TRAPPED!

CAGES OF MIND AND BODY

A collection of eclectic short stories by contemporary YA authors that address the theme of being trapped, literally or metaphorically. The resulting dozen tales are as varied as the contributors, ranging from David Skinner’s modern fairy tale about a princess frozen in a block of ice to Gary Crew’s eerie glimpse of a Vietnam veteran trapped within his own mind. Marc Talbert’s characters are physically trapped by a forest fire, then morally trapped when they realize they are responsible for the blaze. Should they tell? Walter Dean Myers’s contribution appears in two columns on the page, one recounting a young man’s conversation with his psychiatrist, the other revealing a very different narrative inside his mind. Francesca Lia Block explores the trap of anorexia and Rita Williams-Garcia pens a short play about a drive-by shooting. On the lighter side, Joan Bauer’s heroine, a perfectionist-waitress, comes unraveled trying to satisfy a Sunday morning crowd of pancake eaters all by herself. At the height of the frenzy she stands on a counter and shouts, “We’re out of sausage and it’s not my fault!” Although the theme provokes occasional forced or heavy-handed moments, this is a strong collection, thought-provoking and well worth reading. (Short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: July 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-689-81335-X

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1998

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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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Nixon (Will’s Story, not reviewed, etc.) has built a solid reputation as a master of mysteries for young teenagers, and in...

PLAYING FOR KEEPS

Sixteen-year-old Rose Ann, on a Caribbean cruise with her grandmother, becomes involved in the political intrigue surrounding the defection of Enrique, a teenaged Cuban baseball player. His uncle, a well-known major-leaguer who had previously defected from Cuba, has smuggled him on board. Rose discovers the plan and enlists the help of other teenagers to keep Enrique safely under wraps so that he can set foot on American soil. If he’s captured at sea, he must be returned to Cuba. This is no lighthearted romp, for Enrique’s entire future (and possibly his very life) is at stake. Cuban officials attempt to frame him for a murder, so they might arrest him and remove him from the ship. Other murders are committed and must be solved. Sprinkle in parent problems, romance, and a little teen angst and you have a fast-paced, engaging mystery. It is by no means a perfect example of the genre: some of the clues are a little obvious and several of the characters are one-dimensional. Story elements are introduced and then dropped with a thud, violating even the most basic concept of the red herring. However, Rose is a delightful character. She is observant, intelligent, compassionate, and downright plucky. Enrique’s situation is compelling and timely.

Nixon (Will’s Story, not reviewed, etc.) has built a solid reputation as a master of mysteries for young teenagers, and in spite of its flaws, this one is sure to please her fans. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32759-5

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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