Next book


Expect more chortles than screams; warm family feelings and comical touches keep the terror low-key.

Life (and death) in a small-town funeral home where magical services range from granting posthumous wishes to full, if inadvertent, resurrections.

As the descendant of a long line of benign witches, 12-year-old Kimmy is thrilled to be learning from her Grandma Bev how to temporarily Wake recently deceased clients of the family’s funeral home to offer them the courtesy of a (reasonable) last request. Then her beloved but overprotective mentor dies amid a rash of similarly untimely expirations. Kimmy discovers the hard way not only that much about her magic and its steep personal cost has been hidden from her but also that a powerful evil witch is in the area, fatally feeding on the life force of her hapless victims. Though this sounds like it should be a scary tale, Lyall keeps the tone light. Kimmy, less frightened than grieving and determined to figure things out without troubling her parents too much about the undead boy in her bedroom or other misadventures, is comfortable around corpses and only obliquely mentions bodily fluids and the more macabre details of the family business. She’s also surrounded by allies both living and, well, not zombies (or at least not the brain-eating sort), who easily work together to expose and, ultimately, deliver just deserts to the malefactor. Kimmy and her family are cued white; there’s racial diversity in the supporting cast.

Expect more chortles than screams; warm family feelings and comical touches keep the terror low-key. (Comic horror. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 28, 2024

ISBN: 9780063239876

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

Next book


Slick sleuthing punctuated by action on the boards and insights into differences that matter—and those that don’t.

Brothers, one neurodivergent, team up to shoot baskets and find a thief.

With the coach spit-bellowing at him to play better or get out, basketball tryouts are such a disaster for 11-year-old Green that he pelts out of the gym—becoming the chief suspect to everyone except his fiercely protective older brother, Cedar, when a valuable ring vanishes from the coach’s office. Used to being misunderstood, Green is less affected by the assumption of his guilt than Cedar, whose violent reactions risk his suspension. Switching narrative duties in alternating first-person chapters, the brothers join forces to search for clues to the real thief—amassing notes, eliminating possibilities (only with reluctance does Green discard Ringwraiths from his exhaustive list of possible perps), and, on the way to an ingenious denouement, discovering several schoolmates and grown-ups who, like Cedar, see Green as his own unique self, not just another “special needs” kid. In an author’s note, King writes that he based his title characters on family members, adding an element of conviction to his portrayals of Green as a smart, unathletic tween with a wry sense of humor and of Cedar’s attachment to him as founded in real affection, not just duty. Ultimately, the author finds positive qualities to accentuate in most of the rest of the cast too, ending on a tide of apologies and fence-mendings. Cedar and Green default to White.

Slick sleuthing punctuated by action on the boards and insights into differences that matter—and those that don’t. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66590-261-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

Next book


A didactic blueprint disguised as a supernatural treasure map.

A girl who delights in the macabre harnesses her inherited supernatural ability.

It’s not just her stark white hair that makes 11-year-old Zee Puckett stand out in nowheresville Knobb’s Ferry. She’s a storyteller, a Mary Shelley fangirl, and is being raised by her 21-year-old high school dropout sister while their father looks for work upstate (cue the wayward glances from the affluent demography). Don’t pity her, because Zee doesn’t acquiesce to snobbery, bullying, or pretty much anything that confronts her. But a dog with bleeding eyes in a cemetery gives her pause—momentarily—because the beast is just the tip of the wicked that has this way come to town. Time to get some help from ghosts. The creepy supernatural current continues throughout, intermingled with very real forays into bullying (Zee won’t stand for it or for the notion that good girls need to act nice), body positivity, socio-economic status and social hierarchy, and mental health. This debut from a promising writer involves a navigation of caste systems, self-esteem, and villainy that exists in an interesting world with intriguing characters, but they receive a flat, two-dimensional treatment that ultimately makes the book feel like one is learning a ho-hum lesson in morality. Zee is presumably White (as is her rich-girl nemesis–cum-comrade, Nellie). Her best friend, Elijah, is cued as Black. Warning: this just might spur frenzied requests for Frankenstein.

A didactic blueprint disguised as a supernatural treasure map. (Supernatural. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304460-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

Close Quickview