Readers willing to go with the book’s flow should enjoy this logic-free, apocalyptic caper. (Thriller. 12-18)

ASSASSINS: NEMESIS

From the Assassins series , Vol. 2

Fifteen-year-old intersex, mixed-race (Vietnamese and Dominican) teenager Blake’s life with a special-agent dad and a helicopter-pilot mom is anything but “normal”—and it’s about to get a lot thriller-ier.

After Blake’s parents are killed, Blake, who chooses which gender to express each day, is kidnapped from protective custody by the Calvers, a family of “vigilante-bodyguards” including mixed-race, olive-skinned Daelan, who is about Blake’s age. Dru, Daelan’s sister, dates Kindra Weston, a former teenage assassin for hire who escaped her family (of assassins) to help the Calvers and gay couple (and AWOL Marines) Geomar and Aaron try to figure out what shady businesswoman Lillian French, who regularly employs the Westons, is planning. Can the Calvers keep Blake safe? Will worried Muslim special-agent godparents Altair and Fayza ever see Blake again? Can they decipher French’s plan and stop her before millions die? Cameron’s sequel picks up where Assassins: Discord (2016) left off but with a new focal character, Blake instead of Kindra. Both volumes are best read as one long, consciously multicultural, aspirationally inclusive, utterly implausible adventure. Every step forward in the investigation relies on a turncoat in French’s employ suiciding to deliver a coded message or infodump; on the other hand, angst-y episodes are realistic enough, but they waffle on a bit. Character names would fit better in a fantasy novel…which, in a sense, this is.

Readers willing to go with the book’s flow should enjoy this logic-free, apocalyptic caper. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62649-424-4

Page Count: 390

Publisher: Triton Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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THE LIGHTNING THIEF

From the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series , Vol. 1

Edgar Award–winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn’t his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a “half-blood,” the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy’s journey to retrieve Zeus’s master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-5629-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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A stunning debut.

THE REVOLUTION OF EVELYN SERRANO

Set in 1969, Manzano’s first novel offers a realistically mercurial protagonist struggling with her identity in Spanish Harlem.

Fourteen-year-old Rosa María Evelyn del Carmen Serrano is frustrated with life in El Barrio. Tired of working for her mother and stepfather in their bodega, she takes a job at a five-and-dime and hopes to trudge through the rest of the summer. Everything changes when her abuela arrives, taking over Evelyn’s bedroom and bearing secrets of the family’s involvement in Puerto Rico’s tumultuous history. When a group called the Young Lords begins working to bring positive changes to the neighborhood, some residents are resistant, including Evelyn’s mother. Led by her grandmother’s example, Evelyn begins to take an interest in the efforts of the activist group. As the months pass, the three generations of women begin to see one another’s perspectives, and Evelyn realizes the importance of her Puerto Rican heritage. Like most real-world teens, she changes subtly, rather than through one earth-shattering epiphany. The author effectively captures this shifting perception in the dialogue and Evelyn’s first-person narration. Secondary characters of surprising dimension round out the plot and add to the novel’s cultural authenticity, as do the Spanish and Spanglish words and phrases sprinkled throughout the text so seamlessly that a glossary would be moot.

A stunning debut. (author’s note, recommended reading) (Historical novel. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32505-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

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