December 15, 2015 Booklist 49 www.booklistonline.com
Valtia dies, her magic is supposed to transfer
itself to Elli, but that magic never manifests.
Perplexed, the Elders ask her to undergo torturous tests to draw out these powers, but
upon learning the Elders are plotting against
her, Elli escapes. An injury brings her into
the company of Oskar (a powerful wielder
of ice magic) and a healer, who recognizes
her as the fulfillment of a “lost” part of the
prophecy. From the moment Elli leaves
the luxury of the temple, her life becomes
a never-ending series of difficult choices
that she meets with increasing courage and
dedication. Readers who love unique world
building and magic will embrace this story
easily, but the qualities of bravery, love, and
devotion will extend its appeal even further.
My Name Is Not Friday.
By Jon Walter.
Jan. 2016. 384p. David Fickling, $18.99
(9780545855228). Gr. 9–12.
“Tomorrow is Friday, remember that day . . .
’cause that’s gonna be your name.” Samuel
and Joshua are freeborn brothers living in
Father Moseley’s orphanage during the Civil
War years. After a perceived misbehavior gets
Samuel sold into slavery, the brothers are separated, whereupon Samuel learns that being
an articulate, faithful black youth who knows
how to read and write is both a blessing and a
curse when in bondage. British author Walter
fleshes out Samuel/Friday’s precarious education into the hierarchy of slave roles and the
many oppressive, unwritten rules. Blessed
with a compassionate young slave owner, he
finds a way to serve through teaching reading
to his fellow slaves. Chances are taken as the
Yanks approach, and Samuel’s determination
to find his brother propels him toward a fight
for freedom. This coming-of-age narrative
introduces to readers, with great emotion, a
character who, though enslaved, remains forever freeborn in his mind. Historical notes
include a helpful primer on the economics of
American slavery. —Gail Bush
The Radiant Road.
By Katherine Catmull.
Jan. 2016. 368p. Dutton, $17.99 (9780525953470).
Clare was born in Ireland in a house with a
tree for a wall. After her mother died in that
home, Clare and her father moved out, hop-
ing to heal and leave the painful memories
behind. Now, after almost 10 years of mov-
ing around the States with her dad, Clare is
headed back to her birthplace. But the walls
contain other things, too: inside them are
creatures called The Strange, remnants of the
fairy world that Clare has tried to ignore be-
cause the modern world isn’t kind to waking
dreams. But once Clare has settled in among
the vestiges of her mother’s old life, she meets
Finn, a neighbor boy who is also familiar
with The Strange—and he may be a bigger
part of Clare’s life, and the danger she now
faces, than she could ever have imagined. Cat-
mull has created an eerily lovely story, writing
with an old-fashioned style that at times
sings like a lullaby. An excellent addition to
either teen or juvenile collections of all sizes.
By Michael Buckley.
Feb. 2016. 368p. HMH, $18.99 (9780544348448).
Just before the vicious Rusalka swarmed
Coney Island and destroyed it with a mas-
sive tidal wave, Lyric Walker, along with
best friend Bex and nemesis Arcade, slipped
from the grasp of the authorities eager to
blame her and the Alpha for the attack. Now,
she’s on the run and headed to Tempest, an
extra-military organization imprisoning the
remaining Alpha and their families, to rescue
her parents. But it’s not long before they cap-
ture her, too, and force her to make a deal:
in exchange for keeping her family safe from
Tempest’s grotesque experiments and “en-
hanced interrogation techniques,” she must
train the other human-Alpha hybrids, a small
group of children, to use their unearthly pow-
ers to fight thousands of Rusalka attacking
the East Coast. Though Buckley’s follow-up
to Undertow (2014) drags in the middle, and
Lyric’s snarky first-person narrative occasion-
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