A novel that will have readers reflecting on their own experiences of grief, longing, regret, survival, and overcoming.

A TEAR IN THE OCEAN

In the companion to A Crack in the Sea (2017), Bouwman offers stories of loss, hope, perseverance, and the repercussions of severed platonic and familial bonds.

In the book’s present day of 1949 in the “second world,” 12-year-old Putnam, son of the king of Raftworld, is impatient with his father’s refusal to take action to correct the mysterious salinization of their water, so he leaves home to do it himself. Meanwhile, Islander Artie, also 12, flees an abusive home that’s become even worse since her mother’s death. They do not intend to journey together, but a twist of fate finds them both stealing the same boat. In a separate storyline, a century earlier, 14-year-old Rayel, daughter of the then-king of Raftworld, runs away to escape an arranged marriage. These flights lead to unexpected happenings: Putnam and Artie’s friendship and Rayel’s discovery of magic within herself and unlikely friends. They also bring great trials, from physical privation to the looming feelings that nefarious presences watch and follow. Though their voyages begin at different times, all three unknowingly take the same route toward the cold southern part of their world and are eventually connected, leading to truths and revelations. Bouwman masterfully infuses old fairy tales and legends into her alternate-universe adventure, meticulously weaving times and storylines into a riveting plot. All three protagonists have brown skin. Shimizu’s energetic black-and-white illustrations add visual drama.

A novel that will have readers reflecting on their own experiences of grief, longing, regret, survival, and overcoming. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-54522-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

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An intense referendum on football’s dangers and glories.

FINAL SEASON

A star 12-year-old quarterback has a championship to win, a developing family tragedy to cope with, and a life-changing decision to make.

Barely disguising the autobiographical elements contained here in the wake of his own diagnosis of ALS, former Atlanta Falcons player Green places his protagonist, Ben Redd, in a football family and on an upstate New York team coached by his dad and two older brothers—all former gridiron stars themselves. Ben’s anticipation as he looks forward to a season that will be capped by a game against archrival Penn Yan battles with his terror as he watches his father’s NFL injuries come home to roost in slurred speech, loss of physical coordination, and, eventually, a frantic trip to the hospital for an emergency tracheotomy. But as Ben’s parents, both iron willed, clash over whether he should be allowed to follow the family career path (and one of his brothers even announces that none of his kids will ever play), the sport’s allure comes through in a series of exciting clashes, with Ben and wonderfully hard-nosed new teammate, Thea Jean, leading the on-field heroics on the way to a last-yard, smash-mouth finale that leaves him dazed and exultant, with a broken finger, a probable concussion…and a choice of futures. Though the cast is mostly male and mostly White, between them, Thea and Ben’s mom add strong female representation.

An intense referendum on football’s dangers and glories. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-248595-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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