A comedy that is more mousy brown than black.


Teenage activism goes absurdist in this summer-camp novel.

When he met his hero Robert Drill, a Mark Zuckerberg–esque figure, then-13-year-old Gregor was inspired by Drill’s words: “You could feed the children of the world someday.” Now 16, when he finds out Drill is sponsoring a summer camp for teen activists, he leaps at the chance to attend—even if the presence of white teen movie star Ashley Woodstone doesn’t really fit with Gregor’s idea of Camp Save the World. Among the campers, most of them belittlingly called by their causes instead of their names, Gregor tries to become a better activist. It’s hard, though: Men’s Rights keeps throwing money at Gregor for his campaign and calling him white, even though Gregor is half-Mexican. The girl Gregor likes seems too cool for him and possibly gay. And worst of all, Ashley is just…everywhere. Yet as Gregor becomes friends with Ashley, looking beyond her kooky Eat Dirt campaign, he discovers a girl who could become more than his friend. Will he mess it all up, though, as the campers become caught up in a competition to win an internship with Drill and Gregor learns more about his hero? Aiming barbs at the seemingly infinite array of causes among today’s social justice warriors, Moldavsky’s satire is both funny and foulmouthed, but the broadly painted characters and not-nearly-wacky-enough plot keep it earthbound.

A comedy that is more mousy brown than black. (Fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-86751-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Point/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.


Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Paranormal romance jumps the weresnake


From the Arcadia Trilogy series , Vol. 1

When a Romeo and Juliet mobster romance just isn't enough.

A year after a terrible experience, 17-year-old Rosa Alcantara is leaving home. She's left Brooklyn for Sicily, where she will be joining her sister in the family business: organized crime. An unlikable petty thief, Rosa thinks she's prepared for joining Cosa Nostra. But there are reasons beyond the Mafia to fear her ancestral home. Her attraction to Alessandro Carnevare, the scion of a rival (and stronger) Mafia house, can only get her into trouble. Both the Alcantaras and Carnevares are hiding an unbelievable secret. Alessandro, like the rest of his family, has a feline form: a monstrous panther. Meanwhile, Rosa discovers that the Alcantaras transform into enormous snakes. The shapeshifting makes for a more deadly rivalry—or a more twisted romantic pairing. On top of everything else, there's a kidnapped mob schoolgirl, a murdered mother, an attempted coup, family betrayals, a tragic lesbian relationship and whispers of a conspiracy, all told in choppy, infelicitous prose. (It's possible the clunkiness of the prose may be laid at the feet of the unidentified translator from the German.) A smaller subset of plot threads might have allowed room for Rosa to grow into a more than just a survivor.

Paranormal romance jumps the weresnake . (Paranormal romance. 14-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-200606-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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