This book provides a close-up of loss, love, and hope.

THE GIRL WITH THE GHOST MACHINE

Could a machine bring back the ghost of Emmaline’s mother?

Emmaline Beaumont’s father has been obsessively building such a machine, neglecting his daughter and all else. Emmaline feels as if she has lost both parents and decides the only way to reach her father is to destroy the ghost machine forever. She pours a cup of tea, just like her mother used to make, into the electrical contraption—and for just a minute, her mother appears, seemingly alive and well. But she is a ghost and soon vanishes, taking from Emmaline the memory of having tea with her mother. Emmaline shares her experience with her two best friends, twins Gully and Oliver DePaul. The three 12-year-olds wrestle with the moral and emotional implications of bringing back the dead, which is put to the test when the elderly Allemand sisters ask to meet their long-deceased brother. Is a short encounter with the dead worth the price of losing a memory? DeStefano’s lyrical writing flows with compassion and clarity, justifying the suspense of disbelief. When a tragic event occurs in the last quarter of the book, the emotional pull may be more than some sensitive readers can handle. But for thoughtful, curious readers, death must be touched and turned and examined.

This book provides a close-up of loss, love, and hope. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-444-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Honor Book

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • National Book Award Winner

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more