Kekla Magoon’s books just keep getting better. The first time I read her work, I was serving on the Coretta Scott King Awards committee, and we honored Magoon with the Steptoe New Talent Award for The Rock and the River. So it’s with special pride that I look forward to each of her subsequent releases.
“I’m a risk taker.” With that short sentence, readers are introduced to Arcady, a goal-scoring, wisecracking soccer star. However, very few people know just how good Arcady is at soccer. Arcady is a resident of an orphanage in Soviet Russia intended for children of enemies of the Soviet state. Instead of fame and fortune, Arcady plays for stolen rations and survival.
When Valentine Millimaki, a troubled young sheriff’s deputy, begins spending long hours at the county jail talking from opposite sides of prison bars with a career killer, he doesn’t expect to see a reflection of himself in the murderer’s own complicated past. At 77, John Gload has spent a lifetime working as a gun-for-hire, and is so adept at his craft that he is only now facing the prospect of a prison sentence. Millimaki is an underling in the Copper County sheriff’s department, whose marriage was splintering even before he drew the night shift. The unlikely pair develop a friendship that takes an unexpected turn as an act of violence leaves the two tied together by the secrets they share and the rugged country they love.
There are all kinds of lies and prevarications in the aptly titled The Kiss of Deception, the new book from award-winning author Mary E. Pearson. Princess Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia (or Lia, as she prefers to be called), First Daughter of the House of Morrighan, does not want to marry the unseen prince from a neighboring country. Lia—accompanied by her lady’s companion, Pauline—forsakes her parents’ wishes and runs away on her wedding day.
In the first in a thrilling new young adult mystery series from best-selling author April Henry, three teens join Portland’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team for very different reasons. For Nick, who lost his father in the Iraq War, volunteering with SAR represents true courage and leadership. For Alexis, SAR means overcoming a broken home and standing out on college applications. But for awkward and lonely Ruby, SAR is everything.
To marry their daughters off, four social-climbing men in 1790s London hatch a plot: Buy a pianoforte (the au courant instrument of the late 18th century) and have them give a concert that will have noblemen lined up for their hands in marriage.
The ladies are as varied as their fathers are ambitious: emaciated Georgiana; Everina with her unfortunate false teeth; mysterious Alathea; and the Brass sisters, practical Harriet and lumpy Marianne.
Whether you’re an adult or a child, this new picture book biography gives an informed overview of intriguing nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. It’s not a surprising subject choice for gifted author-illustrator Demi (born Charlotte Dumaresq Hunt, nicknamed by her father because she was half the size of her older sister). Demi is well known for her biographies of historical and spiritual figures, as well as her fairy tales, folk tales and stately art.
Even if your religious education didn’t extend beyond Sunday school, you’re probably at least vaguely familiar with the biblical book of Jonah, the reluctant prophet who visits the belly of a big fish. Loosely building on that spare and enigmatic narrative, debut novelist Joshua Max Feldman has produced an affecting contemporary retelling of the tale, plausibly revealing what it might be like for a thoroughly modern man to find himself touched by the hand of God.
I was skeptical when I found out the author of The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating stars on “The Real Housewives of New York.” And when the epigram was a Lady Gaga quote, I thought I was in for a long slog. What a pleasant surprise, then, when the book turned out to be one of the richest, most deeply satisfying stories I’ve read in a long time.
Few writers engage readers in thinking about the meaning of scientific discoveries as well as Elizabeth Kolbert, a staff writer at The New Yorker. Kolbert’s enviable talents, her wit and intelligence, the clarity of her prose, are on full display in The Sixth Extinction, a fascinating and alarming book that examines mass extinctions of life forms, past and present.