A touching portrait of a remarkable celebrity influencer who used her exposure to inspire herself and others.

ALWAYS SMILE

CARLEY ALLISON'S SECRETS FOR LAUGHING, LOVING AND LIVING

When the late Canadian figure skater and singer/songwriter Carley Allison, was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer at 17, she shared her difficult journey through treatment.

This authorized biography draws from Carley’s blog, text messages, photos on social media, and interviews with family and friends. All testify to Carley’s popularity, upbeat personality, athleticism, competitive drive, and generosity throughout her brief life. She set and met tough goals for herself through surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Medical intervention exhausted, she tried residential treatment at an alternative Florida institute claiming cancer cures via a raw, vegan diet. Against her parents’ wishes, doctors told then-19-year-old Carley that she was dying. The timing of events isn’t always clear, and interviews are undated, but the clear intention is to inspire others to remain optimistic and positive: When an effort fails, there’s always something else to try. Contradicting that message is the equally strong portrait of someone exceptional afflicted with an exceedingly rare cancer. Carley, who was of European and Iranian descent, was supported by a loving, financially comfortable family and a loyal network of friends. It’s when the mask of cheery optimism falters that readers truly connect with Carley; then her journey becomes ours. Readers comfortable with social media will be drawn in by the large number of photographs, varied formats, and brief segments.

A touching portrait of a remarkable celebrity influencer who used her exposure to inspire herself and others. (Biography. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0040-0

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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ENDANGERED

From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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UNLOCKED

School violence revisited. In Todd Strasser’s Give a Boy a Gun (2000), the school-violence story was raw and powerful. Ron Koertge’s verse treatment, The Brimstone Journals (2001), kept the story innovative and fresh. Over 10 years later, Van Cleave’s debut novel in verse is a didactic rehashing with uninspiring poetry. Andy has already been bullied for the last six years, but his situation grows worse when he starts his freshman year at the same high school where his father works as a janitor. Noticing other losers, like “equal / opportunity / angry” Sue and bookworm Nicholas, the teen turns his attention to Blake, who has undergone a metamorphosis since losing his soldier dad in the Iraqi war. As rumors about STDs, alcohol and sexual orientation travel the corridors, nothing garners as much attention as the rumor that Blake is hiding a gun in his locker. To win favor with his crush, Becky Ann, Andy steals his father’s keys to open Blake’s locker and retrieve the gun. While he doesn’t find anything suspicious in the locker, he discovers that Blake does have a firearm and final plans for his classmates. At first, Andy’s knowledge and newfound friendship with Blake gives him “rebel courage,” but soon he realizes that he has a difficult decision to make as Blake’s date for destruction approaches. A concluding teacher’s guide confirms the intended use of this tired-feeling novel. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2186-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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