Packing an emotional punch, this meditation on the agency of these women is heartbreaking and intricately layered.

FATAL THRONE

THE WIVES OF HENRY VIII TELL ALL

First-person vignettes from each of the wives of King Henry VIII are included in this work of historical fiction.

Beginning with a poignant portrayal of devout Katharine of Aragon by Candace Fleming (The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell, 2017, etc.), this collection evocatively tells the stories of those unlucky enough to be married to the heir-obsessed Henry. Stephanie Hemphill (Hideous Love, 2013, etc.) pens doomed Anne Boleyn as passionate but still vulnerable, while Lisa Ann Sandell (A Map of the Known World, 2009, etc.) renders kind Jane Seymour as incredulous that she has drawn Henry’s eye. Jennifer Donnelly (Beauty and the Beast, 2017, etc.) relays the deathbed remembrances of wise Anna of Cleves regarding her short, unhappy marriage to the king, and Linda Sue Park (Cavern of Secrets, 2017, etc.) details the experiences, both exploitative and bawdy, of Catherine Howard, still a teen when Henry took her as his fifth wife and later put her to death for adultery. Finally, Deborah Hopkinson (Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen, 2018, etc.) writes of clever, measured Kateryn Parr, who survived Henry. Each section is followed by a short musing from Henry’s point of view by M.T. Anderson (Landscape with Invisible Hand, 2017, etc.) that adds nuance without mitigating his horrific abuses. He also writes a brief but triumphant entry for Queen Elizabeth I.

Packing an emotional punch, this meditation on the agency of these women is heartbreaking and intricately layered. (timeline, character list, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1619-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes.

HERE'S TO US

Former boyfriends’ “big Broadway love story” gets a revival in this sequel to What If It’s Us (2018).

Two years after their flash romance, Ben Alejo and Arthur Seuss (both now in college) couldn’t have drifted further apart. But destiny intervenes when Arthur lands his “ultimate top-tier pie-in-the-sky dream job” interning at a queer off-Broadway theater for the summer. Their long-anticipated reunion comes with a small catch: Both boys are basically taken. Ben met Mario in his college creative writing class, and, while they aren’t boyfriends, the connection—and attraction—is definitely there. Arthur’s officially dating Mikey, whose sweetness and steadiness saved him from remaining a “Ben-addled mess.” Cue the confusion—and inevitable broken hearts—as Ben and Arthur contend with their pasts and presents while trying to figure out their futures. Who will end up with whom? Albertalli’s and Silvera’s voices blend seamlessly, balancing the complexities of the boys’ situations with heartfelt (and heartwarming) nostalgia. As in the previous book, the narrative alternates between Ben’s and Arthur’s perspectives with off-the-charts wit and chemistry. Lovable side characters have grown and matured, while new characters expand the world to create an even stronger sense of community. Loose ends are tied up believably with an epilogue. Arthur is Jewish; Ben and Mario are Puerto Rican, and Mikey is White.

Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-307163-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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