KRISTIN CASHORE is a freelance educational writer who writes content for textbooks and teacher editions, as well as book reviews for The Horn Book Guide and other publications. Kristin received her master's degree in children's literature in 2003 from Simmons College, where she worked with Liza Ketchum and was named a Virginia Haviland Scholar. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida.
Three teens-Jubilee, Tobin, and Addie-each experience some Christmas magic during a North Carolina snowstorm. Cold Weather Appeal: Leave it to these teen authors-Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle-to use the convention of the three-in-one romance package both to honor and to make light of our modern holiday traditions. Why It Is for Us: The romantic relationships are secondary to all the cleverness. In the first story, Jubilee's parents are part of the "Flobie five," arrested for rioting over a Flobie collectible Christmas village. In Green's offering, a Waffle House becomes an unlikely destination for weary travelers and local teens in search of a miracle. And in the third story, Myracle re-creates It's a Wonderful Life, as the book's assorted revelers gather for the final scene not in George Bailey's living room but in a suburban Starbucks. Even the Grinchiest readers will surrender to the seasonal mayhem.-Angelina Benedetti Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Gr 8 Up-In this debut fantasy novel, Cashore treats readers to compelling and eminently likable characters and a story that draws them in from the first paragraph. In Katsa's world, the "Graced," those gifted in a particular way, are marked by eyes that are different colors. Katsa's Grace is that she is a gifted fighter, and, as such, she is virtually invincible. She is in the service of her tyrannical uncle, king of one of the seven kingdoms, and she is forced to torture people for infractions against him. She has secretly formed the Council, which acts in the service of justice and fairness for those who have been accused and abused. Readers meet her as she is rescuing the father of the Lienid king, who has been abducted. The reasons for his capture are part of a tightening plot that Katsa unravels and resolves, with the help of Prince Po, the captive's grandson. He has his own particular Grace, and he becomes Katsa's lover and partner in what becomes a mortally dangerous mission. Cashore's style is exemplary: while each detail helps to paint a picture, the description is always in the service of the story, always helping readers to a greater understanding of what is happening and why. This is gorgeous storytelling: exciting, stirring, and accessible. Fantasy and romance readers will be thrilled.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.