LORD OF THE DEEP

Hero-worship comes face to face with human reality in this coming-of-age tale set in Hawaii. Thirteen-year-old Mikey’s father ran out on him before he was even born, so when his stepfather Bill came along five years ago, he was more than ready for a father. There is nothing he wants more than to grow up to be just like Bill, so when Bill is forced to let the deckhand on his charter fishing boat go, Mikey jumps at the opportunity to help out. A day on the water with two loutish tourists and a beautiful 16-year-old girl changes everything. Salisbury (Jungle Dogs, 1998, etc.) effectively takes the reader to the scene, presenting a tiny, temporary microculture in which the power relationships among the characters are laid out starkly against the sparkling blue tropical sea. Bad fishing luck, Mikey’s critical mistake in fouling the line when a marlin is hooked, and a series of humiliations at the hands of the boat’s clients culminate in Bill’s betrayal of the sport fishing code—and the revelation of his feet of clay to Mikey. The language couldn’t be more evocative: “The ocean rushed into his ears, his nose, the warm watery pressure of a billion miles of sea pressing in on every inch of his body.” The rhythm of the text parallels the fishing trip—reflective and almost somnolent in between bites, punctuated by heart-stopping action when a fish is on the line. The tightly-focused narration allows Mikey’s emotions full play but hinders the full development of the secondary characters—in particular Alison, the daughter of one of the louts, who acts mostly as a sounding board for Mikey but whose own emotions and motivations remain somewhat enigmatic. This is a small quibble; as an exploration of one boy’s conflicted feelings about fatherhood and his own impending manhood, this novel delivers beautifully. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-72918-9

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

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THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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