Glitz and glamour tempered by real-life concerns make this finale a winner.


From the Mango Delight series , Vol. 3

During a life-changing adventure in Hollywood, Mango Delight comes into her own.

Mango, her dad, and her friend/crush TJ fly to Hollywood to audition for a TV show starring 16-year-old Destiny Manaconda, her favorite television star, whom they met in New York City during the off-off-off-Broadway production of their school musical, Yo, Romeo!. Their two-day trip is all paid for, though that doesn’t mean it will be incident-free, as indicated early on by the airline employee who assumes their party doesn’t belong in first class. On this trip, Mango sees even more of Destiny’s life up-close. An emancipated minor, Destiny lives in a mansion apart from her family and works hard to make her performances seem easy. While Destiny’s manager whisks them around Los Angeles, revealing his plans for her little by little, Mango contemplates whether she even wants the glamorous life that Destiny has. While the events of her whirlwind experiences in Los Angeles change her, Mango remains the down-to-earth young person fans fell in love with in previous books: a fun, relatable character to follow through the ups and downs of discovering what life is really like for Black people in Hollywood, how to stand up for oneself, and the importance of valuing true friends and family.

Glitz and glamour tempered by real-life concerns make this finale a winner. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3395-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sterling Children's Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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