Lovely.

READ REVIEW

THE GOAT

There’s a goat living on the roof of a New York City apartment building—or is it merely an urban legend?

White Toronto native Kid and her parents arrive in the city, where they will live in a cousin’s apartment and take care of his dog, Cat, while he is away. Her mom is a scattered, nervous actor who will be appearing in an off-Broadway play that she created. Cousin Doug leaves them a detailed book describing every possible facet of Cat’s care and all the people with whom he interacts. Kid feels generally “paralyzed by shyness” except when she is safe in her “family bubble,” but she finds herself welcomed by Cat’s friends. Brown-skinned Will, whose parents were killed in the twin towers, speaks in Spoonerisms, and is afraid to look out of windows, tells Kid about the goat. Together they are determined to find it, and while involved in their quest, they lose some of their fears. Fleming has created delightfully eccentric and warmhearted characters that exist in a close-knit community in lovely, accurately described New York City venues. The delightfully named, multiply diverse tenants in the building have interesting back stories and are given a turn at expressing their viewpoints. Even the goat tells of his hunger and longings. The convoluted, intricate tale is filled with joy, sweet sadness, and a triumph of spirit.

Lovely. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-916-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read.

ALI CROSS

The prolific king of the beach read is back with an intergenerational mystery for the 9-to-12-year-old set.

Ali Cross, the son of Patterson’s most famous creation, African American homicide detective Alex Cross, is “starting to think the worst might have happened” to his mixed-race friend Gabriel “Gabe” Qualls, who disappeared on Dec. 21 and hasn’t been heard from as of Christmas Eve, when the book opens. Ali offers an impromptu prayer for Gabe at the pre-holiday service at his all-black church as well as an impromptu press conference outside of it as journalists and paparazzi confront Alex about his alleged coma-inducing assault of a murder suspect’s father. Then someone robs the Crosses’ home that night along with four other homes; the Crosses’ Christmas gifts are stolen. Ali, obsessed with finding Gabe and feeling that these events will distract his dad and the police from searching for him, starts his own investigation—complete with looking at some contraband footage of Gabe’s unusually loaded backpack obtained by Ali’s stepmother, also a cop—and questioning his school and gaming pals, a diverse group. Writing in Ali’s voice with occasional cutaways to third-person chapters that follow Alex, Patterson sprinkles the narrative with pop-culture references even as he takes readers through the detective process.

Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53041-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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The magic of reading is given a refreshingly real twist.

A GIRL, A RACCOON, AND THE MIDNIGHT MOON

This is the way Pearl’s world ends: not with a bang but with a scream.

Pearl Moran was born in the Lancaster Avenue branch library and considers it more her home than the apartment she shares with her mother, the circulation librarian. When the head of the library’s beloved statue of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is found to be missing, Pearl’s scream brings the entire neighborhood running. Thus ensues an enchanting plunge into the underbelly of a failing library and a city brimful of secrets. With the help of friends old, uncertainly developing, and new, Pearl must spin story after compelling story in hopes of saving what she loves most. Indeed, that love—of libraries, of books, and most of all of stories—suffuses the entire narrative. Literary references are peppered throughout (clarified with somewhat superfluous footnotes) in addition to a variety of tangential sidebars (the identity of whose writer becomes delightfully clear later on). Pearl is an odd but genuine narrator, possessed of a complex and emotional inner voice warring with a stridently stubborn outer one. An array of endearing supporting characters, coupled with a plot both grounded in stressful reality and uplifted by urban fantasy, lend the story its charm. Both the neighborhood and the library staff are robustly diverse. Pearl herself is biracial; her “long-gone father” was black and her mother is white. Bagley’s spot illustrations both reinforce this and add gentle humor.

The magic of reading is given a refreshingly real twist.   (reading list) (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6952-1

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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