cover image The Game of Love and Death

The Game of Love and Death

Martha Brockenbrough. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-545-66834-7

The odds against Henry and Flora becoming a couple are significant: Henry is white, Flora is black, and this is Depression-era Seattle. But their similarities outweigh their differences; at 17, they’re both orphans, musicians, and—unbeknownst to them—the current players in the centuries-old contest between Love and Death. Death’s player, Flora, is a singer and aspiring aviatrix; Henry, chosen by Love, plays bass and baseball. Airplanes and music bring Henry and Flora together, and though they feel something immediately, Flora, with a pessimism born of experience, is sure it can’t work. Love and Death are on the scene in human guises, manipulating people and events, and the book is really a tale of two couples: Henry and Flora, as well as the ultimate opposites-attract pair, Love and Death. Brockenbrough (Devine Intervention) never sugarcoats the obstacles facing Henry and Flora’s love—whether human prejudices or supernatural manipulations—in this inventive and affecting novel, and the ending in which Flora, who has seen too many people die, realizes how love and death intertwine, is beautiful. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. (Apr.)