From the Ruby Redfort series , Vol. 6

This final installment offers more than the usual complement of cliffhangers, daring escapes, and surprises; fans of this...

The young agent and codebreaking genius, recruited by the secret Spectrum organization, risks life and limb to uncover the traitor within its ranks.

With Spectrum agents sidelined while the traitor remains at large, Ruby’s forced to take survival-training classes. (Lessons in surviving an avalanche and avoiding hypothermia soon come in handy.) Is the traitor the same evildoer who terrifies even an archvillain like the Count? The answer may lie in Spectrum’s only other child spy, Bradley Baker. Ruby’s research takes her to Spectrum’s well-protected underwater vault on Meteor Island, where she learns that Baker, believed killed in a plane crash, may still be alive. Ruby’s familiar sidekicks return: loyal friend Clancy; housekeeper and TV bingo addict Mrs. Digby; Ruby’s clueless parents; and Hitch, posing as the family butler to keep an eye on Ruby. As clues pile up, new dangers loom; Ruby evades them with panache and nifty high-tech gadgetry, including a bicycle with a hyperspeed setting and a fur cape that doubles as a parachute. Readers can try a few codes that Ruby cracks (they’re explained in an afterword). Ruby’s world remains a largely white one; its decidedly retro atmosphere (a 1970s California that feels more like the ’50s) is reinforced by the narrative’s meandering pace, asides, and non sequiturs.

This final installment offers more than the usual complement of cliffhangers, daring escapes, and surprises; fans of this droll, quirky, and sui generis series won’t be disappointed. (note) (Mystery. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5472-6

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018


Characteristically provocative gothic comedy, with sublime undertones. (Autobiographical fiction. 11-13)

An exhilarating summer marked by death, gore and fire sparks deep thoughts in a small-town lad not uncoincidentally named “Jack Gantos.”

The gore is all Jack’s, which to his continuing embarrassment “would spray out of my nose holes like dragon flames” whenever anything exciting or upsetting happens. And that would be on every other page, seemingly, as even though Jack’s feuding parents unite to ground him for the summer after several mishaps, he does get out. He mixes with the undertaker’s daughter, a band of Hell’s Angels out to exact fiery revenge for a member flattened in town by a truck and, especially, with arthritic neighbor Miss Volker, for whom he furnishes the “hired hands” that transcribe what becomes a series of impassioned obituaries for the local paper as elderly town residents suddenly begin passing on in rapid succession. Eventually the unusual body count draws the—justified, as it turns out—attention of the police. Ultimately, the obits and the many Landmark Books that Jack reads (this is 1962) in his hours of confinement all combine in his head to broaden his perspective about both history in general and the slow decline his own town is experiencing.

Characteristically provocative gothic comedy, with sublime undertones. (Autobiographical fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-37993-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011


Who can't love a story about a Nigerian-American 12-year-old with albinism who discovers latent magical abilities and saves the world? Sunny lives in Nigeria after spending the first nine years of her life in New York. She can't play soccer with the boys because, as she says, "being albino made the sun my enemy," and she has only enemies at school. When a boy in her class, Orlu, rescues her from a beating, Sunny is drawn in to a magical world she's never known existed. Sunny, it seems, is a Leopard person, one of the magical folk who live in a world mostly populated by ignorant Lambs. Now she spends the day in mundane Lamb school and sneaks out at night to learn magic with her cadre of Leopard friends: a handsome American bad boy, an arrogant girl who is Orlu’s childhood friend and Orlu himself. Though Sunny's initiative is thin—she is pushed into most of her choices by her friends and by Leopard adults—the worldbuilding for Leopard society is stellar, packed with details that will enthrall readers bored with the same old magical worlds. Meanwhile, those looking for a touch of the familiar will find it in Sunny's biggest victories, which are entirely non-magical (the detailed dynamism of Sunny's soccer match is more thrilling than her magical world saving). Ebulliently original. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-670-01196-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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