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Clean Enough: Get Back to Basics and Leave Room for Dessert

Katzie Guy-Hamilton. The Experiment, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61519-490-2

Guy-Hamilton, the food director for the Equinox Fitness chain, combines her pastry chef roots (she trained at Spago) with health expertise in this solid guide to balanced healthy eating without going “too green and too clean” or ”demonizing treats.” Her journey from “pastry maven to kale queen” led to develop her “Clean Enough” philosophy: a sustainable approach to optimum health and “food freedom” from which dairy, fish, meat, tofu, and refined sugars are absent. The 100+ recipes use the highest-quality organic ingredients possible, including fats (coconut, olive oil); vegan proteins (legumes, seeds, nuts); fermented products (miso, sauerkraut); slow-release starches (whole grains, sweet potatoes, quinoa); vegetables; and fruit-based sugar substitutions. There are healing tonics (Green Pow Wow Smoothie, with spinach and cashew milk) and morning breakfast bowls (Luxury Granola with apricots, dates, oranges, and pistachios) along with simple greens and a vegetable bibimbap. Guy-Hamilton’s passion for baked treats is apparent, with over half the recipes showcasing desserts such as a chocolate banana whiskey torte and meringues, to which she devotes an entire chapter. Home cooks will be bolstered by Guy-Hamilton’s accessible, non-restrictive recipes. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 11/09/2018 | Details & Permalink

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Mediterranean: Naturally Nutritious Recipes from the World’s Healthiest Diet

Susie Theodorou. Kyle, $19.99 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-85783-479-9

Theodorou (Coffee and Bites), a professional food stylist, celebrates the Mediterranean diet in this appealing and beautifully photographed volume. She provides an array of recipes—mostly from Greece, Italy, and Spain—for simple dishes. Theodorou explains that this way of eating, which she says is optimal for weight control, is not a diet plan but a healthy lifestyle choice full of plant-based foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. She embraces flour made from buckwheat, rye, spelt, and chestnut, as well as whole grain rice and farro (which is substituted for rice in Venetian risotto). The recipes include a glorious orecchiette with butternut squash and sage, white bean puree, and olive oil–fried eggs. Lamb and pork are highlighted in an array of preparations including barbecued lamb rib chops with rosemary and cherry tomatoes and roasted pork chops with broccoli rapini. She also provides ample fish, shellfish, and poultry recipes (including grilled mackerel, mussels with nduja, and barbecue chicken with green olives) along with salads and a wonderful chapter on slow-cooked meals such as beetroot with feta. Suitable for cooks at all levels, this enticing cookbook will be embraced by those looking to improve the healthfulness of their diets. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/09/2018 | Details & Permalink

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White Stag

Kara Barbieri. Wednesday, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-14958-9

In this brutal fantasy (originally self-published), a young woman who’s spent the past century serving as thrall to the goblins who slaughtered her village must now fight for her life during a contest to determine the next Goblin King. Janneke has lasted this long by learning to rise to every challenge, and her master, Soren, chooses her to help defeat his loathsome uncle Lydian—her original master, who raped and mutilated her. The first goblin to hunt down the fabled white stag will rule the rest, and Soren, to whom Janneke is increasingly attracted, is one of the strongest contenders. Janneke realizes that her time in the goblins’ land of Permafrost has changed her, and as the hunt progresses, she must choose between her fading humanity and the goblin spirit she has developed. Barbieri’s tale, which blends Norse folklore and Goethe’s Erlking, features an emotionally raw tone and dwells on survivor Janneke’s pain and trauma. Though the intense tale weaves together romance, action, and magic in sometimes compelling ways, the worldbuilding is atmospheric without detail, the plot sprawls, and elaborate portrayals of violence and assault contribute to a problematic, possibly distressing novel. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 11/09/2018 | Details & Permalink

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The Turnaway Girls

Hayley Chewins. Candlewick, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9792-1

Delphernia Undersea, 12, longs to escape the dank cloister where she must silence her singing voice or be “swallowed by the sea.” As one of the turnaways, who are neither seen nor heard, Delphernia’s only function is to make shimmer: gold molded from the music of the Masters, which pays the Custodian of Blightsend for their upkeep. Delphernia can’t seem to create shimmer, though, and is punished cruelly for it. Then, while everyone sleeps, Delphernia frees her voice, creating a golden bird with a beating heart. When she is chosen by young Master Bly to leave the cloister to spin gold, she’s terrified that her secret—that she can create life with her song—will come out, but wonder and shocking revelations await her on Blightsend, as does a friendship with a fellow outsider, a female Master named Linna Lundd. Writing in Delphernia’s wry voice, Chewin, a poet, weaves an unusual, beautiful debut that sings with all the grace of the cloisterwings that Delphernia brings to life with her soaring voice. Entwining themes of rebellion, freedom, identity, and finding one’s destiny are at the center of this lovely tale. Ages 10–14. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/09/2018 | Details & Permalink

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Thundercluck!

