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A FEW BICYCLES MORE

A heady rush of girl power paced by the delights both of biking and bringing out the best in oneself and others.

Revelations, rescues, and family issues challenge 12-year-old Bicycle and her unusually gifted wheels.

Only a month after the life-changing cross-country spin detailed in The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle (2018), a chance encounter leads to new exploits for the pedal-pushing preteen—starting with the stunning discovery that she is one of a set of identical quintuplets. Having been misplaced years before and raised as a solitary foundling by clerics of the Mostly Silent Monastery and the Nearly Silent Nunnery, Bicycle (or, now, Euphemia) finds herself struggling with family life, particularly as her mom, already overprotective in the wake of losing one child, has turned even more helicopter-y. This becomes a problem when Bicycle’s beloved bike, Wheels of Fortune 713-J, which has enough features to give high-tech a whole new dimension, announces that four kindred two-wheelers developed by the same maverick inventor are about to be scrapped and need rescuing now. Fortunately, Bicycle’s sibs turn out to be kindred (if stifled) spirits who are used to working as a team, so the stage is set for a bumpy, exhilarating race against time and, ultimately, a liberating journey. Uss again assembles a cast of terrifically engaging human characters, mostly defaulting to White. Others are just as distinctly individual despite getting about on wheels or even, in the case of an enigmatic but surprisingly helpful tuxedo cat, paws.

A heady rush of girl power paced by the delights both of biking and bringing out the best in oneself and others. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-5087-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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FAKER

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences.

A con man’s son yearns for a different way of life.

Having helped his single dad fleece wealthy marks since kindergarten, Trey is adept at spotting their rich offspring in each new school he attends and cultivating them until the time comes for a quick getaway. Now that he’s 12, though, the urge to make real friends and put down some roots has become insistent—particularly since he’s drawn to Kaylee, a new classmate in his latest middle school. How can he convince his dad, who’s in the midst of luring local investors into a fantastically lucrative scheme involving a fictive electric car, that it’s time to bag the family profession and settle down? Korman goes more for ironic humor than the physical or stand-up sort in this book, as shown by Trey’s enrollment in an ethics class that forces him into some decidedly hypocritical stances. Much like Trey himself, instant new bestie Logan and his parents turn out to be not at all who they seem. And though there are no bullies or real baddies in the cast on the way to the story’s rosy but implausible resolution, Trey’s malign, high-strung, and wildly reckless huckster of a little sister from hell definitely adds both conflict and suspense to this provocative outing. Main characters read white.

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338826753

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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CLUES TO THE UNIVERSE

Charming, poignant, and thoughtfully woven.

An aspiring scientist and a budding artist become friends and help each other with dream projects.

Unfolding in mid-1980s Sacramento, California, this story stars 12-year-olds Rosalind and Benjamin as first-person narrators in alternating chapters. Ro’s father, a fellow space buff, was killed by a drunk driver; the rocket they were working on together lies unfinished in her closet. As for Benji, not only has his best friend, Amir, moved away, but the comic book holding the clue for locating his dad is also missing. Along with their profound personal losses, the protagonists share a fixation with the universe’s intriguing potential: Ro decides to complete the rocket and hopes to launch mementos of her father into outer space while Benji’s conviction that aliens and UFOs are real compels his imagination and creativity as an artist. An accident in science class triggers a chain of events forcing Benji and Ro, who is new to the school, to interact and unintentionally learn each other’s secrets. They resolve to find Benji’s dad—a famous comic-book artist—and partner to finish Ro’s rocket for the science fair. Together, they overcome technical, scheduling, and geographical challenges. Readers will be drawn in by amusing and fantastical elements in the comic book theme, high emotional stakes that arouse sympathy, and well-drawn character development as the protagonists navigate life lessons around grief, patience, self-advocacy, and standing up for others. Ro is biracial (Chinese/White); Benji is White.

Charming, poignant, and thoughtfully woven. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-300888-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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