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A teenaged underachiever comes into his own while getting an eye-opening look at office politics in this sidesplitter. Having lost one summer job (“I WASN’T FIRED!!! The job ended. That’s entirely different”), Michael jumps at the opportunity to be gofer at an environmentalist magazine published by committed back-to-the-Earthers Walt and Nora. The Earth’s Wife turns out to have a small but frothy staff that includes Amber, an intimidating but feasible prospect for summer romance, and Todd, a slimy new Managing Editor intent on changing the magazine’s orientation from Eco-Issues to glossy Styles and Profiles. Displaying both glib irreverence and a wonderful ability to irritate his elders, Michael not only manages to hold his own, but discovers that everyone has dirty little secrets—even Nora (plays golf) and Walt (is a closet carnivore); he also gives Nora a fresh shot of idealism when it matters most, and trumps all of his online buddies’ summer experiences by helping to break a major industrial scandal. Memorable, hilarious, and featuring a likable, unlikely hero. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23761-5

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2003

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Miah’s melodramatic death overshadows a tale as rich in social and personal insight as any of Woodson’s previous books.

In a meditative interracial love story with a wrenching climactic twist, Woodson (The House You Pass on the Way, 1997, etc.) offers an appealing pair of teenagers and plenty of intellectual grist, before ending her story with a senseless act of violence.

Jeremiah and Elisha bond from the moment they collide in the hall of their Manhattan prep school: He’s the only child of celebrity parents; she’s the youngest by ten years in a large family. Not only sharply sensitive to the reactions of those around them, Ellie and Miah also discover depths and complexities in their own intense feelings that connect clearly to their experiences, their social environment, and their own characters. In quiet conversations and encounters, Woodson perceptively explores varieties of love, trust, and friendship, as she develops well-articulated histories for both families. Suddenly Miah, forgetting his father’s warning never to be seen running in a white neighborhood, exuberantly dashes into a park and is shot down by police. The parting thought that, willy-nilly, time moves on will be a colder comfort for stunned readers than it evidently is for Ellie.

Miah’s melodramatic death overshadows a tale as rich in social and personal insight as any of Woodson’s previous books. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-399-23112-9

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1998

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The exodus of the Jews is breaking Dani’s heart: the exodus from Buenos Aires, that is. The 2001 Argentinian currency crisis has destroyed Buenos Aires’s economy, and all of Dani’s friends are moving to Israel or the United States. Dani’s own family, devastated by poverty and her father’s overwhelming depression, is headed to New York. There, in a wealthy suburb, Dani struggles to make friends in a huge, English-speaking public high school. Dani’s high-school problems follow a checklist of issues: autistic friend, mean popular girl, long-distance boyfriend hiding his new romance. The supporting characters act mostly as set dressing—from the bully who vanishes as soon as he has provoked another character’s redemption to the friend from ESL class who has no nationality or history of her own—and the comforting solutions are too pat. Enjoyable enough, so keep this on the shelf to fight misconceptions about terrorism, poverty, immigration and Jews—but don’t expect readers to come begging for more. (Historical fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-15144-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010

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