Bound To Stay Bound

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 List of Unspeakable Fears
 Author: Kramer, J. Kasper

 Publisher:  Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2021)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 273 p.,  21 cm

 BTSB No: 530544 ISBN: 9781534480742
 Ages: 8-12 Grades: 3-7

 Fear -- Fiction
 Anxiety -- Fiction
 Grief -- Fiction
 Supernatural -- Fiction
 Stepfathers -- Fiction
 Communicable diseases -- Fiction
 North Brother Island (N.Y.) -- Fiction
 New York (N.Y.) -- History -- 1898-1951 -- Fiction

Price: $22.58

In 1910 New York City, four years after her Irish immigrant father dies of tuberculosis, ten-year-old Essie's fear and anxiety continue to grow uncontrollably, so much that when her mother, a brave nurse, remarries and the family moves to North Brother Island, where Essie's new stepfather runs a quarantine hospital for the incurably sick, Essie imagines all manner of horrors, including the ghost of a little girl--which might not be imaginary after all.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 4.90
   Points: 1.1   Quiz: 513524

   School Library Journal (00/09/21)
   Booklist (+) (05/15/21)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/07/21)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 05/15/2021 *Starred Review* Essie has always been an anxious child, but since her father’s death, her anxieties have spiked to debilitating heights, manifesting as panic attacks, night terrors, and a lengthy list of fears she keeps close at hand. Her outgoing best friend, Beatrice, lives in the same New York tenement and helps draw Essie out of her fearful funks, but even Bea can’t help with Essie’s newest problem: her mother’s sudden announcement that she has remarried and the two of them will be moving into her new husband’s house—on North Brother Island. The island, as Essie aptly puts it, is “where the incurable sick of New York City are sent to die.” Kramer has chosen an innately creepy setting for her historical novel, where ghosts and mysteries swirl and keep company with assumptions and prejudicial thinking, often directed at immigrants arriving at the island’s Riverside Hospital, of which Essie’s stepfather is the director. As Essie grapples with new fears and suspicions that her stepfather is connected to the island’s spate of missing nurses, she launches her own investigation, meeting notorious island resident Mary Mallon in the process. Also weaving the General Slocum boat disaster into this atmospheric chiller, Kramer delivers a thrilling read with poignant commentary on the value of immigrants’ lives and one’s capacity to become a stronger, better person. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 09/01/2021 Gr 4–7—Essie O'Neill fears many things in 1911 New York City. Some are irrational—polar bears, electric lights, cats—but many (infectious diseases, red doors, fires) are grounded in her traumatic past. After her father died, her mother sank into a deep depression. Essie sleepwalks, worries constantly, and has terrible nightmares. She has more to worry about after her mother, a nurse, remarries and moves them both to North Brother Island. Essie's new stepfather is the chief of Riverside Hospital, which quarantines New Yorkers with infectious diseases. Angry and fearful, she thinks the strange German immigrant doctor is behind the mystery of the missing nurses. So Essie investigates and draws (incorrect) conclusions. She befriends the island's most famous patient, "Typhoid Mary" Mallon, and discovers more about the General Slocum maritime tragedy, which she watched in horror as a young child. She also receives help from a ghostly child who shows Essie that she cannot be brave unless she tackles her fears—sensitive readers may tremble at these incredibly suspenseful and deliciously creepy scenes. Ultimately, Essie learns her fears can be conquered if she names them and accepts help. She also learns to accept people whom she does not understand, such as immigrants, by viewing their differences as strengths. Though the work is not for easily spooked readers, it's a suspenseful take on conquering fears, with a lesson on how first impressions can be very wrong. VERDICT Set on an isolated island in a quarantine hospital, and following a heroine who confronts ghosts, nightmares, and palpable fears, this is the perfect Halloween read.—Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area Dist. Lib., Holt, MI - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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