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BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS

A quirky examination of true monstrousness with a memorable protagonist.

After her father dies, a girl must harness both her temper and innate abilities to find his killer and prove it’s a monster.

Dare Coates is willful, surly, and unrepentantly nonconforming: “an awful girl.” Only her father truly understood and loved her, but he was often busy patrolling for monsters on the island where they live, even though one hasn’t been seen there for over 20 years. After his violent murder, her mother marries the island’s pompous and secretive governor, who then sends Dare to the mainland to live with her father’s aunt. From the moment her journey begins, Dare finds connections to her father through his past associates and the guild emblem on his special wooden box. The more she learns about him, the more peril Dare finds herself in, especially as she realizes the connection both she and her father have with so-called monsters. Dare has an outwardly cantankerous nature that hides a desire for acceptance. This works to endear her to readers even as her thorny exterior provides entertainment. Dare’s true nature reveals itself piece by piece, like the clues dropped in every so often that help expand the worldbuilding as well as the moral conundrums Dare becomes embroiled in. Questions of what constitutes a monster and who decides what’s true add depth to an already feisty caper. Characters read white.

A quirky examination of true monstrousness with a memorable protagonist. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9780063244870

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

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LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

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

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 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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WORST BROOMMATE EVER!

From the Middle School and Other Disasters series , Vol. 1

Serves up light sorcery mixed with middle school friendships.

With her witch mom and human dad, Heidi Heckelbeck was first introduced to readers in a long-running eponymous series about her elementary school life.

Now she’s off to middle school at Broomsfield Academy, her mom’s alma mater. The boarding school, ostensibly an ordinary one, secretly provides special classes for witches and wizards. Those with magical talents must keep them secret, but that’s hard for Heidi. To her great dismay, her “broommate” is her nemesis from home, Melanie Maplethorpe. Is the rude, mean girl of her nightmares also a witch? Despite the rules against using magic outside her special classes, Heidi uses her powers to play a prank on Melanie, whose music is too loud. When the girls are partnered during Broommate Bonding Day, they find out that they are more alike than they think—but that doesn’t mean it’s completely smooth sailing ahead, especially when both of them have crushes on the same boy. There are sweet, detailed, grayscale illustrations scattered throughout, and many of Heidi’s thoughts are emphasized in different type sizes. The story moves quickly, and it may particularly appeal to reluctant readers. Loyal readers of the first series can easily transition to this, and others looking for an accessible read with a touch of magic will also enjoy it. Heidi and Melanie appear White; some secondary characters bring racial diversity.

Serves up light sorcery mixed with middle school friendships. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 9781665925280

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Spotlight

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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