It’s nail-biting time. The final edits have been made, the blurbs have been solicited, the Advance Reader Copies have gone out into the big wide world. Reviews generally start appearing one to three months before a book’s official release, to give librarians and booksellers time to consider whether they want to order a particular title or not. Sooner is better–or at least that’s how it looks to me. Sooner means the reviewer is intrigued by the cover or the premise and is eager to read the book. And if they like it, they are eager to share. That’s why I’m excited to get two reviews of IDK already–eleven weeks ahead of official release! One is very good and one is great. The great one, from Kirkus Reviews, is online (see the pull quote and click the link). The very good one is from School Library Journal, which generally doesn’t publish reviews online. So I’m quoting it in full.
I have a shot at four more review journals: Publishers Weekly, Booklist, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Hornbook. None of them, of course, have to acknowledge IDK at all. But I’ll be watching, with eagerness and trepidation.
I DON’T KNOW HOW THE STORY ENDS [STARRED REVIEW]
Author: J.B. Cheaney
Review Issue Date: September 1, 2015
Online Publish Date: July 27, 2015
Price ( Hardcover ): $16.99
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-4926-0944-5
“The novel is packed with cameos by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin…fascinating tidbits about the early days of film, and a relentless series of action scenes. Set dressing and quick pace aside, as narrated by Isobel, the story relies on—and delivers—solid characterization to drive it forward. Impressive on all fronts.”
The review from School Library Journal (not available online) doesn’t come with a star, but still makes IDK sound enticing–to me, anyway:
Cheaney, J.B. I Don’t Know How the Story Ends. 288p. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Oct. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492609445.
“The electrifying setting of early Hollywood, along with the ever-relevant story of a young girl’s search for stability in an increasingly chaotic world, make this a winner…Industrious, creative, and resourceful young characters will charm readers interested in the life-changing magic of filmmaking.”
Gr 5-7–Isobel’s father is serving overseas in the Great War and she misses him terribly. But when her mother moves the family from Seattle to Los Angeles for the summer, her world is truly turned upside down. This is the golden age of cinema and Hollywood is the center of it all. Isobel’s tour guide is her stepcousin, Ranger, a biracial renegade auteur with a habit for sneaking onto film sets to stalk his favorite directors. Ranger and his friend Sam, the son of an alcoholic cameraman, have a plan to make a moving picture and enlist Isobel and her impulsive little sister, Sylvie, to star. Unfortunately, this plan also involves more than a little “borrowing” of film equipment and facilities. The 13-year-old sheds her responsible nature and is swept up in the allure of authoring a happy ending to her story. Cheaney’s well-researched descriptions of the complex filmmaking equipment and processes of the silent era will surely amaze any reader used to casually filming their world with a smartphone. Cheaney also recounts several real silent films of the era, which may encourage some readers to broaden their movie-watching choices. The story tends to feel unnecessarily long at points, but the electrifying setting of early Hollywood, along with the ever-relevant story of a young girl’s search for stability in an increasingly chaotic world, make this a winner.
VERDICT Industrious, creative, and resourceful young characters will charm readers interested in the life-changing magic of filmmaking.