A sweet reminder that being a middle school girl is about far more than boys and makeup.

HOW TO OUTFOX YOUR FRIENDS WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE

From the My Life Is a Zoo series , Vol. 3

When your best friend lives on the other side of the world, it can be hard to stay best friends.

When Liv comes back to town to visit, Ana's sure everything will go back to the way it was before Liv moved, and they will be as close as ever. Unfortunately, they've both changed far too much for that to happen. Ana is no longer horribly shy and in constant battle with Ashley; in fact, they're good friends. And Liv has purple hair and a new friend in New Zealand that she insists on texting, even when she and Ana are hanging out. Can the two overcome the distance they've traveled and create a new, stronger friendship out of the remnants of the old one? Keating's sharp focus is on one of the most crucial relationships of a 13-year-old's life: friendships. With her trademark kid-oriented wit and lighthearted touch, Keating leads readers through the daily emotional ups and downs of the typical just-turned-teenager who is trying to juggle hormones, parents, schoolwork, and, most importantly, her friends. Ana’s voice is refreshingly distinct: “It was actually sort of nice not to think about how I looked, unlike in school where I felt like we were all walking some pretend runway.”

A sweet reminder that being a middle school girl is about far more than boys and makeup. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4926-1794-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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SWINDLE

From the Swindle series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is “the man with the plan.” If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family’s money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber “Pitch” takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino’s e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-90344-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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A deft mix of chills and chuckles, not quite as sideways as Wayside School but in the same district.

A FRIENDLY TOWN THAT'S ALMOST ALWAYS BY THE OCEAN!

From the Secrets of Topsea series , Vol. 1

A fifth-grader struggles to fit in after he and his recently widowed mother move to a decidedly oddball new town.

As if the seemingly infinite pier, the lighthouse in the middle of town, and the beach teeming with enigmatic cats aren’t strange enough, Davy Jones discovers that his school locker has been relocated to the deep end of the swimming pool, his lunchtime fries are delivered by a “spudzooka,” and no one seems to be able to get his name right. On the other hand, his classmates welcome him, and in next to no time he’s breaking into an abandoned arcade to play pinball against a ghost, helping track down a pet pig gone missing on Gravity Maintenance Day, and like adventures that, often as not, take sinister swerves before edging back to the merely peculiar. Point-of-view duties pass freely from character to character, and chapters are punctuated with extracts from the Topsea School Gazette (“Today’s Seaweed Level: Medium-high and feisty”), bulletins on such topics as the safe handling of rubber ducks, and background notes on, for instance, the five local seasons, giving the narrative a pleasantly loose-jointed feel. Davy presents as white, but several other central cast members are specifically described as dark- or light-skinned and are so depicted in the frequent line drawings; one has two moms.

A deft mix of chills and chuckles, not quite as sideways as Wayside School but in the same district. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-00005-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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