RULES TO ROCK BY

Just as her rock band is about to make it big, Annabelle Cabrera’s parents move her from Brooklyn to Providence, R.I. Finding fellow rockers is almost as hard as being away from her beloved abuela and adjusting to sixth grade in a new school, but she manages. An approaching battle of the bands means that Annabelle and her misfit bandmates will go head to head with the best rock band in school, which is fronted by the biggest bully in town. To cope, Annabelle creates her Rules to Rock By, which includes such nuggets of wisdom as “Rock stars don’t blush.” The conclusion wraps up a little too neatly, with a fantasy ending to the battle of the bands, but Annabelle emerges with a new sense of herself as a rocker, though her journey to her true calling as a band leader and songwriter sometimes gets lost in issues of bullying and absentee parents. The teens’ voices are funny and distinct from one individual to the next, but the adults are either too good or too bad to be true. Still, middle-school rockers will enjoy the show. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2079-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

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Another stellar lap—readers will be eager to see who’s next

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PATINA

From the Track series , Vol. 2

African-American track phenom Patina Jones takes the baton from Ghost (2016) in the second volume of Reynolds’ Track series for middle graders.

Reynolds tells readers almost all they need to know about Patty in two opening, contrasting scenes. In the first, Patty misjudges her competitors in an 800-meter race she’s certain she should have won. Running well but second is not enough for the ferociously competitive Patty. In the other, she braids her little sister’s hair before church, finishing off each of Maddy’s 30 braids with three beads. She does this every Sunday because their white adoptive mother can’t (“there ain’t no rule book for white people to know how to work with black hair”) and because their birth mother insists they look their best for church. Their father dead and their birth mother’s legs lost to diabetes, the two girls live with their father’s brother and his wife, seeing their mother once a week in an arrangement that’s as imperfect as it is loving and necessary. Writing in Patty’s voice, Reynolds creates a fully dimensional, conflicted character whose hard-earned pragmatism helps her bring her relay team together, negotiate the social dynamics of the all-girls, mostly white private school she attends, and make the best of her unusual family lot. When this last is threatened, readers will ache right alongside her.

Another stellar lap—readers will be eager to see who’s next . (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5018-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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An eminently satisfying story of family, recovery, and growing into manhood.

REBOUND

In this prequel to Newbery Award–winning The Crossover (2014), Alexander revisits previous themes and formats while exploring new ones.

For Charlie Bell, the future father of The Crossover’s Jordan and Josh, his father’s death alters his relationship with his mother and causes him to avoid what reminds him of his dad. At first, he’s just withdrawn, but after he steals from a neighbor, his mother packs a reluctant Charlie off to his grandparents near Washington, D.C., for the summer. His grandfather works part-time at a Boys and Girls Club where his cousin Roxie is a star basketball player. Despite his protests, she draws him into the game. His time with his grandparents deepens Charlie’s understanding of his father, and he begins to heal. “I feel / a little more normal, / like maybe he’s still here, / … in a / as long as I remember him / he’s still right here / in my heart / kind of way.” Once again, Alexander has given readers an African-American protagonist to cheer. He is surrounded by a strong supporting cast, especially two brilliant female characters, his friend CJ and his cousin Roxie, as well as his feisty and wise granddaddy. Music and cultural references from the late 1980s add authenticity. The novel in verse is enhanced by Anyabwile’s art, which reinforces Charlie’s love for comics.

An eminently satisfying story of family, recovery, and growing into manhood. (Historical verse fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-86813-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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