Zombie rats and ghastly ghosts galore—but the haunting comes from more than the spectral cast.


Glennon discovers the sinister reason why the Lake Superior island he’s visiting isn’t found on any map.

Writing in a distinctly metaphorical vein, Brandt tells a tale that is chilling on more than one level. Accepting an invitation she claims she received, 13-year-old Glennon McCue’s mother has brought him and his emotionally fragile sister, Leeunah, to stay with their Uncle Job, a lighthouse keeper, on remote Isle Philippeaux while their father is away for a fall semester fellowship. Readers will quickly cotton to the fact that all is not right—either on the island or in the McCue family—as, along with fogs, oddly localized gales, feelings of formless dread, frequent encounters with staring rats, and like atmospheric portents, both Glennon and Lee exhibit clear signs of PTSD. Brandt piles on further clues to what’s going on: On the one hand, there are sightings of gruesomely disfigured specters and the ominous news that the island is completely cut off from the mainland, and on the other, there are Glennon’s memories of years of his mercurial father’s patronizing put-downs and sudden rages. In the wildly stormy climax, Glennon confronts multiple terrors as, to prevent him escaping with his family, the malign island attempts to sabotage his newfound determination through psychological means. The main cast defaults to White.

Zombie rats and ghastly ghosts galore—but the haunting comes from more than the spectral cast. (map, author's note) (Paranormal. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72824-544-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.


The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Dolphin lovers will appreciate this look at our complicated relationship with these marine mammals.


Is dolphin-assisted therapy so beneficial to patients that it’s worth keeping a wild dolphin captive?

Twelve-year-old Lily has lived with her emotionally distant oncologist stepfather and a succession of nannies since her mother died in a car accident two years ago. Nannies leave because of the difficulty of caring for Adam, Lily’s severely autistic 4-year-old half brother. The newest, Suzanne, seems promising, but Lily is tired of feeling like a planet orbiting the sun Adam. When she meets blind Zoe, who will attend the same private middle school as Lily in the fall, Lily’s happy to have a friend. However, Zoe’s take on the plight of the captive dolphin, Nori, used in Adam’s therapy opens Lily’s eyes. She knows she must use her influence over her stepfather, who is consulting on Nori’s treatment for cancer (caused by an oil spill), to free the animal. Lily’s got several fine lines to walk, as she works to hold onto her new friend, convince her stepfather of the rightness of releasing Nori, and do what’s best for Adam. In her newest exploration of animal-human relationships, Rorby’s lonely, mature heroine faces tough but realistic situations. Siblings of children on the spectrum will identify with Lily. If the tale flirts with sentimentality and some of the characters are strident in their views, the whole never feels maudlin or didactic.

Dolphin lovers will appreciate this look at our complicated relationship with these marine mammals. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-67605-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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