Nail-biting yet endearing.

HIT THE GROUND RUNNING

Dee and Eddie’s father has been gone for six weeks. The money is running out. And child protective services has questions.

Whether it is the unexpected drive from their home in Alberta, Canada, to Arizona or the ice cream run that turns into a three-day road trip, 16-year-old Dee is accustomed to her father’s impulsivity. But this is the longest their father has left her and her 7-year-old brother, Eddie, alone. When a social worker begins asking questions, Dee knows it is time to go, but with an 18-year-old Toyota, less than $500, and passports that are set to expire soon, options are limited. Dee points their ancient car north in hopes of finding a way across the border to the safety of her aunt and uncle. But with a little brother who lives for routine and frequently shuts down entirely when stressed, Dee is overwhelmed. Once they get on the road, this is a beautiful, if heart-wrenching story of two children left adrift due to the death of their mother and their father’s mental illness. Whether it is a side trip to the Grand Canyon or mistaking someone’s front yard for a camping spot, the siblings’ humor and loyalty are real. The exaggerated accents of a kindly Eastern European immigrant couple and a too-perfect ending are the story’s only missteps.

Nail-biting yet endearing. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1544-5

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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