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Bauer balances tone and content beautifully in this superb debut. Eleven-year-old Augie Boretski doesn’t expect the Big Brother program to do him any good, but that’s before he meets Walter. The man could definitely be a good friend to a lonely boy, but there’s danger. Growing up in Camden, N.J., “the armpit of the world,” Augie’s an easy target for bullies and if anyone found out that Walter is gay, it could be unspeakably dangerous for him. Yet when his public school shuts down after a winter accident, it’s Augie who has the sense and courage to rally the neighborhood and bring it back to full health. The guidance of the strong adults around him gives the boy the courage to overcome his personal demons. Alternating Augie’s story with some fairy tales he finds in a book, Bauer shows that there’s no easy escape from gritty reality or any magic solution to bullying. Complex characters and an infinitely readable text make this one of the strongest titles of the year. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-375-83921-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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A fun, new magical world that promises more adventures to come.

THE LAST FALLEN STAR

When a spell goes wrong, a girl sets out on a quest to save her sister.

Riley Oh and her sister, Hattie, are typical Korean American girls except for one thing: They know magic is real. When she turns 13 in two days, Hattie will finally become a full member of the Gom clan, able to wield magic on her own. But because Riley is adopted and saram, or nonmagical, the other clans will not allow her to have an initiation ceremony when she turns 13 in a month. Struck by this unfairness, Hattie finds a spell that will share her magic with Riley. Unfortunately, their plan goes spectacularly wrong, fracturing Riley’s community and endangering Hattie. Feeling responsible for the calamity, Riley, along with her best friend, Emmett, will do whatever it takes to make things right, whether that means striking deals with fickle magical beings or considering the help of an ostracized magical clan. Exploring familial bonds, belonging, and community, this is a fast-paced urban fantasy drawing on Korean mythology. Riley and her friends navigate Los Angeles’ Koreatown and run-ins with dokkaebi and inmyeonjo with a frantic, upbeat energy. Complications and twists keep the plot engaging and snappy. Emmett is cued as biracial (his mother was a Gom elder who married a saram with a Western surname; his father’s ethnicity is not specified).

A fun, new magical world that promises more adventures to come. (glossary) (Fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05963-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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