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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Saltwater Secrets
by Cindy Callaghan

Book list Stella and Josie are half sisters who only get to see each other during summer vacation at the Jersey Shore, where they hide their special scrapbook under the boardwalk. This summer, however, Stella is more interested in boys and bonfires, while Josie wants to protest the smoothie store that replaced their beloved flavored-ice shop. When the girls—using powers of deduction and Josie’s interest in marine biology—discover that the structural integrity of the pier is becoming unstable due to illegal dumping that appears connected to the smoothie shop’s “secret” ingredient, they concoct a plan to save the boardwalk. Callaghan (Lost in Paris, 2015) tells a story that is part mystery, part family drama, with chapter narration alternating between the two sisters as they chronicle their actions at the boardwalk through an interrogation by the local police. Readers will easily relate to both sisters and be excited by a possible sequel.

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

School Library Journal Gr 4–6—Each summer, half sisters Josie and Stella spend several weeks with their father at the New Jersey shore. Since the girls live with their mothers on opposite sides of the world (Josie in Australia, Stella in New York City), it's the only time they get to see each other. It has always been a special time, and the girls put mementos from their adventures in a box that they hide in the sand under the boardwalk. This summer, however, something has changed. Stella wants to do different things, and Josie passionately boycotts the new Smoothie Factory, which replaced Water Ice World. Next, they discover someone has stolen their box of memories, and when Josie suggests starting a new one, Stella only half-heartedly agrees. Then, what's different suddenly becomes more nefarious as the girls (along with their friends) become entangled in a web of sinister actions that could endanger both humans and sea life at Whalehead Beach. The cast of characters features blended families, and the environmental story line is both relevant and timely. Callaghan creates great suspense by having each chapter alternate between the recent past (within a month) and the present, where Stella and Josie are being interviewed by a police detective. VERDICT This fast-moving story will appeal to young teen and tween readers who enjoy books with an oceanside theme, and its spirited heroines will resonate with those who dream of making a difference in the world.—Anne Jung-Mathews, Plymouth State University, NH

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

Kirkus Stella and her Australian half sister, Josie, have always happily spent their summers together on the Jersey shore with their twice-divorced, shared dad.This year things threaten to be different since Stella is fully embracing her almost-high school status but Josie lags behind, not quite so interested in boys, bonfires, and the hope for a kiss or two. Stella would willingly give up some of their childish rituals, but they still hold a strong attraction for Josie. Although this familiar dichotomy could have been the sole focus of the tale, Callaghan adds spice. Both girls are surprised to discover that their favorite water-ice shop has been replaced by a trendy new smoothie place that seems to be concealing a dark secret. After some determined sleuthing they discover an evolving environmental disaster that endangers the sea but also (a trifle implausibly) their beloved boardwalk. The tale is related in the girls' fairly similar alternating voices that recollect a busy week, interspersed with their lengthy interviews at the police station a few days later. These gradually reveal the excitement the two stir up. The bemused, deadpan response of the police detective adds a touch of slightly ironic humor. The bad guys are mildly nasty, and the hint of innocent romance experienced by the characters (all seemingly white) is sure to please preteen readers.Altogether, a fine choice to bring to the beach. (Mystery. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic.
by Bardugo, Leigh

Book list *Starred Review* With this lushly designed and wonderfully rendered offering, Bardugo (Six of Crows, 2015) returns to her Grishaverse with a collection of six stories. In an ending note, Bardugo mentions that her intention was to craft stories her characters might have heard as children, and indeed, no knowledge of her previous works is necessary for enjoying this. The stories are framed as coming from four of her Grishaverse nations three from Ravka and one each from Kerch, Fjerda, and Novyi Zem and flavors and morals change from culture to fictional culture. At their heart, these are tales built from the eeriest elements of fairy tales we know. Though readers may recognize certain components a girl with a wolfskin cape, a house that smells like gingerbread, a mermaid with a silver voice the stories here are entirely, luminously new. Bardugo doesn't twist familiar tales so much as rip them open, and the magic of the collection is enhanced by Kipin's otherworldly artwork: borders that grow ominously longer and more detailed with each page, and culminate in a final double-page spread for each story. Bardugo may be best known for her exemplary world building, but here more than anything, it is her language, lovely and unsettling, that is on display, as well as the accompanying characters who, like the stories themselves, are never what they seem. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Bardugo's already got two acclaimed, best-selling Grishaverse series under her belt, and this release in the same world isn't likely to slow the momentum.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border
by Mitali Perkins

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.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog This one summer
by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki

Publishers Weekly Rose and Windy, friends for two weeks every summer in nearby Ontario lake cottages, have hit early adolescence. Rose, a bit older, has knowledge and polish that tubby, still-childish Windy lacks, and Windy sometimes bores her. Yet Windy's instincts are often sound, while Rose is led astray by an infatuation with a local convenience store clerk. As Rose's parents' marriage founders and the taunts of local teens wake her to issues of social class, Rose veers between secret grief and fleeting pleasure in the rituals of summer. Jillian Tamaki's exceptionally graceful line is one of the strengths of this work from the cousin duo behind Skim. Printed entirely in somber blue ink, the illustrations powerfully evoke the densely wooded beach town setting and the emotional freight carried by characters at critical moments, including several confronting their womanhood in different and painful ways. Fine characterization and sensitive prose distinguish the story, too-as when Rose remembers the wisdom a swimming teacher shared about holding his breath for minutes at a time: "He told me the secret was he would tell himself that he was actually breathing." Ages 12-up. Agent: Sam Hiyate, the Rights Factory. (May)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved