A comic romp that’s also an enlightening quest for increased awareness and self-understanding.

DON'T VOTE FOR ME

An impulsive comment regarding the upcoming election for class president propels 12-year-old David into the candidate’s spot.

When he learns that current president and reigning popular girl Veronica is going to run uncontested yet again, self-proclaimed band geek and trumpet player David takes a stand. However, as David contemplates his campaign, he and Veronica are invited to perform a duet at their school recital. Through their practice sessions, David discovers that Veronica’s life is not as ideal as he perceived. Subsequent encounters with Veronica’s parents illuminate her complicated, challenging family life. While David enters the election seeking to change things, the biggest change occurs within him after a series of revelations challenges David’s assumptions about Veronica, as well as another student in the popular group. Van Dolzer alternates the humor of David’s election-race antics with introspective moments focusing on his changing perceptions of Veronica’s situation. David’s narrative is a blend of candor and wry humor, conveying his earnestness beneath his uncertainty and bluster. His growing understanding of Veronica’s struggle to achieve her dreams in music and life contributes to his increasing ambivalence about the election. Ultimately, David’s emerging maturity is honestly won and will resonate with readers.

A comic romp that’s also an enlightening quest for increased awareness and self-understanding. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4926-0941-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel...

WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER

Thanks to her love of flowers, Delia has become a sort of apprentice to talented gardener Old Red and is devastated when he begins to show signs of encroaching dementia.

With all of the confidence of youth, she holds in her heart the belief that perhaps with her help—and that of all his loving neighbors—she can preserve his memories by collecting favorite stories about the beloved man. As she moves through the months, she records (in a rather mature first-person) both the tasks she completes in the garden as well as the stories she collects about him, also describing Red’s tragically inexorable decline. Delia’s surrounded by loving adults, and she shares her grief with best friend Mae and new love interest Tommy, as well as receiving support from members of her church; with these relationships, this warm effort neatly captures the strength of a close-knit community and the tight bonds that can form between the very old and the young. The 13-year-old’s often lyrical prose is attractive, even though it sometimes strays toward a more adult-sounding voice. Her frustration, fear and sense of loss will be readily recognizable to others who have experienced dementia in a loved one, and her story may provide some guidance on how to move down that rocky path toward acceptance and letting go.

What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel compassionately conveys. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60898-166-3

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Namelos

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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