Once readers are past the book’s uninviting title, they’ll find it impossible not to root for Candice in her valiant and...

THE CATEGORICAL UNIVERSE OF CANDICE PHEE

Twenty-six chapters, one for each letter of the alphabet, chronicle Candice’s efforts to fix her family, her friend—and even her fish.

Candice Phee’s family is a mess. Her baby sister is dead, her mom has had a double mastectomy and is depressed, and her father has quarreled with Rich Uncle Brian. Others in the 12-year-old’s life also need help, from her teacher, who has a lazy eye, to her only friend, Douglas Benson from Another Dimension, who is convinced that his parents are facsimiles. Even her pet, Earth-Pig Fish, is religiously confused. Candice, who likes everyone although she knows no one likes her, is somewhere on the autism spectrum (her pencils and pens cannot touch) and is literal to a fault, painfully honest and on a mission to make everyone happy. Award-winning Australian author Jonsburg captures quirky, irrepressible Candice’s voice in this first-person narrative that is as touching as it is funny. The humor stems from both Candice’s rigid literalness and her well-intentioned but often bungled efforts to fix things.

Once readers are past the book’s uninviting title, they’ll find it impossible not to root for Candice in her valiant and endearing quest to mitigate the sadness of those around her. (Fiction 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3351-5

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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A fantastic, heartbreaking crescendo that echoes beyond the final page.

WILLA OF DARK HOLLOW

From the Willa of the Wood series , Vol. 2

A young Faeran girl puts everything on the line to save her home and the family she loves.

Emerging from the charred ruins of the Faeran forest lair, 13-year-old green-skinned, brown-haired Willa has formed a new family with humans who care about the Great Smoky Mountain as much as she does. Unfortunately, the Sutton Lumber Company has plans to clear the forest for railroad tracks. Her White adoptive father, Nathaniel, has become a leading voice against the destruction, making him a target. After he is arrested on suspicion of murdering loggers, Willa asks for help from her Faeran clan, but they blame her for the death of their leader and subsequent loss of their old home. Even the forest itself has grown hostile as strange, deathly cold creatures attack. Adelaide, a new blond, blue-eyed friend, and Hialeah, Nathaniel’s White and Cherokee daughter, join Willa in protecting the forest, clearing Nathaniel’s name, saving the Faeran, and unraveling the mystery of the malicious beasts. This duology closer is a captivating, stirring tale of family, friendship, the environment, and our place in the world. At every turn, Willa is faced with higher stakes and decisions that are even harder to make; the consequences of each choice weigh on her heart. The gorgeous prose and imagery of the mountains will inspire in readers a deep admiration for nature and support for Willa’s fight.

A fantastic, heartbreaking crescendo that echoes beyond the final page. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-00760-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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