An accessible story for examining important issues.


An African American teen learns tough lessons about fairness.

Justice begins his day thinking about the makeup test he faces following a failed English exam. He wants to keep this from his mother, knowing she would be upset. As is stands, she seems irritated and worried, and he tries to reassure her that he is careful in his actions. He thinks about his friend Eric’s ease with everyone, including the young ladies. Justice is interested in one special girl, Ebony, a biracial (Japanese and black) teen in his English class—which also happens to be his favorite, taught by a teacher he likes. In a school full of African American teens, Ms. Clarendon, a white woman from Scandinavia, is open, popular, and encouraging. Justice is devastated when he sees Ebony taking something from Ms. Clarendon’s purse but even more upset when Ms. Clarendon accuses him of being the thief. The challenge of standing up for himself while attempting to help a girl he cares for gives Justice a powerful lesson in life’s realities for a young man of color. This text for reluctant readers shows how issues of fairness for African American teens often happen in everyday places such as school and home. The narrative has little nuance but is full of the concerns that affect many black teens and will provide a good basis for discussion.

An accessible story for examining important issues. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: June 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5383-8423-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: West 44 Books

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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