HIDDEN

From the award-winning Frost comes a wildly imaginative, thought-provoking novel in verse that centers on the unlikely friendship that arises between two teenage girls as a result of an accidental kidnapping. Darra Monson’s father, an abusive, unemployed mechanic, steals a minivan, not knowing that 8-year-old Wren Abbott, daughter of the local school superintendent, lies hidden in the back. Told entirely from her perspective, Wren’s unwitting capture and eventual escape comprise the first third of the story before the narration switches to Darra, who relates how her father is caught and imprisoned, all the while blaming Wren for his arrest. Though from opposite sides of the tracks, Darra and Wren’s paths cross again six years later at summer camp, where the 14-year-olds see each other for the first time. Slowly the two begin to unpack that uninvited trauma. After breaking the ice and overcoming Wren’s nearly drowning Darra, the two begin to talk, and Frost’s lyric narrative resolves movingly by alternating between the two protagonists. Frost’s tale exhibits her trademark character development that probes the complexities of intimate relationships. Here Wren’s touching statement, “I was a happy little girl / wearing a pink dress,” eventually leads to Darra’s private admission to Wren: “None of it was our fault.” Both tender and insightful, this well-crafted, fast-paced tale should have wide teen appeal. (notes on form) (Poetry. 10-16)

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-38221-6

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun.

STARSIGHT

From the Skyward series , Vol. 2

As if the threat of huge, raging monsters from hyperspace isn’t scary enough, hotshot fighter pilot Spensa Nightshade becomes embroiled in an alien empire’s politics.

On a desperate mission to steal hyperdrive technology from the crablike invading Krell who are threatening to destroy her beleaguered home colony on Detritus, Spensa, who is white, holographically disguises herself as a violet-skinned UrDail and slips into a Krell pilot training program for “lesser species.” The discovery that she’s being secretly trained not to fight planet-destroying delvers but to exterminate humans, who are (with some justification, having kindled three interstellar wars in past centuries) regarded in certain quarters as an irrationally aggressive species, is just one in a string of revelations as, in between numerous near-death experiences on practice flights, she struggles to understand both her own eerie abilities and the strange multispecies society in which she finds herself. There are so many characters besides Spensa searching for self-identity—notably her comic-relief sidekick AI M-Bot, troubled human friend Jorgen back on Detritus, and Morriumur, member of a species whose color-marked sexes create trial offspring—that even with a plot that defaults to hot action and escalating intrigue the pacing has a stop and start quality. Still, Spensa’s habitual over-the-top recklessness adds a rousing spark, and the author folds in plenty of banter as well as a colorful supporting cast.

Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun. (Science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55581-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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