Stuffed with cameos from nearly every character of note from the Shadowhunter universe, there's not even enough room here...

TALES FROM THE SHADOWHUNTER ACADEMY

Ten previously published short stories take Simon from amnesia to Ascension.

After losing both his memory and his vampirism at the climax of City of Heavenly Fire (2014), Simon Lewis can't bear to be around the nigh-strangers who were once his best friend, his Shadowhunter allies, and his girlfriend, Isabelle. What better way for Simon to regain his lost life than to attend demon-fighting school, prepare to drink from the Mortal Cup, and hope Ascension grants him both phenomenal cosmic powers and his lost memories? Over the course of two years, the white, Jewish Simon goes from being a gangly nerd to someone who fits in among the "near perfect specimen[s] of humanity" who are his classmates. Though Simon builds a social network among both Shadowhunter and mundane students, the institution itself never becomes any less stunningly discriminatory (the mundanes, as "dregs," live in the slime- and rat-infested basements, for instance), making Simon's efforts feel futile. Simon himself measures his own improvement by gaining enough bulk to "trade in his ladies'-sized gear for a men's size." With chapters originally published as individual e-books over the course of 2015, this compilation shows its seams; the characters and setting are reintroduced every 60-odd pages.

Stuffed with cameos from nearly every character of note from the Shadowhunter universe, there's not even enough room here for fan service . (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4325-8

Page Count: 672

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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Though it lacks references or suggestions for further reading, Arn's agonizing story is compelling enough that many readers...

NEVER FALL DOWN

A harrowing tale of survival in the Killing Fields.

The childhood of Arn Chorn-Pond has been captured for young readers before, in Michelle Lord and Shino Arihara's picture book, A Song for Cambodia (2008). McCormick, known for issue-oriented realism, offers a fictionalized retelling of Chorn-Pond's youth for older readers. McCormick's version begins when the Khmer Rouge marches into 11-year-old Arn's Cambodian neighborhood and forces everyone into the country. Arn doesn't understand what the Khmer Rouge stands for; he only knows that over the next several years he and the other children shrink away on a handful of rice a day, while the corpses of adults pile ever higher in the mango grove. Arn does what he must to survive—and, wherever possible, to protect a small pocket of children and adults around him. Arn's chilling history pulls no punches, trusting its readers to cope with the reality of children forced to participate in murder, torture, sexual exploitation and genocide. This gut-wrenching tale is marred only by the author's choice to use broken English for both dialogue and description. Chorn-Pond, in real life, has spoken eloquently (and fluently) on the influence he's gained by learning English; this prose diminishes both his struggle and his story.

Though it lacks references or suggestions for further reading, Arn's agonizing story is compelling enough that many readers will seek out the history themselves. (preface, author's note) (Historical fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-173093-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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