Une histoire d’espoir—a story of hope.

THE PARIS PROJECT

A small-town Francophile dreams big in this story of economic hardships and parental incarceration.

Cleveland Potts has one goal in life: move to Paris, France. Her plan consists of taking ballet lessons (for culture), cooking French cuisine, viewing impressionist art, then applying to the American School of Paris. She already studies French vocabulary with language CDs from the public library, and she’s sure the other steps are within her reach. However, Sassafras, Florida, isn’t a bastion of culture, and her first ballet class ends in disgrace. What’s more, she recently lost all the money from her Paris fund (earned by walking dogs); her father took it after stealing from his boss to feed a gambling addiction. Now he’s in jail, and Cleveland struggles to reconcile her anger for his transgression with how desperately she and the rest of the family want him home. She’s also starting seventh grade with only one friend from her trailer park, an aspiring chef who’s slowly coming out as gay. Gephart once again compassionately creates complex characters, including the members of Cleveland’s presumed-white family, who are profoundly earnest in their collective and individual dreams. Readers won’t “pity” Cleveland (she wouldn’t want any), but they’ll be rooting for her all the way. Includes a glossary of Cleveland’s French phrases, a recipe, and notes on incarcerated parents.

Une histoire d’espoir—a story of hope. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4086-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • Newbery Honor Book

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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