Go team! (Fiction. 9-14)

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THE MIGHTY DYNAMO

The Mighty Ducks (of film fame) meet soccer, Irish style.

Only this time it’s a team called “Mighty Dynamo.” Twelve-year-old Noah, a white boy, is unfairly kicked off his school’s soccer team by his principal after being the victim in a fight during a match. With an important international school soccer championship coming up, the only way Noah can play is to create a team himself. With his asthmatic best friend doing a lot of the coaching, the pair brings together a motley group of players, including two girls, a tough, impoverished, white bully, and a Nigerian-Irish boy (who provides much of the book’s diversity). Playing is critical to Noah; he’s hopeful he can catch the eye of a scout and get on track to be a professional player, a job that will provide the money to bring his dad back home to the west of Ireland from a job in Australia. Thrillingly detailed descriptions of intense soccer matches, plenty of evil villainy on the part of several sketchy, almost caricatured adults, and teammates with fully realized characters all serve to make this an engrossing (if rather predictable) and often humorous sports story, enhanced by the Irish setting. Although too long to promote to very reluctant readers, there is enough breathless action and strong, believable sports flavor to this effort to make it an easy sell to those (male and female) that enjoy the sport.

Go team! (Fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-07924-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Korman’s trademark humor makes this an appealing read.

RESTART

Will a bully always be a bully?

That’s the question eighth-grade football captain Chase Ambrose has to answer for himself after a fall from his roof leaves him with no memory of who and what he was. When he returns to Hiawassee Middle School, everything and everyone is new. The football players can hardly wait for him to come back to lead the team. Two, Bear Bratsky and Aaron Hakimian, seem to be special friends, but he’s not sure what they share. Other classmates seem fearful; he doesn’t know why. Temporarily barred from football because of his concussion, he finds a new home in the video club and, over time, develops a new reputation. He shoots videos with former bullying target Brendan Espinoza and even with Shoshanna Weber, who’d hated him passionately for persecuting her twin brother, Joel. Chase voluntarily continues visiting the nursing home where he’d been ordered to do community service before his fall, making a special friend of a decorated Korean War veteran. As his memories slowly return and he begins to piece together his former life, he’s appalled. His crimes were worse than bullying. Will he become that kind of person again? Set in the present day and told in the alternating voices of Chase and several classmates, this finding-your-middle-school-identity story explores provocative territory. Aside from naming conventions, the book subscribes to the white default.

Korman’s trademark humor makes this an appealing read. (Fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-05377-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

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THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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