In a debut novel lit by animated, engaging characters, a spirited teenager navigates her way through a bitter custody fight. Mac's wish is to have her old, settled life back; instead, she is tossed back and forth between her passive father and obsessive, career-driven mother. Meanwhile, she spills her feelings to readers, her therapist, and to Henrietta Porter LePage Middleton, a huge-hearted, seventysomething, court-appointed guardian with whom readers will, as Mac does, instantly fall in love. Self- possessed for 13, Mac sees her parents and their expensive lawyers using her as a game piece, so she ``hires'' a lawyer of her own: Drayton Guerard, a rumpled, savvy male counterpart to Henrietta with a streak of idealism. With Henrietta's death, Drayton steps in decisively, arranging with the court to have Mac stay put while her parents learn to shuttle back and forth on alternate weeks. Readers will find this turnabout fitting and take heart from the reminder that they have rights, too. Robinson sketches characters and relationships with wonderful deftness, delivering Mac's thoughts in a calm but not distant tone; the story is set in Charleston and evokes that town's unhurried grace. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-395-72772-3

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


When Clara Luna, 14, visits rural Mexico for the summer to visit the paternal grandparents she has never met, she cannot know her trip will involve an emotional and spiritual journey into her family’s past and a deep connection to a rich heritage of which she was barely aware. Long estranged from his parents, Clara’s father had entered the U.S. illegally years before, subsequently becoming a successful business owner who never spoke about what he left behind. Clara’s journey into her grandmother’s history (told in alternating chapters with Clara’s own first-person narrative) and her discovery that she, like her grandmother and ancestors, has a gift for healing, awakens her to the simple, mystical joys of a rural lifestyle she comes to love and wholly embrace. Painfully aware of not fitting into suburban teen life in her native Maryland, Clara awakens to feeling alive in Mexico and realizes a sweet first love with Pedro, a charming goat herder. Beautifully written, this is filled with evocative language that is rich in imagery and nuance and speaks to the connections that bind us all. Add a thrilling adventure and all the makings of an entrancing read are here. (glossaries) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-73343-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


Dare-devil mountain-climber Peak Marcello (14), decides to scale the Woolworth Building and lands in jail. To save him, his long-lost Everest-trekking dad appears with a plan for the duo to make a life in Katmandu—a smokescreen to make Peak become the youngest person in history to summit Mount Everest. Peak must learn to navigate the extreme and exotic terrain but negotiate a code of ethics among men. This and other elements such as the return of the long-lost father, bite-size chunks of information about climbing and altitude, an all-male cast, competition and suspense (can Peak be the youngest ever to summit Everest, and can he beat out a 14-year-old Nepalese boy who accompanies him?) creates the tough stuff of a “boys read.” The narrative offers enough of a bumpy ride to satisfy thrill seekers, while Peak’s softer reflective quality lends depth and some—but not too much—emotional resonance. Teachers will want to pair this with Mark Pfetzer’s Within Reach: My Everest Story (1998). (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-202417-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet