The strongest volume yet in an enjoyable series that keeps getting better.

READ REVIEW

THE TICK-TOCK MAN

From the Gadgets and Gears series , Vol. 3

“Generations of Kennewicketts have excelled at blowing things up.”

So says Wally’s dachshund, Noodles. As the series moves to London, the pyrotechnically gifted wunderkind and his canine biographer soon tangle with suffragists, criminal masterminds, muckraking journalists, famous writers, and mechanical wonders. With the senior Kennewicketts in France for the Electromobile Road Rally, Wally and Noodles are billeted with aunt Rhodope, a Sister of Suffrage. After accompanying her to a suffragist demonstration, the pair encounter a set of street performers; one, a boy called Dobbin, warns Wally that his boss, the notorious Tick Tock, plans to kidnap him. When a note from Dobbin arrives begging for Wally’s help, boy and dog answer the call, which leads them down into London’s sewers, where Dobbin resides with his ailing little sister, Briney. Dobbin admits he’s worked for Tick Tock, but he has his reasons, which involve Briney. Wally, invited to breakfast with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, brings Dobbin and Briney along, hoping the great author can assist them. The action is swift, the setting vivid (foggy pea-souper nights, noisy demos, noisome dens), and the typically white characters (upright citizens, kindly constables, fierce feminists) lively. The text and art are a perfect match for the genre and should attract enough young readers to ensure the steampunk fan base for another generation.

The strongest volume yet in an enjoyable series that keeps getting better. (author’s note) (Steampunk. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-43300-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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Outstanding suspense.

WILDFIRE

WHEN TREES EXPLODE

A boy, a girl, a venerable Jeep, and a massive wildfire sweeping across the mountains of Maine. It’s the perfect setup for a riveting tale of high suspense.

Sam and Delphy are staying at separate summer camps on the same lake when the threat of a wildfire forces evacuation—but both are inadvertently left behind. Using the survival skills he learned from his deceased father, Sam hikes cross-country until he finds a remote cabin and the old Jeep that will prove to be his salvation. Only later, barreling along a narrow logging road, does he encounter Delphy. With shades of My Side of the Mountain for a modern audience, 2010 Newbery Honoree Philbrick (The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg) provides the pair of young adolescents, both white, with just enough modern technology to keep the tale credible. It will take all of their courage and wits to survive being lost in the wilderness, even as they are constantly threatened both by the erratic fire and the danger posed by two out-of-control arsonists. Sam’s pithy first-person voice is self-deprecating enough to be fully believable and plays nicely against Delphy’s sometimes less confident but heroically determined character. Short chapters, outstanding cover art, and a breathless pace make this a fine choice for reluctant readers. Interesting backmatter regarding wildfires and survival tips rounds out a thrilling tale.

Outstanding suspense. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-26690-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Korman’s fans will be right at home with this stand-alone novel.

SLACKER

From the Slacker series , Vol. 1

What could get the “Leonardo da Vinci of slackers” off his gaming couch?

Thirteen-year-old Cameron Boxer’s worked hard on his “lifestyle”: minimal effort at school and maximum time perfecting his gaming skills. His goal? Winning the Rule the World tournament with one of his two best friends, technical genius Pavel or loyal Chuck…but they have to avoid Evil McKillPeople, a Canadian gamer who for some reason has it in for Cam. Then the Great Ziti Inferno (Cam was too busy playing to take the ziti out of the oven as instructed) causes Cam’s parents to insist he unplug and do something with his life. The friends cook up a fake club, the Positive Action Group. They make Cam president and put a page on the school’s website, attracting the attention of do-gooder Daphne, who wants to save a beaver, class-president candidate Jordan, who needs a leg up in the election, along with reprobates and jocks who need to do community service. Suddenly the fake club is real, doing actual good, and sucking up valuable game time; that was never the plan! Prolific Korman turns in another group caper that would fit easily in his Swindle series. Cam’s borderline unlikable, and a few in the supporting cast don’t act like real people; but the tale, narrated by Cam and several others, is a pleasant diversion, though it’s not notable for its diversity.

Korman’s fans will be right at home with this stand-alone novel. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-82315-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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