Hunt (Fish in a Tree, 2017, etc.) has crafted another gentle, moving tale of love and loss: the value of the one and the...

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SHOUTING AT THE RAIN

“The ones that love you protect your feelings because they’ve been given a piece of you. Others may toss them around for just the same reason.”

It’s the summer that Delsie hears that hard lesson from her grandmother and comes to fully understand what it means. Her best off-Cape friend has returned for the season, but now Brandy, once her soul mate, is wearing makeup and has brought along a mean, snobby friend, Tressa, who’s put off by Delsie’s dirty, bare feet and near-poverty. Ronan is new to the Cape, too, and at first he’s a hard boy to get to know. But Delsie, stunned by Brandy’s betrayal, perseveres, realizing that he’s just as lonely as she is and that his mother is gone, having sent him away, just as hers is—heartbreakingly lost to alcohol and drugs. A richly embroidered cast of characters, a thoughtful exploration of how real friends treat one another, and the true meaning of family all combine to make this a thoroughly satisfying coming-of-age tale. Cape Cod is nicely depicted—not the Cape of tourists but the one of year-round residents—as is the sometimes-sharp contrast between residents and summer people. The book adheres to the white default; one of Delsie's neighbors hails from St. Croix and wears her hair in an Afro.

Hunt (Fish in a Tree, 2017, etc.) has crafted another gentle, moving tale of love and loss: the value of the one and the importance of getting over the other. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-17515-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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The dice are rolling readers’ way in this third outing.

SUNNY ROLLS THE DICE

From the Sunny series , Vol. 3

Sunny, in seventh grade, finds her score on the Groovy Meter taking some wild swings as her friends’ interests move in different directions.

In a motif that haunts her throughout, Sunny succumbs to a teen magazine’s personality quiz and sees her tally seesaw radically. Her BF Deb has suddenly switched focus to boys, clothes, and bands such as the Bee Gees (this is 1977)—dismissing trick-or-treating and wearing galoshes on rainy days as “babyish.” Meanwhile, Sunny takes delight in joining nerdy neighbors Lev, Brian, and Arun in regular sessions of Dungeons and Dragons (as a fighter character, so cool). The storytelling is predominantly visual in this episodic outing, with just occasional snatches of dialogue and pithy labels to fill in details or mark the passage of time; frequent reaction shots deftly capture Sunny’s feelings of being pulled this way and that. Tellingly, in the Holms’ panels (colored by Pien), Sunny’s depicted as significantly smaller than Deb, visually underscoring her developmental awkwardness. Deb’s comment that “we’re too old to be playing games like that” leads Sunny to drop out of the D&D circle and even go to the school’s staggeringly dull spring dance. Sunny’s mostly white circle of peers expands and becomes more diverse as she continues to navigate her way through the dark chambers and misty passages of early adolescence. Lev is an Orthodox Jew, Arun is South Asian, and Regina, another female friend, has brown skin.

The dice are rolling readers’ way in this third outing. (Graphic historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-23314-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Fans of R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012) will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts.

FISH IN A TREE

Hunt draws a portrait of dyslexia and getting along.

Ally Nickerson, who’s passed through seven schools in seven years, maintains a Sketchbook of Impossible Things. A snowman in a furnace factory is more plausible than imagining herself doing something right—like reading. She doesn't know why, but letters dance and give her headaches. Her acting out to disguise her difficulty causes headaches for her teachers, who, oddly, never consider dyslexia, even though each notices signs like inconsistent spellings of the same word. Ally's confusion is poignant when misunderstandings like an unintentional sympathy card for a pregnant teacher make her good intentions backfire, and readers will sympathize as she copes with the class "mean girls." When a creative new teacher, Mr. Daniels, steps in, the plot turns more uplifting but also metaphor-heavy; a coin with a valuable flaw, cupcakes with hidden letters, mystery boxes and references to the Island of Misfit Toys somewhat belabor the messages that things aren't always what they seem and everyone is smart in their own ways. Despite emphasis on "thinking outside the box," characters are occasionally stereotypical—a snob, a brainiac, an unorthodox teacher—but Ally's new friendships are satisfying, as are the recognition of her dyslexia and her renewed determination to read.

Fans of R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012) will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16259-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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