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All monsters, all the time…well, except for those pirates.

A talented young gadgeteer joins the defenders of humanity’s scattered remnants against sea monsters of myth, legend, and prehistory.

Fifty years after the event known as the Tide Rising turned Earth into an ocean planet, 12-year-old Berkley and her best friend, Garth, work as scavengers on the Atlas, the decaying former cruise ship that is their home. Life is hard: Child labor is a necessity, people are crowded onto ships, and the diet is monotonously fish-based. Scavenging is dangerous work that involves diving for materials in abandoned towns now underwater. The two friends are recruited to join the crew of the Britannica, a research submarine designed to study the resurgent flood of marine creatures formerly thought legendary or extinct. Martin positively pours the monsters into this action-oriented adventure, drawing on both outside sources and her imagination to engineer a nonstop series of brushes with boojums ranging from mighty megalodon and evocatively named Hydramonsterus serpentinius to a glutinous “hidden-fanged loogie” and Elmer, a gigantic octopus more mischievous than malign. As, along the way to a climactic rescue, the Britannica is rammed, swallowed whole, even attacked by pirates, Berkley plunges enthusiastically into both studies and narrow squeaks…leaving her well set up for future exploits and terrifying encounters. Berkley and Garth present as White; the supporting cast is varied in skin tone.

All monsters, all the time…well, except for those pirates. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-289438-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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Cinematic, over-the-top decadence, a tense race against time, and lessons on what’s truly valuable.

A reward of $5,000,000 almost ruins everything for two seventh graders.

On a class trip to New York City, Felix and Benji find a wallet belonging to social media billionaire Laura Friendly. Benji, a well-off, chaotic kid with learning disabilities, swipes $20 from the wallet before they send it back to its owner. Felix, a poor, shy, rule-follower, reluctantly consents. So when Laura Friendly herself arrives to give them a reward for the returned wallet, she’s annoyed. To teach her larcenous helpers a lesson, Laura offers them a deal: a $20,000 college scholarship or slightly over $5 million cash—but with strings attached. The boys must spend all the money in 30 days, with legal stipulations preventing them from giving anything away, investing, or telling anyone about it. The glorious windfall quickly grows to become a chore and then a torment as the boys appear increasingly selfish and irresponsible to the adults in their lives. They rent luxury cars, hire a (wonderful) philosophy undergrad as a chauffeur, take their families to Disney World, and spend thousands on in-app game purchases. Yet, surrounded by hedonistically described piles of loot and filthy lucre, the boys long for simpler fundamentals. The absorbing spending spree reads like a fun family film, gleefully stuffed with the very opulence it warns against. Major characters are White.

Cinematic, over-the-top decadence, a tense race against time, and lessons on what’s truly valuable. (mathematical explanations) (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-17525-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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