LOVE AND OTHER FIASCOS

From the Popularity Papers series , Vol. 6

Julie and Lydia discover just how rocky the road to romance can be in the sixth installment of Ignatow’s Popularity Papers.

Things have gotten complicated ever since Roland kissed Julie. She isn’t sure if he wants to be her boyfriend or just friends—until he asks her on a date to the movies. Julie navigates her first relationship, guided by plenty of questionable advice from meddling classmate Jane and rules from a very worried Papa Dad (“If at least one of Julie’s fathers does not like her date then she is not allowed to date them. Ever”). Meanwhile, Lydia learns that her mother is marrying her former soccer coach, Eric. Lydia and her sister, Melody, implement Operation Sabotage to stop the wedding and keep Eric from leaving his children in England—the way their father left them years earlier. Through their shared notebook, Julie and Lydia detail the changes love brings to their lives. Although the girls have plenty of problems to solve, their quick banter keeps the tone light. Lydia’s and Julie’s brightly colored doodles bring Ignatow’s story to life and showcase their personalities, but the book’s passed-notebook format feels forced, especially as the girls rehash experiences they’ve shared together. Still, fans of the series will be rewarded with plenty of giggle-worthy antics from Julie and Lydia.

A fizzy, quirky tale of adolescent angst that has, perhaps, outgrown its format. (Graphic fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0859-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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SWINDLE

From the Swindle series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is “the man with the plan.” If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family’s money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber “Pitch” takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino’s e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-90344-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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