VEGAS TRYOUT

From the Podium Sports Academy series

An unremarkable entry into the already-crowded field of problem novels about teen girls and eating disorders.

Ever since she started taking birth-control pills to manage her acne, Carrie has been dissatisfied with the size and shape of her body. When her synchronized-swimming coach announces in front of the whole team that she wants Carrie to lose 10 pounds, the teen decides to take drastic measures. Almost immediately, she reduces her food intake to almost zero and records her calorie-counting and daily weigh-ins in diary entries that seem destined to trigger food-related anxieties in readers (“Saturday, November 20. 124 pounds. Lost three. Trick is to eat breakfast and nothing until dinner”). Surrounding Carrie, who is white, are hastily sketched-in characters whose diverse racial backgrounds never feel like more than tokenism. It is unclear what motivates Carrie's swim-team archenemy Wanda to spread rumors or why Carrie is so insistent that her father is controlling. Synchronized-swimming terms like “sculling” and “egg-beatering” are never defined, and American readers (this is a Canadian import) will have to guess at the meaning of “billet.” The action builds to an ending both predictable and abrupt. Readers looking for a by-the-book eating-disorder cautionary tale can find comparable stories in any number of sensational teen magazines. (Fiction. 12-14)  

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4594-0071-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: James Lorimer

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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

LEGEND

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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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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