Despite intimations of drunkenness, adultery and the coming war, Cece is as wholesome as a glass of milk, if as oblivious...

RADIO GIRL

Cecelia Maloney (“Cece…rhymes with peace”), 14, lives in Newark, N.J., in 1938 above Loomis Hardware and below the Loomis family. Her adored Pop is a radio sound-effects man, and she wants nothing more than to be in radio, too.

Although she cons Pop into signing her working papers, she finds herself lying to her Ma and practicing deception at an ever-increasing level. She sneaks into New York City, talks her way into a Saturday copy girl’s job at Columbia, meets glamorous radio folk like Orson Welles (on whom she has a huge crush), and narrates it all in her starry-eyed, Depression-era teen voice. Cece is certain of her impending radio stardom and so completely misses her mother’s worry, her father’s erratic behavior and their poverty. First novelist Brendler has worked extremely hard at getting the setting, slang and tone of the late 1930s, but her characterizations are disappointingly one-note. Cece’s Ma is long-suffering, her best friend is a boy-chaser, an aspiring young reporter who befriends Cece is earnest; Cece's note is that she is completely self-involved and naïve as heck. The climax utilizes Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast to unravel all the secrets and lies.

Despite intimations of drunkenness, adultery and the coming war, Cece is as wholesome as a glass of milk, if as oblivious and self-centered as any teen then or now. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2861-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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