Preteen and middle school readers will respond to the dogged tenacity with which Kate pursues her moviemaking dreams.

NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIE CHICKENS

From the Kate Walden Directs series , Vol. 1

An aspiring director, 12-year-old Kate’s first feature-length film involves zombies, chickens and mayhem.

Although a recent family move to accommodate her mother’s career change from corporate worker to chicken farmer has left Kate feeling adrift from her friends, it has resulted in a cinematic opportunity. Kate translates her skepticism about her mother’s chickens into her film. However, a rift with her lead actress and longtime BFF, Alyssa, jeopardizes Kate’s production. When Alyssa invites reigning popular girl Lydia to participate in Kate’s movie, things quickly go wrong. Soon, Kate’s social status at school plunges, and she endures relentless teasing. After a confrontation with Alyssa culminates in an epic argument, Kate schemes for revenge. Yet when Kate’s retaliation is successful, remorse compels her to reconsider her actions. Mata’s tale subtly addresses the issue of changing friendships and the concept of forgiveness. Kate’s fledgling friendships with Doris and Margaret, who are on the social outskirts, offer Kate a respite from her school woes and transform her perspective. Throughout the story, Mata conveys Kate’s exuberant enthusiasm for the filmmaking process, including Kate’s relish in the special effects tactics used in zombie films and other movies. The surprise twist that provides a timely solution to Kate’s dilemmas is suitably theatrical for the movie enthusiast.

Preteen and middle school readers will respond to the dogged tenacity with which Kate pursues her moviemaking dreams. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9459-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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