Malone’s boisterous whirl of capers, pranks, and mystery deftly contains Meghan’s journey of self-discovery.


Friends Meghan, Anna Marie, and Paige are eager to have a memorable sleepover.

For 12-year-old Meghan, celebrating her best friend’s 13th birthday is the perfect opportunity for her first stay-the-whole-night sleepover. Despite the unexpected arrival of Anna Marie’s quirky, almost-stepsister Veronica and the interference of Anna Marie’s younger brother, the friends forge on. However, Veronica’s unusual birthday present—a session with a hypnotist—dramatically alters their evening. Malone quickly segues from the girls’ hypnosis session with Madame Mesmer to the following morning, when Meghan awakens without any recollection of the rest of the evening—and Anna Marie is gone. Meghan is determined to unravel the mystery of her missing memories. Told from Meghan’s perspective, Malone’s tale maintains a swift pace as the girls frantically try to figure out what’s happened. As the group becomes embroiled in mischief and mishaps, the initially very cautious Meghan undergoes a subtle transformation. In the chaotic aftermath of the sleepover, she does many things she would never have attempted previously. Reveling in this bolder, slightly braver aspect of her personality, she stands her ground and closely collaborates with her crush, Jake. With inventive plot twists and surprise revelations, Malone resolves the crisis, neatly providing explanations for the strange turn of events. Meghan and Paige are white; despite Anna Marie’s Latino last name, she demonstrates no cultural specificity.

Malone’s boisterous whirl of capers, pranks, and mystery deftly contains Meghan’s journey of self-discovery. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5261-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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


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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Dolphin lovers will appreciate this look at our complicated relationship with these marine mammals.


Is dolphin-assisted therapy so beneficial to patients that it’s worth keeping a wild dolphin captive?

Twelve-year-old Lily has lived with her emotionally distant oncologist stepfather and a succession of nannies since her mother died in a car accident two years ago. Nannies leave because of the difficulty of caring for Adam, Lily’s severely autistic 4-year-old half brother. The newest, Suzanne, seems promising, but Lily is tired of feeling like a planet orbiting the sun Adam. When she meets blind Zoe, who will attend the same private middle school as Lily in the fall, Lily’s happy to have a friend. However, Zoe’s take on the plight of the captive dolphin, Nori, used in Adam’s therapy opens Lily’s eyes. She knows she must use her influence over her stepfather, who is consulting on Nori’s treatment for cancer (caused by an oil spill), to free the animal. Lily’s got several fine lines to walk, as she works to hold onto her new friend, convince her stepfather of the rightness of releasing Nori, and do what’s best for Adam. In her newest exploration of animal-human relationships, Rorby’s lonely, mature heroine faces tough but realistic situations. Siblings of children on the spectrum will identify with Lily. If the tale flirts with sentimentality and some of the characters are strident in their views, the whole never feels maudlin or didactic.

Dolphin lovers will appreciate this look at our complicated relationship with these marine mammals. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-67605-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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