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Dolphin lovers will appreciate this look at our complicated relationship with these marine mammals.

Is dolphin-assisted therapy so beneficial to patients that it’s worth keeping a wild dolphin captive?

Twelve-year-old Lily has lived with her emotionally distant oncologist stepfather and a succession of nannies since her mother died in a car accident two years ago. Nannies leave because of the difficulty of caring for Adam, Lily’s severely autistic 4-year-old half brother. The newest, Suzanne, seems promising, but Lily is tired of feeling like a planet orbiting the sun Adam. When she meets blind Zoe, who will attend the same private middle school as Lily in the fall, Lily’s happy to have a friend. However, Zoe’s take on the plight of the captive dolphin, Nori, used in Adam’s therapy opens Lily’s eyes. She knows she must use her influence over her stepfather, who is consulting on Nori’s treatment for cancer (caused by an oil spill), to free the animal. Lily’s got several fine lines to walk, as she works to hold onto her new friend, convince her stepfather of the rightness of releasing Nori, and do what’s best for Adam. In her newest exploration of animal-human relationships, Rorby’s lonely, mature heroine faces tough but realistic situations. Siblings of children on the spectrum will identify with Lily. If the tale flirts with sentimentality and some of the characters are strident in their views, the whole never feels maudlin or didactic.

Dolphin lovers will appreciate this look at our complicated relationship with these marine mammals. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-67605-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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From the Celia Cleary series , Vol. 1

A very promising kickoff with arbitrary but intriguingly challenging magic.

A middle schooler discovers both up and down sides to being able to foretell the future.

Members of the Cleary clan in alternating generations have always been granted predictive powers on their 4,444th day of life, and Celia has been eagerly looking forward to her first vision—until, that is, it comes and reveals that cute, quiet classmate Jeffrey is slated to die in a hit-and-run. Weighing her horror against her wise Grammy’s warnings that fate is inexorable, she contrives a way to head off the accident…only to foresee another fatal mishap in his future. And another. By the time she’s saved his life five times in a row, she’s not only exhausted, but crushing on the hapless lad. (As, unsurprisingly, he is on her.) Reintgen generally keeps the tone of his series opener light, so even after Celia discovers that there’s ultimately a tragic price for her intervention, the ensuing funeral service is marked by as much laughter as sorrow. The author surrounds his frantic but good-hearted protagonist with a particularly sturdy supporting cast that includes gratifyingly cooperative friends as well as her Grammy and loving, if nonmagical, mom. There don’t seem to be many Cleary men around; perhaps that and certain other curious elements, like a chart listing particular Cleary specialties with names such as Dreamwalker and Grimdark, will be addressed in future entries. Main characters read as White.

A very promising kickoff with arbitrary but intriguingly challenging magic. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66590-357-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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