A brilliant blend of historical fact and artistic license.

MY NAME IS VICTORIA

Historian Worsley’s (Jane Austen at Home, 2017, etc.) second novel for young adults puts a unique spin on Queen Victoria’s childhood and path to the throne.

Miss Victoria Conroy, daughter of Sir John Conroy, the royal comptroller, is going to London to be a companion for Her Royal Highness the Princess Victoria. The 11-year-old “Miss V” finds the prospect of meeting the princess and living at Kensington Palace both thrilling and terrifying. However, the quiet, obedient, and shy Miss V is surprised to find that the possible future queen of England is dirty, boisterous, and prone to tantrums. Claiming he has Victoria’s best interests at heart, Miss V’s father has devised the oppressive Kensington System ostensibly to protect the princess from would-be assassins. As the years pass, the girls grow closer, and Miss V discovers her father is using the System to feed his own hunger for power. Miss V’s duty is to the princess, and it’s up to her to beat the System and help ensure that Victoria takes her rightful place on the throne at 18. Contemporary customs and royal politics round out the narrative to provide an intriguing glimpse into the girlhood of one of the most powerful women in European history as imagined by one of Britain’s most popular historians.

A brilliant blend of historical fact and artistic license. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8807-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Aza would claim that opinions about this book are unfairly influenced by “the gut-brain informational cycle,” which makes it...

TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN

Nerdfighter Green’s latest takes readers through Indianapolis and the human biome.

Aza Holmes doesn’t feel like herself. But “if half the cells inside of you are not you, doesn’t that challenge the whole notion of me as a singular pronoun…?” When a local billionaire—and the father of her childhood friend, a white boy named Davis—disappears, Aza (who seems to be white) and her BFF, Daisy Ramirez (who is cued as Latina), plot to find him and claim the reward, amid rumors of corruption and an underexplored side plot about semi-immortal reptiles. The story revolves around anxious Aza’s dissociation from her body and life. Daisy chatters about Star Wars fan fiction (and calls Aza “Holmesy” ad nauseam), and Davis monologues about astronomy, while Aza obsesses over infection, the ever present, self-inflicted wound on her finger, and whether she’s “just a deeply flawed line of reasoning.” The thin but neatly constructed plot feels a bit like an excuse for Green to flex his philosophical muscles; teenagers questioning the mysteries of consciousness can identify with Aza, while others might wish that something—anything—really happens. The exploration of Aza’s life-threatening compulsions will resonate deeply with some, titillate others, and possibly trigger those in between.

Aza would claim that opinions about this book are unfairly influenced by “the gut-brain informational cycle,” which makes it hard to say what anyone else will think—but this is the new John Green; people will read this, or not, regardless of someone else’s gut flora. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-55536-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love.

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LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB

Finally, the intersectional, lesbian, historical teen novel so many readers have been waiting for.

Lily Hu has spent all her life in San Francisco’s Chinatown, keeping mostly to her Chinese American community both in and out of school. As she makes her way through her teen years in the 1950s, she starts growing apart from her childhood friends as her passion for rockets and space exploration grows—along with her curiosity about a few blocks in the city that her parents have warned her to avoid. A budding relationship develops with her first White friend, Kathleen, and together they sneak out to the Telegraph Club lesbian bar, where they begin to explore their sexuality as well as their relationship to each other. Lo’s lovely, realistic, and queer-positive tale is a slow burn, following Lily’s own gradual realization of her sexuality while she learns how to code-switch between being ostensibly heterosexual Chinatown Lily and lesbian Telegraph Bar Lily. In this meticulously researched title, Lo skillfully layers rich details, such as how Lily has to deal with microaggressions from gay and straight women alike and how all of Chinatown has to be careful of the insidious threat of McCarthyism. Actual events, such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s 1943 visit to San Francisco, form a backdrop to this story of a journey toward finding one’s authentic self.

Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love. (author’s note) (Historical romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55525-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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