A smart, peppery, action-packed plot teams up with playful, astute characters.

THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE

A magical pen leads 12-year-old white Keira Harding on a dark fairy-tale adventure.

During a robbery at her home, Keira runs to her parents’ bedroom to find a phone and call for help. Instead, she finds a glowing antique pen and, in desperation, writes a list of what to do. To her amazement, everything on the list appears to come true. Keira keeps the pen (hiding her possession of it from her parents) and uses it to write a fairy tale for a story contest—in direct contravention of her mother’s seemingly unreasonable command that she not write any stories ever. When her story wins the contest and Keira, her mother, and Bella, Keira’s brown-skinned, black-haired best friend, go to France to stay for a week in the Château de Chenonceau as the prize, the girls are thrilled—at first. At the castle, strange events transpire, and Keira cannot help but notice that they have an eerie resemblance to the fairy tale she wrote. Keira’s first-person, present-tense narration, with a close eye to detail, oscillates between mature observations and lighthearted girl-stuff. It works. The story’s overarching theme of the power of words is timely and poignant—but the book’s cover art imparts a clichéd Disney-esque look that may turn off more serious readers.

A smart, peppery, action-packed plot teams up with playful, astute characters. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-92409-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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