INKSPELL

One year after the events of Inkheart (2003), one by one, the characters find themselves read from the real world into the Inkworld. Dustfinger is ecstatic to be back home after his long exile; Meggie is thrilled to explore the story that has seduced her with its beauty; Mo and Resa want only to bring their daughter Meggie back. The metaliterary musings begun in the previous title become grander here, as each character grapples with the possibility of challenging the fate that has been written. Fenoglio, the author of the fictional Inkheart, takes on a tragic role, as he sees his godlike idyll threatened when his words and characters take on lives of their own. Woven in and around the breakneck adventure is the provocative notion that words, and the meanings they carry, are plastic and ever susceptible to change. While the permeability of the membrane between imagination and reality may form the base of the novel, Funke delivers more than enough action, romance, tragedy, villainy and emotion to keep readers turning the pages—and waiting for the sequel the cliffhanger ending promises. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-439-55400-4

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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TANGERINE

A legally blind seventh-grader with clearer vision than most wins acceptance in a new Florida school as his football-hero older brother self-destructs in this absorbing, multi-stranded debut. Paul's thick lenses don't keep him from being a first-rate soccer goalie, but they do make him, willy-nilly, a "handicapped" student and thus, according to his new coach, ineligible to play. After a giant sinkhole swallows much of his ramshackle school, Paul is able to transfer to another school where, with some parental collusion, he can keep his legal status a secret. It turns out to be a rough place, where "minorities are in the majority," but Paul fits himself in, playing on the superb soccer team (as a substitute for one of the female stars of the group) and pitching in when a freeze threatens the citrus groves. Bloor fills in the setting with authority and broad irony: In Tangerine County, Florida, groves are being replaced by poorly designed housing developments through which drift clouds of mosquitoes and smoke from unquenchable "muck fires." Football is so big that not even the death of a player struck by lightning during practice gets in the way of NFL dreams; no one, including Paul's parents, sees how vicious and amoral his brother, Erik, is off the field. Smart, adaptable, and anchored by a strong sense of self-worth, Paul makes a memorable protagonist in a cast of vividly drawn characters; multiple yet taut plotlines lead to a series of gripping climaxes and revelations. Readers are going to want more from this author. (Fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-201246-X

Page Count: 293

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL

From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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