A formulaic story that will appeal to dance fanatics.


From the Orca Limelights series

A teen with a ballet obsession learns to appreciate modern dance.

When she was 4, Meg’s parents took her to a performance of The Nutcracker, and her “ballet obsession” began. Now, after ninth grade, her summer class is canceled, so Meg’s parents send her to Camp Dance for two weeks. She has no interest in any other form of dance and does not make new friends easily, but her ballet instructor believes that, while her technique is excellent, her stage presence and ability to relate to the audience are lacking. She is decidedly uncomfortable with modern dance, jazz and hip-hop, has a bunk mate who is antagonistic and cannot text because cellphones are not permitted. Nio, a boy who likes to dance, befriends her and encourages her in spite of her obtuseness. She understands how to dance specific steps; interpretation stymies her. It is her interest in fashion—designer names are dropped frequently—and her gradual willingness to combine ballet and modern dance steps that save the day and the camp experience. The story, told in Meg’s voice, revolves around dance class, camp life and the obligatory student performance. The characters are more stereotyped than individualistic, and the finale proceeds with predictability.

A formulaic story that will appeal to dance fanatics. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0280-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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