Paul Tillery IV, illus. by Tillery and Meg Wittwer. Roaring Brook, $14.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-15528-3

Feathers—and humor—fly freely in this series launch, a farce lightly based on Norse mythology. Thundercluck is a chick with magical powers. She hatched from an egg that was laid by Thor’s treasured hen, Hennda, who was struck by a lightning bolt summoned by the god during a heated argument with his chef, Bones, who had long sought to dine on the chicken. Bones vanishes, but a seer, Saga, portends his return in one of her jauntily rhymed predictions and reveals that the villain is now craving Thundercluck. A young Valkyrie, Brunhilde, takes the chick under her wing and is heartbroken when the gods whisk her friend off to Earth for protection. Brunhilde is eventually sent to fetch him, and the two (sporting matching horned helmets) take a comedic whirlwind tour of the nine realms on a quest to retrieve Thundercluck’s lost powers and best the nefarious chef. Tillery dishes out bountiful allusions and wordplay both smart and silly (“It’s a chicken wrap,” Brunhilde quips when Thor disguises Thundercluck with his cape), and his note that the novel began as an animated short does not surprise, given its chirpy dialogue, rat-a-tat action, and spry illustrations. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/09/2018 | Details & Permalink

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Swing

Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess. Blink, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-310-76191-4

High school junior Noah has an unrequited crush on his friend Samantha, and when he discovers a handful of love letters from the 1960s, he is inspired to create mixed-media poetry that expresses his feelings. Noah had never planned to share the work with Sam, but then his well-meaning best friend, Walt (aka Swing), sends one of the poems to her anonymously. Meanwhile, someone is peppering the town with American flags, causing tension in the community as residents speculate about the meaning of the gesture. Things come to a head when Sam’s ex-boyfriend becomes a suspect in the flag mystery, and Sam is convinced that the accusation is racially motivated. Alexander and Hess (co-authors of Solo) embrace the malleability of free verse, heightening emotions with shifting styles and rhythms, and though Swing’s voice steals the show, the bantering friendship he and Noah share also shines. Interspersed throughout, the discovered letters and Noah’s art poetry highlight the power of physical artifacts to inspire action and provide a tie to flags’ symbolic meaning: “The one thing it should mean for everyone is freedom. Mind, body, and soul. Red, white, and blue. America the beautiful. The greatest love story yet to be.” Ages 13–up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/09/2018 | Details & Permalink

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Phantom Wheel

Tracy Deebs. Little, Brown, $10.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-47441-2

In this technothriller by Deebs (Powerless), after six teen hackers are duped into collaborating on an insidious project designed to steal the private data of everyday consumers, they go to war against one of the most powerful corporations in the world. For Issa, Owen, Harper, Alika, Ezra, and Seth, the opportunity to win a college scholarship and a job with the CIA seems like a dream come true—until they discover that they have been duped by Jacento, a smartphone manufacturer with unlimited resources and no scruples. Now they must find a way to defeat the very program that they helped to create, all while surviving Jacento’s attempts to discredit or kill them. The heroes perform audacious feats of computer wizardry, such as hacking other vehicles during a high-speed car chase, even as they drop pop culture one-liners, fall for one another, and narrowly escape death. The premise itself is well-worn, but Deebs’s fast-paced plot, cinematic action, and racially diverse, gender-equal cast makes this an entertaining adventure. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/09/2018 | Details & Permalink

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The Journal of Angela Ashby

Liana Gardner. Vesuvian, $12.99 paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-944109-69-1

Angela Ashby, 12, has plenty to worry about. Not only are she and her best friend, Mallory, the targets of the school bullies, but Angela’s parents have gotten divorced, and their relationship remains contentious. Angela isn’t letting this get her down, though. During a fun-filled trip through the school carnival, Angela and Mallory decide to have their fortunes told, and each receives a gift from the mysterious Madame Vadoma. Angela’s gift is a journal, a place to record her deepest thoughts and desires, and it comes with a cryptic warning that she must use her new power responsibly. Once Angela starts writing, her words begin manifesting with hilarious, startling, and sometimes unexpected results. This second novel by Gardner (7th Grade Revolution) is filled with achingly relatable tween moments and gentle lessons about the power of friendship, understanding other people’s stories, and living with the consequences of one’s actions. Ages 10–up. Agency: Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/09/2018 | Details & Permalink

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The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

Ben Philippe. Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-282411-0

In Philippe’s funny debut, 16-year-old black French-Canadian Norris Kaplan must navigate life and love in Austin, Tex., after he and his mother move there for her new teaching job. At Anderson High, he plans to keep his head down and draw as little attention as possible. To amuse himself, he uses the journal that the admissions officer gives him to create a snarky “Field Guide” to his fellow students. Norris usually has something sarcastic to say, so he doesn’t go unnoticed for long, attracting the attention of a jock, Patrick; a cheerleader, Madison; and loner Liam, who are each more than they seem. He’s instantly smitten when he meets Aarti, and when Madison offers her help in setting the two up, she and Norris strike up a reluctant friendship. Things are good, with Norris even heading up a fledgling hockey team, but a debacle at a prom after-party—involving Aarti, her ex, and Norris’s big mouth—threatens his new friendships. Philippe has a gift for dialogue and touches on a few instances of racism with sensitivity and humor in this crowd-pleaser. Ages 13–up. Agent: Leslie York, Fredrica S. Friedman & Co. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 11/09/2018 | Details & Permalink

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Confessions of a Teenage Leper

Ashley Little. Penguin Teen Canada, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6261-4

Seventeen-year-old Abby Furlowe feels her life is just about to begin. She’s the beauty queen of her small Texas town and plans to land a cheerleading scholarship to the college of her choice to pursue modeling, acting, and fame. But Abby’s not very nice. Then, what begins with a rash turns into numb feet, followed by a cheerleading accident that puts her in a coma for 16 days. She is finally diagnosed with Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy, and it’s the end of the world as she knows it. Abby’s harsh voice is riddled with dark humor, making for an effective first-person narrative that conveys palpable anger, shame, resentment, and sadness as she’s faced with her disintegrating health and friends who desert her because they’re as shallow as she has been. Little (Niagara Motel) pulls no punches in describing the agony of living with a chronic disease, and weaves in a subplot about Abby’s brother’s homosexuality and struggle with destructive behavior. When Abby is sent off to a facility in Baton Rouge, La., for treatment, she meets new friends who accept her as she reforms her identity into something more substantial, reflective, and kind. This unusual and inspiring story reminds readers that difficult circumstances can strengthen one’s character. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 11/09/2018 | Details & Permalink

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