The humor is both dark and madcap, including footnote asides and commercial scripts that keep the laughs coming. (Fiction....

BEAUTY QUEENS

This inventive satire mocks celebrity culture while celebrating the resilience of teen girls.

Printz Award–winning author Bray (Going Bovine, 2009) plunges into cultural criticism with her latest teen novel. The plane carrying the 50 Miss Teen Dream Pageant contestants crashes on a remote desert island, and the survivors must channel the skills that made them successful on runways to keep themselves alive until they can be rescued. (“From Ladybird Hope’s I’m Perfect and You Can Be Too, Chapter Three: ‘A lady’s quick thinking can save a bad situation.’ She was talking about putting nail polish on a runner in your hose, but I think the same rule applies here.”) Unfortunately, their sponsor decides there is better press in avenging their deaths than in mounting a rescue and sets that scenario in motion. An encounter with the stars of a pirate-themed reality-TV show highlights their vulnerability. By now, though, genuine survival skills have been honed, and the teens foil the dastardly plot. While the foibles of today’s media/celebrity/political culture are the clear target of this stinging satire, the teen cast is funny and endearing in its own right. As the story unfolds, each girl’s back story and actions under duress reveal a unique character.

The humor is both dark and madcap, including footnote asides and commercial scripts that keep the laughs coming. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 24, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-439-89597-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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