A sweet story about a lucky dog that reveals itself to be a deeper story about a lucky human.

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WHIPPOORWILL

Can a girl, a dog, and a boy overcome the disadvantages of circumstance?

When Clair first hears the sad sounds of the dog chained in the yard next door at the Stewarts' house, she doesn't do anything. The neighbors are not friendly ones, and she's afraid of them. But the filth and neglect in that backyard are too much to ignore, so finally she makes friends with the big, wild, lonely dog called Wally. The neighbor's son, Danny, emerges as an accomplice, and the two of them start Wally's training, based on a book by famous dog trainer Father Jasper, becoming friends in the process. But when a tragedy befalls them, Clair questions their whole relationship and Wally's safety. Monninger offers a sweet look at a tough existence. His characters manage to stay true to their hardscrabble roots while inviting readers to join a world in which hope is a rare but welcome thing. Occasionally, the author wields too forceful a hand, especially when it comes to Clair's expression of emotional confusion in the form of physical sickness. In general, however, the characters manage to be realistic yet engaging in the face of turmoil.

A sweet story about a lucky dog that reveals itself to be a deeper story about a lucky human. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-53123-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Flat secondary characterizations and humdrum dialogue won’t keep teens from relishing this histrionic tale of love, death...

THE EDGE OF FALLING

Wealthy high school junior Mcalister “Caggie” Caulfield seeks relief from grief over her younger sister’s death by entering into a dangerous relationship with a mysterious boy.

After her little sister drowns in the pool at her family’s beach house in the Hamptons, Caggie wants to die too, to the point that she contemplates jumping off the roof at a friend’s party in Manhattan. A schoolmate named Kristen saves her at the last minute but nearly falls herself. Caggie actually ends up pulling Kristen back and is credited as a hero, which only makes her feel worse. In her grief, Caggie spurns the attentions of her best friend and devoted boyfriend, but she finds a kindred spirit in Astor, a tall, dark and damaged new boy at school who recently lost his mother to cancer. But what Caggie comes to realize about her relationship with Astor is that “[d]arkness stacked on darkness just makes it that much harder to find the light.” After another nearly fatal disaster with Astor at the beach house, Caggie is forced to confront the falsehoods she has told her family and friends and let go of her guilt over her sister’s death. Though Caggie makes a point of telling readers that her paternal grandfather called people like her “phony,” almost nothing is made of the connection to Catcher in the Rye, and it serves merely to make Caggie’s tale suffer by comparison.

Flat secondary characterizations and humdrum dialogue won’t keep teens from relishing this histrionic tale of love, death and lies. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-3316-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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