This bass player’s coming-of-age story keeps a strong and steady beat.

WHEN I WAS SUMMER

Nora and her fellow band members are heading in their van to perform at an elite club in San Francisco, but Nora also has secret, hopeful, ulterior motives.

High school junior Nora is already an accomplished bass player and the only girl in a four-member band called Blue Miles. Her opportunity to join her band mates playing the Magwitch has come at a price; she has reluctantly promised her adoptive parents—high-end professionals—that in return she will do an internship in Washington, D.C., over the summer. Abandoned by her birthparents as a toddler named Summer, the olive-skinned, black-haired teenager—who is curious about her ethnic origins—has imagined that she is the child of now-famous musicians who had to give her up when they were just starting out. Nora cleverly, secretly plans the band’s van trip from Huntington Beach to San Francisco so it coincides with towns offering possible leads for her birthparent-seeking detective work. Skillful storytelling interweaves the protagonist’s passion for music, her unrequited love for a fellow band mate, and such issues as teen alcohol abuse, socio-economic differences, career choices, toxic relationships, and—of course—the nature versus nurture debate. Characters and dialogue are believable and inclusive of various ethnicities and sexual orientations. Nora’s combination of grit, humor, and vulnerability compels readers to join her on her journey of self-discovery.

This bass player’s coming-of-age story keeps a strong and steady beat. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-451-48020-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

For princess fans and lovers of fairy tales.

COLD HEARTED

A TALE OF THE WICKED STEPMOTHER

From the Villains series

How did Cinderella’s stepmother come to be so wicked?

She may have been self-focused, but at least she wasn’t always so cruel. Lady Tremaine, mother of two spoiled daughters, is a lonely widow hoping for a bit of happiness. Unfortunately, when Sir Richard appears at her friend’s house party, she’s swept off her feet and fails to heed the frantic warnings of her dedicated, elderly lady’s maid. Had she ever bothered to read the book of fairy tales her late husband purchased years before, she might have recognized the perils of assuming the role of stepmother. Entranced by Sir Richard, she agrees to a hasty marriage and a move to the Many Kingdoms, where he reverts to his true, domineering nature and she and her daughters become virtual prisoners in his home. Although the Odd Sisters—clever, manipulative witches—try to intervene on her behalf, it seems her fate is already written; she becomes as cruel and demented as the story described. However, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and her sister, Nanny, have plans to rescue Lady Tremaine’s daughters as they develop much-needed, rehabilitative insights into the family’s dynamics. Mostly told from the Lady’s shallow, self-centered perspective, this is an entertaining retelling of the Disney “Cinderella” story from a different viewpoint, with references to the rest of the series woven throughout. Characters follow a White default.

For princess fans and lovers of fairy tales. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-02528-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more