Lucy Moon, an aspiring horse rustler from Georgia, teams up with fashionista Flor Bernoulli from New York City to outwit the tiny Square Man, who wants to destroy all the curves in the universe.
In this disjointed sequel to The Secret Spiral (2011), the two 10-year-olds, previously strangers, discover that they were destined to become pals and partners in saving the world from Square Man’s twisted designs. From Puddleville, Ga., and Brooklyn, N.Y., the two are transported to Planet Square along with Lucy’s ice-block manufacturing father, Buddy Moon, and Flor’s pie-making friend, Dr. Pi, who guards the Spiral. They befriend their lobster guard, Red Eye, escape thanks to the relationship between golden rectangles and spirals, travel through several worlds and convert their captor. Rather than building to a climax, the contrived plot collapses, leaving the wooden characters back in Georgia, asleep. The author tells, rather than showing, recapping the back stories in lengthy summaries and describing her characters rather than revealing their attributes through their actions. In spite of some foreshadowing early on, Flor’s particular superpower comes as a surprise, and the dialogue does not ring true. A barely concealed message about the consequences of bullying is likely to be lost on readers, if they get that far.
Skip. (Fantasy. 9-11)