“The guitar’s all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it.” Despite his aunt’s admonition, learning to make a living out of his guitar was the theme of John Lennon’s life, and Partridge does a masterful job of placing Lennon’s music in the context of his times—the influences of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, as well as the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War and Watergate. Lennon comes across as a brilliant, self-centered, self-destructive figure caught up in a pop culture world that reflected and exaggerated his own worst tendencies. Given the massive amount written about the Beatles, separating the man from the myth is a huge challenge, superbly accomplished here, with great attention to documentation. Source notes let readers into the process of writing nonfiction, and the bibliography is excellent. Photographs and other primary source material help to create an honest, multidimensional portrait of the artist. Strong language, partying, sex and drugs were a big part of John’s life, and their portrayal makes this a work for older readers, who will find it fascinating. (afterword, discography, index) (Nonfiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2005

ISBN: 0-670-05954-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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Small but mighty necessary reading.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Korean American teen Rachel Kim has spent six years in Seoul as a K-pop trainee for one of the city’s biggest entertainment agencies.

Many will hone their talents, spending 24/7 invested in K-pop, but only a handful will make it. It’s been years since DB Entertainment has debuted a girl group, and as a senior trainee, this is Rachel’s last shot. When she felt the sting of racism as a young girl in the U.S., she turned for solace to K-pop. And despite the viciousness of trainee life—with its uber-talented teens, nonstop gossip, and the reality that she is seen as an American outsider in Korea—Rachel is determined to make it and hold onto the joy music brings. After a disastrous audition with Jason Lee, DB’s golden boy, Rachel will need some bold moves to redeem herself. Further conflict arises as the double standards female stars face in contrast to their male counterparts become hard to ignore. Debut author Jung’s background as a former Korean American K-pop star informs this world of catty, sabotaging antagonists; elite private school classmates; and parental pressure. An embarrassing, banter-filled meet-cute adds to this fast-paced, entertaining romp. Local details and the integration of Korean—both romanized and in Hangul—smoothly immerse readers in Rachel’s world. While most of the supporting characters are Korean, Jason is biracial (Korean/White Canadian), and Rachel’s best friend and fellow trainee, Akari, is Japanese.

Shimmering. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6251-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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