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The Tombs
Contributor(s): Schaumberg, Deborah
ISBN: 0062656449     ISBN-13: 9780062656445
Publisher: Harperteen
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: February 2018

New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Deborah Schaumberg’s gripping debut takes readers on a breathless trip across a teeming turn-of-the-century New York and asks the question: Where can you hide in a city that wants you buried?

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t.

Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than listening to secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city.

Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”...and no one knows why.

Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Ability; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2018011882
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.75" W x 1.25" (1.20 lbs) 431 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 December)

Gr 9 Up—After the men in the crow masks drag her mother off to the asylum beneath the notorious Tombs prisons, Avery Kohl's privileged life crumbles: she's forced to move with her father to a grimy tenement and leave school for a job at the ironworks. Now, years later, she's barely getting by in the slums of 1882 New York City. When a shocking incident reveals that she's inherited the psychic power that got her mother locked away, Avery begins a quest to understand her abilities and rescue her mother, all while evading capture by the crow-masked men and their villainous boss. The plot of this steampunk-tinged historical fantasy ticks along steadily, though at 400-plus pages, the latter half will begin to feel overlong. A late-breaking love triangle feels particularly tacked-on, with Avery declaring a baffling instant bond between herself and a boy she hardly knows. The book's final act, however, builds to a pulse-pounding conclusion that leaves plenty of room for a sequel. As a heroine, Avery (who is white) alternates between confused and capable, and she's surrounded by lightly sketched diverse supporting characters: her protective friend Khan is African American, and a Romani community offers psychic guidance. (The Romani are repeatedly referred to as Gypsies, a deliberate choice noted in the afterword.) VERDICT Intriguing details and occasional thrills jostle with an overwrought plot; recommended for die-hard fans of urban historical fantasy such as Libba Bray's "Diviners" series.—Rebecca Honeycutt, NoveList, Durham, NC

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.