Still, for many who pick it up, well-developed characters and a mild mystery may not be enough to sustain interest in this...

A SUMMER OF SUNDAYS

An almost 12-year-old girl tries to distinguish herself from her five boisterous siblings in a very quiet coming-of-age tale.

Eland (Scones and Sensibility, 2010) has crafted another thoughtful, slow-paced, character-driven story. The experience of being accidentally left behind at a service station as her family makes the trip to a small Pennsylvania town, where her father has been rehabbing the library, perfectly sums up for Sunday the position she holds: She’s always hidden by the crowd. When her family returns a couple of hours later, not because they noticed her missing but because they lost their way, it reinforces her need to find a way to stand out among her siblings. Discovery of an old manuscript in the library cellar, possibly penned by an iconic and reclusive author, might provide the path to fame. Sunday, a strong reader who celebrates the value of good books, teams up with Jude, a sensitive local boy, to investigate the growing evidence that the story is somehow linked to an infamously withdrawn local man, Ben. Sunday’s competent, low-key parents and realistically depicted, lively siblings are lovingly portrayed and may amuse readers growing up in more typical small families.

Still, for many who pick it up, well-developed characters and a mild mystery may not be enough to sustain interest in this overlong effort. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60684-030-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star.

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DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP

A teenager faces seemingly insurmountable challenges in this riveting modern-day spinoff of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

For Ana Dakkar and her fellow ninth graders at Harding-Pencroft Academy, there is nothing more momentous than the weekend trials each student must ace at the end of freshman year. Students who fail to showcase their survival skills are asked to leave the academy, a heavily guarded place Ana has thought of as home since the mysterious deaths of her parents. Though Ana’s brother, Dev, is a senior, what happens at trials is such a closely guarded secret that no one in her year knows what to expect. While her group is out on the water for their trials, Harding-Pencroft is demolished in an attack orchestrated by a rival school. As Ana and her classmates discover that the events depicted in Jules Verne’s classic novels were real, Riordan’s lifelong love of the source material is clear—especially when Ana learns information that will help her find a way to protect the group. A foreword by Roshani Chokshi introduces this adventure that is both great entertainment and centers a well-developed protagonist who is thoughtfully shown dealing with loss. Ana is of Bundeli Indian descent, and her group of peers, who are diverse in various ways, experience losses and struggles of their own. (Final illustrations not seen.)

A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star. (Harding-Pencroft Academy guide, cast list) (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07792-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when...

ASHES TO ASHEVILLE

Two sisters make an unauthorized expedition to their former hometown and in the process bring together the two parts of their divided family.

Dooley packs plenty of emotion into this eventful road trip, which takes place over the course of less than 24 hours. Twelve-year-old Ophelia, nicknamed Fella, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany, are the daughters of a lesbian couple, Shannon and Lacy, who could not legally marry. The two white girls squabble and share memories as they travel from West Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina, where Zany is determined to scatter Mama Lacy’s ashes in accordance with her wishes. The year is 2004, before the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, and the girls have been separated by hostile, antediluvian custodial laws. Fella’s present-tense narration paints pictures not just of the difficulties they face on the trip (a snowstorm, car trouble, and an unlikely thief among them), but also of their lives before Mama Lacy’s illness and of the ways that things have changed since then. Breathless and engaging, Fella’s distinctive voice is convincingly childlike. The conversations she has with her sister, as well as her insights about their relationship, likewise ring true. While the girls face serious issues, amusing details and the caring adults in their lives keep the tone relatively light.

Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when Fella’s family figures out how to come together in a new way . (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16504-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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