An uneven mystery with intriguing explorations into the myriad effects of trauma.

THE GIRL IN THE WHITE VAN

A kung fu student combats a kidnapper.

Savannah Taylor has gotten used to relocating every time her mom falls for a different man. Now in Portland, Oregon, she struggles to live with Tim, her mom’s controlling boyfriend, while pursuing her newfound passion: In kung fu class she uncovers newfound strength, finding a sanctuary from her chaotic home life. Though she’s resolved not to make friends, she’s drawn to Daniel Diaz, a green belt who shares her interest in Bruce Lee. Meanwhile, rumors swirl at school about a driver who is following girls in battered, unmarked cars. Even worse, a girl one town over vanished last year. Leaving kung fu one night, Savannah is attacked, waking up in the back of an old white van with her wrists duct taped. Her kidnapper is a man who goes by Sir. With the help of an unexpected ally and Bruce Lee’s words of wisdom, Savannah must summon the strength to outwit Sir if she wants to make it out alive. The narrative, told through multiple first-person perspectives, offers insight into trauma’s ripple effects. While this is interesting, and the pacing is strong, insufficient time is spent on character development, detracting from the immediacy of Savannah’s situation. The ease with which the mystery is solved further dampens the tension. Daniel is cued as Latinx; other major characters are presumed white.

An uneven mystery with intriguing explorations into the myriad effects of trauma. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-15759-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more