It’s delightful to see a female snowboarder as narrator, and readers who can get past the book’s unevenness will find...

THE LUCKIEST SCAR ON EARTH

A teen snowboarder reconnects with her estranged father, an ardent environmentalist.

As the book opens, Charlotte seems to have given up on snowboarding as she describes giving away all her expensive gear, but she's soon back at it (and bemoaning the absence of equipment). Charlotte and her mother, both white, have moved from the Rockies to the Cascades due to her mother’s layoff. The intent is to reconnect Charlotte with her father, Larry, who bears the titular scar and has taken a job at the local ski resort. The alcoholism that separated her parents is no longer an issue, and as Charlotte and Larry share backcountry adventures, the environmental passions Larry currently holds become more apparent. The book’s environmental slant grows through a new friendship with Rose, whose success at school shares equal prominence with her Mexican-American heritage. Her father runs an apple orchard and is almost as fierce as Larry about preserving the pristine wilderness of the Cascades. Spagna incorporates discussion of the environmental impact development fairly smoothly, but the same cannot be said for her plotting. Following her renewed interest in boarding, Charlotte again seems to be abandoning the sport just as she cements a national ranking.

It’s delightful to see a female snowboarder as narrator, and readers who can get past the book’s unevenness will find distinctive characters and an underrepresented subject . (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-937226-66-4

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Torrey House Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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A wartime drama with enough depth and psychological complexity to satisfy budding bookworms.

A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON

Three plucky orphan siblings are in search of a mother in wartime England.

When their grandmother dies, 12-year-old William, 11-year-old Edmund, and 9-year-old Anna are left in London in the care of an elderly housekeeper. As part of the World War II evacuation of children to safety, they are relocated to the countryside, something the family solicitor hopes may lead to finding adoptive parents. However, they are billeted with the Forresters, an unpleasant family reminiscent of the Dursleys. Bullying by their hosts’ two sons, who despise them; the ever present fear of German attack; and the dread of homelessness test their mettle to the limit. The orphans long to find a home of their own, and good boy William is stressed by his responsibility as head of the small family. Edmund’s desire for revenge against the Forresters and a prank involving a snake get them evicted from their billet, and they end up in a much worse situation. They find sanctuary in the village library and a savior in the librarian, who is married to a German and therefore ostracized by the locals. Mrs. Müller provides them with moral support, a listening ear, and true appreciation and love. The classic books she chooses for them—The Wind in the Willows and Anne of Green Gables, among others—may generate ideas for further reading. All characters are White.

A wartime drama with enough depth and psychological complexity to satisfy budding bookworms. (reading list) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4705-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Sensitive subject matter that could have benefited from a subtler, more sober touch.

RESISTANCE

A Jewish girl joins up with Polish resistance groups to fight for her people against the evils of the Holocaust.

Chaya Lindner is forcibly separated from her family when they are consigned to the Jewish ghetto in Krakow. The 16-year-old is taken in by the leaders of Akiva, a fledgling Jewish resistance group that offers her the opportunity to become a courier, using her fair coloring to pass for Polish and sneak into ghettos to smuggle in supplies and information. Chaya’s missions quickly become more dangerous, taking her on a perilous journey from a disastrous mission in Krakow to the ghastly ghetto of Lodz and eventually to Warsaw to aid the Jews there in their gathering uprising inside the walls of the ghetto. Through it all, she is partnered with a secretive young girl whom she is reluctant to trust. The trajectory of the narrative skews toward the sensational, highlighting moments of resistance via cinematic action sequences but not pausing to linger on the emotional toll of the Holocaust’s atrocities. Younger readers without sufficient historical knowledge may not appreciate the gravity of the events depicted. The principal characters lack depth, and their actions and the situations they find themselves in often require too much suspension of disbelief to pass for realism.

Sensitive subject matter that could have benefited from a subtler, more sober touch. (afterword) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-14847-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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