A light read for teens who love performing arts... and the other kind of drama.

UPTOWN DREAMS

An uneven narrative follows four aspiring young artists attending the Harlem Academy of Creative and Performing Arts.

An initial chapter from each character's point of view introduces the character and his or her major obstacle. La-La has a younger sister with cancer and an irresponsible mother. Reese produces hip-hop beats in secret, but her strict mother insists she only study classical music. Ziggy hides his dancing because his West Indian father is convinced that boys who dance are gay. Jamaica-Kincaid has convinced her rich, absentee parents that she attends boarding school in Connecticut. As the school year progresses, romances unfold, a rivalry heats up and secrets are revealed. Harlem's 125th Street provides a warm and welcome cohesion among the stories as multiple characters encounter the Sandman, “the official unofficial mayor of Harlem,” and Ziggy's brother, Broke-Up, whom Ziggy helps sell knockoff handbags with an illegal vending license. Some gaps and dropped threads in the plot are distracting: Readers see a character wake up from a hangover without having seen her arrive at the party that caused it, and a threat to the school's funding that initially seems significant is resolved off-page.

A light read for teens who love performing arts... and the other kind of drama. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7582-6128-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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Rags to riches with a British twist.

HELLO, CRUEL HEART

Penniless 16-year-old orphan Estella dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer but survives by robbing rich tourists in swinging 1960s London.

After her mother died in a freak accident, Estella moved to the city, bunking down in the Lair, a grimy pad in a bombed-out building, with her chosen family of fellow thieves Horace and Jasper. Although she flunked out of school, Estella has exceptional design talent and is determined to excel in the field. A pair of well-connected trust-fund twins dazzle her with their carefree, affluent lifestyle and groovy circle of friends, and they ultimately exploit her by bartering her fashion skills for accommodation and friendship. Estella soon learns that their glamorous lifestyle is shallow and their friendships, fickle, and she realizes that she will have to find her own way in life. Estella’s complete naïveté in the face of wealth and sophistication is convincingly drawn, and her fashionista ability is fun and engaging; the ending brings a twist that readers may not see coming. The story contains peripheral references to One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Estella has Cruella de Vil black-and-white hair, which she disguises with red dye, and a Cruella alter ego who pops up in her head in moments of crisis and helps her remain true to herself. All characters present White.

Rags to riches with a British twist. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05776-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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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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