Next book

THE EXCEPTIONALS

Claire's entertaining exchanges with a campus cat stand out as fresh and enjoyable; the rest is painfully derivative.

Mysterious goings-on at a boarding school for paranormally talented students feel very, very familiar.

Alone in her family, Claire is unexceptional. While Claire has attended the public high school, telekinetic brother Billy and medium sister Charlotte go to Cambial, a boarding school for children with paranormal abilities, and her parents (father: code breaker; mother: truth seeker) are administrators there. A night of partying gone wrong finds her enrolled at Cambial. She quickly settles in with teachers and students, most agreeable, some not. But it turns out she is exceptional after all: She can hear animals' thoughts. While secretly practicing in the woods, she encounters Dylan, a mysterious and "exceptionally handsome" young man with "long, dark eyelashes framing beautiful green eyes." Even as the students prep for the annual telekinesis tournament, some of their most talented begin to disappear. It appears an enemy of Cambial is not dead but instead determined to bring it down. It will take a Chosen One to thwart him. Well-worn characters and plot churn their way toward a climax with the deranged villain, who explains his entire plot to the gathered protagonists. Readers will likely find Claire's embarrassingly instantaneous attraction to Dylan both stupid and distasteful.

Claire's entertaining exchanges with a campus cat stand out as fresh and enjoyable; the rest is painfully derivative. (Paranormal romance/mystery. 11-15)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2335-4

Page Count: 236

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

Next book

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

Next book

DEAD WEDNESDAY

Characters to love, quips to snort at, insights to ponder: typical Spinelli.

For two teenagers, a small town’s annual cautionary ritual becomes both a life- and a death-changing experience.

On the second Wednesday in June, every eighth grader in Amber Springs, Pennsylvania, gets a black shirt, the name and picture of a teen killed the previous year through reckless behavior—and the silent treatment from everyone in town. Like many of his classmates, shy, self-conscious Robbie “Worm” Tarnauer has been looking forward to Dead Wed as a day for cutting loose rather than sober reflection…until he finds himself talking to a strange girl or, as she would have it, “spectral maiden,” only he can see or touch. Becca Finch is as surprised and confused as Worm, only remembering losing control of her car on an icy slope that past Christmas Eve. But being (or having been, anyway) a more outgoing sort, she sees their encounter as a sign that she’s got a mission. What follows, in a long conversational ramble through town and beyond, is a day at once ordinary yet rich in discovery and self-discovery—not just for Worm, but for Becca too, with a climactic twist that leaves both ready, or readier, for whatever may come next. Spinelli shines at setting a tongue-in-cheek tone for a tale with serious underpinnings, and as in Stargirl (2000), readers will be swept into the relationship that develops between this adolescent odd couple. Characters follow a White default.

Characters to love, quips to snort at, insights to ponder: typical Spinelli. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30667-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

Close Quickview