THE LOST PROPERTY OFFICE

From the Section 13 series , Vol. 1

Discovering that everything he knew—even his name!—was a lie is only the beginning of a very weird day for 13-year-old Jack Buckles.

All-American white boy Jack stumbles across his secret heritage as a forbidden 13th generation of top-secret “trackers” with supersensory abilities, operating under the cover of the Lost Property Office. He teams up with Gwen Kincaid, spunky white Ministry of Trackers clerk and detective-in-training, in a mad scramble across past and present London for a mysterious deadly artifact capable of starting a second Great Fire. Hannibal crafts an adventure with brisk pacing but little originality or internal logic. The covert subterranean world of the Elder Ministries is cobbled together from high-tech gimcrackery, steampunk affectations, and coy allusions to British literature both famous and obscure; the clues shaping Jack and Gwen’s quest are mostly tourist-y factoids. Jack is the stereotypical “chosen one” hero; even untrained, his “neuroscientific” gifts might as well be magical. Clever and competent Gwen is too often reduced to “bouncing freckles” and expository infodumping (usually withholding crucial details to manufacture artificial suspense), while Jack always fights just a bit better and solves the most important riddles. The villain is a cartoon of a sinister Frenchman; the rest of (apparently all-white) London is populated by clichés: tea-sipping constables, starchy bureaucrats, and h-dropping oafs.

Mindless entertainment. (Adventure. 11-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6709-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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A thrilling conclusion to a beautifully crafted, heart-stopping trilogy.

THRIVE

From the Overthrow series , Vol. 3

This is the moment teens Seth, Anaya, and Petra have both been anticipating and dreading ever since aliens called cryptogens began attempting to colonize the Earth: the chance to defend their planet.

In an earlier volume, Seth, Anaya, and Petra began growing physical characteristics that made them realize they were half alien. Seth has wings, Petra has a tail, and Anaya has fur. They also have the power of telepathy, which Anaya uses to converse with Terra, a cryptogen rebel looking for human allies who could help stop the invasion of Earth. Terra plans to use a virus stored in the three teens’ bodies to disarm the flyers, which are the winged aliens that are both masterminding the invasion and enslaving the other species of cryptogens known as swimmers and runners. But Terra and her allies can’t pull any of this off without the help of Anaya, Seth, and Petra. Although the trio is anxious about their abilities, they don’t have much of a choice—the entire human race is depending on them for salvation. Like its predecessors, this trilogy closer is fast-paced and well structured. Despite its post-apocalyptic setting, the story is fundamentally character driven, and it is incredibly satisfying to watch each protagonist overcome their inner battles within the context of the larger human-alien war. Main characters read as White.

A thrilling conclusion to a beautifully crafted, heart-stopping trilogy. (Science fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-80-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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