BLUE LIGHTNING

A novel that aspires to the same spirituality that drove Field of Dreams, equating unfinished affairs in life with an unfinished game of baseball, and making the father-son bond paramount. When Calvin is hit by lightning he is clinically dead when he reaches the hospital, but comes out of it. His textbook near-death experience, however, leads to unforeseen consequences. A crash victim, Rory, is in the hospital at the same time as Calvin, and dies; his mischief-making spirit attaches itself to the boy. When Calvin returns home, Rory as a ghost emerges from his stomach. Rory is a nasty piece of work: He's mean and destructive, getting Calvin into trouble wherever he goes. Calvin figures that he has to send Rory back to wherever it is he belongs, but that becomes possible only when Calvin discovers that they share a deep love for baseball and were both slated to play on a special team before their accidents. In the course of events he reunites his long-widowed mother with a former sweetheart and new widower, Rory's aloof father, who lost his son and wife in the same crash. The logic that attends the spectral encounters is never clear, and Rory's sneering malevolence is unlikely to draw readers in. As was true in Russell's Last Left Standing (p. 1473), the writing is very good and often poetic. The plotting, however, is wobbly and confusing. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-670-87023-4

Page Count: 122

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This story is necessary. This story is important.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned...

THE HUNGER GAMES

From the Hunger Games series , Vol. 1

Katniss Everdeen is a survivor.

She has to be; she’s representing her District, number 12, in the 74th Hunger Games in the Capitol, the heart of Panem, a new land that rose from the ruins of a post-apocalyptic North America. To punish citizens for an early rebellion, the rulers require each district to provide one girl and one boy, 24 in all, to fight like gladiators in a futuristic arena. The event is broadcast like reality TV, and the winner returns with wealth for his or her district. With clear inspiration from Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and the Greek tale of Theseus, Collins has created a brilliantly imagined dystopia, where the Capitol is rich and the rest of the country is kept in abject poverty, where the poor battle to the death for the amusement of the rich. However, poor copyediting in the first printing will distract careful readers—a crying shame. [Note: Errors have been corrected in subsequent printings, so we are now pleased to apply the Kirkus star.]

Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned trilogy, as good as The Giver and more exciting. (Science fiction. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-02348-1

Page Count: 394

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more