Another indulgence in a Western narrative that undermines both history and its female protagonist instead of enlightening.

LIKE A RIVER GLORIOUS

From the Gold Seer Trilogy series , Vol. 2

The middle volume of Carson’s Gold Seer trilogy.

Young, white Leah Westfall’s mystical ability to sense when gold is near is both a beneficial and a dangerous trait during this era of the forty-niners. She is traveling through California with a band of friends who are looking to prospect and settle. Knowing her uncle Hiram—her only living relative, who knows of her power—is on her trail, Leah is forced to reveal her secret to her friends so that they know the risk of accompanying her. Utilizing Leah’s gold sense, this small group begins to stake their claims along the American River when uncle Hiram's men find her. The construct of this historical narrative fails by creating a female protagonist with absurd mystical powers that make her a cash cow (literally). The relationships are muddled, as she has a half-white, half-Cherokee sweetheart, Jefferson Kingfisher, a fact that is hard to reconcile with their prospecting on Indian land. Aside from Jefferson, the Native Americans mostly act as the stereotypical backdrop of decimated Indians. By keeping them largely naked and hidden, Carson diminishes the historical Native American resistance against Western expansion in the Sacramento area, and she adds insult to injury by ultimately making them collaborators in Leah’s theft of their land. An author’s note describes Carson’s research but cannot account for this portrayal.

Another indulgence in a Western narrative that undermines both history and its female protagonist instead of enlightening. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-224294-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Summery fun and games with feeling.

THE SUMMER OF BROKEN RULES

A summer trip helps break 18-year-old Meredith Fox out of a haze of mourning.

Her cousin’s wedding means a return to Martha’s Vineyard, a well-loved destination but one filled with bittersweet memories. It’s been a year and a half since the sudden loss of Meredith’s sister, Claire, and the grief remains strong. Meredith, though, resolves to take this time to celebrate family and bridge the rifts resulting from ghosting friends. She didn’t plan on a meet-cute/embarrassing encounter with the groom’s stepbrother, Wit. Nor did she expect a wedding-week game of Assassin, a water-gun–fueled family tradition. What starts off as a pact of sharing strategic information with Wit grows into something more as the flirting and feelings develop. Only one person can win, though, and any alliance has an expiration date. To win and honor Claire, who was a master of the game, Meredith must keep her eye on the prize. Taking place over the course of a week, the narrative is tight with well-paced reveals that disrupt predictability and keep the plot moving. Early details are picked back up, and many elements come satisfyingly full circle. The short time frame also heightens the tension of this summer romance: What will happen when they leave the bubble of the Vineyard? The mix of budding romance, competitive hijinks, a close-knit circle, as well as dealing with loss make for a satisfying read. The main cast is White.

Summery fun and games with feeling. (family tree) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72821-029-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Poignant and real, beautiful and intense, this story of a girl struggling to define herself is as powerful as Xiomara’s...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2018

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

THE POET X

Poetry helps first-generation Dominican-American teen Xiomara Batista come into her own.

Fifteen-year old Xiomara (“See-oh-MAH-ruh,” as she constantly instructs teachers on the first day of school) is used to standing out: she’s tall with “a little too much body for a young girl.” Street harassed by both boys and grown men and just plain harassed by girls, she copes with her fists. In this novel in verse, Acevedo examines the toxicity of the “strong black woman” trope, highlighting the ways Xiomara’s seeming unbreakability doesn’t allow space for her humanity. The only place Xiomara feels like herself and heard is in her poetry—and later with her love interest, Aman (a Trinidadian immigrant who, refreshingly, is a couple inches shorter than her). At church and at home, she’s stifled by her intensely Catholic mother’s rules and fear of sexuality. Her present-but-absent father and even her brother, Twin (yes, her actual twin), are both emotionally unavailable. Though she finds support in a dedicated teacher, in Aman, and in a poetry club and spoken-word competition, it’s Xiomara herself who finally gathers the resources she needs to solve her problems. The happy ending is not a neat one, making it both realistic and satisfying. Themes as diverse as growing up first-generation American, Latinx culture, sizeism, music, burgeoning sexuality, and the power of the written and spoken word are all explored with nuance.

Poignant and real, beautiful and intense, this story of a girl struggling to define herself is as powerful as Xiomara’s name: “one who is ready for war.” (Verse fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266280-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

more