Yep turns to pure fantasy in this story of a several-hundred-year-old dragon princess traveling the land with a young orphan boy. The two befriend each other on first encounter when he is ridiculed for seeing a unicorn and she is disguised as a helpless old woman. Soon they are up against a common enemy and fleeing together as the dragon, Shimmer, takes her true shape and carries Thorn, the boy, on her back. Despite Shimmer's contempt for humans, she allows Thorn to accompany her in pursuit of Civet, a witch who has stolen the dragon tribe's inland sea. Thereafter Thorn is determined to prove himself useful, Shimmer continues to insist regally that she needs no such help, and each saves the other's life several times over. Their quest takes them into the ever-denser forest of the wicked Keeper, who battles them in midair with his monstrous pets and a magical burning net. Outdoing the keeper, they make their painful way across the dragons' old dried-up salt seafloor; battle Civet's tigers inside the Weeping Mountain; and finally defeat the witch with a hair from the tail of that Chinese folk hero Monkey—but then take pity on the culprit, and spare her, when they hear her story of betrayal. Yep does not appear to have any compelling reason for bringing these two together and putting them through this course, which borrows elements from Chinese legend (as he explains in a note), but seems well within the mode of our juvenile fantasies, even to the motif of the reluctant developing friendship. But for fanciers of fantasy as travelogue of enchantment, there are descriptive passages of spotlight intensity and an overlay of visual embroidery—plus attention to the protagonists' physical sensations, including those involved in the process of changing from human to dragon form.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1982

ISBN: 0064402274

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1982

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.


In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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