An engaging, over-the-top tale with much to say about how schools treat individuals and outsiders.



In the opener of the Tribe trilogy, Spencer Pendleton welcomes the chance to start anew at Greenfield Middle School.

It’s an “overblown rumor” that he burned down his old school. Most of the school is still standing, minus a couple of classrooms. Now, though, he hopes to stay on the straight and narrow, with the help of his inhaler and latest meds. But on Day 1, he has his first confrontation with bully Riley Callahan and his Cro-Magnon cronies. On Day 2, Riley sends Spencer toilet diving. Then Spencer almost gouges out his teacher’s eye with a pencil, is involved in a cafeteria food fight and has a chat with the assistant principal. When he’s recruited by the Tribe, a mysterious “underground ring of runaways” hiding out in the school, he might have found a way to survive. But, though the Tribe is more than capable of doing battle with school bullies, Spencer realizes they’re a tyrannical clique in their own way, and he’s too independent-minded to be a loyal follower. He will have to find his own way to survive. The first-person narration effectively conveys Spencer’s internal struggles, and the clever “Ghost Stories” interspersed toward the end of the volume offer fascinating back stories for the Tribe’s members.

An engaging, over-the-top tale with much to say about how schools treat individuals and outsiders. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5221-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.


Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Salva Dut is 11 years old when war raging in the Sudan separates him from his family. To avoid the conflict, he walks for years with other refugees, seeking sanctuary and scarce food and water. Park simply yet convincingly depicts the chaos of war and an unforgiving landscape as they expose Salva to cruelties both natural and man-made. The lessons Salva remembers from his family keep him from despair during harsh times in refugee camps and enable him, as a young man, to begin a new life in America. As Salva’s story unfolds, readers also learn about another Sudanese youth, Nya, and how these two stories connect contributes to the satisfying conclusion. This story is told as fiction, but it is based on real-life experiences of one of the “Lost Boys” of the Sudan. Salva and Nya’s compelling voices lift their narrative out of the “issue” of the Sudanese War, and only occasionally does the explanation of necessary context intrude in the storytelling. Salva’s heroism and the truth that water is a source of both conflict and reconciliation receive equal, crystal-clear emphasis in this heartfelt account. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-25127-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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