Middling and undercooked, redeemed by characters and ideas.

THE DARK INTERCEPT

From the Dark Intercept series , Vol. 1

At the end of the 23rd century, government surveillance uses weaponized emotions to control the population.

Violet Crowley, the daughter of New Earth’s founder, president, and chief executive, works with the police and the Intercept program, surveilling for crime and unleashing the Intercept to halt criminals. The Intercept uses a chip implant to store and categorize memories and emotions, and it incapacitates people by feeding them back, forcing them to relive their worst moments. Violet’s got a huge crush on mysterious cop Danny Mayhew, who frequently sneaks to Old Earth despite the danger and refuses to say why. New Earth, which is an artificial society above Old Earth, promises safety for the richest and brightest. (The book claims the division ignores nationality, race, creed, and so forth and gives no thought toward intersectionality in this post-racial future in which most though not all named characters are described as pale; Violet appears to be white, while Danny is described as dark.) But the Rebels of Light are spreading rumors that they’ve found a way to overcome the Intercept. Balancing contrived worldbuilding (Earth has had resource wars, yet New Earth has strategically placed dilapidated buildings designed to stay vacant—where else would rebel groups meet?) and characters who frequently feel older than 16 are otherwise nuanced characterizations and strong if sometimes heavy-handed themes involving privacy and immigration.

Middling and undercooked, redeemed by characters and ideas. (Dystopian adventure. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8762-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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LGBTQ teens do need to see themselves represented positively; it's a shame more of them won't here.

SPEAKING OUT

A mixed bag of stories about LGBTQ teens with a few serious omissions and misrepresentations.

Ambitiously, the editor believes this book will stop LGBTQ teens from feeling alone, and in the anthology's short introduction, he encourages queer teens to speak out and straight teens to listen. To this end, most of the stories in the collection show LGBTQ teens who are proud of their gender or sexual orientation and stand up for themselves or for something they believe in. In Alex Jeffers' standout “Captain of the World,” a gay, Turkish Muslim goalie fights back against both racial and sexual harassment on the soccer field. In Berman's fantastical “Only Lost Boys Are Found,” an unnamed hero quests his way through a half-cartoon, half-dream sequence to rescue the boy he loves. Other stories, however, fall flatter, including the well-intentioned but poorly executed “All Gender U,” whose trans protagonist (the only one in the collection) reads more as a hodgepodge of outsider assumptions about trans people than as a person in her own right. While some diversity is represented among the stories—hometowns small and large, a variety of faiths—the majority of protagonists are still white and male.

LGBTQ teens do need to see themselves represented positively; it's a shame more of them won't here. (Short stories. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-60282-566-6

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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