This cross-cultural story, which is narrated in short takes by each of the three protagonists in turn, is set during the...

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DREAMS OF SIGNIFICANT GIRLS

Three girls with completely different styles, interests and upbringings initially clash during a ritzy summer boarding-school program in Switzerland before becoming the best of friends.

This cross-cultural story, which is narrated in short takes by each of the three protagonists in turn, is set during the summers of 1971, 1972 and 1973, with an epilogue ten years later. The book begins when the three girls—Vivien, a plump Jewish and Catholic Cuban, Shirin, a psychologically delicate high-born Iranian, and Ingrid, a wild, artistic Canadian girl of German extraction—are 14. The novel follows their romantic, scholastic, career-focused and personal adventures, charting their psychological progress as they transform from girl to woman. Once the three protagonists become friends, they provide each other with comfort, criticism and support, and the rolling first-person narration gives readers multiple perspectives on their lives. Although the girls talk about their devotion to each other, the biggest flaw in the story is that they seem so incompatible that readers will have a hard time buying into the frisson of their friendship. Moreover, despite the specificity of the time period and assorted historical references, the flavor of the era is never effectively conveyed and seems to have been selected to facilitate a big but unnecessary coincidence near the end of the story.

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7920-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale.

LEGACY AND THE QUEEN

A 12-year-old girl living in a kingdom ruled by a mysterious queen dreams of attaining her sport’s highest prize.

Legacy Petrin lives and works in the financially strapped orphanage in the provinces run by her father and rises early every day to practice tennis with her old racket. After her best friend, Van, excitedly tells her about a scholarship competition for a spot at an esteemed academy and the opportunity to try out for the national championships, Legacy runs away to the city to compete. After winning, she learns there is still much she doesn’t know: The players are not just proficient in tennis, but also have magical skills that they use to their advantage. Legacy befriends Pippa, a knowledgeable girl from an elite tennis family, and acquires a builder, or coach, Javi. With Pippa and Javi at her side, Legacy makes her way through the competition, despite sabotage attempts, learning secrets about her own family along the way. Legacy is a strong character, and the secondary characters also have interesting backstories. The storyline is reminiscent of other dystopian stories, but centering tennis—with lively descriptions of matches that give a strong sense of the sport—is an unusual touch. Most characters are white, although Javi is brown-skinned, and some other characters of color are mentioned.

Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949520-03-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching.

CODE NAME VERITY

Breaking away from Arthurian legends (The Winter Prince, 1993, etc.), Wein delivers a heartbreaking tale of friendship during World War II.

In a cell in Nazi-occupied France, a young woman writes. Like Scheherezade, to whom she is compared by the SS officer in charge of her case, she dribbles out information—“everything I can remember about the British War Effort”—in exchange for time and a reprieve from torture. But her story is more than a listing of wireless codes or aircraft types. Instead, she describes her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who flew them to France, as well as the real details of the British War Effort: the breaking down of class barriers, the opportunities, the fears and victories not only of war, but of daily life. She also describes, almost casually, her unbearable current situation and the SS officer who holds her life in his hands and his beleaguered female associate, who translates the narrative each day. Through the layers of story, characters (including the Nazis) spring to life. And as the epigraph makes clear, there is more to this tale than is immediately apparent. The twists will lead readers to finish the last page and turn back to the beginning to see how the pieces slot perfectly, unexpectedly into place.

A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5219-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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