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Click to search this book in our catalog The Lie Tree.
by Hardinge, Frances

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Faith Sunderly is intensely curious about her famous father's scientific research. When he is suddenly found dead, she is convinced that he was murdered, and pieces together clues and uncovered secrets, like the reverend's prized specimen-a tree that thrives on lies and bears a fruit that, when eaten, reveals a hidden truth. In this dark and haunting mystery, Hardinge creates her own truth-telling magic. Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* On the small island of Vale, something unnatural this way comes. Is it wicked? Perhaps, but it is quickly evident in Hardinge's newest tale following her acclaimed Cuckoo Song (2015) that things are not what they seem, and the answers to such questions are rarely black and white. As 14-year-old Faith Sunderly and her family arrive at their new home, many questions swirl in the girl's head. It isn't long before she learns that their exodus from Kent has less to do with an ongoing excavation on Vale than it does with escaping scandal. After catching a glimpse of one of her father's private letters, she understands that he, Reverend Erasmus Sunderly, a renowned naturalist, has been accused of faking his most famous fossil discovery. Faith meets this news with incredulity: His bleak and terrible honesty were the plague and pride of the family. She bears a fierce love for her stern and distant father, which is underpinned by an unrequited yearning for his affection and approval. Despite possessing a highly intelligent and inquisitive mind, the reverend's daughter is never permitted to be anything but dutiful and demure; unlike her six-year-old brother, Howard, who ignites his father's pride simply by being a boy. Throughout the novel, Faith is thwarted by limits placed on her gender. In 1868, the roles of women, science, and religion are under scrutiny and often at odds with one another; Darwin's The Origin of Species is only nine years old, and its ideas of evolution are beginning to knock against the teachings of the church. Faith, who has spent hours reading the scientific volumes of her father's library, longs (in vain) to be part of these heated debates, even as the local doctor informs her that the small female skull makes it impossible for women to be intellectuals. As these injustices are bandied about, Faith feels not only incensed and confused but also ashamed for masking her own cleverness so that she might be thrown a scrap of worthwhile conversation: Rejection had worn Faith down. . . . Even so, each time she pretended ignorance, she hated herself and her own desperation. These concerns are interwoven with a story of intrigue and, possibly, murder. From the outset, Reverend Sunderly's behavior is strange. He is secretive and disappears for hours to care for a plant no one is permitted to see. When Faith interrupts her father one evening, he is forced to take her into his confidence. Thrilled by this moment of bonding, Faith agrees to help him relocate his precious plant in the dead of night, but come morning, the reverend's body is discovered with a broken neck. She is positive that someone is behind his death, and she takes it upon herself to discover who. Faith finds some answers in the reverend's journal, but it contains even more mysteries prime among them the plant she recently helped him to hide: the Mendacity Tree. According to her father, a man of science and reason, this rare specimen feeds not on sunshine but on lies, from which it bears a fruit that will reveal great truths to the person who consumes it. Faith can't help but wonder whether this tree, seemingly the stuff of fairy tales, might show her what happened to her father. And so she follows in the reverend's footsteps: she conducts scientific research on the plant and nurtures it with lies, the ramifications of which outstrip both logic and imagination. There is an effortless beauty to Hardinge's writing, which ranges from frank to profound. Though layered, the plot refuses to sag, driven as it is by mystery, taut atmosphere, complex characters, and Faith's insatiable curiosity. The 2015 winner of the UK's Costa Book of the Year Award, this novel is the first children's book since Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass (2000) to receive the honor, and both books use the lens of fantasy to observe a young girl caught in the cross fire of science and religion though Hardinge's touch is more nuanced. It is a book in which no details are wasted and each chapter brings a new surprise. Readers of historical fiction, mystery, and fantasy will all be captivated by this wonderfully crafted novel and the many secrets hidden within its pages.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-In a time when a young woman's exterior life can be stifling and dull, Faith Sunderly's interior life is cavernous. She has a sharp mind; a keen interest in the scientific research that has made her father, the formidable Reverend Sunderly, famous; and an irresistible impulse for sneaking, spying, and skulking around. Faith's curiosity about the world around her, which she must keep hidden, is a source of personal shame and the one thing about herself she longs for people, especially her father, to notice. When the Reverend is invited to take part in an archaeological dig on the insular island community of Vane, the whole family packs up and moves with him. It doesn't take long for Faith to suspect there are darker reasons the family left London in such a hurry, and just as she's starting to put things together, her father is found dead. Setting out to prove her father's death was a murder, Faith uncovers a web of secrets the Reverend has been keeping, all centered on one of his specimens-a small tree that thrives on lies and bears a fruit that tells the truth. Faith believes she can use the tree to find her father's killer and begins feeding it lies. As the tree grows, so do Faith's lies and her fevered obsession with finding out the truth. Hardinge, who can turn a phrase like no other, melds a haunting historical mystery with a sharp observation on the dangers of suppressing the thirst for knowledge, and leaves readers to wonder where science ends and fantasy begins. VERDICT Smart, feminist, and shadowy, Hardinge's talents are on full display here.-Beth McIntyre, Madison Public Library, WI Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In Hardinge's (Cuckoo Song) superb tale of overarching ambition and crypto-botany, which recently won the Costa Book Award in the U.K., the Reverend Erasmus Sunderly, an eminent if unpleasant Victorian, has suddenly moved his family to a remote island, ostensibly to participate in a paleontological dig, but actually to escape scandal. Noticing that he is acting strangely, his 14-year-old daughter, Faith, a budding scientist whose intellectual curiosities are dismissed and discouraged, offers her aid and soon finds herself party to a terrifying discovery, a mysterious tree that apparently feeds on lies, rewarding the liar with astonishing visions. This so-called "Mendacity Tree" gives the tale an oddly allegorical feel, like something out of Spenser's The Faerie Queene. When Sunderly is found dead, an apparent suicide, it is up to Faith to clear his name, expose the murderer, and perhaps endanger her very soul. Hardinge's characteristically rich writing is on full display-alternately excoriating, haunting, and darkly funny-and the novel also features complex, many-sided characters and a clear-eyed examination of the deep sexism of the period, which trapped even the most intelligent women in roles as restrictive as their corsets. The Reverend's murder is a compelling mystery, grounded not just in professional envy and greed, but in the theological high-stakes game of Darwinian evolution and its many discontents. It's a ripping good yarn, one that should hold particular appeal for readers who are attracted to philosophically dense works like those of David Almond and Margo Lanagan. Ages 13-up. Agent: Nancy Miles, Miles Stott Agency. (May) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog What Is Given from the Heart.
by Patricia C. McKissack

