A thought-provoking and entertaining time-travel tale with a useful, even hopeful, message about personal responsibility....

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THE EDGE OF WHEN

Published 30 years ago as a three-volume series, this effort is an updated version combined into a single novel.

Rising junior-high-schooler Rebecca witnesses the kidnapping of a classmate and while trying to help him, is transported by time machine to 2050, a dystopian, post–nuclear-apocalypse future in which the few survivors live underground. Damaged by radiation, they have resorted to kidnapping young teens from the past to provide for future reproduction. In a fast-paced series of often-suspenseful events, the pair return to their own time accompanied by teens Lewis and Catherine. In a second part, Rebecca follows time-travelers Mark and Jonathan to a different dystopian future, a commerce-driven police state in which the pair are freedom fighters. Eventually, Rebecca ends up in her own time living side by side with another version of herself as she and her friends try to change the present in order to alter the future. The action and imaginative ideas will keep readers engaged, although the sometimes preachy, albeit worthwhile, message occasionally intrudes. With numerous characters making brief appearances, Rebecca’s role serves to connect the various time periods, although the three parts of this effort still feel a lot like separate, related tales.

A thought-provoking and entertaining time-travel tale with a useful, even hopeful, message about personal responsibility. (Science fiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55455-198-9

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child...

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES

A San Diego preteen learns that she’s an elf, with a place in magic school if she moves to the elves’ hidden realm.

Having felt like an outsider since a knock on the head at age 5 left her able to read minds, Sophie is thrilled when hunky teen stranger Fitz convinces her that she’s not human at all and transports her to the land of Lumenaria, where the ageless elves live. Taken in by a loving couple who run a sanctuary for extinct and mythical animals, Sophie quickly gathers friends and rivals at Foxfire, a distinctly Hogwarts-style school. She also uncovers both clues to her mysterious origins and hints that a rash of strangely hard-to-quench wildfires back on Earth are signs of some dark scheme at work. Though Messenger introduces several characters with inner conflicts and ambiguous agendas, Sophie herself is more simply drawn as a smart, radiant newcomer who unwillingly becomes the center of attention while developing what turn out to be uncommonly powerful magical abilities—reminiscent of the younger Harry Potter, though lacking that streak of mischievousness that rescues Harry from seeming a little too perfect. The author puts her through a kidnapping and several close brushes with death before leaving her poised, amid hints of a higher destiny and still-anonymous enemies, for sequels.

Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child who, while overly fond of screaming, rises to every challenge. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4593-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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It’s slanted toward action-oriented readers, who will find that Briticisms meld with all the other wonders of magic school.

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE

From the Harry Potter series , Vol. 1

In a rousing first novel, already an award-winner in England, Harry is just a baby when his magical parents are done in by Voldemort, a wizard so dastardly other wizards are scared to mention his name.

So Harry is brought up by his mean Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia Dursley, and picked on by his horrid cousin Dudley. He knows nothing about his magical birthright until ten years later, when he learns he’s to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts is a lot like English boarding school, except that instead of classes in math and grammar, the curriculum features courses in Transfiguration, Herbology, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry becomes the star player of Quidditch, a sort of mid-air ball game. With the help of his new friends Ron and Hermione, Harry solves a mystery involving a sorcerer’s stone that ultimately takes him to the evil Voldemort. This hugely enjoyable fantasy is filled with imaginative details, from oddly flavored jelly beans to dragons’ eggs hatched on the hearth.

It’s slanted toward action-oriented readers, who will find that Briticisms meld with all the other wonders of magic school. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-590-35340-3

Page Count: 309

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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