Thirteen-year-old Baron Braun has enough to deal with: new school, bullies, being short, a missing father and a mother in Iraq. He does not need a week at camp with his new classmates and those bullies. When he gets to Camp Chuckamuck, he finds that it’s run by the creepy Mr. Mack. What’s even more frightening is Walker White Bear who is decidedly un-Native American, despite his looks. Walker also reminds Baron of the Mohawk legends about a man who turns himself into a monster bear by killing his relatives. Without warning, the only road to camp is destroyed by scheming developers. Baron is the only hope of his classmates, and whether he’s a Mohawk monster come to life or just a crazy human, Walker stands in Baron’s way. Despite a plot that runs on slasher-film logic and an inconsistent use of the convention of the tale told in a journal, fans of Bruchac’s short, Native American legend–inspired horror will enjoy this latest entry in the series. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-112309-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2007


The Galactic Confederation is nothing if not fair. Before they commit to annihilating the human race, they’ll send an emissary to ensure it is without redemption. Ketchvar III, a hyperintelligent snail from the planet Sandoval, is determined to find the worth of the human race by merging consciousness with the most typical specimen of humanity he can find. That specimen is Tom Filber, “Caucasian, fourteen years old, and in good health.” But perhaps Ketchvar has chosen poorly: Tom’s mother is a violent, shrewish woman, his father is an unemployed alcoholic and his classmates—though ignorant of Ketchvar—all refer to Tom as “Alien.” Are humans truly vile, or has Ketchvar chosen a particularly dysfunctional family to analyze? Not surprisingly, Ketchvar’s study of humanity becomes a life lesson for Ketchvar himself, as he tries to fix some of the problems in Tom’s family and town. Despite hackneyed gender stereotypes and a cast of stock characters, the painful humor (or perhaps the humorous pain) of Ketchvar’s adventure will win fans. (Science fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 16, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-374-39951-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010


The worldbuilding of countless eco-thrillers serves here as the setting for a classic Western. A Western, that is, with plankton instead of cows, harpoons instead of six-shooters and submarines instead of covered wagons. Ty lives below the ocean, in a future in which water levels have risen and Topsiders live cramped together in unbearable conditions. Undersea, any brave settler can stake a claim and build a huge homestead. Ty was born down here, and he loves it. When he encounters freckle-faced Topsider orphan Gemma, he revels in showing her his world, from inflatable houses shaped like jellyfish to beautiful schools of swordfish. If only they weren’t in danger from the villainous Seablite gang that keeps attacking homesteads! This caper features a slew of Western standards—the crabby old doctor (“Doc”), the saloon filled with bandanna-clad thugs, the posse of furious citizens—and a few plot twists keep the tension high. A thrilling conversion of the classics to one of our newer frontiers. (Science fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-17814-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2010

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