In this lively sequel, both fans and readers new to the story can enjoy the enterprising endeavors of these steadfast...

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YOU'RE INVITED TOO

After successfully establishing their party-planning venture, (You’re Invited, 2015) the four friends behind RSVP feel ready to handle their first wedding.

However, seventh-graders Sadie, Lauren, Becca, and Vi soon encounter a raft of obstacles, both collectively and individually, as they work to arrange the wedding of an outrageously demanding bride-to-be. Each girl narrates the tale from her individual perspective in alternating chapters that begin with snippets reflecting the girls’ personalities: Sadie’s to-do lists, Lauren’s vocabulary words, Vi’s recipes, and Becca’s horoscopes. Malone and Nall explore topics such as complicated parent-child dynamics, mean girls, new crushes, first kisses, and the pressures to be a perfect student. Amid the flurry, Sadie frets about her mother, Lauren’s plans to schedule mandatory fun time go awry, the new boy in town captures the effervescent Becca's interest, and Vi contents with the continual taunts of Linney. An impending hurricane and the resulting evacuation to their middle school provide the catalyst for the girls to resolve their concerns. Throughout the tale, the authors highlight the loyal, genuine friendship the girls share. As the quartet endure the bride-to-be’s antics, wild weather, and life dilemmas, they gain a renewed appreciation of their friendship, recognizing that they can rely upon each other to weather life’s upheavals.

In this lively sequel, both fans and readers new to the story can enjoy the enterprising endeavors of these steadfast friends. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3200-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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Not for the faint of heart or stomach (or maybe of any parts) but sure to be appreciated by middle school zombie cognoscenti.

ZOMBIE BASEBALL BEATDOWN

Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle meets Left for Dead/The Walking Dead/Shaun of the Dead in a high-energy, high-humor look at the zombie apocalypse, complete with baseball (rather than cricket) bats.

The wholesome-seeming Iowa cornfields are a perfect setting for the emergence of ghastly anomalies: flesh-eating cows and baseball-coach zombies. The narrator hero, Rabi (for Rabindranath), and his youth baseball teammates and friends, Miguel and Joe, discover by chance that all is not well with their small town’s principal industry: the Milrow corporation’s giant feedlot and meat-production and -packing facility. The ponds of cow poo and crammed quarters for the animals are described in gaggingly smelly detail, and the bone-breaking, bloody, flesh-smashing encounters with the zombies have a high gross-out factor. The zombie cows and zombie humans who emerge from the muck are apparently a product of the food supply gone cuckoo in service of big-money profits with little concern for the end result. It’s up to Rabi and his pals to try to prove what’s going on—and to survive the corporation’s efforts to silence them. Much as Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker (2010) was a clarion call to action against climate change, here’s a signal alert to young teens to think about what they eat, while the considerable appeal of the characters and plot defies any preachiness.

Not for the faint of heart or stomach (or maybe of any parts) but sure to be appreciated by middle school zombie cognoscenti. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-22078-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Clever as ever—if slow off the mark—and positively laden with tics, quirks, and puns.

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE RIDDLE OF AGES

From the Mysterious Benedict Society series , Vol. 4

When deadly minions of archvillain Ledroptha Curtain escape from prison, the talented young protégés of his twin brother, Nicholas Benedict, reunite for a new round of desperate ploys and ingenious trickery.

Stewart sets the reunion of cerebral Reynie Muldoon Perumal, hypercapable Kate Wetherall, shy scientific genius George “Sticky” Washington, and spectacularly sullen telepath Constance Contraire a few years after the previous episode, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (2009). Providing relief from the quartet’s continual internecine squabbling and self-analysis, he trucks in Tai Li, a grubby, precociously verbal 5-year-old orphan who also happens to be telepathic. (Just to even the playing field a bit, the bad guys get a telepath too.) Series fans will know to be patient in wading through all the angst, arguments, and flurries of significant nose-tapping (occasionally in unison), for when the main action does at long last get under way—the five don’t even set out from Mr. Benedict’s mansion together until more than halfway through—the Society returns to Nomansan Island (get it?), the site of their first mission, for chases, narrow squeaks, hastily revised stratagems, and heroic exploits that culminate in a characteristically byzantine whirl of climactic twists, triumphs, and revelations. Except for brown-skinned George and olive-complected, presumably Asian-descended Tai, the central cast defaults to white; Reynie’s adoptive mother is South Asian.

Clever as ever—if slow off the mark—and positively laden with tics, quirks, and puns. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-45264-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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