Exhausting and (un)crushworthy.

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TOTALLY CRUSHED

From the Project (Un)Popular series , Vol. 2

Following series opener Project (Un)Popular (2016), 12-year-old Perry once again finds herself in trouble for trying to help the school geeks become popular.

Her best friend, Venice, is distracted by her boyfriend. Her sister is evolving into a militant humanist vegan, and her parents refuse to allow her access to social media. Perry feels increasingly lost, but at least yearbook seems to be looking up. Anya, the back-stabbing photography editor, has been replaced by the uber-organized Javier. But while Perry wanted more responsibility, the load Javier places on her threatens to crush her. Soon Anya’s undermining her again, her sister’s got an insane idea to run off to Thailand, and a boy is crushing on her, all of which brings Perry to a breaking point. When she finally obtains access to PopRat, she decides to use the social media app to clear the air—but somehow, it makes everything a whole lot worse. The cast is somewhat racially diverse, but, Latino Javier excepted, the principals seem to be white. While the drama of crushes, frenemies, and hovering parents is spot-on, the portrayal of adults as clueless is over-the-top. Awkward dialogue and one-dimensional characters further hamper the story. But it is Perry’s tendency to hyperanalyze everything that suggests the drama is more within than without.

Exhausting and (un)crushworthy. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-51052-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

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The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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Moving and poetic.

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PAX

A motherless boy is forced to abandon his domesticated fox when his father decides to join soldiers in an approaching war.

Twelve-year-old Peter found his loyal companion, Pax, as an orphaned kit while still grieving his own mother’s death. Peter’s difficult and often harsh father said he could keep the fox “for now” but five years later insists the boy leave Pax by the road when he takes Peter to his grandfather’s house, hundreds of miles away. Peter’s journey back to Pax and Pax’s steadfastness in waiting for Peter’s return result in a tale of survival, intrinsic connection, and redemption. The battles between warring humans in the unnamed conflict remain remote, but the oncoming wave of deaths is seen through Pax’s eyes as woodland creatures are blown up by mines. While Pax learns to negotiate the complications of surviving in the wild and relating to other foxes, Peter breaks his foot and must learn to trust a seemingly eccentric woman named Vola who battles her own ghosts of war. Alternating chapters from the perspectives of boy and fox are perfectly paced and complementary. Only Peter, Pax, Vola, and three of Pax’s fox companions are named, conferring a spare, fablelike quality. Every moment in the graceful, fluid narrative is believable. Klassen’s cover art has a sense of contained, powerful stillness. (Interior illustrations not seen.)

Moving and poetic. (Animal fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-237701-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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