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THE CLUB

A strong, accessible, and relevant story about modern families.

How can two people who’ve never met before have so much in common?

Jaxson is an eighth grader who loves playing the trumpet. He’s an only child with a humorously overconfident best friend named Logan. Jax narrates the beginning of a regular school year, including his awkward budding romance with classmate Samantha. Things change when new student Olivia makes an immediate impression on both boys. Liv is a talented and snarky trumpet player, and the teacher assigns her extra trumpet performances with Jax, which means they’ll need to spend considerable additional time practicing together. Jax notices many similarities between himself and Liv: They love the same music, they both have an edgy sense of humor, and they even tilt their heads the same way. They also both have single moms who conceived them using donor sperm; the two women become friends as their children spend more time together. And then, Jax and Liv learn something surprising that blows up their understanding of themselves, their relationship, and their sense of family. Walters ramps up the tension and pace as Jax and Liv grapple with emotional turmoil and questions of privacy. Their supportive group of friends are likable, compassionate, and funny. The characters are cued white.

A strong, accessible, and relevant story about modern families. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781770867345

Page Count: 232

Publisher: DCB

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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WRECKING BALL

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

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

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. 18, 2019

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020


  • New York Times Bestseller

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BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI

From the Becoming Ali series , Vol. 1

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020


  • New York Times Bestseller

Two bestselling authors imagine the boyhood of the man who became the legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali.

Cassius was a spirited child growing up in segregated Louisville, Kentucky. He had a loving home with his parents and younger brother, Rudy. Granddaddy Herman also was an important figure, imparting life lessons. His parents wanted him to succeed in school, but Cassius had difficulty reading and found more pleasure in playing and exploring outdoors. Early on, he and Rudy knew the restrictions of being African American, for example, encountering “Whites Only” signs at parks, but the brothers dreamed of fame like that enjoyed by Black boxer Joe Louis. Popular Cassius was especially close to Lucius “Lucky” Wakely; despite their academic differences, their deep connection remained after Lucky received a scholarship to a Catholic school. When Cassius wandered into the Columbia Boxing Gym, it seemed to be destiny, and he developed into a successful youth boxer. Told in two voices, with prose for the voice of Lucky and free verse for Cassius, the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change. Lucky’s observations give context while Cassius’ poetry encapsulates his drive, energy, and gift with words. Combined with dynamic illustrations by Anyabwile, the book captures the historical and social environment that produced Muhammad Ali.

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers. (bibliography) (Biographical novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49816-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown and HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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