An accessible story for examining important issues.

READ REVIEW

JUSTICE

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

LEGEND

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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Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun.

STARSIGHT

From the Skyward series , Vol. 2

As if the threat of huge, raging monsters from hyperspace isn’t scary enough, hotshot fighter pilot Spensa Nightshade becomes embroiled in an alien empire’s politics.

On a desperate mission to steal hyperdrive technology from the crablike invading Krell who are threatening to destroy her beleaguered home colony on Detritus, Spensa, who is white, holographically disguises herself as a violet-skinned UrDail and slips into a Krell pilot training program for “lesser species.” The discovery that she’s being secretly trained not to fight planet-destroying delvers but to exterminate humans, who are (with some justification, having kindled three interstellar wars in past centuries) regarded in certain quarters as an irrationally aggressive species, is just one in a string of revelations as, in between numerous near-death experiences on practice flights, she struggles to understand both her own eerie abilities and the strange multispecies society in which she finds herself. There are so many characters besides Spensa searching for self-identity—notably her comic-relief sidekick AI M-Bot, troubled human friend Jorgen back on Detritus, and Morriumur, member of a species whose color-marked sexes create trial offspring—that even with a plot that defaults to hot action and escalating intrigue the pacing has a stop and start quality. Still, Spensa’s habitual over-the-top recklessness adds a rousing spark, and the author folds in plenty of banter as well as a colorful supporting cast.

Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun. (Science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55581-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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