An intriguing introduction to young Louisa May Alcott as a spunky heroine.


Fifteen-year-old Louisa Alcott cares for her family while protecting a fugitive slave, coping with a budding romance and solving a puzzling murder.

Louisa’s philosopher father refuses to earn a living, forcing the Alcotts to live in perpetual penury despite mother Marmee’s endless economizing. In 1846, Marmee temporarily leaves her family in Concord to work in New Hampshire. A hot-tempered, strong-willed “force to be reckoned with,” Louisa would rather be scribbling stories, but Marmee relies on her to keep house for her father and sisters as well as a runaway slave the Alcotts are hiding. When a slave catcher named Finch discovers the Alcotts are ardent abolitionists, he stalks and threatens Louisa. Her distant cousin Fred arrives for a visit with romantic intentions, further complicating Louisa’s life. After Finch is murdered and her father implicated, Louisa’s determined to find the real murderer. Artfully integrated quotes from Little Women and biographical facts transform this fictitious plot into a tantalizing glimpse of the real Louisa May Alcott’s life, including her complex family relationships, unconventional convictions, and famous neighbors, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. A summary of this period in Alcott’s life separates fact from fiction.

An intriguing introduction to young Louisa May Alcott as a spunky heroine. (author’s note, further reading) (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3357-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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Passionate, impulsive Chloe and her popular older sister, Adalyn, were inseparable—until the Nazis invaded France in 1940 and Adalyn started keeping secrets.

Over half a century later, Alice, Chloe’s 16-year-old American granddaughter, has just inherited her childhood home in Paris. The fully furnished apartment has clearly been neglected for decades and raises more questions than it answers: Why didn’t Gram talk about her childhood? Who is the second girl in the photos throughout the apartment? Why didn’t Gram’s family return there after the war? Alice’s father is reluctant to discuss anything that might upset Alice’s mother, who’s still reeling from her mother’s death, so Alice decides to find answers on her own. What she eventually learns both shocks and heals her family. Chapters alternate between Alice’s and Adalyn’s voices, narrating Adalyn’s experience as a French Christian of the Nazi occupation and Alice’s attempts to understand what happened after the war. The girls’ stories parallel one another in significant ways: Each has a romance with a young Frenchman, each has a parent struggling with depression, and each must consider the lengths she would go to protect those she loves. Though at times feeling a bit rushed, Alice’s engaging contemporary perspective neatly frames Adalyn’s immersive, heartbreaking story as it slowly unfolds—providing an important history lesson as well as a framework for discussing depression. Alice and her family are white.

Gripping. (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293662-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing.


This perspective-jumping thriller shows you the two sides of fear.

Izzy has had a crush on Justin forever, but in her last year at Rock Bay High, will she be able to finally talk to him, or will the sudden violent death of a classmate put a wrench in the situation? After a meme daring everyone to repost how they are most afraid to die races through the teenage population, a student appears to have been killed exactly in the way she had feared. Izzy must race against time to find the killer, and with no shortage of suspects, everyone is under suspicion: her loner lab partner, Axel; his older cousin, Tristan; and even Justin, who has been acting strange. It becomes clear no one is safe from experiencing fear. This swift-moving slasher adventure proves to be a page-turning mystery. The book is written in the first-person perspective, allowing readers a deeper view into Izzy’s mind; whether she is thinking Axel is innocent or the killer, her stream of thought and persistent questioning give readers clues to help connect the dots before surprising them with clever plot twists at the end. Main characters read as White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast.

This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-12501-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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