rain, she starts singing to herself: "Is it easy / No it ain't / Can I fix it? / No I cain't." This will become "Woman Up (and Take It Like a Man)," one of the songs she debuts in a roadside dive called the Cat's Paw, begging a place on the stage and playing a borrowed guitar before slinking off to sleep in a public park. But she has already been noticed by Ethan Blake, a handsome Afghanistan veteranturnedNashville session player and secret songwriter"Demons, demons, we've both had enough of our own / Demons, demons, we don't have to fight them alone." He will take word of this tiny, skittish prodigy to his boss, the beloved Ruthanna Ryder, who has stepped back from a mega-career after personal tragedyand who happens to own the Cat's Paw. Ruthanna, who recalls the great Parton in coiffure, jewelry, generosity, and business know-how, sees her former self in AnnieLee"Big dreams and faded jeans / Fit together like a team"and immediately goes to work to help her climb the slippery ladder of stardom. But between AnnieLee's durn pride and the vicious, violent marauders who are on her tail, it won't be easy. Good thing Patterson was there to give Ethan those military superhero moves. Showdown in Vegas, y'all!The fairy-tale characters and details of the country-music scene are so much fun you won't mind the silly plot. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Kirkus A singer/songwriter at the beginning of her career is befriended by a retired country-music luminary, but will the young woman's past destroy her before her star can ascend? "Underneath that sweet, doll-faced exterior, there was something fierce and furious about AnnieLee Keyes. Some dark pain powered those pipes; Ruthanna was sure of it." Like Bill Clinton before her, Parton has hooked up with Patterson to channel the details of her profession into a thriller framework—and in this case, to provide an album of songs purportedly written by the three main characters to be released at the same time. When we meet AnnieLee, she is on the run, hitchhiking to Nashville to escape some mysterious nightmare situation. Standing in the rain, she starts singing to herself: "Is it easy / No it ain't / Can I fix it? / No I cain't." This will become "Woman Up (and Take It Like a Man)," one of the songs she debuts in a roadside dive called the Cat's Paw, begging a place on the stage and playing a borrowed guitar before slinking off to sleep in a public park. But she has already been noticed by Ethan Blake, a handsome Afghanistan veteran–turned–Nashville session player and secret songwriter—"Demons, demons, we've both had enough of our own / Demons, demons, we don't have to fight them alone." He will take word of this tiny, skittish prodigy to his boss, the beloved Ruthanna Ryder, who has stepped back from a mega-career after personal tragedy—and who happens to own the Cat's Paw. Ruthanna, who recalls the great Parton in coiffure, jewelry, generosity, and business know-how, sees her former self in AnnieLee—"Big dreams and faded jeans / Fit together like a team"—and immediately goes to work to help her climb the slippery ladder of stardom. But between AnnieLee's durn pride and the vicious, violent marauders who are on her tail, it won't be easy. Good thing Patterson was there to give Ethan those military superhero moves. Showdown in Vegas, y'all! The fairy-tale characters and details of the country-music scene are so much fun you won't mind the silly plot. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Yes, that's the Dolly Parton, contributing plot points to this story of a talented young singer-songwriter who has followed her dream to Nashville but remains terrified of the seething troubles she left behind. Will shadowy figures from her past come get her? Parton wrote 12 songs especially for the book. With a one-million-copy first printing.

