CHILD X

Thirteen-year-old Jules Cheney’s father, Ben, is her devoted chauffeur, cook, and confidante until a fight between him and Jules’s workaholic mother forces him to leave without a trace. Jules discovers—along with the rest of the world—Ben’s anguish when she reads in the newspaper that he is not her biological father, has prompted an unprecedented court case in which he demands monetary restitution for his years of fatherhood, and can no longer bear to see Jules. As a result, Jules becomes Child X to the press, an attempt to protect her identity that only leads to public scrutiny among the media, camera crews documenting her every move, and humiliation at school. As she grapples with blaming her mother, Ben, and even herself, Jules also bravely stands up for her own needs from the media and as a daughter. Throughout this tragedy, Jules, having caught the acting bug like her Uncle Derek, auditions for and takes the part of Lyra in a community production of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights (American readers know it as The Golden Compass). First-time author Weatherly draws interesting parallels between these two British heroines and leaves many clues about the identity of Father X as well as enormous holes in the logic. The resilient and endearing Jules narrates her own story in an authentic voice, but the overall impression is that of a made-for-TV movie. Melodrama with teen style. (Fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: June 11, 2002

ISBN: 0-385-75009-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

An engaging novel-in-poems that imagines one earnest, impassioned teenage girl’s experience of the Japanese-American...

DUST OF EDEN

Crystal-clear prose poems paint a heart-rending picture of 13-year-old Mina Masako Tagawa’s journey from Seattle to a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.

This vividly wrought story of displacement, told from Mina’s first-person perspective, begins as it did for so many Japanese-Americans: with the bombs dropping on Pearl Harbor. The backlash of her Seattle community is instantaneous (“Jap, Jap, Jap, the word bounces / around the walls of the hall”), and Mina chronicles its effects on her family with a heavy heart. “I am an American, I scream / in my head, but my mouth is stuffed / with rocks; my body is a stone, like the statue / of a little Buddha Grandpa prays to.” When Roosevelt decrees that West Coast Japanese-Americans are to be imprisoned in inland camps, the Tagawas board up their house, leaving the cat, Grandpa’s roses and Mina’s best friend behind. Following the Tagawas from Washington’s Puyallup Assembly Center to Idaho’s Minidoka Relocation Center (near the titular town of Eden), the narrative continues in poems and letters. In them, injustices such as endless camp lines sit alongside even larger ones, such as the government’s asking interned young men, including Mina’s brother, to fight for America.

An engaging novel-in-poems that imagines one earnest, impassioned teenage girl’s experience of the Japanese-American internment. (historical note) (Verse/historical fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1739-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more