This slightly sinister—and very satisfying—interconnected series continues.


From the Sinister Summer series , Vol. 3

The third stop on the Sinister-Winterbottoms’ summer tour of weird attractions is Camp Creepy—only it’s masquerading as completely normal Camp Creek.

Everyone is so happy at Camp Creek! Every counselor and camper is content to do every activity, never mind their personalities or preferences. Theo uncovers the reason why: The camp director is brainwashing everyone to be “normal.” But why? Theo’s chronically anxious twin, Alexander, has succumbed. He’s stopped worrying about things such as waterborne bacteria and is jumping into the lake! Their older sister, Wil, has stopped hunching over her cellphone and is socializing and laughing! Once Theo undoes the process, the trio can once again work as a team to figure out why their parents have disappeared, leaving them with Aunt Saffronia, who keeps dropping them off at various destinations with vague instructions to find things. The scenarios are clever, and events are Scooby-Doo–level scary. The siblings’ personalities crystallize in this volume alongside positive messages about acceptance. With the convergence at Camp Creek of characters from the previous two books plus the addition of new ones, a pattern emerges linking the young campers and their families through a common thread involving the villainous Edgaren’t. Next stop: Stein Manor science camp.

This slightly sinister—and very satisfying—interconnected series continues. (Mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-37912-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

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From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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A fresh premise, good pacing, surprising twists and engaging characters all combine to make this a series worth following.


From the Masterminds series , Vol. 1

With no unemployment, no homelessness and no crime, Serenity, New Mexico, is the perfect town. Or is it?

When 13-year-old Eli Frieden attempts to bike past the town limits for the first time, he is struck with paralyzing nausea and pain that makes him wonder if Serenity is less of a paradise and more of a prison. When Malik Bruder, his classmate, discovers that the major employer, a traffic-cone factory, is just a front for something more sinister, the two boys, along with friends Hector Amani and Tori Pritel, decide to investigate. They find that Serenity, which holds honesty and integrity above all else, is built on a lie. The truth is so shocking that it puts into question everything they know, even their identities. The mystery is unraveled through several alternating first-person narratives. The distinctive voices of a cynic, a true believer, a hopeful optimist, a terrified tag-along and others create depth, while break-ins, theft, vandalism and an explosive car chase keep the pages turning. A cliffhanger ending points to at least one sequel.

A fresh premise, good pacing, surprising twists and engaging characters all combine to make this a series worth following. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-229996-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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