Authenticity supported by her previous juvenile nonfiction works, McArthur has created a believable and fast-paced tale of...

A VOICE FOR KANZAS

It's 1855, and 13-year-old budding poet Lucy has no desire to leave the safety of Pennsylvania, her school and her coming cotillion to head out to the dangerous town of Lawrence, Kan.

But her father is determined to travel to the lawless new territory to help fight to have it admitted to the Union as a free state and, at the same time, to finally find success running a store. The learning curve is steep for Lucy. After all her belongings are lost on the journey, she’s forced to wear only her lovely cotillion gown, totally inappropriate for the rough-and-tumble frontier. School is nothing like her genteel education back east, but there she meets classmate Annie, who lives outside of town and whose family secretly helps move slaves north to safety. After Lucy begins to help, inspired by ideals she finds in poetry, suspense rises palpably. Chapters begin with excerpts from period documents, mostly newspapers, ably setting the tone. While some characters seem included merely to demonstrate diversity—especially heroic Native American boy Levi—and a related subplot in which Lucy's younger brother falling under another boy’s bad influence feels superfluous, the historical accuracy and gritty hazards of tumultuous Kansas keep the tale on track.

Authenticity supported by her previous juvenile nonfiction works, McArthur has created a believable and fast-paced tale of life in the Kansas Territory. (Historical fiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61067-044-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

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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GIRL'S BEST FRIEND

From the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries series

In this series debut, Maggie Sinclair tracks down a dognapper and solves a mystery about the noises in the walls of her Brooklyn brownstone apartment building. The 12-year-old heroine, who shares a middle name—Brooklyn—with her twin brother, Finn, is juggling two dogwalking jobs she’s keeping secret from her parents, and somehow she attracts the ire of the dogs’ former walker. Maggie tells her story in the first person—she’s self-possessed and likable, even when her clueless brother invites her ex–best friend, now something of an enemy, to their shared 12th birthday party. Maggie’s attention to details helps her to figure out why dogs seem to be disappearing and why there seem to be mice in the walls of her building, though astute readers will pick up on the solution to at least one mystery before Maggie solves it. There’s a brief nod to Nancy Drew, but the real tensions in this contemporary preteen story are more about friendship and boy crushes than skullduggery. Still, the setting is appealing, and Maggie is a smart and competent heroine whose personal life is just as interesting as—if not more than—her detective work. (Mystery. 10-13)

   

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 967-1-59990-525-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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