Only for readers who want to follow the Yellow Brick Road into Sweet Valley High

READ REVIEW

BEWITCHED IN OZ

In an Oz where magic has been outlawed, a group of teens seeks to practice their talents freely.

Zerie has superspeed, Vashti can levitate things, and Tabitha can make herself disappear. Later, they discover that Brink, that cute Ned Springer’s dorky little brother, can cast illusions. They practice in secret, as discovery would lead to submersion in the Water of Oblivion, Ozma’s penalty for the illegal use of magic. When the Winged Monkeys apprehend Tabitha to take her to Ozma, Zerie, Vashti and Brink head to Glinda’s palace with the fitful guidance of the Glass Cat in the hope that she will take their side. Burns’ foray into the Oz mythos is an uneasy blend of Baum canon and vapid teen series fiction. Burns’ introduction of a pair of sweethearts, one a Flutterbudget and the other a Rigmarole, is a real treat, and her sense of geography is as goofily arbitrary as Baum’s. But her protagonists are 16, somewhat older than Baum’s Dorothy, and one tiresome subplot involves Zerie and Vashti’s mutual crush on Ned; the question of who “likes” whom is plumbed so often the book begins to feel like a middle school cafeteria. The plot itself—teens fighting for self-actualization in the face of Ozma’s tyranny—rings inherently false, with insufficient back story to justify it.

Only for readers who want to follow the Yellow Brick Road into Sweet Valley High . (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62370-129-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Finalist

GHOST

From the Track series , Vol. 1

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw feels like he’s been running ever since his dad pulled that gun on him and his mom—and used it.

His dad’s been in jail three years now, but Ghost still feels the trauma, which is probably at the root of the many “altercations” he gets into at middle school. When he inserts himself into a practice for a local elite track team, the Defenders, he’s fast enough that the hard-as-nails coach decides to put him on the team. Ghost is surprised to find himself caring enough about being on the team that he curbs his behavior to avoid “altercations.” But Ma doesn’t have money to spare on things like fancy running shoes, so Ghost shoplifts a pair that make his feet feel impossibly light—and his conscience correspondingly heavy. Ghost’s narration is candid and colloquial, reminiscent of such original voices as Bud Caldwell and Joey Pigza; his level of self-understanding is both believably childlike and disarming in its perception. He is self-focused enough that secondary characters initially feel one-dimensional, Coach in particular, but as he gets to know them better, so do readers, in a way that unfolds naturally and pleasingly. His three fellow “newbies” on the Defenders await their turns to star in subsequent series outings. Characters are black by default; those few white people in Ghost’s world are described as such.

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5015-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more