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A Weave of Words by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Raul Colon; Orchard Books, $15.95 -- A lazy prince falls in love with a weaver's daughter but she refuses to marry him until he learns to read in this interesting update of a traditional Armenian tale. Colon's illustrations, done in watercolor washes, etching and colored pencil, suggest an almost woven texture. This is one of many feminist fairy tales publishers are coming up with of late, and the princes are looking worse all the time.

Smack by Melvin Burgess; Holt, 318 pages, $16.95 -- This harrowing tale of teen runaways in Britain and their slide into heroin addiction is told through the alternating perspectives of a 14-year-old boy, his girlfriend and others in their doomed circle. The novel, which won both the Carnegie Medal and Guardian prize for fiction, offers a vivid look both at drug addiction and the tradition of "squatting" in the UK, the appropriation of empty housing by the poor. Ages 14 and up. -- Jean Westmoore

Death of a Blue Lantern, by Christopher West; Berkley, $5.99 -- Gripping, ingenious whodunit set in modern China, with Inspector Wang taking on a mystery that dissects Red China's Cultural Revolution.

The Maiden's Tale, by Margaret Frazer; Berkley, $5.99 -- Another in the author's fascinating Medieval Mystery Series featuring Sister Feevisee in the reign of King Henry VI. -- Ed Kelly