Newly rich Shelby doesn’t like her stepmother, and the feeling is mutual. Still, it’s a shock when Priscilla convinces Shelby’s dad to pack her off to brat camp for the summer. After all, all Shelby’s been doing is skipping curfew and illicitly hooking up with boys! At least Shelby gets the pick of which teen-retraining camp will imprison her for the next couple of months, so she can spend the summer in the Pacific Northwest instead of at a boot camp in the Utah desert. And honestly, camp isn’t so bad, if you ignore all of the guitar-playing, touchy-feely psychoanalysis. But better than all the rock climbing and archery is sexy Austin Bridges, son of a bad-boy rock star and secret werewolf. If Shelby doesn’t help Austin out, his family secret will be exposed—but if she does help him, she might find herself exiled to that Utah boot camp. What’s a girl courted by an amber-eyed hottie to do? Neither original nor well-developed, but fans of paranormal romance will enjoy this sweet debut. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-134923-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2009


Who can't love a story about a Nigerian-American 12-year-old with albinism who discovers latent magical abilities and saves the world? Sunny lives in Nigeria after spending the first nine years of her life in New York. She can't play soccer with the boys because, as she says, "being albino made the sun my enemy," and she has only enemies at school. When a boy in her class, Orlu, rescues her from a beating, Sunny is drawn in to a magical world she's never known existed. Sunny, it seems, is a Leopard person, one of the magical folk who live in a world mostly populated by ignorant Lambs. Now she spends the day in mundane Lamb school and sneaks out at night to learn magic with her cadre of Leopard friends: a handsome American bad boy, an arrogant girl who is Orlu’s childhood friend and Orlu himself. Though Sunny's initiative is thin—she is pushed into most of her choices by her friends and by Leopard adults—the worldbuilding for Leopard society is stellar, packed with details that will enthrall readers bored with the same old magical worlds. Meanwhile, those looking for a touch of the familiar will find it in Sunny's biggest victories, which are entirely non-magical (the detailed dynamism of Sunny's soccer match is more thrilling than her magical world saving). Ebulliently original. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-670-01196-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011


With her customary wry humor and fast-paced storytelling, Vande Velde propels a myopic, unhappy teen into other times and worlds. Stunned to discover that one popular classmate, Tiphanie, is actually a hideous old witch (in trendy teen clothing—just picture it) hiding behind a glamour, and another, Julian, is an elf prince in disguise, Wendy flees through a suddenly visible gate into the elven land of Kazaran Dahaani. She stays just long enough to see Julian captured by thugs, then stumbles back into her own world—only it’s 1953. There, she falls in with her own grandma, Helen, and in no time (so to speak) finds herself a reluctant member of a rescue expedition, following Helen, Tiphanie, and Henry—a tiny, compulsively mischievous “spreenie” with a big libido and a small attention span—to a dragon’s cave where Julian has been caged. A brisk but nonfatal dustup ensues, after which Wendy gets back to her old life, now better able to cope with her mother’s remarriage, and her grandma’s Alzheimer’s. Readers will be more captivated by the deliciously twisty plot and lively supporting cast, though, than by Wendy’s personal issues. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-15-205311-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2004

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