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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SWINDLE

From the Swindle series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is “the man with the plan.” If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family’s money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber “Pitch” takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino’s e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-90344-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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A deft mix of chills and chuckles, not quite as sideways as Wayside School but in the same district.

A FRIENDLY TOWN THAT'S ALMOST ALWAYS BY THE OCEAN!

From the Secrets of Topsea series , Vol. 1

A fifth-grader struggles to fit in after he and his recently widowed mother move to a decidedly oddball new town.

As if the seemingly infinite pier, the lighthouse in the middle of town, and the beach teeming with enigmatic cats aren’t strange enough, Davy Jones discovers that his school locker has been relocated to the deep end of the swimming pool, his lunchtime fries are delivered by a “spudzooka,” and no one seems to be able to get his name right. On the other hand, his classmates welcome him, and in next to no time he’s breaking into an abandoned arcade to play pinball against a ghost, helping track down a pet pig gone missing on Gravity Maintenance Day, and like adventures that, often as not, take sinister swerves before edging back to the merely peculiar. Point-of-view duties pass freely from character to character, and chapters are punctuated with extracts from the Topsea School Gazette (“Today’s Seaweed Level: Medium-high and feisty”), bulletins on such topics as the safe handling of rubber ducks, and background notes on, for instance, the five local seasons, giving the narrative a pleasantly loose-jointed feel. Davy presents as white, but several other central cast members are specifically described as dark- or light-skinned and are so depicted in the frequent line drawings; one has two moms.

A deft mix of chills and chuckles, not quite as sideways as Wayside School but in the same district. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-00005-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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