As The Strangler Vine opens, William Avery is a typical young soldier in 1830’s colonial India: deep in debt, disdainful of Indian “barbarity,” stalled in his career and desperate to make it back to Devonshire before the cholera picks him off.
It’s 1849 in rural Missouri, and 15-year-old Samantha Young is the only daughter of a Chinese immigrant. Like many fortune-seeking pioneers during the Gold Rush, Samantha’s father has plans to move out West—until a tragedy leaves Samantha orphaned and penniless. To make matters worse, she is then attacked, and though quick thinking saves her life, she accidentally leaves the attacker dead.
Caroline Starr Rose’s new historical novel, Blue Birds, gives middle grade readers an intriguing glimpse of some of the earliest settlers who came to the New World. Vivid personalities bring the 16th-century settlement of Roanoke, Virginia, to life as one young settler from England finds a friend who will change her life.
Louisiana’s capital city, Baton Rouge, has its fair share of glamorous and not-so-glamorous stories. M.O. Walsh, author of My Sunshine Away, grew up there, so he captures these contradictions effortlessly in his stunning debut.
It’s not often that you see class addressed in picture books in ways that are subtle and seamless, but Last Stop on Market Street, the affectionate story of a young boy and his grandmother, does just that.
“Beginnings are crystal clear. Endings are too, once they’re final. It’s difficult to tell what part of the middle you’re in, though.”
And so Netherton enlists Flynne in an investigation in his world that could never have been possible in hers. Leave it to Gibson to break down our innate resistance to time travel by using our uncertainty about the mechanics of high-speed computing to make the impossible seem plausible.
Contemporary young adult literature is full of teenage heroines trying to survive in a world, either real or fantastical, that has gone completely mad. Sometimes the power they find within themselves is natural, sometimes supernatural. It can be a gift or a curse. Marie Lu’s wonderful new novel has many of these familiar qualities.
If you've ever seen a story about food stamps or poverty and wondered how people end up there, you need to read Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America. Author Linda Tirado wrote a post about why the poor make such “terrible decisions,” it went viral, and she offers an expanded take on the subject here.
Five years after retirement due to health, Father Tim Kavanagh is still reeling. What he sees at first as the "yawning indifference" of his church family is hurtful, but time has passed and an exciting trip to Ireland with his wife Cynthia has served to cushion the blow. Still, he finds the idea "to withdraw someplace for the sake of seclusion"—and to stay there—far too inviting.