A fantastic second addition to an already-acclaimed series.

THE LAST MIRROR ON THE LEFT

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 2

The Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County are back in a new multiverse adventure.

In the series opener, readers were introduced to the detective team of cousins Sheed and Otto Alston when they went toe-to-toe with the time-stopping Mr. Flux. A mirror “borrowed” from the Rorrim Mirror Emporium in downtown Fry to resolve that showdown sets off the journey of this sequel, as the boys are magically reminded by Missus Nedraw that the Emporium is no ordinary house of mirrors. Yes, behind the mirrors lie whole new worlds where Missus Nedraw and the menacing-looking Judge reign over the Multiverse Justice System. The word is that they need Otto and Sheed to recapture an extraordinarily dangerous criminal who has escaped, but something seems not quite right about this setup—something more insidious than the reality-bending rules of this dimension they’ve entered, including a gang of spiders who call themselves the ArachnoBRObia. Even more complicated, Otto worries that Sheed is in need of a checkup but knows he will refuse to self-advocate for a doctor’s visit. Otto can’t just let his detective partner lapse into what might be an even more serious health condition. This heartwarming adventure centers on the caring relationship between two Black boys while driving home a lesson about what justice might truly be.

A fantastic second addition to an already-acclaimed series. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-12941-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

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 sweet adventure and a paean to imagination and childhood innocence.

THE LAND OF ROAR

From the Land of Roar series , Vol. 1

A fantasy world comes to life and lures its young creators back into it in this imaginative middle-grade debut and U.K. import.

Narrator Arthur always loved playing make-believe in Grandad’s attic with his twin sister, Rose. Years ago they dreamed up Roar, a magical land that they entered via an old fold-up cot that acted as a portal. Now that they are 11 and starting school at Langdon Academy, Rose has new friends and wants nothing to do with her brother or their imaginary world. Rose may be done with Roar, but it’s not finished with her. When their grandfather is kidnapped and taken into Roar, Arthur and Rose must team up to mount a rescue mission. McLachlan does an excellent job of establishing the sibling tension before introducing the fantasy elements, and Rose’s desire to grow up and fit in feels as familiar and accessible as Arthur’s yearning to remain a child. While obviously reminiscent of classic fantasy, this narrative’s sheer inventiveness marks it as distinct. The twins’ widowed grandfather, a larger-than-life jokester from Mauritius, is a Peter Pan–like figure whose abduction brings the narrative into Roar, allowing the text and Mantle’s illustrations to go wild with creativity. The use of a wordless double-page spread to depict Arthur’s arrival into the fantasy realm is particularly inventive. Arthur and Rose are depicted as kids of color.

A sweet adventure and a paean to imagination and childhood innocence. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-298271-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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