Well-meaning but problematic. (Fiction. 12-14)



From the One-2-One series , Vol. 3

Alternating chapters tell the story of two teens who meet through their high school’s Best Buddies program, which pairs cognitively normative students with those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Madeline, a 14-year-old freshman, still copes with the effects of a traumatic brain injury she suffered falling off her bike six years before. Her Best Buddy, Justin, a senior, is dealing with his mother’s severe depression following the death of his autistic younger sister from anorexia. Madeline persuades Justin to accompany her to the ranch where she works with miniature therapy horses; Justin gets his mother to come along. Meanwhile Becky, Maddie’s twin, has started sneaking out with new goth friends. That’s a lot of melodrama for a brief novel, but what’s worse is the subtle thread of ableism running through the book. In the sections narrated by Maddie, her literary voice sounds neurotypical, but her spoken voice and actions are slow and incoherent. “We get called a lot of names,” she tells readers, “losers, dummies, brain-deads.” Meanwhile, Justin’s mother refuses therapy and medication (it makes her “dopey”), but she substantially recovers when Justin takes her to the horses—dangerously stereotyping antidepressants and making Justin the savior. The IDD members of the Best Buddies club are all identified by their disabilities alone, while the normative members run the show.

Well-meaning but problematic. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-988347-03-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Clockwise Press

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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