revelations, the race is on to find her selkie
skin, which her father hid in order to protect
her. Canadian writer Dunne (Dependent)
builds on Irish lore to create an intriguing
mythology, though it’s not fully explained
(particularly with regard to the way that
“time moves differently” for selkies, as
well as their custom of luring humans
into the sea to live as “sex slaves”). Ocean
has a believable voice and is a well-rounded
character with fleshed-out relationships
with her family, particularly her mother.
Her story is marred, however, by the fact
that, on multiple occasions, Sam steps in
to save Ocean from sexual assaults. A
sequel is planned. Ages 14–up. (BookLife)
★ Defy the Stars
Claudia Gray. Little, Brown, $17.99 (512p)
In this poignant and profound SF novel
from Gray (the Firebird trilogy), resources
are scarce, humans populate multiple
planets, and a colony world called Genesis
is battling Earth
Vidal, a 17-year-
old fighter pilot
from Genesis, is
on a training
run when an
Earth army of
known as mechs
squadron. Noemi gets separated from the
group and seeks refuge on a broken-down
research vessel. On board is Abel, the first
mech ever created. A showdown ensues
before a quirk in Abel’s code dictates that
he submit to Noemi’s command. Using
information gleaned from Abel, Noemi
hatches a plan to liberate Genesis that
necessitates the mech’s destruction. It’s
not long, though, until Noemi is forced to
wonder whether Abel has transcended his
programming. Noemi and Abel share the
narrative, and together they weave a tale
that examines the ethics of war and tackles
questions of consciousness, love, and free
will. Gray’s characters are nuanced, her
worldbuilding is intelligent, and the
book’s conclusion thrills and satisfies
while defying expectations. Ages 15–up.
Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (Apr.)
Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants
Sandra Markle, illus. by Fabricio VandenBroeck.
Charlesbridge, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58089-
A herd of African elephants searches
for water on the dry savanna in Markle
(Toad Weather) and VandenBroeck’s
(Whiskers, Tails & Wings) handsome picture book. Based on the true story of a
Tanzanian herd that survived a 1994
drought thanks to its leader, named Big
Mama by researchers, this account
describes how Grandma elephant, like
Big Mama, locates water for her charges.
“Grandma’s thirst stirs a memory of a dry
time long ago, when she was a baby,”
Markle writes. “She remembers another
watering hole and sets off to find it.” On
the way, the herd munches leaves, digs
up the cracked surface of an old watering
hole, and even uses saliva to cool the
youngest. Realistic watercolor and
acrylic illustrations alternate between
close-ups of the parched parade of pachyderms and the wider landscape, painted
in layered, textured hues. Readers will
breathe a sigh of relief when the
watering hole finally appears and the
herd frolics and drinks its fill. This tale
of a lifesaving trek wraps up with an
author’s note about Big Mama, additional elephant facts, and suggested
resources. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)
Give Bees a Chance
Bethany Barton. Viking, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-
Barton (I’m Trying to Love Spiders) continues her campaign on behalf of creatures
that send some people into a panic. Edgar
has a scribble of curly hair and a nervous
look—he’s the one with the bee problem.
The unseen narrator’s enthusiastic, in-your-face lobbying on behalf of bees and
what they are capable of is a big part of the
book’s charm: “Maybe I just need to
remind you how weird and cool a honeybee’s anatomy is.” Why doesn’t Edgar like
bees? “Mostly because of their ‘stingers
and attached venom sacs, which are the
cause of painful bee stings,’ ” he confesses.
Barton’s illustrations range from loose,
cartoon-style sketches of bee encounters
(Edgar got stung recently, and the image
recapping the incident features labels that
include “the ouch,” “brave tears,” “super
mean bee”) to careful close-ups of dif-
ferent kinds of bees and their anatomical
characteristics. Much like its predecessor,
it’s an endearing mix of comedy and exu-
berantly delivered insider information: “A
single bee can visit 1,000 flowers a day,
making bee pollination powers unparal-
leled!” Ages 4–8. Agent: Stephen Barr,
Writers House. (Apr.) ■
Ossiri and the Bala Mengro Richard O’Neill
and Katharine Quarmby, illus. by Hannah Tolson.
Child’s Play, ISBN 978-1-8464-3925-4, Mar.
Genevieve’s War Patricia Reilly Giff. Holiday
House, ISBN 978-0-8234-3800-6, Mar.
Just Another Girl Elizabeth Eulberg. Point,
ISBN 978-0-545-95628-4, Mar.
Just Fly Away Andrew McCarthy. Algonquin
Young Readers, ISBN 978-1-61620-629-1, Mar.
King’s Cage Victoria Aveyard. Harper Teen,
ISBN 978-0-06-231069-9, Feb.
Saying Good-bye to London Julie Burtinshaw.
Second Story, ISBN 978-1-77260-029-2, Mar.
When You Never Said Goodbye:
An Adoptee’s Search for Her Birth Mother
Meg Kearney. Persea, ISBN 978-0-89255-479-9,
The Baker Street Peculiars Roger Langridge,
illus. by Andy Hirsch. KaBoom, ISBN 978-1-60886-
Wires and Nerve Marissa Meyer, illus. by Doug
Holgate. Feiwel and Friends, ISBN 978-1-250-
Becoming Bach Tom Leonard. Roaring Brook/
Porter, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-286-6, Feb.
★ Higher, Steeper, Faster: The Daredevils
Who Conquered the Skies Lawrence Goldstone. Little, Brown, ISBN 978-0-316-35023-5,
Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education
Raphaële Frier, trans. from the French by Julie
Cormier, illus. by Aurélia Fronty. Charlesbridge,
ISBN 978-1-58089-785-3, Feb.
Trudy’s Big Swim: How Gertrude Ederle
Swam the English Channel and Took the
World by Storm Sue Macy, illus. by Matt Collins.
Holiday House, ISBN 978-0-8234-3665-1, Feb.