An enjoyable story about the ingenuity and bonds that help a family withstand tough times.

THE FRESH NEW FACE OF GRISELDA

Can winning a cosmetics contest help make the difference for the struggling Zaragoza family?

Griselda “Geez” Zaragoza (it’s short for G.Z.) is entering sixth grade when her life changes drastically. First, her father’s landscaping company goes out of business, then her parents lose their family home, which leads to a move for Geez, big sister Maribel, and Mom to Nana’s with her dad living six hours away to find new work in Los Angeles. Geez faces her family’s new economic reality with an authentic mix of concern, shame, and, ultimately, resourcefulness. Without a new first-day-of-school outfit, she adds ribbon to her plain, “in our price range” sneakers and cuffs her faded jeans so “it almost looks as if that’s the way they’re supposed to fit.” When she learns about an Alma Cosmetics contest from Maribel, she’s determined to sell 500 tubes of lip gloss for a chance to win $5,000, because “it might be enough for that fresh start we’ve all been trying to find.” Torres realistically portrays a Latinx family with true-to-life dynamics, tensions, and worries in an extended clan in which Spanish phrases are spoken naturally. Fans of Kelly Yang’s Front Desk (2018) will enjoy Geez’ entrepreneurial spirit and appreciate another strong-minded young woman of color seeking ways to relieve her family’s financial burden.

An enjoyable story about the ingenuity and bonds that help a family withstand tough times. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-45260-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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