THE NOT-SO-GREAT DEPRESSION

IN WHICH THE ECONOMY CRASHES, MY MOM GOES BROKE, MY SISTER’S PLANS ARE RUINED, MY DAD GROWS VEGETABLES, AND I DO NOT GET A HAMSTER

Although her parents are divorced, ninth-grader Jacki has a golden California lifestyle with all the accoutrements—private school, large house with a swimming pool and a mom with a high-powered, high-paying job—the works. She sees classmates’ parents losing their jobs and her best friend’s family taking in homeless relatives. Then the recession hits home. It’s her mom who is jobless, her house that must be sold, her whole way of life turned upside down. School and friendship adventures, sibling relationships and an almost-boyfriend add normalcy to the mix. Jacki narrates her own story as she veers between worry and optimism, childishness and maturity, self-absorption and compassion. Although Koss interjects a recounting of forcible eviction and a visit to a homeless shelter and the topic is current and serious, she keeps the tone generally optimistic and reassuring. In the end, readers get a problem novel with little depth, but it delivers a cast of charming characters and a semi-happy ending. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59643-613-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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A bright spark of a promising series.

INFINITY SON

From the Infinity Cycle series , Vol. 1

Magic goes viral in Silvera’s (contributor: Color Outside the Lines, 2019, etc.) fantasy debut. But can it win a war?

For brothers Brighton and Emil, their 18th birthday is “off to a rough start.” The two dream of being celestials (people with magic abilities) but are reminded yet again that they’re “painfully ordinary.” Or are they? When potions dealers attack the brothers, Emil discovers that he has phoenix fire within. Brighton uploads a video of the fight online, propelling Emil—whom the celestial-obsessed dub “Fire-Wing”—to superstardom. The brothers find themselves caught in the crossfire between the heroic Spell Walkers, who fight for the end of celestial persecution, and the power-hungry Blood Casters, who gain magic by stealing it from creatures. With its raw, complex characters, Silvera’s latest packs his signature high-stakes emotionalism alongside a politically charged premise. The alternate New York City setting mixes current tech (e.g., virtual reality and Instagram) with magical tech (e.g., wands and gem-grenades) to create a richly contemporary urban landscape. Though Silvera mostly switches between Emil’s and Brighton’s strong, first person, present-tense narration, the perspectives of a Spell Walker and a Blood Caster are also magnified. The cast primarily consists of people of color, several of whom are also queer (including Emil, who is gay).

A bright spark of a promising series. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-245782-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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The pleasure of the protagonists’ romance notwithstanding, give this one a miss. (Romance. 14-18)

FIVE FEET APART

A hospital is an unlikely place for first love, but for two teenagers with cystic fibrosis who have a history of extended stays, it proves to be a realistic yet difficult backdrop.

Stella is a high school senior who is dedicated to her CF treatments while Will, a talented artist, is home-schooled and anticipating his 18th birthday, when he will be free to make his own medical decisions. Despite rocky first impressions, Stella and Will make a deal—Will must stick to his treatment regimen, and in return, Stella will model for him while he draws her portrait. This leads to romance, but the combination of CF and Will’s infection with B. cepacia requires that he must stay several feet away from Stella, making physical touch an impossibility. Stella eventually understands why living on the edge can be freeing, and Will begins taking his treatment regimen seriously—leading to their only bit of meaningful development. The novel is written in alternating chapters, creating a few unexpected plot developments, but much of it is predictable and forgettable due to thin characterization. All characters are presumed white except for gay, Colombian CF patient Poe, whose story arc fulfills tired stereotypical tropes and who seems to function mostly as a catalyst for Stella’s growth.

The pleasure of the protagonists’ romance notwithstanding, give this one a miss. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3733-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2019

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