54 Booklist July2017 www.booklistreader.com
reincarnations of four immortal beings, and
they must play their parts with painstaking
accuracy. They’d better: their anonymous
captor (“him”) is watching, gaping through
cameras, administering “verifications,” and
remotely regulating Internet chats between
his captives and flocks
of Special One devotees.
Minor “failings” mean
punishment, while bigger
blunders mean “renewal,”
with atrocities executed
not by the captor but by
the prisoners themselves.
This exhausting show has
kept Esther alive, but as order in the farmhouse crumbles, so too does her complacent
facade. Dread snakes through every inch of
this psychological thriller, and Bailey crafts
characters with precision, unspooling complex character motivations (including those
of “him”), and, in heroine Esther, delivering
a disquieting blend of uncertainty and glorious defiance. Bailey’s sophomore effort is not
without fault—one plot device strains credulity—but taut prose, a slick story line, and
more than a few startling twists will leave
readers mesmerized. Exploring the muddy
boundaries between compliance and choice,
captivity and freedom, Bailey also manages
to depict not only evil but also the minuscule moments of good that flicker alongside
and in spite of it. Striking, subversive, and
loaded with as much heart-pounding horror
as heart. —Briana Shemroske
Spellbook of the Lost and Found.
By Moïra Fowley-Doyle.
Aug. 2017. 368p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson, $17.99
(9780525429494). Gr. 9–12.
A diary. A bracelet. A favorite mug. A
friend’s trust. A mother’s love. In Fowley-Doyle’s atmospheric mystery, a spell to make
lost things found might return something
precious, but at what cost? After the annual May bonfire, everyone in the small Irish
town of Balmallen wakes having lost something. Olive is worried about her best friend,
who’s skipping school and being uncommunicative. Hazel, squatting in an abandoned
house with her twin brother and their friend,
is keeping a terrible secret about their mother. When the teens find the titular spellbook,
they realize that someone already cast this
spell and it worked. So why shouldn’t they
try it? Running parallel with this story is that
of Laurel and her friends, who cast the spell
and set in motion far-reaching repercussions. The three narrators are unmistakably
different yet equally spellbinding, and their
emotionally raw story lines come together
with a twist. Fowley-Doyle infuses this gritty
contemporary story of loss, sacrifice, love,
and friendship with a mythic quality, both
magical and menacing. Older readers will be
enthralled. —Krista Hutley
By Gwenda Bond.
Aug. 2017. 320p. Capstone/Switch, $17.95
(9781630790769). Gr. 9–12.
Bond breathes new, enchanting life into
America’s oldest mystery, and sends readers on
a twisting, genre-defying thrill ride. Miranda
and Grant, both 17, are bound together by
Roanoke Island’s mysterious history: Miran-
da is a Blackwood, descended from members
of the original Roanoke colony and cursed
never to set foot off the island; Grant hears
the voices of the island’s long dead. When
114 people suddenly go missing—the same
number as Roanoke’s original colonists who
disappeared more than 400 years ago—the
two teens team up to investigate the oc-
currence and find Roanoke’s citizens before
they are lost to history forever. Originally
Bond’s first novel, published as Blackwood
(2012), this updated version misses an op-
portunity to develop rounder characters.
Though chapters alternate between Miranda
and Grant’s perspectives, it’s often difficult to
distinguish one voice from the other. Still,
beneath these distracting elements lies an
exciting fusion of well-researched historical
fiction and supernatural fantasy with magic,
secrecy, and a touch of romance at its heart.
By P. C. Cast.
Oct. 2017. 576p. St. Martin’s/Wednesday, $19.99
(9781250100757); e-book, $9.99 (9781250100771).
Once sworn enemies, Nik and Mari
are now bonded, which would be trouble
enough given their different origins. Nik
belongs to the Tribe of the Trees and must
assume the role of Sun Priest after his father
is murdered trying to protect Mari, whose
father was a member of the Tribe but whose
mother, Leda, was Moon Woman (leader
and healer) of the Earth Walkers. For years,
Tribe members have enslaved Earth Walkers, but Mari, now Moon Woman herself,
has freed them. A raging fire decimates
the Tribe, illness strikes the Earth Walkers,
and both clans are threatened by the Skin
Stealers. The human-animal link of Tribe
members with their canines gets a feline
counterpart in kindly Antreas and his lynx,
Bast. While it won’t stand alone in the Tales
of a New World series—complex backstories
for all three clans will limit readership—Cast
knows how to snag readers of Moon Chosen
(2016) in with plenty of action, gore, and
romance. Broadly drawn archetypal characters and clearly stated divisions of good
and evil create a comfortingly predictable
plot, pulled forward by nonstop action.
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A trumpeted
six-figure marketing campaign should help
turn that 250,000 first printing into a second
They Both Die at the End.
By Adam Silvera.
Sept. 2017. 384p. Harper Teen, $17.99 (9780062457790);
e-book, $9.99 (9780062457813). Gr. 9–12.
Imagine a world in which everyone who is
Continued from p. 52
You have to enjoy this phrase from our 1973 review: “Despite its potential for ruffling conservative communities . . .” Childress
knew exactly what she was doing and it was vital to the field, resulting
in one of the few truly iconic YA titles in history. —Daniel Kraus
A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich.
By Alice Childress.
1973. 126p. Penguin/Puffin, paper, $5.63 (9780698118546).
Thirteen-year-old Benjie verges on heroin addiction as he graduates from skin popping to mainlining. A hospital-supervised attempt to kick the habit is ineffectual and
Benjie backslides until an unsuccessful theft leads him to a powerful emotional confrontation with his stepfather and both gain an
embryonic devotion to each other. Benjie begins attending a drug
rehabilitation center—until the final page, when, though his therapy
appointment is at hand, he has yet to appear. Childress insightfully
dissects the situation by interposing, among Benjie’s own words,
narratives by those impotently close to Benjie’s existence: his hard-working mother and stepfather, grandmother, friend Jimmy-Lee
Powell, teachers Nigeria Greene and Bernard Cohen, the nameless
school principal, and Walter, Benjie’s main connection. As the monologues unfold, the
speakers reveal as much about themselves as about Benjie and in so doing shed light on
the myriad of subtle factors that weave the texture of Benjie’s life. Childress’ incisive
examination is heightened by her skilled use of the vernacular, and she packs honesty,
immediacy, and humor into an exceptionally compelling story with a difficult, realistic
nonresolution. Despite its potential for ruffling conservative communities, librarians
are urged to consider purchasing this book because of its artistic integrity.
YA Flashback: Class of 1973
Continued on p. 56