A flawed attempt to examine Colonial America through a nuanced lens.

LOYALTY

A 13-year-old Tory spies on the Sons of Liberty.

When they overhear Noah’s minister father read the line, “bless, and defend, and save the king” from a prayer book, neighbors in their small Massachusetts village storm the house and coat him in “boiling tar”; three days later he dies in agony. Noah, his mother, and his sisters flee to Boston, where they move in with Noah’s great-uncle. Noah, determined to both support his family and defend his father’s honor, takes a job in the Green Dragon, a tavern that is a known haunt of the leaders of the Sons of Liberty, a group of rebel Whigs. There he works under Jolla, a young free Black man, who, as the rebellion churns on, challenges Noah’s ideals of liberty and loyalty by pointing out how both sides enslave and coerce Black people. Noah’s reaction to his father’s horrific death, along with other characters’ emotions throughout the novel, comes across as muted and distant; the journallike narration tells far more than it shows. Noah’s relationship with Jolla feels like a plot device in which the latter functions as the wise, enlightened protector who educates the White boy about racism. Jolla devotes considerable energy to guiding Noah while confiding in him to an unrealistic degree. A climactic final scene follows a White savior script without questioning the underlying assumptions.

A flawed attempt to examine Colonial America through a nuanced lens. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-24807-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 15

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • IndieBound Bestseller

NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when...

ASHES TO ASHEVILLE

Two sisters make an unauthorized expedition to their former hometown and in the process bring together the two parts of their divided family.

Dooley packs plenty of emotion into this eventful road trip, which takes place over the course of less than 24 hours. Twelve-year-old Ophelia, nicknamed Fella, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany, are the daughters of a lesbian couple, Shannon and Lacy, who could not legally marry. The two white girls squabble and share memories as they travel from West Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina, where Zany is determined to scatter Mama Lacy’s ashes in accordance with her wishes. The year is 2004, before the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, and the girls have been separated by hostile, antediluvian custodial laws. Fella’s present-tense narration paints pictures not just of the difficulties they face on the trip (a snowstorm, car trouble, and an unlikely thief among them), but also of their lives before Mama Lacy’s illness and of the ways that things have changed since then. Breathless and engaging, Fella’s distinctive voice is convincingly childlike. The conversations she has with her sister, as well as her insights about their relationship, likewise ring true. While the girls face serious issues, amusing details and the caring adults in their lives keep the tone relatively light.

Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when Fella’s family figures out how to come together in a new way . (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16504-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more