An emotional journey of family, friendship, loss, and healing

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AUGUST ISLE

A family mythos spun with thread as fragile as tears can tangle into knots. Sometimes the threads break.

Miranda’s grandparents on her mother’s side have always been a secret, one of the many mysteries that lie between her and her beautiful yet elusive mother. The summer before eighth grade, Miranda is mired in a web of fears and anxiety. The fabric connecting her and her mother feels threadbare. Her mother, a freelance photographer who travels the world, always appears so fearless. But she is distant, and Miranda is desperate to uncover what she must’ve done to make her mother always choose to leave her. When a great career opportunity arises for her mom to go to Argentina while her lawyer dad is preparing a big case, Miranda gets the chance to visit August Isle and stay with one of her mom’s old friends who has a daughter her age. Why has mom never visited the place where she grew up? Finally, she might be able to answer her questions. The result is a beautifully written story, lush as a Florida mangrove. Standish introduces young readers to a concept that’s foreign to many at their age: that grown-ups can suffer deep emotional pain same as young people. Miranda is white, and the book adheres to the white default; her mom’s friend’s husband is Indian, and their children are biracial and brown-skinned.

An emotional journey of family, friendship, loss, and healing . (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-243341-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay.

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GHOST

From the Track series , Vol. 1

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw feels like he’s been running ever since his dad pulled that gun on him and his mom—and used it.

His dad’s been in jail three years now, but Ghost still feels the trauma, which is probably at the root of the many “altercations” he gets into at middle school. When he inserts himself into a practice for a local elite track team, the Defenders, he’s fast enough that the hard-as-nails coach decides to put him on the team. Ghost is surprised to find himself caring enough about being on the team that he curbs his behavior to avoid “altercations.” But Ma doesn’t have money to spare on things like fancy running shoes, so Ghost shoplifts a pair that make his feet feel impossibly light—and his conscience correspondingly heavy. Ghost’s narration is candid and colloquial, reminiscent of such original voices as Bud Caldwell and Joey Pigza; his level of self-understanding is both believably childlike and disarming in its perception. He is self-focused enough that secondary characters initially feel one-dimensional, Coach in particular, but as he gets to know them better, so do readers, in a way that unfolds naturally and pleasingly. His three fellow “newbies” on the Defenders await their turns to star in subsequent series outings. Characters are black by default; those few white people in Ghost’s world are described as such.

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5015-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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