THE VOYAGE OF THE FROG

Another tautly written survival story, much like Hatchet (1987, Newbery Honor Book) in design, though not in incident. David, 14, has just inherited Frog, a 22-foot sailboat, from his well-loved uncle and companion, Owen, dead of a cruelly swift cancer. Mourning, David is scattering Owen's ashes, alone and out of sight of the southern California coast (Owen's last request) when he is caught by a sudden storm and knocked out by the boom. After a series of adventures that gradually makes him more competent and confident—a becalming, a shark, an oil tanker that nearly collides with him, looming but friendly whales, another storm—he encounters a research ship and accepts some supplies, but decides to make his way home alone (350 miles against wind and current) rather than abandon the untowable Frog. Though David encounters plenty of life-threatening situations, there's never real doubt that he will survive; what holds attention here is the way he applies his ability to reason in coping with physical challenges and his own tear. As he acquires Owen's intimacy with Frog and sea, David also begins to assume Owen's best traits: his thirst for knowledge, his respect for the natural world. Like the adults in Hatchet, David's parents and Owen remain shadowy figures, within the range of the possible (though few parents would willingly allow a boy to undertake such a journey), but that is beside the point: this story is about the voyage of the Frog—an epic, often lyrical journey of self-discovery, perhaps less gripping than Hatchet but with a subtler, more penetrating delineation of its protagonist.

Pub Date: March 1, 1988

ISBN: 0545085357

Page Count: -

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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