SEA OF TEARS

An implausible novel not worth the sea salt of the title, despite the Caribbean setting and nod to island life.

Can a British teen overcome her bitterness at leaving London when her family moves to Barbados?

Evidently not. Jasmine, almost 13, is furious that her protective parents didn’t consult her about their decision to leave the dangerous environment of South London and moved to Barbados. Even though her father was a born "Bajan," all of the family meets resentment from the locals: her mother at her job at a bank; her father from the undermining construction workers he oversees; and Jasmine from the kids at school who label her “English.” In her bullheaded determination to get back to England and her friends, 4,000 miles away, Jasmine steals a 40-foot speedboat (she has no experience with them), causes a fight at school, and almost sneaks aboard a cargo ship sailing to England. Adding to the convoluted plot, a corrupt businessman threatens to buy the generations-old house where Jasmine’s Grannie lives, and a local fisherman’s son befriends her. British terms may perplex American readers: stroppy, people-carrier, cool box. Despite dabs of intrigue and romance, all of the plot developments are far too convenient, and Jasmine’s turn-around attitude at the end is unbelievable.

An implausible novel not worth the sea salt of the title, despite the Caribbean setting and nod to island life. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-84780-058-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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