UNCOVERING SADIE’S SECRETS

Publicized as the first in a series of mysteries featuring Bianca Balducci, 15-year-old high-school sleuth, this effort from first-time novelist Sternberg should satisfy mystery lovers, though it will likely annoy forward-thinking young women. High-school sophomore Bianca confines most of her attention to attracting Doug, whom she hopes will become her first official boyfriend, until Sadie Sinclair suddenly arrives in her school. Sadie exudes mystery. She dresses like an extrovert, yet appears to be shy, and is pitifully happy when Bianca and the other girls accept her as a friend. She’s supposed to be only 15, yet she drives a car. Consumed with curiosity about Sadie and with hero-worship of her older sister Connie, a private detective, Bianca decides to investigate the strange new girl. What she discovers puts herself and Sadie into serious trouble, as well as continually interfering with Bianca and Doug’s romantic progress. While Sternberg emphasizes mystery and action elements, she doesn’t ignore deeper issues. She portrays Bianca as someone who genuinely cares about Sadie even while digging into Sadie’s past, rationalizing her actions with the idea the she’s really helping the girl. Too much moralizing at the end helps to tidy up Bianca’s growth experience, but the emphasis remains on mystery and suspense. It’s an extra entertainment for mystery fans, one for those who want a puzzle without a ghost or a murder and who don’t mind the retro girl stuff. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-890862-23-1

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Bancroft Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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DROUGHTS

This technical, comprehensive entry in the Dangerous Weather series explores the mystery of rain and what happens when it does not come. Allaby (Tornadoes, p. 1384) first defines drought before discussing the reasons for and results of long periods without rain. Readers will gain a clear understanding of scientific terms that are in use, about air movements in the tropics and subtropics, subtropical deserts, desert life, precipitation, evaporation, ocean currents, jet streams, blocking highs, and more. As with the previous book, it may not interest general readers, but it will make research a breeze and may inspire further inquiries into the subject of droughts and water conservation. (b&w photos, drawings, illustrations, charts, graphs, index, not seen) (Nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8160-3519-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Facts On File

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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MILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF YEARS AGO

DATING OUR EARTH AND ITS LIFE

In the Venture series, a discussion of scientific dating, including the study of tree rings, strata, varves, carbon remains, thermoluminescence, space rocks, and radioactivity. Using a clear, readable style and helpful drawings, Smith is most successful at presenting earlier methods. But when it comes to methods employing radioactivity, his descriptions are too brief to be very informative—e.g., ``This very difficult method [thermoluminescent dating] has given some useful results in dating pottery, bones, teeth, and volcanic ash that is relatively young, geologically speaking.'' Why difficult? How young is young? In generalizing about complex topics, it's especially important to list sources. None are given here; moreover, though geological dating is a rapidly changing field, more than half the titles listed for ``Further Reading'' are 20 years old or more. A book that attempts too much and falls short. Glossary; index. (Nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-531-12533-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1993

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