SHODDY COVE

Narrative red herrings abound in this adventure set on the coast of Maine. Clare, 12, is less than thrilled at the prospect of spending the summer as an (unpaid) interpreter at the living-history museum where her mother works. Gradually, however, she becomes involved with a pair of siblings, Adam and May, who have chosen Cossit Island Village as their refuge after their mother dies. This modern-day plot unfolds against a historical backdrop that reveals itself through documents Adam has stolen to read to his sister. As the story lurches along, it turns out that Cossit Island Village was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and a letter Adam finds tells the story of a dramatic escape. Levin’s plot begins with promise, as the reenactment of a funeral seems to plunge Clare and May into the 19th century. This eerie hint at time travel never bears fruit, and Clare spends the rest of the story wondering, along with the reader, what really happened. Purchase a fresh copy of Julia Sauer’s Fog Magic instead. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-052271-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

HOLES

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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A thrilling, mystery-laden story with an incredible setting.

BEAR BOTTOM

From the FunJungle series , Vol. 7

Leaving FunJungle Adventure Park for a vacation on a ranch in West Yellowstone, 13-year-old Teddy and his girlfriend, Summer, find themselves searching for missing bison while in the middle of solving a jewel heist.

The latest book in Gibbs’ FunJungle series leaves the adventure park for new territory. Even so, Teddy can’t seem to escape mysteries. While staying at the Oy Vey Corral, his skills as a teen detective are enlisted by the ranch owners to help find out who is stealing their purebred bison. When a grizzly bear named Sasquatch breaks into the ranch house late one night and Summer’s mother’s dazzling multimillion-dollar necklace goes missing, Teddy finds himself working not just one whodunit, but two. From an old hidden room for hiding bootleggers’ stashes to an abandoned gold mine and a bull on the loose, Gibbs keeps the pace moving and the action coming. While most of the main characters are presumed White, there is diversity in secondary characters. The owners of the Oy Vey Corral are Jewish. Gibbs doesn’t shy away from discussing America’s brutal treatment of Native peoples or the ways Americans have destroyed animal populations and habitats. This action-packed mystery with a satisfying resolution doesn’t rest on predictable thieves or obvious answers.

A thrilling, mystery-laden story with an incredible setting. (author’s note) (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7946-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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