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The Nightingale.

Hannah, Kristin (author).
Feb. 2015. 448p. St. Martin's, hardcover, $27.99 (9780312577223); St. Martin's, e-book (9781466850606).
REVIEW. First published December 15, 2014 (Booklist). Hannah (Fly Away, 2013) departs from the contemporary novels she’s known for with this engrossing tale of two sisters’ bravery in occupied France during WWII. Viann and Isabelle Rossignol took very different paths after their mother’s death devastated their family and war turned their father into a distant and withdrawn parent. Older sister Viann sought comfort in the arms of a schoolmate, getting pregnant and marrying at just 16. Rebellious Isabelle gets herself kicked out of multiple boarding schools. Then the Germans conquer France, and the sisters’ lives change drastically. When her husband is captured and detained as a prisoner of war in Germany, Viann is forced to take in a German captain. Soon she finds herself relying on him to ensure there is food on the table for her daughter. Isabelle joins the Resistance, boldly leading fallen airmen fighting for the liberation of France over the mountains to Spain to safety. Hannah’s latest is a page-turner that will no doubt have readers reaching for tissues. This moving, emotional tribute to the brave women who fought behind enemy lines during the war is bound to gain the already immensely popular Hannah an even wider audience.

HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With a 350,000 initial print run and a multiplatform promotional campaign, best-selling Hannah’s new novel is positioned to take the book world by storm.

— Kristine Huntley

School Library Journal

Far-Out Science Fiction | SLJ Spotlight
Four out-of-this-world YA novels that will grab teens’ attention.

E-Rate Win for Schools and Libraries: Modernization Order Brings Another $1.5B
The FCC voted another $1.5 billion to E-Rate, a federal subsidy program that brings high speed broadband to schools and libraries, and advocates, including the American Library Assocation and the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, are voicing their cheer.

Timing Is Everything | Consider the Source
Everyone who knows me knows I’m in the cheering section for the Common Core English Language Arts State Standards. But as an advocate for the standards, I have a concern and a question about the assessments.

Library Journal

Nonfiction RA Picks 2014 : A Sampling | Wyatt’s World
Among the "best-of" are Biss's On Immunity, Johnson's How We Got to Now, Kolbert's Sixth Extinction, Mead's Life in Middlemarch, and Sides's In the Kingdom of Ice.

Audiobooks from Fortier, Ivy, McGarrity, and Poehler | Xpress Reviews
Two stories of strong women from Fortier, a new series from Ivy, characters drawn with nuance and pathos by McGarrity, and funny and powerful truisms from Poehler

Graphic Novels from Keatinge & del Duca, Williams & Coleby, and Zimmerman & Scott | Xpress Reviews
A fully developed cast of well-rounded characters from Keatinge and del Duca; an informed, provocative alternate history from Williams and Coleby; and fascinating true-life tales of espionage, diplomacy, and high-tech aerospace innovation

Kirkus Reviews

Book Cover

A union lawyer offers radical prescriptions to resuscitate a moribund labor movement.

In a book that suggests that a revival of labor is necessary to the survival of democracy, Geoghegan (Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life, 2010, etc.) admits from the outset that prospects look grim in a country that seems to regard Big Labor as an anachronism. But with the “drop-by-drop disappearance of the middle class,” with wages slashed and job security replaced by contract work, desperate times require desperate measures: “Some say that our current income inequality is no longer like the Roaring Twenties or even the Gilded Age: we’re reaching inequality that we haven’t known since feudalism. Charlemagne, not J.P. Morgan, is the relevant comparison.” The author suggests moving the battle lines from union-corporation (where the latter has won) to the political arena, where the Democratic Party has failed to represent the interests of its longtime constituents, and to the government, where the Civil Rights Act should be extended to encompass union busting. He finds hope in service professions such as nursing and teaching, where battles are fought over conditions that can benefit the community at large (greater resources, smaller class size) beyond narrower concerns such as salary and security, and where public opinion is the ultimate arbiter. Some of Geoghegan’s suggestions might seem counterintuitive: that globalization can save American labor rather than simply deport jobs, that unions would be better off representing those who join enthusiastically rather than representing all, and that the Democratic Party’s emphasis on education is misplaced (resulting in greater student debt rather than necessarily higher salaries). However, he insists that since the stakes are so high, a new labor resurgence cannot succeed with the old game plan.

A manifesto that provokes even when it doesn’t convince and tempers its broadsides with humor and a conversational style.

Book Cover

Another case for a former CIA agent and her gal pals.

Reserve Deputy and former CIA agent Phoenix Smith and her friend and host, Acting Sheriff Annalynn Keyser, are called to help law enforcement officials in a neighboring county contain a gang of bank robbers hiding in a deserted farmhouse. Together with Phoenix’s dropout police dog, Achilles, they surround the house, but at least two of the men escape, and only Achilles’ sharp nose keeps Phoenix from getting blown up in the booby-trapped house. The robbers are members of the Cantree family, locals with a grudge against the county sheriff and a network of friends and family who could be helping them. Since Phoenix killed one of them and wounded another during the escape attempt, she’s sure to be added to their hit list. The gang stole cash but also targeted a safety deposit box filled with gold coins, and the FBI agents suspect Phoenix because, as consultant to a venture capital firm, she has the expertise to sell the gold. Meanwhile, another sleuthing friend, Connie Diamante, who’s directing Oklahoma! for the local community college, asks Phoenix to play the piano for the auditions. One of the kids who’s auditioning pulls a gun but claims it was just a prop to help get him in character. After a video of the incident shows up on YouTube, Phoenix and Connie are shot at in a local restaurant. They’re also presented with a case of elder neglect that involves a Cantree family friend. Although Phoenix would prefer to get on with her work establishing a foundation to assist crime victims, she’s forced to investigate the robbery to get the FBI off her back.

Mulford (Show Me the Deadly Deer, 2014, etc.) confronts her troupe of reluctant crime solvers with plenty of action and a few surprises.

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A teenager adjusting to a new home searches for clues to a mysterious death.

Claire Temple’s first glimpse of Raven Heights Manor, grimly perched on a rock on the north Cornwall coast, fills her with foreboding. Lonely and despondent since her parents’ deaths nine years earlier, Claire has suffered the common fate of late-18th-century orphans and been put to school—until her bachelor uncle invites her to the manor. When she arrives, he’s still abroad, and Claire is left in the care of his second cousin, the kindly housekeeper. Vitus and Roman, two boys about her age who live on the neighboring estate, claim her acquaintance, and Roman tells her all about the smugglers who hide their treasures in caves along the coast. With the natural resilience of not quite 16 years, Claire soon begins to enjoy exploring the manor and its grounds, although she’s warned away from the cliff where young Zillah recently fell to her death. Zillah was close to a little blind girl, Alice, who boarded with her at Miss Bethany Coulter’s inn. When Alice confides in Claire about a couple of notes Zillah left behind in case anything happened to her, Claire is increasingly curious about the young woman’s unfortunate fate. She takes a break from sleuthing to try to match up Bethany and Malcolm Randall, an aspiring chef, as business partners. She’s resourceful for one so young and enjoys unusual independence for a girl of her time, but it’s not her fault that her readers will probably be one step ahead of her most of the way. 

For an author with a list of historical romances to her name, Louise (RoseHill Manor, 2010, etc.) doesn’t write very convincingly about her chosen period or show much originality in a slight tale that’s likely to have the most appeal for young adults.

<December 2014>