A beautifully executed, much-needed portrayal.

UNEARTHED

A JESSICA CRUZ STORY

As a mayoral candidate ushers in a surge of harsher anti-immigrant rhetoric and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids across Coast City, a young hero discovers within herself the courage and hope needed to take a stand.

It’s a pivotal period in Jessica Cruz’s life, with her junior year of high school bringing college-related deadlines, a museum fellowship, and rigorous academic work. There’s also the undocumented status she shares with her parents weighing on her mind as well as a complicated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewal form. Though the pressures of school, her family’s expectations, and her DACA status fall heavily on Jessica’s shoulders, the growing success of xenophobic candidate Fernanda Villamontes and the increasing presence of ICE in her community exacerbate the ever looming threat of deportation, enough to make a permanent return to Mexico appealing for her and her family. Then Jessica’s nightmares come true when her father is arrested by ICE agents. Feeling isolated, Jessica grapples with her fears in dreams in which Aztec gods—Chalchiuhtlicue, Goddess of the Jade Skirt, and Tezcatlipoca, God of the Smoking Mirror—pull her between love and anger, friendship and conflict. Bolstered by some excellently vibrant, folk-art–flavored illustration, this DC hero’s origin story deftly weaves in contemporary societal issues with a cleareyed optimism that encourages and informs. Still, it’s a heart-wrenching read at times. In the end, a community’s strength and resolve prove crucial.

A beautifully executed, much-needed portrayal. (Graphic fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-051-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2021

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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