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A ROYAL GUIDE TO MONSTER SLAYING

From the Royal Guide to Monster Slaying series , Vol. 1

A rousing romp for monster hunters and monster lovers alike.

A young princess would rather hunt monsters than sit on a throne but soon finds that she has a lot to learn if she is going to save her kingdom.

In each generation of Tamerel’s royal clan, the firstborn inherits the throne to become monarch and the secondborn inherits the sword to become royal monster hunter. Twelve-year-old Rowan will be queen, and her twin brother, Rhydd, will wield the sword. There’s only one problem—each of them is far better suited to the other’s role. Despite her natural monster-hunting gifts, Rowan is resigned to be the best queen she can, though that doesn’t stop her from learning all she can about monsters and following her brother on hunts. But when tragedy strikes the family, royal roles are thrown out the window, and with the fate of the kingdom hanging in the balance, Rowan must hunt down one of the deadliest monsters of all or lose everything. Longtime master of YA thrills Armstrong (Aftermath, 2018, etc.) now brings her talent for frissons, drama, and dark humor to middle-grade fantasy. The primary plot is driven by equal parts hunt-or-be-hunted action, character motivations, and unexpected emotional depth. And in the background simmers political intrigue, personal ambition, and looming upheaval bound to spill over into the sequel. Rowan and Rhydd are children of color, and the world they inhabit is an inclusive one. An illustrated monster field guide appears in the backmatter.

A rousing romp for monster hunters and monster lovers alike. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6535-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Puffin/Penguin Random House Canada

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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CLUES TO THE UNIVERSE

Charming, poignant, and thoughtfully woven.

An aspiring scientist and a budding artist become friends and help each other with dream projects.

Unfolding in mid-1980s Sacramento, California, this story stars 12-year-olds Rosalind and Benjamin as first-person narrators in alternating chapters. Ro’s father, a fellow space buff, was killed by a drunk driver; the rocket they were working on together lies unfinished in her closet. As for Benji, not only has his best friend, Amir, moved away, but the comic book holding the clue for locating his dad is also missing. Along with their profound personal losses, the protagonists share a fixation with the universe’s intriguing potential: Ro decides to complete the rocket and hopes to launch mementos of her father into outer space while Benji’s conviction that aliens and UFOs are real compels his imagination and creativity as an artist. An accident in science class triggers a chain of events forcing Benji and Ro, who is new to the school, to interact and unintentionally learn each other’s secrets. They resolve to find Benji’s dad—a famous comic-book artist—and partner to finish Ro’s rocket for the science fair. Together, they overcome technical, scheduling, and geographical challenges. Readers will be drawn in by amusing and fantastical elements in the comic book theme, high emotional stakes that arouse sympathy, and well-drawn character development as the protagonists navigate life lessons around grief, patience, self-advocacy, and standing up for others. Ro is biracial (Chinese/White); Benji is White.

Charming, poignant, and thoughtfully woven. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-300888-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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NUMBER THE STARS

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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