A by-the-numbers high school story with shallow characters and misplaced values.

READ REVIEW

SURVIVING HIGH SCHOOL

Vine star Pons crafts a high school novel with herself as protagonist.

Lele Pons is your typical social media star: pretty, quirky, insecure, and sensitive. She stumbles her way through high school by day and carves out an Internet presence for herself by night. When her parents transfer her from a small Catholic school to a large Miami public school, conspicuously blonde Latina Lele makes the best of things, acquiring a black friend, a mean-white-girl enemy, and a pretty-white-boy crush. Lele does her best to balance her school life with her escalating Internet fandom, one that explodes over the course of the school year. Pons and co-author de la Cruz craft an unremarkable narrative; the characters are all fairly one-note, and nothing really dramatic ever happens. Crushes blossom and wither while friendships deepen, but a new spoke is never added to that tired wheel. Pons uses the quick wit developed by her Vines to move things forward at a remarkable pace, constantly sprinkling in silly asides—as well as hashtags, Webspeak, and references to her Rapunzel-like hair. She puts an inordinate emphasis on the value of physical attractiveness, financial gain, and fame. Lele wants to be a famous actress, emphasis on famous, with little interest in theater or the acting craft, which may play well to her fans but will alienate her fellow aspiring thespians.

A by-the-numbers high school story with shallow characters and misplaced values. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2053-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

LEGEND

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.

A MAP OF DAYS

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more