A glorious cacophony of wildly inventive gadgets, gags, and action.

READ REVIEW

A PROBLEMATIC PARADOX

After her father’s abduction, a middle school genius is sent to a school filled with quirks and quarks.

Thirteen-year-old Nikola, a scientific prodigy who presents white but is of ambiguous race, is the ostracized weirdo at her North Dakota school. On the day she encounters Tabbabitha, the ugliest, oddest-looking girl she’s ever seen, Nikola’s scientist father is abducted and Nikola barely escapes Tabbabitha’s goons herself. For her protection, Nikola’s father had arranged that she be sent to the Plaskington International Laboratory School of Scientific Research and Technological Advancement (“the School” for short), a highly secure, town-sized campus where a small percentage of racially diverse, gifted humans join parahumans in the study of ludicrously advanced science. Extraterrestrial parahumans have all sorts of wild appearances and abilities, and they are very distant cousins to the evil, interdimensional, Lovecraft-ian horrors called Old Ones—of whom Tabbabitha is one. Nikola’s bullying-vs.-friendship storyline plays out with nuance. Although her bullies back home are clearly portrayed as in the wrong, Nikola’s pre-emptive rejection of others doesn’t help; here she decides to turn over a new leaf among other geniuses only to struggle with parahuman social norms. This is juxtaposed against absolute outlandishness, an endless parade of jokes (both sly and knee-slapping), incredibly wacky worldbuilding and characters, and a savvy, refreshing irreverence for the genre. Readers will clamor for more.

A glorious cacophony of wildly inventive gadgets, gags, and action. (Science fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3845-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more