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

Publishers Weekly Country music legend Parton’s strong debut, an exhilarating rags-to-riches story coauthored with bestseller Patterson (The President Is Missing with Bill Clinton), revolves around the troubled past of plucky singer/songwriter AnnieLee Keyes. AnnieLee’s plan is to “get the hell out of Texas” and hitchhike to Nashville, Tenn., where she hopes to start her career as a performer. In Nashville, AnnieLee encounters ruthless, predatory agents and managers, but she also meets positive role models, notably Ruthanna Ryder, “one of country music’s grandest queens,” who takes AnnieLee under her wing. “If you want to make it in this town,” Ruthanna tells her, “being talented is just one little tiny part of the battle. Fearlessness is mandatory. And shamelessness sure as hell don’t hurt.” Her other ally is guitarist Ethan Blake, who brings her to Ruthanna’s attention. When AnnieLee’s life is threatened, she needs the help of her new friends to survive. Never mind that the mystery element runs a distant second to the story of AnnieLee making good in Nashville. Parton fans will relish this timeless fairy tale, which displays the singer’s lively way with words and draws liberally from her experience in the music business. Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (Mar.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus A singer/songwriter at the beginning of her career is befriended by a retired country-music luminary, but will the young woman's past destroy her before her star can ascend?"Underneath that sweet, doll-faced exterior, there was something fierce and furious about AnnieLee Keyes. Some dark pain powered those pipes; Ruthanna was sure of it." Like Bill Clinton before her, Parton has hooked up with Patterson to channel the details of her profession into a thriller frameworkand in this case, to provide an album of songs purportedly written by the three main characters to be released at the same time. When we meet AnnieLee, she is on the run, hitchhiking to Nashville to escape some mysterious nightmare situation. Standing in the rain, she starts singing to herself: "Is it easy / No it ain't / Can I fix it? / No I cain't." This will become "Woman Up (and Take It Like a Man)," one of the songs she debuts in a roadside dive called the Cat's Paw, begging a place on the stage and playing a borrowed guitar before slinking off to sleep in a public park. But she has already been noticed by Ethan Blake, a handsome Afghanistan veteranturnedNashville session player and secret songwriter"Demons, demons, we've both had enough of our own / Demons, demons, we don't have to fight them alone." He will take word of this tiny, skittish prodigy to his boss, the beloved Ruthanna Ryder, who has stepped back from a mega-career after personal tragedyand who happens to own the Cat's Paw. Ruthanna, who recalls the great Parton in coiffure, jewelry, generosity, and business know-how, sees her former self in AnnieLee"Big dreams and faded jeans / Fit together like a team"and immediately goes to work to help her climb the slippery ladder of stardom. But between AnnieLee's durn pride and the vicious, violent marauders who are on her tail, it won't be easy. Good thing Patterson was there to give Ethan those military superhero moves. Showdown in Vegas, y'all!The fairy-tale characters and details of the country-music scene are so much fun you won't mind the silly plot. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Rebecca Caudill Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Best School Year Ever
by Barbara Robinson

Publishers Weekly : The many readers who have laughed out loud at Robinson's uproarious 1972 novel, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever , will enthusiastically welcome the return of the six cigar-smoking Herdman kids. These six waste no time bending rules: they break them outright. While the original story centered on the church Christmas pageant, the sequel has a broader focus, paving the way for more varied misadventures, virtually all of which the Herdmans craftily orchestrate. Among the dastardly deeds are the siblings' kidnapping of a bald baby, whose head they ``tattoo'' and show to other kids for a fee; their attempt to wash their cat (which is ``missing one eye and part of an ear and most of its tail and all of whatever good nature it ever had'') in a laundromat machine; and their ingenious sabotage of the school's Fire Safety Day observance. In one of the funniest scenes, cunning Imogene Herdman comes to the rescue of a boy whose head (thanks to Imogene's brother) is stuck in a bike rack: she flattens his prominent ears with Scotch tape and slathers his head with margarine so it slides through the bars. If this novel doesn't have quite the consistently razor-sharp repartee of its predecessor, it comes very, very close. Ages 8-up. 50,000 first printing.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 3-6-The long-awaited sequel to the popular The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (HarperCollins, 1972). A dangerous, shifty, fearless, cigar-smoking family of thieves and fight-instigators, the horrible Herdmans are distributed one per grade at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, and it is unclear whether junior high or jail will be their next step. Sixth-grader Beth Bradley, the narrator, has the misfortune of drawing Imogene Herdman's name for a class project in which students must think of ``Compliments for Classmates'' at the end of the year. How will she find something good to say about Imogene? Just as the Herdmans discover something about the meaning of Christmas in the first book, Beth and her classmates realize that there is good in everyone-even in Imogene Herdman. While Beth's vignettes of the school year are hilarious, this story lacks the tension of the earlier novel, created by the build-up to the climactic event of the pageant. Nevertheless, this book is certain to be a hit with fans old and new.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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