Publishers Weekly James Otis and his mother don't have much. Daddy died last April-he didn't even "have a suit to be buried in" -the family farm is gone, and the two of them now live in a "run-down shotgun house" that floods when it rains. But when their pastor asks the congregation to help a family who lost everything in a fire, Mama does her part, sewing an apron made from her cherished white tablecloth, and she expects James to find "a li'l bit of something" for the girl, Sarah. "What is given from the heart reaches the heart," Mama says, echoing the pastor's words. After much thought, James Otis creates a book for and about Sarah herself-a gift the girl presses to her heart. This final book by the late McKissack (Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout) showcases the legendary author's signature lyricism in full force and receives a stunning, aesthetically ambitious interpretation by Harrison, a fine artist making her picture book debut. Flattened perspectives lend her characters quiet stature and communal strength, and elaborately textured colors exude translucence and light, almost as if these mixed-media images were created from stained glass. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Jan.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list In the months following the death of his father, life is hard for young James Otis and Mama. Still, when Reverend Dennis requests donations for a family that has lost everything to fire, Mama is the first to respond, sewing an apron from her best tablecloth. James Otis has a harder time deciding what to give, but finally settles on an illustrated book of his own creation. This posthumous offering from award winner McKissack (Who Will Bell the Cat?, 2018) recounts a heartfelt story demonstrating that joyful giving can have many rewards. Harrison's mixed-media and collage artwork portrays a close-knit, African American community, where fancy possessions are in short supply, but love and caring abound. Using folk-style illustrations and favoring earth tones, Harrison utilizes mottled backgrounds and colorfully collaged pieces to depict the characters' clothing. The faces are particularly expressive, conveying a full range of emotions. Appropriate for one-on-one sharing and story hours alike, this is a moving story that attests to life's most important values.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus A boy who has little learns that he can still give. James Otis and his mama have fallen on hard times. His father died, and they had no suit in which to bury him; they lost their farm, their new "run-down shotgun house in the Bottoms" flooded, and his dog ran away. Though they have very little, his mama says, "Long as we have our health and strength, we are blessed." As Valentine's Day approaches, their pastor announces that "love boxes" will be delivered to the needy in the community, including a mother and daughter who have lost everything in a fire. He reminds them that "what is given from the heart reaches the heart." Mama gets right to work sewing her best tablecloththe one nice thing she ownsinto an apron that she hopes will please the mother, Irene. But James Otis can't think of anything he has that the little girl would want. Finally, he comes up with a plan, and what he gives from the heart, little Sarah cherishes. Debut illustrator Harrison's heartfelt mixed-media illustrations, which include collage, acrylic, and found objects, emphasize the closeness between James Otis and his mother. The full faces of the characters and the muted palette and spare backgrounds reflect the dignity and joy to be found within black culture and community life even in lean times.A sweet story, one of the legendary McKissack's last, enhanced by delectable art from a prodigious new talent. (Picture book. 4-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-Although he and his mama are poor, James Otis struggles to find something he can give the Temple family, who have lost everything in a fire. After his daddy dies suddenly, the boy and his mom lose their farm and move into a "run-down shotgun house." A flood further adds to their misery. Yet when Reverend Dennis announces the congregation will deliver "love boxes" to needy families for Valentine's Day, the boy and his mother decide to provide gifts for the Temples. "Stitchin' with a loving heart," mama turns her one treasure, a tablecloth, into an apron for Mrs. Temple. Considering several of his possessions unsuitable, James Otis finally decides to make a book for Sarah Temple. The delighted Temples receive their box with the congregation looking on. Their hearts filled with joy at having given to others, James Otis and mama return home to discover a love box has been delivered to them. Textured backgrounds that bleed to the edges and often include spreads form the backdrop for the folk-art illustrations rendered in mixed media and found objects. All the figures are elongated, and the brightest colors appear in a striking scene of the close-knit African American community walking to church dressed in their Sunday best. There are depictions of the modest neighborhood and touching close-ups of the boy and his mom in loving embrace and Sarah clutching her treasured book to her chest. VERDICT This story of the joy of giving despite one's own needs is a must-have for group discussions of empathy. A treasure from a marvelous storyteller.-Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book In this story of giving, James Otis marvels that Mama is contributing to the church's "love box" for a family in need when they have so little themselves. But hearing "what is given from the heart reaches the heart" helps James Otis start thinking differently about what he does have. Detailed, highly textured, strikingly patterned collage illustrations invite readers to linger over the pages and add depth to the characters. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog A Flicker In The Dark
by Stacy Willingham

