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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An enjoyable frolic with a great message that kids won't even notice they're absorbing.

HOW TO OUTSWIM A SHARK WITHOUT A SNORKEL

From the My Life Is a Zoo series , Vol. 2

Which is worse: a shark or a 13-year-old bully?

Ana Wright is more worried about working with her archnemesis, Ashley, than she is about handling the sharks at the new Marine Adventure Zone in her family’s zoo. Ashley has always been beautiful, popular and mean, and now Ana fears Ashley is going to seek revenge for a trick Ana played on her a few weeks ago. But it turns out that Ashley is pretty nice and even helps Ana out with some wardrobe issues. Can Ana ever shake off the feeling that Ashley's mean side may be revealed at any moment? Add into the mix a pact over a first kiss plus her always-annoying twin brother, and it's no surprise Ana starts to stress. Keating maintains the same humorous, lightly soul-searching tone, perfect for a barely teenage girl, with which she infused Ana’s first outing, How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied (2014). Ana and her friends explore the widening doorway of adolescence in a way that's both innocent and marked with fresh knowledge about desire and disaster in the realm of relationships. Occasionally, Ana's inner monologue leans too heavily on material she's previously explored, such as whether or not Kevin likes her, but the overall theme of living up to one’s own expectations makes for solid narrative bedrock.

An enjoyable frolic with a great message that kids won't even notice they're absorbing. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4022-9758-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Eurocentric, not to mention overly ambitious—but being able to say some variant of “Not so hot” in Belarus, Brazil or any...

THE BOOK OF LANGUAGES

TALK YOUR WAY AROUND THE WORLD

With just a bit of practice children will come away from this quick but sweeping linguistic look-see able to exchange greetings and a “How are you doing?” with anyone (almost) anywhere in the world.

Following a dash past language’s origins and families, Webb introduces 21 tongues—literally, as signed languages are clumped with semaphore and other codes in a mop-up chapter at the end. At one double-page spread per language, each is given a thumbnail history, a linguistic map, translations of the numbers one through 10, pronunciation notes and a set of conversational words or phrases from “Hello” to “I’m fine, thank you” or, conversely, “Not so good.” He also tacks on an alphabet (Pinyin for Mandarin Chinese, Devanagari script for Hindi-Urdu) and, in catchall boxes on each spread, comments on scripts, loan words, and one or two distinctive orthographic or grammatical features. Including English, 10 of his selections are European languages, but he also tucks in a few choices from elsewhere such as Quechua and Zulu plus, in passing, samples at least of Esperanto, Klingon and even “Textese,” LOL. Lest he be accused of leaving anything out, the author closes with a glance at various forms of animal communication.

Eurocentric, not to mention overly ambitious—but being able to say some variant of “Not so hot” in Belarus, Brazil or any point between has to count for something. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77147-155-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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