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From the Myth of Monsters series , Vol. 1

A fast-paced adventure offering a fresh, feminist take on popular themes.

Ava and her new friends, descendants of mythological monsters, journey across ancient and modern worlds to change their fates.

Seventh grader Ava Baldwin is about to choose her favorite goddess as the topic for her report when she’s interrupted. Owen King, an arrogant white boy, talks over her to claim Athena, and after they’re assigned to share the topic, he tries to snatch her library book. “Chill out,” he tells Ava; “It’s not a big deal.” Overcome with rage, Ava’s anger explodes—and Owen freezes, remaining still as stone even as he’s taken away in an ambulance. Ava soon discovers that through her mother, she’s a descendant of the monster Medusa; like Medusa, Ava can freeze men. She’s sent to the Accademia del Forte, a boarding school in Venice, where she’ll learn to control her powers along with other kids from around the world who are descendants of mythological monsters. There, Ava shares a room with an Empusa, befriends a Chimera, and schemes with a Harpy. When her friend Fia is cruelly punished for attempting to expose injustice within the school, Ava leads her companions on a journey to restore power to those who deserve it, traveling from Tartarus, “the deepest pit of the underworld,” to Olympus, the home of the gods. Readers familiar with this genre will still find plenty of new twists to thrill and delight. Curly-haired Ava has West African and European heritage.

A fast-paced adventure offering a fresh, feminist take on popular themes. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2024

ISBN: 9780063303744

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

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From the One and Only series , Vol. 4

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series.

Beloved gorilla Ivan becomes a father to rambunctious twins in this finale to a quartet that began with 2012’s Newbery Award–winning The One and Only Ivan.

Life hasn’t always been easy for silverback gorilla Ivan, who’s spent most of his life being mistreated in captivity. Now he’s living in a wildlife sanctuary, but he still gets to see his two best friends. Young elephant Ruby lives in the grassy habitat next door, and former stray dog Bob has a home with one of the zookeepers. All three were rescued from the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan’s expanded world includes fellow gorilla Kinyani—the two are about to become parents, and Ivan is revisiting the traumas of his past in light of what he wants the twins to know. When the subject inevitably comes up, Applegate’s trust and respect for readers is evident. She doesn’t shy away from hard truths as Ivan wrestles with the fact that poachers killed his family. Readers will need the context provided by knowledge of the earlier books to feel the full emotional impact of this story. The rushed ending unfortunately falls flat, detracting from the central message that a complex life can still contain hope. Final art not seen.

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series. (gorilla games, glossary, author’s note) (Verse fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780063221123

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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