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CHUPACARTER AND THE HAUNTED PIÑATA

From the ChupaCarter series , Vol. 2

A fresh, lively escapade with lots of übercreepy bits. ¡Órale!

A rash of mysterious fires sets Jorge and his amigos on the trail of an evil arsonist…or maybe a vengeful ghost.

Being as his best friend, Carter, is the 7-foot tall, wolflike cryptid met in the series opener—and now just back in town—Jorge Lopez has trouble dismissing a scary old local legend about an evil incendiary piñata possessed by the ghost of a despised rich kid. Still, since the grown-ups in Boca Falls seem oddly uninterested in finding out who, human or otherwise, is burning down local businesses, Jorge nervously enlists his fanged but friendly buddy to join science-minded classmate Liza in an investigation that quickly turns up a positively bountiful array of clues and suspects. Seasoning the eponymous narrator’s account with Spanish words, including flavorful Chicano slang, Lopez and Calejo alternate chuckles and chills as the young detectives struggle with their fears, fend off prankster “bully-jerk” Zane, puzzle over the significance of seemingly contradictory findings, and, in the wake of a string of (as Jorge puts it) “übercreepy” incidents and narrow squeaks, wind up stuck in a ruinous old mansion with an entire gang of crazed villains eager to explain their motives before setting one final, deadly blaze. Gutiérrez’s frequent monochrome illustrations feature both a racially diverse cast and action and dialogue that segue smoothly into the narrative, offering the feeling of a graphic novel–prose hybrid format.

A fresh, lively escapade with lots of übercreepy bits. ¡Órale! (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 9780593466001

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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MUCH ADO ABOUT BASEBALL

A moving tale of baseball, magic, and former rivals who come together to solve a problem.

A middle schooler struggles to adjust after moving to an idyllic Massachusetts town.

Trish Das is at a crossroads. Not only is the 12-year-old unhappy that her family has moved yet again due to her mother’s cardiology career, she also has to try out for a new baseball team. The fact that one of her new teammates is a former archrival further complicates matters. Math prodigy Ben Messina went head-to-head against fellow math whiz Trish at last spring’s Math Puzzlers Championship. When Trish emerged victorious, Ben was stunned. The two get closer when the team’s mysterious pregame snacks start making everyone play better while also causing magical side effects during games. Equally surprising are the cryptic puzzle booklets Trish and Ben receive in the mail that lead them to even more wins. But as the puzzles get harder to solve, the risk of failing to do so increases. Alternating between Trish’s and Ben’s perspectives, LaRocca’s novel—a companion to 2019’s Midsummer’s Mayhem—is a Much Ado About Nothing homage that explores parental expectations, complicated friendships, and teamwork. The protagonists’ love of problem-solving shines through, and the puzzles themselves are clearly explained. As a third-generation Indian American, Trish also has moving conversations about the circumstances that led her grandparents to emigrate and how those decisions still impact their lives. Ben is implied White. Final illustrations not seen.

A moving tale of baseball, magic, and former rivals who come together to solve a problem. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1101-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Yellow Jacket

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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