A fantastic hybrid of novel and graphic novel, this is a fine selection for both reluctant readers and anyone who enjoys an...

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AGAINST THE ODDS

From the Odds series , Vol. 2

A small group of young teens who have suddenly acquired bizarre superpowers are back for a second romp.

Reading series opener The Mighty Odds (2016) is essential for an understanding of the second, but who would want to miss it? During a bus accident, four middle school students, an Amish teen, and the driver acquired strange new powers. Cookie, the only black kid, mocks others’ occasional discomfort with her race and can read minds—but mostly just thoughts involving directions; Iranian-American Farshad has helicopter parents and superstrong thumbs; Nick, white, can teleport four inches to the left; Martina, also white, can see the bus driver, who became invisible, and has eyes that constantly change color; Amish Abe can communicate (politely) with animals but not so well with Cookie. White Jay has no superpowers, but he’s so hilariously irrepressible that he’s oblivious to rejection, quite a strength in itself. It’s become clear that major local employer Auxano is nefariously behind what’s happened. The teens discover that it’s holding prisoner an Amish young adult who may also have powers, necessitating a bumbling rescue mission and setting up the next in the series.

A fantastic hybrid of novel and graphic novel, this is a fine selection for both reluctant readers and anyone who enjoys an exuberant combination of spot-on humor and nail-biting suspense. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 10-16)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2308-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

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THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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On the day of Purge in totalitarian Quill, which is run by the High Priest Justine, 13-year-olds learn if they are deemed...

THE UNWANTEDS

From the Unwanteds series , Vol. 1

The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter in this middle-grade departure from McMann’s string of paranormal mysteries with romance for young adults.

On the day of Purge in totalitarian Quill, which is run by the High Priest Justine, 13-year-olds learn if they are deemed Wanted to attend the university, Necessary to tend the land or Unwanted and purged by execution. Without a good-bye from his Wanted identical brother Aaron, Alex Stowe and the other Unwanteds travel to the Death Farm. Instead of death, they meet the lush and magical world of Artimè, kept secret from Justine by mage Marcus Today. In a third-person narration characterized by even pacing and whimsical inventions, Alex and his peers learn that their creativity threatened Justine’s power. Surrounded by talking blackboards, transporting tubes and such fantastical creatures as an octagator (with the head of an alligator and body of an octopus) for instructors, the teens hone their drawing, music and acting skills while also wielding paintbrushes for invisibility spells and iambic pentameter to stun attackers during Magical Warrior Training, in preparation for battle against the Quillitary. As the youths explore fear, responsibility and free thinking, their spells may be used sooner than they think when Alex’s twin bond is tested and rivals vie for Aaron’s new position in Justine’s government.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0768-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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