THE PITY PARTY

8TH GRADE IN THE LIFE OF ME, CASS

Cass, the quirky, self-confident girl who appeared in Pollet’s earlier Nobody Was Here (2004), about prep school life in the mid-1980s, is trying in eighth grade to sort out who she really is: orphaned child; invincible girl; third wheel? She’s discovering that at 13 things start clanging around in disharmonious earnest. The garrulous boy seated behind Cass in English class seems to voice some of this turmoil. Rod is bold and not at all perfect, but their friendship is a gift, and his abrupt departure challenges Cass to try to find her own missing pieces. Pollet steers a neat and relatively innocent course through the troubled and murky waters of middle school. Readers will recognize Cass’s lack of perspective and experience as their own, and there are moments enough of genuine warmth and humor that they will care what happens to her. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-439-68194-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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THE WALLS HAVE EYES

Like its predecessor The Sky Inside (2008), this sequel posits that no corrupt government is so powerful that it can’t be toppled by a boy and his robot dog. Frustrated with his uselessness among the genius children who make up the anti-government rebels, Martin and dog Chip return to domed Suburb HM1 to rescue Martin’s parents. In the ruins of an old-style outdoor suburb, Martin and his comfort-accustomed parents live a parody of a Leave It to Beaver lifestyle, unable to cope without television and convenience food. Ultimately, going it alone won’t be good enough, and Martin and his superpowered robot dog must confront the heart of the evil powers keeping his society subjugated. In a genre populated by gifted, destined and otherwise special child protagonists, Martin’s pure normality is a breath of fresh air. After an overly expository start, this simple tale provides comforting, enjoyable adventure. (Science fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-5379-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Ginee Seo/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2009

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A heaping plateful of adventure, spiced to perfection with dangers, deft humor and silly bits.

THE TRAVELING RESTAURANT

JASPER'S VOYAGE IN THREE PARTS

From the Tales of Fontania series , Vol. 1

A seemingly ordinary lad boards a seagoing eatery and is swept up in a series of flights and pursuits that lead him to a higher destiny than he expects (or even wants, particularly).

Having banished all magic (even mention of the word) from the realm of Fontania, evil Lady Gall is on her way to removing the “Provisional” from her title of “Provisional Monarch.” Her attempt to poison Jasper’s beloved little sister Sibilla pitches his secretive extended family into hurried flight. Outraged and confused, Jasper is somehow left behind—but wangles a berth aboard the Traveling Restaurant, a floating diner painted like a circus wagon, and sets out to catch up. Else arranges her narrative into short chapters with titles like “This Is When It Becomes Fraught” and strews it with pirates, wild waters, sudden twists of fortune, family revelations and scrumptious tucker (Jasper finds a snatched chunk of salami “a farmyard of deliciousness in one mouthful”). She sets her quick-witted protagonist on a course that not only sharpens his already-considerable culinary skills but gives him a central role in rescuing his shipwrecked family, decisively scotching Lady Gall’s schemes and restoring magic to the land. Jasper does this with help from a supporting cast stocked with likable enemies, sometimes-unlikable allies and one particularly perspicuous toddler.

A heaping plateful of adventure, spiced to perfection with dangers, deft humor and silly bits. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-8775-7903-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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