With flash, spectacle, and tough character choices, an all-around, full-throttle read.

READ REVIEW

TRAILBLAZER

From the TURBO Racers series , Vol. 1

A 12-year-old gets a shot at glory in a high-tech, motorized extreme triathlon—but everything has its price.

When not tinkering with mechanical engineering projects, Mace Blazer lights up the leaderboards in TURBO arcade simulations. In TURBO races, vehicles morph among land, sea, and sky forms for various legs of the complicated, wild races. After finding out about a traveling exhibit with a restored, legendary, crashed-too-soon first-generation trimorpher called Event Horizon—just in time to miss it—Mace takes a risk to see the craft in person. The unintended consequences (which include a police chase) lead Mace to Event Horizon’s legendary, mysterious pilot, Quasar, who invites him and three other top simulation performers for a summer of training. Quasar promises entrance in the Gauntlet Prix to the best of them. Coloradan Mace (default white and fluent in ASL due to growing up with Deaf parents) is joined by Japanese-American Aya, Dex from the Dominican Republic, and white Norwegian Henryk. They must compete against one another in the face of elimination and dismissal as the legendary racer teaches them to do anything to win. Mace must decide if he should do it Quasar’s way or play it honest—either alternative holds heavy consequences—and discovers that TURBO’s future depends on his decisions. Intense, impeccably paced, bonkers-awesome international race sequences provide clarity without sacrificing tension or becoming repetitive—and, more importantly, compensate for the formulaic setup.

With flash, spectacle, and tough character choices, an all-around, full-throttle read. (Science fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-274103-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

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

Did you like this book?

more