Or coming in. It takes a while sometimes.
Kirkus Reviews, which prides itself on being the toughest in the business, had a lot of great things to say. The review is a great synopsis, too, so I thought I’d share it all with you:
The residents of Oakdale, Ohio, don’t take kindly to strangers, and when Dr. Kingsbury and his assistants roll into town in October 1887 peddling Dr. Kingsbury’s Miraculous Tonic, folks are suspicious.
Thirteen-year-old Jack has traveled with the doctor ever since the tonic brought his little sister, Lucy, back from the brink of death. His work not only helps support his family, but repays their debt to the doctor. But when 16-year-old Isaac, his fellow assistant, mysteriously runs away, Jack discovers a darker side to the doctor. While Jack is beginning to suspect the doctor isn’t who he claims to be, the townspeople witness the tonic restoring one man’s hearing and helping another walk without a crutch. Soon after, they are buying up the tonic in the hopes it will bring the rain to their drought-plagued fields. Friendships with Bear, a stray dog, and Cora, the adventurous niece of the mayor, give Jack much-needed support. Hope is offered in the parallel story of Silas Carey, whose life 50 years earlier was not unlike Jack’s in the present day. Atmospheric with decidedly ominous overtones, this historical novel offers just the right mix of good vs. evil. Main characters are presumed White; there is a Black family in town, described using the term colored. The author’s note adds historical context about 19th-century patent medicines as well as commentary on changing language norms around race.
A deliciously sinister read.
Publishers Weekly had this to say:
A small-town mystery unfolds with creeping dread in Rose’s historical thriller…a chilling adventure that serves as a cautionary tale against insular life. You can read the full review here.
In the next few weeks I should hear from Booklist, School Library Journal, Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books (BCCB), and maybe Hornbook (though seven books in, I still don’t understand how Hornbook reviews. Anyone care to enlighten me?)
Waiting for reviews to roll in can be stressful. Though most everyday readers don’t read them (or even know they exist), trade reviews help determine what books schools, libraries, and booksellers might purchase or carry. While they aren’t the end all be all, they do have a big influence on if readers will ever encounter a book. I’m happy to say so far things are looking good!
Planning on preordering Jasper (releasing in paperback 6/28) or Miraculous (releasing in hardback 7/26)? Or maybe you’ve already preordered? If so, you’re eligible for some fun giveaways. Click through to learn more.