FIGHTER

From the Cap Central series , Vol. 1

Easily angered Jair picks a fight with outsider Zander in a compassionate and efficiently told tale.

Berated by his father and responsible for his two younger siblings, Jair takes comfort in the fact that pretty, popular Keisha has just chatted with him online. When Zander, a new kid from LA, shows up at school wearing aqua and purple clothing and immediately gains Keisha’s attention, Jair decides Zander needs “to be taught a lesson.” The story is told from both teens’ perspectives, and in Zander’s chapters, readers see a different story: The son of an Air Force colonel and a mother deployed to Afghanistan, Zander has moved repeatedly from place to place, is constantly picked on for being a new kid and has developed fighting skills to keep the bullies away. Trying to turn over a new leaf, Zander tries his hardest to refuse to fight Jair; when Jair corners him, however, Zander wins their fight, and Jair leaves humiliated. Complicated and timely topics, from cyberbullying to homophobia, are treated carefully here. Jair’s decision to seek out a gun to prove his toughness feels at once believable and dangerous, but this is no scare-’em-straight story. Instead, the tension between Jair and Zander resolves in a way that feels true to their characters and avoids both melodrama and triteness.

Simple and powerful. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62250-705-4

Page Count: 140

Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Rags to riches with a British twist.

HELLO, CRUEL HEART

Penniless 16-year-old orphan Estella dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer but survives by robbing rich tourists in swinging 1960s London.

After her mother died in a freak accident, Estella moved to the city, bunking down in the Lair, a grimy pad in a bombed-out building, with her chosen family of fellow thieves Horace and Jasper. Although she flunked out of school, Estella has exceptional design talent and is determined to excel in the field. A pair of well-connected trust-fund twins dazzle her with their carefree, affluent lifestyle and groovy circle of friends, and they ultimately exploit her by bartering her fashion skills for accommodation and friendship. Estella soon learns that their glamorous lifestyle is shallow and their friendships, fickle, and she realizes that she will have to find her own way in life. Estella’s complete naïveté in the face of wealth and sophistication is convincingly drawn, and her fashionista ability is fun and engaging; the ending brings a twist that readers may not see coming. The story contains peripheral references to One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Estella has Cruella de Vil black-and-white hair, which she disguises with red dye, and a Cruella alter ego who pops up in her head in moments of crisis and helps her remain true to herself. All characters present White.

Rags to riches with a British twist. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05776-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more