A dreamlike tale of bullying and coping that owes slightly too much to nostalgia to work

READ REVIEW

PINK SMOG

Does this failed prequel to the Phoenix Award–winning Weetzie Bat (1989) at least succeed as a standalone novel?

It's 1975, and 13-year-old Louise Bat is mourning the death of her parents' marriage. In a first-person voice that breaks any possibility of the magical realism that made the original Dangerous Angels series so powerful, Weetzie explores the scariness of her apartment complex. At school, she forms an outcasts club with anorexic Lily and (requisite for Block) gay best friend Bobby, having friends can protect her only so much from bathroom graffiti and gum in her hair. Worse, the mean girls of junior high have nothing on the scary witchlike inhabitants of unit 13: purple-eyed Hypatia Wiggins and her nasty, Jayne Mansfield–loving daughter Annabelle (any possible connection to Weetzie Bat's purple-eyed, Jayne Mansfield–wannabe witch, Vixanne Wigg, is left undeveloped). But perhaps Weetzie has a guardian angel at both home and school: Winter, Annabelle's brother. Is it Winter who's leaving her the notes that show her L.A. at its most sparkly, mysterious and flavorful? Inexplicably, Weetzie's story concludes by cutting off any possibility of magic in this realism.

A dreamlike tale of bullying and coping that owes slightly too much to nostalgia to work . (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-156598-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Quietly suspenseful, vividly character-driven, and poignant, with insights into cerebral palsy and the multiple meanings of...

I HAVE NO SECRETS

A nonverbal teen becomes the “real-life password” to solving a terrible crime in this British import.

Sixteen-year-old Jemma has “no secrets of [her] own.” Quadriplegic due to cerebral palsy, she can’t move or speak and depends on her foster parents and her aide, Sarah, for everything from eating to using the bathroom. But people often share their secrets with her. After all, Jemma can never tell—even when Sarah’s sleazy boyfriend, Dan, hints at his involvement in a recent murder just before Sarah goes missing. But when innovative technology offers Jemma a chance to communicate, can she expose Dan’s secret before he silences her? Despite its suspenseful premise, the plot pales against Joelson’s (Girl in the Window, 2018) intimate, unflinching exploration of Jemma’s character; the book’s most powerful tension lies in Jemma’s simple, direct narration of her unrecognized, uncomfortably realistic frustrations and fears, such as patronizing adults who “don’t realize that [she has] a functioning brain” and her worry that her overwhelmed parents will stop fostering. Refreshingly, the author’s detailed depiction of augmentative and alternative communication explores both the joy of self-expression and the physical and mental effort it requires. Jemma’s bond with her chaotic but supportive foster family grounds the story, particularly her touching rapport with her younger foster brother, Finn, who’s autistic and also nonverbal. Most characters appear white.

Quietly suspenseful, vividly character-driven, and poignant, with insights into cerebral palsy and the multiple meanings of “family.” (Suspense. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9336-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more