An often engaging YA murder mystery featuring surprising plot twists.

THE DARK SIDE OF TRUTH

In Caruso’s (Our Souls to Keep, 2013, etc.) YA novel, 15-year-old Will Reed and his friend must solve a murder mystery to protect their own lives and the freedom of Will’s ex-convict father.

Will is a caring but restless adolescent who’s spent five years being shuffled between different foster families. His biological mother was tragically killed in a car crash when he was a small child, and immediately following her death, young Will and his father supported each other, trying to make the best of the father’s meager wages. However, the pair’s peaceful life was disrupted when Will’s father was arrested and jailed for armed robbery. Five years later, the father is suddenly released from prison and hopes to reconnect with his son. Will is torn between his anger at his father for deserting him and his natural desire for connection. His internal strife is deepened by his emotional bond to his unwaveringly caring new foster parents. Things become exponentially more complicated when Will and his friend Mason uncover a body in the woods and the police link Will’s father to the crime. Will thinks that he’s responsiblefor drawing police suspicion to his father, and he wants to undo the mistake. As the story progresses, the formerly isolated teen must decide whom to trust. Caruso effectively realizes his characters throughout, describing Will’s struggle with insight and depth. The teenager’s sarcastic voicefits his adolescent angst and serves to lighten some of the plot’s heavier subject matter (“After a short time, he said, ‘Well, there’s good news and bad news.’ ‘I hate when people say that,’ I said”). However, the story might have been even more interesting if the complicated father-son relationship were further explored.

An often engaging YA murder mystery featuring surprising plot twists.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989101042

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Inertia Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more