GOLDEN GIRL

AND OTHER STORIES

A high school in Canada provides the setting for tales of misfits and outsiders who appear in each other's stories throughout this collection. Chan's characterizations aren't deep, and her prose is clichÇd as she strains for credible teenagers' voices, but once readers are acquainted with the cast of the first story, they'll want to read the rest. In ``Elly, Nell and Eleanor,'' heartbreaking disappointment comes to a girl whose old-fashioned, rigid, and apparently mentally unbalanced mother drives her husband—Elly's sole ally—away. Another story focuses on a nasty, manipulative girl who pretends to be friends with a popular and beautiful girl in the school; ``Alternative Measures'' goes inside the head of a bullying troublemaker who is doing community service for his misdeeds and is left to wonder why he was shown apparent kindness by a girl he loved to distress and annoy. The strongest story involves Andy Li, a model student who pays filial allegiance to his short-tempered father, a man who has struggled in this new country after a hard life in Hong Kong. The layers of his rich family life and the turning point in his own development make the story a standout in an otherwise serviceable collection. (Short stories. 11-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-55074-385-6

Page Count: 119

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS

After Hitler appoints Bruno’s father commandant of Auschwitz, Bruno (nine) is unhappy with his new surroundings compared to the luxury of his home in Berlin. The literal-minded Bruno, with amazingly little political and social awareness, never gains comprehension of the prisoners (all in “striped pajamas”) or the malignant nature of the death camp. He overcomes loneliness and isolation only when he discovers another boy, Shmuel, on the other side of the camp’s fence. For months, the two meet, becoming secret best friends even though they can never play together. Although Bruno’s family corrects him, he childishly calls the camp “Out-With” and the Fuhrer “Fury.” As a literary device, it could be said to be credibly rooted in Bruno’s consistent, guileless characterization, though it’s difficult to believe in reality. The tragic story’s point of view is unique: the corrosive effect of brutality on Nazi family life as seen through the eyes of a naïf. Some will believe that the fable form, in which the illogical may serve the objective of moral instruction, succeeds in Boyle’s narrative; others will believe it was the wrong choice. Certain to provoke controversy and difficult to see as a book for children, who could easily miss the painful point. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-75106-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2006

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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

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