Amelia possesses the qualities she needs to achieve her goals but, like many girls, lacks confidence in using them; watching...

STAY SWEET

Meade Creamery opened for business in 1945, and after the owner’s unexpected death, Amelia is determined to keep this local institution going—if she can.

Molly Meade began selling ice cream in the small holiday town of Sand Lake, employing only local girls. When Grady Meade, age 19, the great-nephew to whom Molly’s left the Creamery, arrives to run the business, Amelia’s at first thrilled. (His good looks don’t hurt.) A business major guided by his tycoon father, Grady plans big changes—profits are too small, salaries too high, the location could be better. Dismayed and alarmed, Amelia—usually deferential—resists, realizing that Grady needs her hands-on experience to run the Creamery successfully. As their partnership and mutual attraction grow, Grady’s dad pushes him to maximize profits. Meanwhile her growing commitment to the business distances Amelia from her best friend and fellow employees. All major characters are white. A meandering start and focus on Creamery minutiae slow the narrative, but patient readers are rewarded with a rare, enjoyable portrait of a woman-run business. Operations and decision-making detailed include the stash of PMS tea and tampons in the office and the intricacies of allocating bathroom cleanup.

Amelia possesses the qualities she needs to achieve her goals but, like many girls, lacks confidence in using them; watching her evolve is empowering. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5232-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though it lacks references or suggestions for further reading, Arn's agonizing story is compelling enough that many readers...

NEVER FALL DOWN

A harrowing tale of survival in the Killing Fields.

The childhood of Arn Chorn-Pond has been captured for young readers before, in Michelle Lord and Shino Arihara's picture book, A Song for Cambodia (2008). McCormick, known for issue-oriented realism, offers a fictionalized retelling of Chorn-Pond's youth for older readers. McCormick's version begins when the Khmer Rouge marches into 11-year-old Arn's Cambodian neighborhood and forces everyone into the country. Arn doesn't understand what the Khmer Rouge stands for; he only knows that over the next several years he and the other children shrink away on a handful of rice a day, while the corpses of adults pile ever higher in the mango grove. Arn does what he must to survive—and, wherever possible, to protect a small pocket of children and adults around him. Arn's chilling history pulls no punches, trusting its readers to cope with the reality of children forced to participate in murder, torture, sexual exploitation and genocide. This gut-wrenching tale is marred only by the author's choice to use broken English for both dialogue and description. Chorn-Pond, in real life, has spoken eloquently (and fluently) on the influence he's gained by learning English; this prose diminishes both his struggle and his story.

Though it lacks references or suggestions for further reading, Arn's agonizing story is compelling enough that many readers will seek out the history themselves. (preface, author's note) (Historical fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-173093-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more