An auspicious beginning for a youthful sci-fi romp.

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Supernova

BOOK ONE OF ECHOES OF A NEUTRON STAR

An outcast seventh-grade boy travels to another planet in Salinas’ debut novel.

Trevor was born during a supernova. Now 13, he’s an unpopular kid in Vasher Middle and High School; he’s small, awkward and has only one true friend. During a seventh-grade field trip, his school bus plummets 100 feet into a lake. Everyone escapes the wreck except Trevor, who seemingly spends a half-hour completely submerged in the freezing water. During this time, however, he’s transported to another planet. There, he meets a woman named Natalia and a mysterious figure named Alix who talk to him at length about the cosmos. Later, after Trevor washes ashore, he tries to share his strange story with a few classmates, who then torment him; even his good friend, AB, is dumbfounded and confused by his tale. As Trevor navigates a life of adolescent gossip, fights, crushes and cafeteria hijinks, two scientists, Novaldi and Wexler, work on a strange dream-extraction project that uses children as their subjects. Meanwhile, in a nearby junkyard, a metal monster mysteriously emerges from the rubble. It’s an imaginative, intriguing tale, but since this book is the first of a trilogy, it leaves many crucial questions unanswered. For example, why does Trevor have excruciating headaches, and how does he fit into the scientists’ goal of mapping out the entire universe? The next installment is apparently essential to understanding the story, and while this first chapter will certainly stoke readers’ imaginations, it’s incomplete, at best. It attempts to blend high school mishaps with sci-fi intrigue, but as a result, the scientific side of the story suffers. Some secondary characters, such as Alix and Natalia, remain underdeveloped, and their purpose in Trevor’s life remains a question mark. Overall, the story holds promise, but the next chapter is sorely needed.

An auspicious beginning for a youthful sci-fi romp.

Pub Date: April 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1470183196

Page Count: 209

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2013

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Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

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THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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