Bittersweet but hopeful.

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WILDINGS

After the revolution, the hard work begins.

Four years ago Ashara overthrew its genocidal “kasir” (magician) leaders for a United Parliament of both kasiri and the “halan” underclass, but oppression—legal and otherwise—still continues. Rivka Kadmiel, of aristocratic kasir lineage, thinks little about prejudice until her twin brother, Arik, lacking magic, is declared a “wilding” and removed to a halan family. Rivka vows to find him again, but both law and society forbid her even to learn his new name. This follow-up to the well-received Sparkers (2014) examines the difficulty of completely eradicating systemic injustice. Glewwe portrays not only the corrosive (and mutual) enmity between kasiri and halani, but also the complex, layered intersections of class, nationality, ethnicity, and disability (but not, surprisingly, gender). Characters from the first novel reappear, although in irritatingly saintly guise, but the focus is firmly on Rivka. With her unacknowledged privilege, her stubborn, unconscious bigotry, her deliberate alienation from family and friends, and her tendency to evaluate every acquaintance for potential usefulness, Rivka is difficult to like. Still, her fierce determination and ferocious devotion to her twin demand respect, and she gathers friends almost against her will. The final confrontation between the bitter halani in Ashara’s government and the children representing the city’s future is inspiring in its depiction of the power of simple family love.

Bittersweet but hopeful. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-451-46885-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning.

ARU SHAH AND THE TREE OF WISHES

From the Pandava Quintet series , Vol. 3

In the third instalment of the Pandava Quartet, 14-year-old Arundhati “Aru” Shah and her companions need to defeat their archnemesis (and Aru’s father), the Sleeper, and prevent the impending war between the devas and asuras.

The novel opens with Aru and her friends on a mission to rescue two people from the Sleeper’s soldiers. The two people are 10-year-old identical twins and Pandavas Nikita and Sheela, trapped atop a Ferris wheel in downtown Atlanta. This mission is of utmost importance because Sheela is a clairvoyant with an important prophecy, which speaks of the rise of the Sleeper and an untrue Pandava sister—and which the Sleeper must not hear at any cost. Despite their best efforts, however, one of the Sleeper’s soldiers overhears the prophecy, and Aru, Mini, Brynne, and Adin—accompanied by Rudy, a serpent prince—set off to find the missing Kalpavriksha, a wish-granting tree, so that they might wish upon it to set things right. Much like its predecessors, this fast-moving adventure draws on Hindu cosmology and South Asian pop-culture references to create an enchanting but believable magical Otherworld, where gods, demigods, demons, and talking animals abound. Chokshi’s novel is pitch perfect: The plot is action-packed, the dialogue witty, and the characters (almost all of whom are either Indian or part-Indian) are compelling, diverse, and complex.

Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-01385-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2020

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