Please watch for our new reviews coming in 2017!
Please watch for our new reviews coming in 2017!
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko: A Novel
by Scott Stambach (St. Martin’s Press) August 9, 2016
“Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko has spent his entire life in a cloistered world, but he possesses a keen intellect and an understanding of humanity that far exceeds the confines of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. Severely physically handicapped due to radiation poisoning, Ivan has never had a friend beyond his caregivers at the hospital — until Polina is admitted. The two teens form a fast and indelible bond that will leave readers in awe of the tenacity of their commitment. Heartbreaking and awe-inspiring.”
—Pamela Klinger-Horn (E), Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN
About the Author
written and illustrated by Edward Carey
Chosen by Luminaries author Eleanor Catton as her Guardian Book of the Year, Heap House is the gorgeously illustrated story of the Iremonger clan and their gothic, eccentric world.
Set in 1875, Carey’s delightful variation on Mervyn Peake’s classic Gormenghast books features young Clod Iremonger, sickly scion of an eccentric family that has grown rich off of the trash heaps of London. Heap House itself is a mad conglomeration of building fragments attached willy-nilly to the original mansion located amid dangerous, ever-shifting Heaps. All Iremongers possess birth objects, such as a sink plug or a mustache cup, which they must never lose on pain of death or transformation; Clod is considered odd even by his relatives because he can hear each birth object speak its name. When orphan Lucy Pennant comes to Heap House as a servant, things become even stranger for Clod and his fellow Iremongers. Birth objects and other bits of the house grow restless, moving about on their own, and Clod finds himself falling in love. Full of strange magic, sly humor, and odd, melancholy characters, this trilogy opener, peppered with portraits illustrated by Carey in a style reminiscent of Peake’s own, should appeal to ambitious readers seeking richly imagined and more-than-a-little-sinister fantasy.
The first installment of the Iremonger Trilogy, Heap House introduces the reader to a fascinating world whose inhabitants come alive on the page—and in Edward Carey’s fantastical illustrations—Clod and Lucy, anxious, animal-loving Tummis with his pet seagull, menacing cousin Moorcus, dreadful Aunt Rosamud, and more. Mystery, romance, and the perils of the Heaps await!
“The first in a deliciously macabre trilogy . . . channels Dickens crossed with Lemony Snicket. . . . a Gothic tale in turns witty, sweet, thoughtful and thrilling—but always off-kilter—andpenned with gorgeous, loopy prose. Suspense and horror gradually accumulate into an avalanche of a climax, leading to the most precipitous of cliffhangers… Magnificently creepy.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Heap House is delightful, eccentric, heartfelt, surprising, philosophical, everything that an novel for children should be.” —Eleanor Catton, winner of the Man Booker Prize for The Luminaries
“Heap House torques and tempers our memories of Dickensian London int a singularly jaunty and creepy tale of agreeable misfits.”—Gregory Maguire, best-selling author of Wicked
Edward Carey is the author and illustrator of two novels for adults, Observatory Mansions and Alva and Irva, which was longlisted for the IMPAC Literary Award. The Iremonger Trilogy is his first work for young readers. Born in England, he now lives with his wife, Elizabeth McCracken, and their two children in Austin, Texas, where he wrote the Iremonger Trilogy because he missed feeling cold and gloomy.
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin (Algonquin)
“Fikry is a bookseller with a small shop in a sleepy island resort town off the coast of Massachusetts. He’s a bit cantankerous, but with good reason: his wife, the ‘people person’ of the relationship, has recently died and his prized possession, a rare copy of Tamerlane, has gone missing. Despite those losses, there’s one strange addition, a baby girl left on his doorstep with an explicit request for Fikry to take her in. Zevin’s novel offers the reality of both death and rebirth, held together by the spirit of the bookstore. It’s a romantic comedy, a spiritual journey, and if you include the chapter openings, a collection of short story criticisms as well. In short, it’s a celebration of books and the people who read them, write them, and sell them.”
— Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
Review by Josh Poppie (Jan. 2014)
I am reviewing A Long Way From Chicago, by Richard Peck. I consider it a historical fiction or humorous book with several themes.
This book is a compilation of several stories about two kids, Joey and Mary Alice Dowdel, going to see their grandma for a week during every summer for seven years. Each visit is different in its own special way. Some of the stories include: the catching-in-the-act and revenge on four prankster kids; an illegal fishing trip; and, a wrestling match between two of the oldest men alive. Joey, the narrator, says Grandma Dowdel becomes a different woman every year.
The book takes place in Illinois’ Piatt County. I like the writing style especially because it involves a lot of funny similes and interesting vocabulary. Although it takes place in the Midwest, it has a very Southern feel to it.
I’d recommend A Long Way From Chicago, by Richard Peck, to anyone who likes humor or old-time stories from the Great Depression era.
Please watch for our new reviews in 2014!