Next book

PLAYING CUPID

From the Wish series

A fast read for budding romance fans, from the Wish series.

At Austen Middle School, seventh grade means the Austen Business Challenge. Latina Clara’s project? Matching up couples for the Hot Chocolate Social.

Clara Martinez does not have time for a boyfriend. She was an outcast at her previous school and cannot believe she is sitting at the “in” table at Austen. When her new friend Emily notices her strong matchmaking skills at the mall, Clara’s ABC project begins to blossom. Happy to be different from the cookie bakers and video game makers, Clara pours herself into the matching business. The ABC is an interesting backdrop against which the social hierarchy of middle school is illustrated. With a cast of familiar middle school characters, divorced parents, and slipping grades—not to mention the plot of Jane Austen’s Emma—Clara’s tale is not unique, but through Clara’s Spanish-sprinkled narration, Meyerhoff gives credibility to these preteens. Readers will rush into the next chapter, determined to uncover if Clara will succeed in pairing up classmates, and they will recognize her own true suitor. Though hers is a squeaky-clean version of romantic relationships in middle school, Meyerhoff nevertheless provides realistic lessons in starting a business. Classmates cheat and try to sabotage each other's projects. Staffing and marketing become real issues. Thankfully, the all-knowing neighbor who watches from the sidelines provides the moral compass to Clara’s quixotic plans.

A fast read for budding romance fans, from the Wish series. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-09922-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

Next book

WRECKING BALL

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

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

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. 18, 2019

Next book

THE ONE AND ONLY FAMILY

From the One and Only series , Vol. 4

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series.

Beloved gorilla Ivan becomes a father to rambunctious twins in this finale to a quartet that began with 2012’s Newbery Award–winning The One and Only Ivan.

Life hasn’t always been easy for silverback gorilla Ivan, who’s spent most of his life being mistreated in captivity. Now he’s living in a wildlife sanctuary, but he still gets to see his two best friends. Young elephant Ruby lives in the grassy habitat next door, and former stray dog Bob has a home with one of the zookeepers. All three were rescued from the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan’s expanded world includes fellow gorilla Kinyani—the two are about to become parents, and Ivan is revisiting the traumas of his past in light of what he wants the twins to know. When the subject inevitably comes up, Applegate’s trust and respect for readers is evident. She doesn’t shy away from hard truths as Ivan wrestles with the fact that poachers killed his family. Readers will need the context provided by knowledge of the earlier books to feel the full emotional impact of this story. The rushed ending unfortunately falls flat, detracting from the central message that a complex life can still contain hope. Final art not seen.

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series. (gorilla games, glossary, author’s note) (Verse fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780063221123

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

Close Quickview