48 Booklist February 1, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
them, and it could put lives at stake—again.
Elena’s PTSD and anxiety are poignant and
chilling, bringing a realistic human element
to the sci-fi world of time travel. Briggs incorporates suspense and thrilling adventure,
creating a gripping sequel. —Stacey Comfort
Maid of the King’s Court.
By Lucy Worsley.
Mar. 2017. 368p. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763688066).
Elizabeth Rose Camperdowne has understood her role in life since childhood: she is
meant to marry a rich man who will bring
wealth and stability to her once-great home. At
first, the responsibility to strengthen her family name fills her with pride, but as she adjusts
to the court of King Henry VIII, she becomes
uncertain of what she wishes her future to be.
This fast-paced historical novel will captivate
anyone who loves tales about the lives of royalty, wherein real people (Henry VIII, Katherine
Howard) appear alongside the fictional. Early
chapters, before Elizabeth’s arrival at court,
do drag a little, but debut author Worsley, a
television historian, captures the mood and the
details of each moment in the royal home. The
strong theme of a place in court not being quite
what it seems is reminiscent of Kiera Cass’ The
Selection (2012). A thrilling read that is sure to
have readers running to a history book, eager
to learn more about the facts behind the story.
By Kelley Armstrong.
Apr. 2017. 384p. Crown, $17.99 (9780399550324);
lib. ed., $20.99 (9780399550331); e-book, $17.99
(9780399550348). Gr. 9–12.
Master of crime thrillers, Armstrong (The
Masked Truth, 2015) introduces a new, intensely independent female protagonist:
Winter, a high-school junior in extremely rural
Reeve’s End, “where thirty percent live below
the poverty line.” While trying to find Lennon
Bishop, a mysterious boy she just met who has
vanished, Winter stumbles into a much larger,
sinister conspiracy involving teenagers who
leave town at the end of each school year and
never return. She joins forces with Lennon’s
brooding brother, Jude; though the two are initially drawn together by a common goal, they
slowly realize that they make an unstoppable
team, and their mutual stubbornness turns to
endearing respect and affection. Winter gets
into and out of treacherous situations frequently and with dubious ease, but readers will
be drawn in by Armstrong’s expert pacing and
meticulously constructed mystery. As the Bishop boys and Winter finally piece together the
truth, the plot races toward a gripping climax.
Fans of April Henry will relish this thriller.
By Brendan Reichs.
Mar. 2017. 464p. Putnam, $17.99 (9780399544934).
It’s no way to celebrate a birthday: every
even-numbered year, 16-year-old Min is mur-
dered by an impassive, black-suited man. And
then she lives on. Something
weird is going on in Min’s
isolated Idaho town, and
she traces it back to first
grade, when everyone in
her class was inoculated—
but for what? Things are
equally catastrophic in the
world at large, where every-
one is waiting to see if an asteroid, Anvil, is
going to hit Earth. The Anvil misses, but the
world is battered by earthquakes, tsunamis,
and fires. Min begins to realize that perhaps
her strange reality and the earth’s convulsions
may be linked. She also learns that she’s not
the only one enduring her odd existence.
There are many overworked adjectives for ac-
tion books: page-turner, fast-paced, intense.
For this book, multiply all of them. Reichs
truly keeps readers guessing throughout, with
twists on nearly every page. Alternating chap-
ters between Min and fellow student Noah
give readers a chance to look at the curious
incidents from two points of view, heighten-
ing the tension. While some of the characters
are more stereotypical than substantial, Min’s
witty best friend, Tack, brightens the pages.
The book’s ending hints at a sequel, and,
though there is more to be discovered, this
would have been a fine thriller all on its own.
By Kathryn Lasky.
Apr. 2017. 224p. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780545682985).
While Valya’s hunkered down in the
bombed-out shell of her Stalingrad home,
she’s desperate to join her sister, a pilot with
the Night Witches, named for their relentless,
near-silent nighttime attacks on Nazi troops.
After a few daring escapes, Valya makes her
way to the temporary airfield where her sister
is stationed. Much to her chagrin, Valya ends
up stuck among the ground crew, but before
long, she and her fellow aviatrixes flit though
the sky, dodging bulky German planes and
bombing supply reserves and searchlights.
Though her prose is occasionally florid and
moments of expository dialogue seem shoehorned in, Lasky shines when describing the
Witches’ bombing missions and amplifies the
suspense when Valya is shot down behind enemy lines. The daring young women are all
dynamically well rounded, particularly Valya,
who oscillates between caring for and competing with her sister. Perhaps most thrilling
of all is that the Night Witches were a real, all-women regiment, a fact that might encourage
young readers to seek out the history of these
daredevil heroes. —Sarah Hunter
The Pain Eater.
By Beth Goobie.
Mar. 2017. 256p. Second Story, paper, $12.95
(9781772600209). Gr. 9–12.
In March, 14-year-old Maddy was jumped
BY HOLLY BENNETT
HAVE A HAPPY
“An absorbing narrative that tempers
its dark subject matter with humour.”
“A well-drawn mystery/ghost story.”
—The Bulletin of the Center
for Children’s Books