From the Young Explorer's Adventure Guides series , Vol. 4

This stellar collection will appeal to both teens and grown-ups who dream of future worlds.

Worlds await young readers….

Imagine sneaking out of your habitat home on planet Skag3, defying your mother’s orders, so that you can take an adventurous walk on this strange new planet, only to be chased back by a legless carpet of lime-green fur. Or maybe you’re an extraterrestrial kid visiting Earth for the first time, longing for your Ocean home, while human beings mistake the sustainable connection you have to your home planet for an ancient religious belief. How about, instead of going to high school, because you’re a genetically engineered teen, created without lungs, your job is to scan the Earth’s destroyed, methane-filled atmosphere in your environmental pod. These are just a few of the page-turning stories in this annual showcase of sci-fi. This anthology offers new, vividly futuristic adventures featuring diverse characters, including humans from all over Earth as well as ET kids from other planets. One of the qualities that makes this yearly anthology such a treat to read is the wide range of futuristic possibilities that planet Earth and its occupants may encounter, realities that will keep readers wondering long after the book is closed. A few stories present poignant discourse about Earth’s sustainability, mixing neatly with adventures that give kids agency to navigate and ponder their own realities in different worlds.

This stellar collection will appeal to both teens and grown-ups who dream of future worlds. (Science fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-940924-25-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dreaming Robot

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017


Buy it. Read it. Share it.

The last week at Scouting camp highlights accomplishments and humiliations that last a lifetime.

Aiden, a fat, biracial (Filipino and White), soon-to-be high schooler, is in his last week of Boy Scout camp in 1995. Each day documents events, from bonding over fireside songs and learning important skills to the micro- and macroaggressions that follow an adolescent boy of color who presents as effeminate and is queer. As the week moves on, readers learn more about Aiden and his life, from his stressful home with an emotionally abusive father to his love of Catholicism and being an altar server. The stress of a new school, bullies who are ever present, and struggles with identity drive Aiden to a breaking point, one that’s familiar to many young people. The monochromatic illustrations, sometimes highlighted with red, orange, and yellow, are timeless moments of a remembered childhood. The use of red to highlight the tangible (firelight, a Swiss Army knife) and represent the intangible (passion, sorrow, and hope) is a master class in simplicity. But the true star of this book is the writing, which describes a boy who could live in any decade on his journey of self-discovery. This is a story that will be read and reread, and for some, it will be the defining book of their adolescence.

Buy it. Read it. Share it. (afterword, resources) (Graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62779-641-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020


A fun and scary slasher thriller.

Awards & Accolades

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A Fourth of July celebration turns deadly for a group of teens in Ross’ YA psychological thriller.

Eighteen-year-old Riley March and four girlfriends—Cam, Val, Nia, and Blake— are off on a celebratory Independence Day weekend away, their last before they all leave for college in the fall. Their destination is the exclusive and remote Palm Key Island, the perfect location for wealthy kids to spend their leisure time. Some of their other friends from school are there, too, including Riley’s crush, Sebastian. Riley needs to make sure no one finds out her biggest secret: She really doesn’t belong in this group, as she is not rich like her friends. Their weekend of sun, booze, and partying starts to go wrong when Val disappears after a night out clubbing—she’s presumably off with a boy—and warnings of an approaching hurricane sour the mood. As the group (joined by some male friends) hunkers down, trapped inside their rental with no internet or electricity while waiting for the storm to pass, tensions build and relationships start to unravel. They learn why their summer house rental is so cheap as casualties begin mount. The author’s compelling, fast-paced thriller pays homage to slasher movies and serial killer lore with a fun hook: “Things no longer seem fun and light anymore as I remember we’re about to be trapped in a hurricane—and in a murder house, no less. The only thing worse than that is being trapped in a hurricane, in a murder house, in complete darkness.” As the scares spiral, Ross maintains a tight focus on the complex, complicated relationship dynamics within the group of teen girls, all conveyed from Riley’s outsider/insider’s perspective. Still reeling from a close friend’s death by suicide the year before, the group’s secrets start to spill out, unveiling a history of bullying, competition, and privilege in a well-balanced narrative arc.

A fun and scary slasher thriller.

Pub Date: June 13, 2023

ISBN: 978-0988256828

Page Count: 266

Publisher: Ic13 Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

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