Family and Growing Up Book Reviews

KING OF THE MOUND by Wes Tooke
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Feb. 21, 2012

"Nourishing fare for Matt Christopher graduates. (Sports fiction. 10-12)"
A boy takes first steps on the road to physical and emotional recovery from a bout with polio, thanks to help from a solid new friend and a baseball hero. Read full book review >
PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS by Diane Zahler
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Jan. 31, 2012

"A pleasant magical outing. (Fairy tale/fantasy. 8-12)"
In her third fairy-tale novelization, Zahler (The Thirteenth Princess, 2010, and A True Princess, 2011) dips into Hans Christian Andersen's "The Wild Swans" and mixes in a bit of Celtic folklore. Read full book review >

THE SURVIVORS by Will Weaver
ADVENTURE
Released: Jan. 31, 2012

"Sobering, thoroughly credible and, ultimately, optimistic about the chances of our better natures triumphing when the going gets rough. (Science fiction. 10-13)"
A family fleeing rapidly degenerating social order caused by world-changing volcanic eruptions finds respite and new heart in this well-crafted sequel to Memory Boy (2001). Read full book review >
ANOTHER BROTHER by Matthew Cordell
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 31, 2012

"This is not just another new-baby book: Cordell's humorous text and mischievously silly, expressive cartoon art will have readers bleating to read it again and again. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Davy, a little sheep, has trouble adjusting to the arrival of not one but 12 baby brothers in this humorous twist on the tried and true new sibling theme. Read full book review >
NEVER SAY GENIUS by Dan Gutman
ADVENTURE
Released: Jan. 24, 2012

"Nothing spices up a boring road trip like moments of extreme terror. (Adventure. 10-12)"
Twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald squeak through numerous murder attempts at roadside attractions across the Midwest and on eastward. Read full book review >

PINK SMOG by Francesca Lia Block
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 24, 2012

"A dreamlike tale of bullying and coping that owes slightly too much to nostalgia to work. (Fiction. 12-15)"
Does this failed prequel to the Phoenix Award-winning Weetzie Bat (1989) at least succeed as a standalone novel? Read full book review >
CROW by Barbara Wright
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 10, 2012

"An intensely moving, first-person narrative of a disturbing historical footnote told from the perspective of a very likable, credible young hero. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)"
Growing up in Wilmington, N.C., in 1898, a naive black boy and his family are devastated by a racist uprising in this fictionalized account of a little-known historical event. Read full book review >
THE CABINET OF EARTHS by Anne Nesbet
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 3, 2012

"A charmingly creepy European vacation for fans of chillers and thrillers. (Suspense. 12-15)"
DUMPLING DAYS by Grace Lin
by Grace Lin, illustrated by Grace Lin
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 2, 2012

"Deftly weaving together historical anecdotes and simple line illustrations, Lin once again touches the heart of growing up in a multicultural family. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Pacy and her family travel to Taiwan for one month to celebrate her grandmother's 60th birthday, giving this Chinese-American girl another lens through which she can examine her identity. Read full book review >
KISS CRUSH COLLIDE by Christina Meredith
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 1, 2012

"Although the most intriguing thread of the book is familial, this tame G-rated story will appeal largely to girls who enjoy romances. (Fiction. 13 & up)"
The summer before her senior year of high school, a girl who seemingly has it all—money, looks, smarts and social position—falls for a dazzlingly handsome but mildly unsuitable boy. Read full book review >
TICK TOCK CLOCK by Margery Cuyler
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 1, 2012

"Any new reader lucky enough to spend a day with Grandma will want to read this to her. (Early reader. 3-5)"
Grandma spends a busy day with her twin granddaughters in a day filled with action, rhythm and rhyme. Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 2012

"This yippy, yappy Yorkie is just another tired puppy in search of a plot. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Macomber and Carney team up for their second entry in the Blossom Street Kids series, this time focusing on an unwanted move to a new neighborhood for a girl named Ellen and her Yorkshire terrier named Baxter. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fernanda Santos
author of THE FIRE LINE
May 17, 2016

When a bolt of lightning ignited a hilltop in the sleepy town of Yarnell, Arizona, in June 2013, setting off a blaze that would grow into one of the deadliest fires in American history, the 20 men who made up the Granite Mountain Hotshots sprang into action. New York Times writer Fernanda Santos’ debut book The Fire Line is the story of the fire and the Hotshots’ attempts to extinguish it. An elite crew trained to combat the most challenging wildfires, the Hotshots were a ragtag family, crisscrossing the American West and wherever else the fires took them. There's Eric Marsh, their devoted and demanding superintendent who turned his own personal demons into lessons he used to mold, train and guide his crew; Jesse Steed, their captain, a former Marine, a beast on the fire line and a family man who wasn’t afraid to say “I love you” to the firemen he led; Andrew Ashcraft, a team leader still in his 20s who struggled to balance his love for his beautiful wife and four children and his passion for fighting wildfires. We see this band of brothers at work, at play and at home, until a fire that burned in their own backyards leads to a national tragedy. View video >