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From the Atlantis series , Vol. 1

Steers a predictable course but does deliver mild thrills along the way.

A disastrous family sail into the Bermuda Triangle strands two cousins on an uncharted island with unusual—and sometimes dangerous—residents.

Stocked with characters and creatures that will attract younger members of the Percy Jackson fandom, this opening escapade begins with an attack by a sea monster that casts 13-year-old Riley and her alienated, pestiferous 12-year-old cousin, Alfie, ashore on Atlantis, an island where time has slowed down. There, mutually hostile camps of magical creatures and stranded humans, who are gradually turning into talking beasts of various sorts through a process called “de-evolution,” steer suspiciously clear of each other. Eager to escape—and driven by the possibility that his mom and her dad might also have survived the attack—the cousins put aside their antipathy to enlist local allies and, by the end, to engineer, as titularly promised, an escape. O’Hearn further cranks up the mythological vibe by chucking in a siren (friendly), feral mermaids and unicorns (not so much), lotuslike Memory Berries that rob the eater of both recall and the desire to leave, and giant gargoyles that turn to stone in sunlight. Riley is outraged to discover that the partially transformed people—including a mild-mannered koala who positively channels Mr. Tumnus—are exploited as labor but ostracized for their physical differences by the nonaltered. Main human characters follow a White default.

Steers a predictable course but does deliver mild thrills along the way. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5691-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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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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A pleasing premise for book lovers.

A fantasy-loving bookworm makes a wonderful, terrible bargain.

When sixth grader Poppy Woodlock’s historic preservationist parents move the family to the Oregon coast to work on the titular stately home, Poppy’s sure she’ll find magic. Indeed, the exiled water nymph in the manor’s ruined swimming pool grants a wish, but: “Magic isn’t free. It cosssts.” The price? Poppy’s favorite book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In return she receives Sampson, a winged lion cub who is everything Poppy could have hoped for. But she soon learns that the nymph didn’t take just her own physical book—she erased Narnia from Poppy’s world. And it’s just the first loss: Soon, Poppy’s grandmother’s journal’s gone, then The Odyssey, and more. The loss is heartbreaking, but Sampson’s a wonderful companion, particularly as Poppy’s finding middle school a tough adjustment. Hartman’s premise is beguiling—plenty of readers will identify with Poppy, both as a fellow bibliophile and as a kid struggling to adapt. Poppy’s repeatedly expressed faith that unveiling Sampson will bring some sort of vindication wears thin, but that does not detract from the central drama. It’s a pity that the named real-world books Poppy reads are notably lacking in diversity; a story about the power of literature so limited in imagination lets both itself and readers down. Main characters are cued White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast. Chapters open with atmospheric spot art. (This review has been updated to reflect the final illustrations.)

A pleasing premise for book lovers. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780316448222

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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