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From the Wildseed Witch series , Vol. 2

A fitting sequel filled with magic and friendship.

Hasani’s magical journey continues with more tests and lessons for the young witch in this follow-up to 2022’s Wildseed Witch.

This time Hasani is back on her home turf at her old school, New Orleans’ Riverbend Middle. Dee and Angelique, her fellow coven members from her summer witch camp, Les Belles Demoiselles, are back there with her for eighth grade, and so is deceitful ex-friend LaToya. Hasani is faced with balancing these elements of her new life with ones from the past, like best friend Luz, who is still unaware that Hasani is a witch. When a huge swarm of termites descends upon the school, Hasani is convinced that LaToya is responsible and is trying to undermine her. She’s determined to prove this despite the doubts of others, including Miss Lafleur, her Belles Demoiselles mentor who shows up and offers to help find the source of the trouble. Hasani’s fear of using her magic is highlighted as well as her challenge with balancing all the moving parts of her life. Will she be able to tap into her magic and grasp what is truly important, or will she allow her fears and biases to wreak havoc on her life and relationships? Dumas shows how Hasani’s magical world gets enmeshed with her everyday existence and the complexities as she tries to navigate it. Readers will be best served by having read the first volume.

A fitting sequel filled with magic and friendship. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9781419755637

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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A captivating book situated in present-day discourse around the refugee crisis, featuring two boys who stand by their high...

Two parallel stories, one of a Syrian boy from Aleppo fleeing war, and another of a white American boy, son of a NATO contractor, dealing with the challenges of growing up, intersect at a house in Brussels.

Ahmed lost his father while crossing the Mediterranean. Alone and broke in Europe, he takes things into his own hands to get to safety but ends up having to hide in the basement of a residential house. After months of hiding, he is discovered by Max, a boy of similar age and parallel high integrity and courage, who is experiencing his own set of troubles learning a new language, moving to a new country, and being teased at school. In an unexpected turn of events, the two boys and their new friends Farah, a Muslim Belgian girl, and Oscar, a white Belgian boy, successfully scheme for Ahmed to go to school while he remains in hiding the rest of the time. What is at stake for Ahmed is immense, and so is the risk to everyone involved. Marsh invites art and history to motivate her protagonists, drawing parallels to gentiles who protected Jews fleeing Nazi terror and citing present-day political news. This well-crafted and suspenseful novel touches on the topics of refugees and immigrant integration, terrorism, Islam, Islamophobia, and the Syrian war with sensitivity and grace.

A captivating book situated in present-day discourse around the refugee crisis, featuring two boys who stand by their high values in the face of grave risk and succeed in drawing goodwill from others. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-30757-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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