Chris Cooper and his parents have moved from Glasgow to a farm in Yett—right near the farm where Chris's friend Finn Lochlan (Finn's Island, 1992, etc.) lives with his father and grandmother. Chris is happy in his new home, except for one thing: Andrew Aldie, the school bully. Both Chris and Andrew will be going to Muirs High School, 14 miles away, in the fall, and Chris is afraid of what Andrew will to do him once the intrepid Finn, who is younger and not yet on his way to high school, is out of the picture. But there are bigger problems to come. Andrew's rich, landowning father plans to turn the beautiful, nearby Roman field into a gravel pit, the noise and dust from which will wreck havoc on the Coopers' and Lochlans' farms. Finn, however, has a plan to save the field: If he and Chris can find evidence that the field had once been the sight of a Roman fort, perhaps the gravel pit will be halted. Finn and Chris start digging, and Finn, against Chris's wishes, allows Andrew to join them. Andrew makes gestures of friendship towards Chris, which mistrustful Chris rejects until he realizes that Andrew seriously wants to turn over a new leaf. The boys find Roman pottery, but the museum cannot afford to excavate and, in the end, the gravel pit is called off by Mr. Aldie himself. Not at all the money-grubber they had imagined, he had sincerely wanted to create jobs for the area's unemployed. A lackluster story made annoying by the whiny Chris. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1994

ISBN: 0-8234-1099-4

Page Count: 155

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1994

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After Hitler appoints Bruno’s father commandant of Auschwitz, Bruno (nine) is unhappy with his new surroundings compared to the luxury of his home in Berlin. The literal-minded Bruno, with amazingly little political and social awareness, never gains comprehension of the prisoners (all in “striped pajamas”) or the malignant nature of the death camp. He overcomes loneliness and isolation only when he discovers another boy, Shmuel, on the other side of the camp’s fence. For months, the two meet, becoming secret best friends even though they can never play together. Although Bruno’s family corrects him, he childishly calls the camp “Out-With” and the Fuhrer “Fury.” As a literary device, it could be said to be credibly rooted in Bruno’s consistent, guileless characterization, though it’s difficult to believe in reality. The tragic story’s point of view is unique: the corrosive effect of brutality on Nazi family life as seen through the eyes of a naïf. Some will believe that the fable form, in which the illogical may serve the objective of moral instruction, succeeds in Boyle’s narrative; others will believe it was the wrong choice. Certain to provoke controversy and difficult to see as a book for children, who could easily miss the painful point. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-75106-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2006

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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