Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
Salt & Storm

Kendall Kulper. Little, Brown, $18 (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-40451-8

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe always thought she would continue her family’s line, doling out spells and magical charms as the sea witch of Prince Island. That was before her mother forced her into a traditional Victorian upbringing and the dull life of a pastor’s stepdaughter. After Avery predicts her own murder through a dream, she makes increasingly desperate attempts to untangle her family secrets and unleash her magic. While Avery’s otherness sets her apart from the natives, she finds an ally in Tane, a harpoon boy with tattoos that carry powers of their own. Their tragic love story is just part of Avery’s transformation from captive daughter to a woman who can guide not just her own life, but the very wind and sea that surround her home. Debut author Kulper’s fictional whaling island, off the Massachusetts coast, pulsates with vibrancy as the author draws from real events and folk tales to illuminate the toil and turmoil of the industrial age, imperceptibly weaving strands of truth into an inventive story of self-sacrifice and sorcery. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/25/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Of Monsters and Madness

Jessica Verday. Egmont USA, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-60684-463-2

In the first installment of a planned series, Verday (the Hollow trilogy) borrows from Gothic horror to reimagine Poe’s most enduring works as a string of strange, horrific events in 1826 Philadelphia, 20 years before the publication of “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “Annabel Lee.” Upon her arrival in Philadelphia to live with her father, 17-year-old Annabel Lenore Lee finds herself in the favor of one of his assistants, Allan Poe. But as Poe’s scribblings become darker, and a spate of murders embroils Philadelphia, Annabel must unravel the nightmarish secrets inside her own home. Like her late mother, Annabel is an adept healer, but as narrator she is so mired in her romantic preoccupations and her father’s disapproval of her medical aspirations that some facets of the story are lacking. Instead of fully developing supporting characters, several remain flat through her eyes, and as the novel comes to a close Verday abruptly leaps a few weeks into the future to hastily set up the next book. Ages 12–up. Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/25/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Lark Rising

Sandra Waugh. Random, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-449-81748-3

The village of Merith is about to be massacred by grisly beasts called the Troths, plunging 16-year-old Lark Carew into a quest to summon the legendary Riders to save her people. In Waugh’s debut, first in the Guardians of Tarnec series, Lark discovers a secret kingdom and her rightful place as the Guardian of Life. The fantastical realm is depicted in vivid detail, simultaneously ethereal and concrete, and populated by both kindly and menacing characters to guide and torment Lark, making this novel a tantalizing glimpse of what is yet to come. Lark’s “Sight” initially appears to be more burden than blessing, causing her physical illness and forcing her to relive the murder that brought a ghastly severed hand to her door. Over time, she learns to control her powers and communicate fully with the natural world, revealing a formidable heroine beneath her reserved and gentle demeanor. As Lark’s story unfolds, her self-confidence becomes the key to unlocking her potential and overcoming her own uncertainty. As the king and others remind her, “Trust that you will know what to do.” Ages 12–up. Agent: Jenny Bent, Bent Agency. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/25/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Boy I Love

Nina de Gramont. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8056-8

Wren and her best friend Allie are starting sophomore year at a new high school, and a chance run-in with an alligator proves to be an unlikely attention-getter for Wren, who’s worried about being invisible. Then, at Wren’s first school party, she is accidentally knocked into a bonfire and gets a terrible burn on her hand. This unexpected turn of events, which might mean the end of Wren’s guitar playing, fades from her mind as she becomes concerned about anti-gay prejudice at her school, her family’s history as slave owners, financial difficulties that could result in the loss of Wren’s family’s farm, her faltering friendship with Allie, a role in the school play, and more. Wren has a lot going on, in other words—too much for the novel to carry effectively. De Gramont (Every Little Thing in the World) leaps from one problem to the next so frequently the many plot threads feel jumbled. By the end of the book, readers may be left wondering what the story was really about. Ages 12–up. Agent: Peter Steinberg, the Steinberg Agency. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/25/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
About That Night

Norah McClintock. Orca, $12.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-4598-0594-1

McClintock (the Mike & Riel Mysteries series) offers a slow-burning whodunit set in a snowy small town around Christmas. Sixteen-year-old Jordie Cross’s ostensibly perfect boyfriend, Derek, is staying with her family for the holidays when Ronan, her volatile ex, shows up, accusing Derek of taking a bracelet he gave Jordie. After Jordie can’t find the gift, she interrogates Derek, who sneaks out to retrieve a bracelet he claims he bought her recently, to prove his innocence and devotion. Soon after, both Derek and a beloved local teacher are found dead, and Ronan is the prime suspect. Lt. Michael Diehl, the late teacher’s husband, returns from leave to investigate, but it’s clear from the beginning that Jordie will be the one to solve the case and clear Ronan’s name. McClintock’s third-person, present-tense narration maintains a detached, procedural tone as it shifts attention among several characters, sharing snippets of their histories, establishing the novel’s small-town setting, and creating many suspects. The details that McClintock meticulously places throughout the story lead to an ending that resists tying everything up too neatly. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/25/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza

Jack Gantos. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-374-30083-8

“It is so much easier to be in trouble all the time because then everyone wants to help you,” laments Joey Pigza in this fifth and final volume of his chronicles. Suffering from postpartum depression, Joey’s mother checks into the hospital, leaving Joey to care for Carter Junior. Meanwhile, Joey’s estranged father, sporting a face like Frankenstein after a botched facelift, is trying to kidnap baby Carter. Joey’s life is so sad—his mother has hidden his meds, cockroaches roam the kitchen, and there’s nothing to eat but pizza, which he pays for (illegally) with food stamps—that readers may fervently hope the police do show up, jail his parents, and put the Pigza boys in foster care. Collectively, the Pigza series is a poignant examination of modern dysfunction, a window into how kids in tough family situations come to believe they are damaged and incapable of redemption. “I guess once a nail is bent there is no way to make it perfectly straight again,” Joey concludes. Though warm-hearted Joey demonstrates tremendous growth and maturity, it’s uncertain he’ll ever be able to overcome his childhood. Ages 10–14. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/25/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Unstoppable Octobia May

Sharon G. Flake. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-545-60960-9

It’s 1953, and 10-year-old Octobia May believes that “freedom is as big as the moon for a colored gal who ain’t afraid of nothing.” She’s eager to follow in her Aunt Shuma’s footsteps and go after what she wants, even if others disapprove. But trying to prove that her aunt’s insomniac boarder, Mr. Davenport, is a vampire could be too risky, even for brave, quick-thinking Octobia May. After she thinks she sees Mr. Davenport murdering a woman on the street, she is targeted by the boarder, who is a wealthy banker, and an Irish policeman who thinks she’s up to no good. Three-time Coretta Scott King Honoree Flake (The Skin I’m In) offers a fast-paced mystery that traces Octobia May’s journey into dangerous territory at a time when women and African-Americans struggled to exercise their rights. Though some of Octobia May’s feats push plausibility and some secrets about Mr. Davenport’s past too easily discovered, Flake provides an eye-opening picture of post-WWII America. Octobia May is a determined sleuth who will win the admiration of Flake’s fans. Ages 8–12. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/25/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life

P.J. Hoover. Tor/Starscape, $15.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3468-8

Hoover (Solstice) brings her interest in mythology to a middle-grade audience with this entertaining tale, which reimagines the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun as a perpetually 14-year-old immortal. Tut currently lives in Washington, D.C., with his older brother Gil (secretly the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh) and the god Horus (in the form of a one-eyed cat). When Tut’s ancient enemy, General Horemheb, resurfaces after thousands of years, Tut sees the opportunity for much-delayed revenge. As Tut tries to obtain a weapon that can kill an immortal, he and his allies contend with an apocalyptic plot brought about by the Cult of Set. Quirky interpretations of Egyptian gods abound as Tut tries to save the day, repeatedly confronted by cute yet mysterious Tia: is she ally or enemy? The entertaining premise and fast pace keep this adventure on track, while the way Hoover reimagines the Egyptian pantheon—Isis owning a chain of funeral parlors, for instance—is pleasantly reminiscent of Rick Riordan’s work. The only drawback is the number of questions left unanswered for future books. Ages 8–12. Agent: Laura Rennert and Lara Perkins, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/25/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
M Is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet

J. Patrick Lewis, illus. by Gerald Kelley. Sleeping Bear, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58536-818-1

Former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate Lewis introduces monsters from folklore, literature, and urban legend in this alphabetically organized book that will please lovers of the supernatural any time of year, not just at Halloween. Lewis provides brief, intriguing rhymes for the creatures, along with substantial background information about their mythological or literary origins, which appears in columns at the edge of every page or spread. Entries include Baba Yaga, a phoenix (“P is for Phoenix/ Bird from the ashes,/ bird for the ages,/ sign of renewal,/ symbol courageous”), Xing Tian (a headless immortal giant from Chinese legend), and—of course—zombies. Kelley’s handsome images vary in mood according to their subjects: a placid Loch Ness Monster comically surprises a boater who’s in the process of staging a Nessie hoax, while a “skin-walker” and the animals he embodies, glower ominously at readers with pale eyes. Ages 6–10. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 07/25/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Petal and Poppy and the Spooky Halloween!

Lisa Clough, illus. by Ed Briant. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $3.99 paper (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-33603-2

Friends Petal the elephant and Poppy the rhino return in their third leveled reader, which begins with Poppy donning a monster costume to “spook” Petal. “It’s only a costume,” Poppy tells self-proclaimed “scaredy-cat” Petal, who responds with a “GAA!” After heading out on a tandem bicycle to a costume party, the two get a flat tire, resulting in an unplanned stop at a “spooky house,” where the tables turn and Poppy gets a scare. Meanwhile, Petal is shrugging off her scaredy tendencies by making friends with a real—and helpful—ghost. Sequential panels and a good amount of physical comedy move the story forward, and Briant’s subdued palette befits the unfolding nighttime shenanigans. For her part, Clough is able to inject the story with light doses of humor and suspense, even within the vocabulary limitations typical of the format. Ages 6–8. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 07/25/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.