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by Jane Smiley

Publishers Weekly In the first volume of a planned trilogy, Smiley returns to the Iowa of her Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres, but in a very different vein. The warring sisters and abusive father of that book have given way to the Langdons, a loving family whose members, like most people, are exceptional only in their human particularities. The story covers the 1920s through the early '50s, years during which the family farm survives the Depression and drought, and the five Langdon children grow up and have to decide whether to stay or leave. Smiley is particularly good at depicting the world from the viewpoint of young children-all five of the Langdons are distinct individuals from their earliest days. The standout is oldest son Frank, born stubborn and with an eye for opportunity, but as Smiley shifts her attention from one character to another, they all come to feel like real and relatable people. The saga of an Iowa farm family might not seem like an exciting premise, but Smiley makes it just that, conjuring a world-time, place, people-and an engaging story that makes readers eager to know what happens next. Smiley plans to extend the tale of the Langdon family well into the 21st century; she's off to a very strong start. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Smiley was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for A Thousand Acres (1991), a novel about a farming family in Iowa. In her fourteenth novel, she returns to that fertile ground to tell the stories of the Langdons, a clan deeply in accord with the land, wherever their quests lead them. A seductive writer in perfect command of every element of language, Smiley sets a ruminative pace embodying the tempo of farm work, season to season. Beginning in 1920 and reaching 1953, this saga of the vicissitudes of luck and our futile efforts to control it is also a richly meteorological novel, exploring how the high and low pressures of the mind can determine a farm's bounty and losses just as droughts and blizzards do. While steadfast Walter worries, his smart, industrious wife, Rosanna, runs the household and cares for their children, beginning with courageous Frankie, followed by animal-lover Joey, romantic Lillian, scholarly Henry, and good Claire. As barbed in her wit as ever, Smiley is also munificently tender. The Langdons endure the Depression, Walter agonizes over giving up his trusty horses for a tractor, and Joe tries the new synthetic fertilizers. Then, as Frank serves in WWII and, covertly, the Cold War, the novel's velocity, intensity, and wonder redouble. Smiley's grand, assured, quietly heroic, and affecting novel is a supremely nuanced portrait of a family spanning three pivotal American decades. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With a major print run and extensive national author tour ramping up publicity, ever-popular Smiley's tremendous new novel will be on the top of countless to-read lists.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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by John Sandford

Publishers Weekly A horrific crime-the torture murders of Patrick Brooks, his wife, son, daughter, and three dogs at their palatial lakeside home in Wayzata, Minn.-propels bestseller Sandford's solid 22nd novel featuring Lucas Davenport of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (after 2011's Buried Prey). That DEA officials believe the killings to be the work of Los Criminales del Norte brings Mexican detective David Rivera and assistant Ana Martinez to the Twin Cities area, though Brooks's Spanish-language company, Sunnie Software, which peddled its product in Mexico, appears to have been an unlikely money laundry. Since the author makes it clear who the bad guys are early on, the slow revelation of what they've done and how they've done it gives the story its kick. Meanwhile, Lucas, after a couple of meth addicts rob him at an ATM, turns for help to series regular Virgil Flowers, who gets surprising results. Once again, Sandford smoothly blends action and suspense with a soupcon of humor. Author tour. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Wayzata, Minnesota, is not the place where one would expect an entire family husband, wife, kids, even the dogs to be tortured and murdered. To Lucas Davenport, of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, it looks a lot like the carnage wrought by vengeful Mexican drug gangs. But this family obviously was not in the drug trade. So why? The trail takes Davenport to a Minneapolis bank, where credit cards were being used to launder Mexican cartel money. But the credit-card account is empty. Someone has ripped off the cartel, and the drug lords intend to butcher people until someone tells them where the money is. The twenty-fourth Prey novel is the usual Sandford mix of tight plotting, gallows humor, and explosive action. This one has a twist, though, which reveals a creeping weakness in Davenport's analytic skills. A white-knuckle page-turner. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Last May, Stephen King said, If you haven't read Sandford, you have been missing one of the great summer-read novelists of all time. A nice jump start for a new publicity campaign.--Lukowsky, Wes Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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by Malika Oufkir