Library Journal When Chloe Davis was 12, her father was convicted of killing six girls who vanished from their small Louisiana town. Now she's a Baton Rouge-based psychologist prepping for her wedding, and it's happening again: local teenage girls are starting to vanish. What's going on? A big debut with a 150,000-copy first printing.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal DEBUT Willingham's novel explores the post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by those left in the wake of a serial killer. Chloe is a 32-year-old medical psychologist living in Baton Rouge, LA, who appears to have it together. However, she self-medicates to deal with the anxiety she feels because of trauma experienced when she was 12 years old. That was when Chloe's father was convicted of murdering six girls in the small town of Breaux Bridge, and she and her family were left to pick up the pieces. Now, as the 20th anniversary of the killings approaches, a girl goes missing very close to Chloe's home and office. Chloe comes to suspect that the disappearance is connected to her father. VERDICT A great addition to any mystery/psychological thriller collection, with an unforgettable character haunted by her past in an authentic Louisiana setting, which ups the creep factor.—Lacey Webster, Acadia Parish Library, Crowley, LA

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Twenty years after Chloe Davis’ father was convicted of killing half a dozen young women, someone seems to be celebrating the anniversary by extending the list. No one in little Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, was left untouched by Richard Davis’ confession, least of all his family members. His wife, Mona, tried to kill herself and has been incapacitated ever since. His son, Cooper, became so suspicious that even now it’s hard for him to accept pharmaceutical salesman Daniel Briggs, whose sister, Sophie, also vanished 20 years ago, as Chloe’s fiance. And Chloe’s own nightmares, which lead her to rebuff New York Times reporter Aaron Jansen, who wants to interview her for an anniversary story, are redoubled when her newest psychiatric patient, Lacey Deckler, follows the path of high school student Aubrey Gravino by disappearing and then turning up dead. The good news is that Dick Davis, whom Chloe has had no contact with ever since he was imprisoned after his confession, obviously didn’t commit these new crimes. The bad news is that someone else did, someone who knows a great deal about the earlier cases, someone who could be very close to Chloe indeed. First-timer Willingham laces her first-person narrative with a stifling sense of victimhood that extends even to the survivors and a series of climactic revelations, at least some of which are guaranteed to surprise the most hard-bitten readers. The story is sadly familiar, the treatment claustrophobically intense. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly At 12, Chloe Davis—the protagonist of Willingham’s devastating debut—watched in horror as her father pleaded guilty to murdering six teenage girls from Breaux Bridge, La., and agreed to serve six consecutive life sentences in order to avoid the death penalty. Shortly thereafter, her mother attempted suicide, and her gregarious older brother retreated inside himself. Now, Chloe is a 32-year-old self-medicating Baton Rouge psychologist, whose family history is unknown to nearly everyone but Daniel Briggs, the pharmaceutical salesperson to whom she’s now engaged following a whirlwind romance. Chloe is already apprehensive regarding the impending 20th anniversary of her father’s crime spree, so when a 15-year-old girl disappears from Chloe’s neighborhood, she tries not to panic. A few days later, however, another 15-year-old girl vanishes after leaving Chloe’s office, forcing Chloe to question whether a copycat killer has found her, or her paranoid imagination is seeing patterns where none exist. Willingham skillfully intercuts Chloe’s anxious first-person narration in the present with flashbacks to her childhood, ratcheting up the tension. Atmospheric prose and abundant red herrings amplify the tale’s intensity. Willingham is a writer to watch. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Rebecca Caudill Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Number the Stars
by Lois Lowry

School Library Journal : Gr 3-7--The gripping story of a ten-year-old Danish girl and her family's courageous efforts to smuggle Jews out of their Nazi-occupied homeland to safety in Sweden. Readers are taken to the very heart of Annemarie's experience, and, through her eyes, come to understand the true meaning of bravery.

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