This tale will have readers cheering for the resilient, resourceful Olivia.

OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN

One question can best sum up 12-year-old Olivia Bean’s life: What is worse than having a 5-year-old brother who is obsessed with gross trivia and sharing your house with your mother’s boyfriend?

The answer: losing your dad, too. Her dad’s move across the country with “Stella the Stealer” and her daughter, Nikki, Livi’s former BFF, throws Livi’s life into turmoil. Trivia-loving Livi desperately misses watching Jeopardy! with her dad, a nightly tradition that is not the same with mom’s boyfriend, Neil. Despite his many promises to stay in touch, Livi’s relationship with her dad is nearly non-existent since he left. The chance to be on the kids-week edition of Jeopardy! seems to be the perfect opportunity for Livi to reconnect with her father. Can Livi find the confidence in herself to go for it? Gephart addresses Olivia’s situation with a combination of wit and poignancy that perfectly reflects Olivia’s determined yet vulnerable character. As she struggles to reconcile her myriad feelings toward her new situation, Livi must decide what defines her and her family—questions only she can answer.

This tale will have readers cheering for the resilient, resourceful Olivia. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-74052-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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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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90 MILES TO HAVANA

After Castro’s takeover, nine-year-old Julian and his older brothers are sent away by their fearful parents via “Operation Pedro Pan” to a camp in Miami for Cuban-exile children. Here he discovers that a ruthless bully has essentially been put in charge. Julian is quicker-witted than his brothers or anyone else ever imagined, though, and with his inherent smarts, developing maturity and the help of child and adult friends, he learns to navigate the dynamics of the camp and surroundings and grows from the former baby of the family to independence and self-confidence. A daring rescue mission at the end of the novel will have readers rooting for Julian even as it opens his family’s eyes to his courage and resourcefulness. This autobiographical novel is a well-meaning, fast-paced and often exciting read, though at times the writing feels choppy. It will introduce readers to a not-so-distant period whose echoes are still felt today and inspire admiration for young people who had to be brave despite frightening and lonely odds. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

 

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59643-168-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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