Publishers Weekly While accounts of the unjust arrest and torture of political prisoners are by now common, we expect such victims to come with a just cause. Here, Oufkir tells of the 20-year imprisonment of her upper-class Moroccan family following a 1972 coup attempt against King Hassan II by her father, a close military aide. After her father's execution, Oufkir, her mother and five siblings were carted off to a series of desert barracks, along with their books, toys and French designer clothes in the family's Vuitton luggage. At their first posting, they complained that they were short on butter and sweets. Over the years, subsequent placements brought isolation cells and inadequate, vermin-infested rations. Finally, starving and suicidal, the innocents realized they had been left to die. They dug a tunnel and escaped. Recapture led to another five years of various forms of imprisonment before the family was finally granted freedom. Oufkir's experience does not fit easily into current perceptions of political prisoners victimized for their beliefs or actions. In fact, she was the adopted daughter of King Muhammad V, Hassan II's father, sent by her parents at age five to be raised in the court with the king's daughter as her companion and equal. Beyond horrifying images such as mice nibbling at a rich girl's face, this erstwhile princess's memoir will fascinate readers with its singular tale of two kindly fathers, political struggles in a strict monarchy and a family's survival of cruel, prolonged deprivation. (Apr.) Forecast: A bestseller in France, where Morocco is always a hot issue, this oddly gripping book should also do well here thanks to Oufkir's appearance soon on 60 Minutes and a five-city tour. Film adaptation is a distinct possibility, especially given the book's publisher. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Oufkir, the child of a general, was adopted at the age of five by King Mohammed and brought up as a companion to his daughter. Eleven years later, she returned home to a three-year adolescence of wealth and privilege, where she consorted with movie stars and royalty. In 1961, Hassin II succeeded his father as king, and Oufkir's father was executed after staging a coup against the new regime. For the next 15 years, Oufkir, her mother, and her five siblings were confined to a desert prison and subjected to inhuman conditions. Oufkir's description of their day-to-day survival during these years is the heart of the book. The family finally escaped by digging a tunnel, were recaptured, and today live in Paris, where Oufkir eventually found love and marriage with a French architect. A best seller in France, this riveting story will find an audience here, but just how much of an audience is yet to be determined. Recommended for all general collections. Frances Sandiford, Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list The ways that people hurt one another are always hard to fathom, and why they do so is another mystery. It is true that General Oufkir probably led the 1972 attempted coup and assassination of King Hassan of Morocco. However, Oufkir's wife and children, including Malika, found out about it only after his execution. Still, guilt by association condemned them, without a trial, to more than 20 years of imprisonment, including more than a decade of near starvation and torture. What makes all this harder to understand is that Malika had been adopted by then king Mohammed when she was five. As the primary playmate of the king's beloved daughter, she was surrounded by luxury and treated as royalty. After the coup attempt, Malika and other members of her family were exiled to an abandoned fort in the countryside. Within four years they were moved to the Bir-Jdid prison, where their worst torment began. They would not see one another or sunlight for more than a decade. The physical toll of years of this treatment was bad enough, but the emotional toll was far more devastating. By the time they dug their way to freedom in 1987, they were emaciated skeletons. However, even then it would be another nine years before they were totally free. The question of why it happened is never really answered, but this is an extremely effective and graphic picture of what evil is like from the vantage point of its most innocent victims. --Marlene Chamberlain

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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by Laurie Halse Anderson

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Socially inept Tyler Miller thinks his senior year of high school is going to be a year like no other. After being sentenced to a summer of "character building" physical labor following a graffiti prank, his reputation at school receives a boost, as do his muscles. Enter super-popular Bethany Milbury, sister of his tormentor, Chip, and daughter of his father's boss. Tyler's newfound physique has attracted her interest and infuriated Chip, leading to ongoing conflicts at school. Likewise, Tyler's inability to meet his volatile father's demands to "be an asset, not a liability" adds increasing tension. All too quickly, Tyler's life spirals out of control. In the wake of an incident at a wild party that Bethany has invited him to attend, he is left feeling completely isolated at school and alienated at home, a victim of "twisted" perception. Tyler must tackle the complex issues of integrity, personal responsibility, and identity on his own as he struggles to understand what it means to be a man. His once humorous voice now only conveys naked vulnerability. With gripping scenes and a rousing ending, Anderson authentically portrays Tyler's emotional instability as he contemplates darker and darker solutions to his situation. Readers will rejoice in Tyler's proclamation, "I'm not the problem here-I'm tired of feeling like I am." Teenage concerns with sex, alcohol, grades, and family are all tackled with honesty and candor. Once again, Anderson's taut, confident writing will cause this story to linger long after the book is set down.-Erin Schirota, Bronxville Public Library, NY Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Tyler Miller was a socially invisible nerd (Your average piece of drywall who spent too much time playing computer games ) before he sprayed some attention-getting graffiti and became a legend. Sentenced to a summer of physical labor, he enters his senior year with new muscles that attract popular Bethany Millbury, whose father is Tyler's dad's boss. On probation for his graffiti stunt, Tyler struggles to balance his consuming crush with pressure that comes from schoolwork and his explosive father, and after Tyler is implicated in a drunken crime, his balancing act falls apart. The dialogue occasionally has the cliched feel of a teen movie (Party's over. We're just getting started. And I don't remember inviting you ). What works well here is the frank, on-target humor (I was a zit on the butt of the student body ), the taut pacing, and the small moments, recounted in Tyler's first-person voice, that illuminate his emotional anguish. Writing for the first time from a male perspective, Anderson skillfully explores identity and power struggles that all young people will recognize. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly At first, Anderson's (Speak) contemporary novel appears to be a "twisted" version of a Cinderella story. Unpopular senior Tyler Miller ("a zit on the butt of the student body") gains stature and notoriety the summer after he pulls off an impressive prank: "spray-painting a couple thousand dollars worth of damage to the school." But readers soon discover that the author has something more complex and original to offer than a fairy-tale rendition of transformation. Humorous, compelling first-person narrative traces how Tyler's newfound happiness as a gutsy tough-guy soon turns to agony; he starts to wish that he could go back to being "invisible." Tyler is floating on Cloud Nine when he wins favor with rich, popular Bethany Milbury, but she drops him after he won't sleep with her, and then he gets the blame when compromising photos of her appear on the Internet. As a result, Tyler has to contend with the police, a verbally abusive father (who works for Bethany's dad), a principal who is still angry about the graffiti incident, and a slew of new enemies at school. With justice seemingly beyond his reach, Tyler considers suicide and running away from home before settling for less drastic measures. This dark comedy gives a chillingly accurate portrayal of the high-school social scene, in which morals, perceptions and conceptions of truth are continually being challenged. Tyler may not gain hero status with his peers, but readers will respect his integrity, which outshines his mistakes. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Agent: Writers House. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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