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For able readers looking for the unusual.

Hoping to find her lost guardian, Doctor Professor David Ezratty, 12-year-old Ever Indigo Nikita Stein teams up with a pair of detectives battling the forces of the evil ColdCorp Corporation.

When Doc disappears, a crow from the future brings Ever a message: save the detectives. But who are they? Following a holographic message left in her guardian’s laboratory, Ever solves this first mystery by going through a formerly forbidden tunnel that takes her to the office of Harry Snowize, in denial about his imperfect memory, and Snitch, a giant African pouched rat that communicates in sign language. These are the defective detectives. This elaborately constructed and bizarrely detailed adventure is full of slightly off-kilter references and scene changes. From South Africa to Zimbabwe, Japan, and Spain, and back to Cape Town, the unlikely trio pursues the problem of disappearing scientific minds. Occasionally they’re joined by Doc’s perpetually angry robot refrigerator. Ever has a useful photographic memory, but she also has an attitude problem of her own. Struggling in school, the sarcastically nicknamed “Einstein” believes she’s “a magnet for bad luck.” Briner plays with quest-adventure tropes, but it’s the elaborate vocabulary and play with words that will appeal to her audience. Ending with a grand semantic twist, this convoluted caper even offers a satisfying solution to the mystery of Ever’s missing parents. Finished interior illustrations were not seen, but the cover depicts Ever and Snowize as white.

For able readers looking for the unusual. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3567-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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From the Spy School series , Vol. 3

Will satisfy fans but could be better.

Young CIA agent-in-training Benjamin Ripley switches sides—or is he just going undercover?—in this graphic version of the third Spy School caper.

Sticking to the plot of the 2015 original, this episode sees the talented math whiz recruited by nefarious organization SPYDER after being (unjustly, he fumes) kicked out of the CIA’s academy. While training in a hidden school for evildoers with other prospective villains, including Ashley Sparks, a gushy former competitive gymnast with a fondness for portmanteau words (sweet + awesome = swawesome), Ben gets wind of a dastardly scheme to make billions on government construction projects. Hot if inept pursuit by both rival espionage agencies takes Ben from a secret underground command center to the top of the Statue of Liberty. But while the action has a rapid flow in the art (Sarkar is good at portraying fights, high-speed chases, and explosions), several characters are drawn with generic features and such a limited range of expressions that even with help from the cast gallery, it’s hard to tell them apart easily. Still, along with coming through in the suspenseful climax—thanks to clever deductions and quick thinking—by the end, Ben has also achieved a long-sought breakthrough with Erica Hale (code name “Ice Queen”), a superbly omnicompetent schoolmate who has his heart as well as his back. The cast largely presents white.

Will satisfy fans but could be better. (Graphic thriller. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781665931946

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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