Next book


A massive nuclear accident has just occurred in southern Vermont. The first scene in this compelling novel parallels the kind of negligence that caused it: Eighth-grader Nyle and her friend Muncie confront a vicious neighbor whose dog has slaughtered sheep on Nyle's grandmother's farm. The young people are masked, even though a west wind has mitigated most of the fallout from the nearby plant. But Boston has been evacuated; an uncle has had to destroy his cattle; and though rain clears the air, much farmland is poisoned, death's full toll is yet to come, and the prevailing, often irrational fear will soon drive a wedge between the girls. When Gran takes in two survivors from the plant, Nyle is stricken: Ezra, 15, now lies deathly ill in the room where her mother and grandfather died. Conquering her memories and her dread, Nyle brings all her imagination to helping Ezra heal both his body and a deeply troubled spirit. In time, he starts school and begins to ponder how people, like sheep, can be led to foolishly accept a known danger; Ezra hopes to live to do better. In the hands of a less gifted author this scenario might signal an issue-driven story, but Hesse transcends the specific to illuminate universal questions of responsibility, care, and love. When Nyle compares Ezra's courage to Anne Frank's he cries out, ``Do I have to die in the end too so people won't forget what I died for?'' The answer is almost inevitable; yet Hesse portrays her characters' anguish and their growing tenderness with such unwavering clarity and grace that she sustains the tension of her lyrical, understated narrative right to her stunning, beautifully wrought conclusion. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-8050-3108-1

Page Count: 186

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1994

Next book


Telgemeier has created an utterly charming graphic memoir of tooth trauma, first crushes and fickle friends, sweetly reminiscent of Judy Blume’s work. One night, Raina trips and falls after a Girl Scout meeting, knocking out her two front teeth. This leads to years of painful surgeries, braces, agonizing root canals and other oral atrocities. Her friends offer little solace through this trying ordeal, spending more of their time teasing than comforting her. After years of these girls’ constant belittling, Raina branches out and finds her own voice and a new group of friends. Young girls will relate to her story, and her friend-angst is palpable. Readers should not overlook this seemingly simply drawn work; the strong writing and emotionally expressive characters add an unexpected layer of depth. As an afterword, the author includes a photo of her smiling, showing off the results of all of the years of pain she endured. Irresistible, funny and touching—a must read for all teenage girls, whether en-braced or not. (Graphic memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-13205-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bantam Discovery

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

Next book


The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

Close Quickview