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From the Whispering Pines series , Vol. 3

A cosmic blend of magical monsters and scary science as frightening as it is fun.

After the events of Infestation (2021), the town’s conspiracy deepens into new dangers.

Rae, Caden, and Vivienne emerged victorious against the bugs—but that doesn’t mean they won the internship competition to get to go on a top-secret mission. When a new, deadly threat strikes close to home, they want to join forces with friends on the other team; however, said friends are missing. In this third Whispering Pines installment, backstories are mined (Caden’s family history with the Other Place, the mystery of Rae’s missing father, and the nature of Vivienne’s curse) and connected into a twisted net of plotlines. The fast-paced action propels the characters through revelations and uneasy team-ups with Green On!’s untrustworthy Patrick and Caden’s enigmatic older brother, Aiden. Throughout, there’s a constant sense of buildup to the larger stakes. The more immediate stakes are just as delightful, with new monsters out for blood. The backstories and histories of the various mysteries make the monsters feel like a natural development rather than standard sequel one-upmanship. The answers the characters finally get are hard fought and well earned, and the ending lull offers them no true relief—especially since readers will see a major cliffhanger waiting in the wings for the next volume. Aside from occasional surnames implying ethnic diversity, most human characters present White.

A cosmic blend of magical monsters and scary science as frightening as it is fun. (Horror. 8-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66590-808-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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From the Hide and Geek series , Vol. 1

A snappy mystery that’s full of heart.

A group of bright friends tackles the puzzle of their lives.

Elmwood, New Hampshire, 11-year-old Gina Sparks is small in stature but big on reporting ongoing dramas for the local newspaper with support from her journalist mom. When an unbelievable scoop comes her way, Gina must rely on her tightknit crew of sixth grade best friends whose initials happen to spell GEEK, a label they choose to proudly reclaim. She and science-minded prankster Elena Hernández, theater kid Edgar Feingarten, and driven math genius Kevin Robinson decide to get to the bottom of things when they learn that the Van Houten Toy & Game Company heir made elaborate plans to leave everything to the town of Elmwood before her death—but only if a member of the community could solve an intricate multistep puzzle. Gina hopes that deciphering the clues and finding the missing fortune will be just the thing to revitalize the down-on-its-luck town and bring the Elmwood Tribune back into the black, saving her mom’s job and Gina’s passion project. The GEEKs work together, using their individual talents and deductive reasoning skills to unravel the mystery. Infused with media literacy pointers, such as the difference between fact and opinion and reminders to avoid bias when reporting, the story encourages readers to think critically. Gina and Edgar read as White; Elena is cued as Latinx, and Kevin is implied Black.

A snappy mystery that’s full of heart. (Mystery. 9-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37793-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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