Happily, Kerley’s execution matches her ambition, resulting in a highly readable story that pairs a rapid-fire plot with a...

FOLLOWING BAXTER

There is a lot going on in this mystery/sci-fi/coming-of-age adventure about a girl and the charismatic dog next door.

When Professor Reese moves in with her giant, gray, shaggy dog, Baxter, next door to 11-year-old Jordie Marie Wallace, Jordie’s life changes in a number of ways: she’s always wanted a dog; she awakens to the lure of scientific discovery; and she experiences a number of “opportunities to be more dependable.” Dense plotlines weave together many intertwining threads, but it all fits together. A subplot about Jordie’s participation in a “Study Buddies” project and one about her circle of friends’ plan to open a hairdresser/vet/day care both turn out to be key to the development of her self-awareness. This is all back story to the main storyline: Jordie volunteers to walk Baxter while Professor Reese works on her research into the possibility of teleportation. When Professor Reese disappears, Jordie, her brother, and “magical” Baxter work together to solve the case. Clues to Jordie’s strengths and challenges are not explicitly articulated but are aptly shown through other characters’ reactions. Her relationships with friends and family are realistic, which juxtaposes cleverly with the speculative aspect of the plot. The book subscribes to the white default, with racial diversity hinted at in supporting characters’ names.

Happily, Kerley’s execution matches her ambition, resulting in a highly readable story that pairs a rapid-fire plot with a likable protagonist. (Science fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249978-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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