Whether there’s a readership for this is open to question, but it is certainly done well. Miss Austen would probably be...

LIZZY BENNET'S DIARY

INSPIRED BY JANE AUSTEN'S PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Young readers not quite ready to tackle Pride and Prejudice directly but who are yet intrigued by it might enjoy this loving tribute by the indefatigable Williams.

The entire story of Jane Austen’s masterpiece is told in diary format by Lizzy herself, including all the important particulars: the arrival of Mr. Bingley to Netherfield Park, her meeting with the “disagreeable” Mr. Darcy, the proposal of the insufferable Mr. Collins, the antics of Lizzy’s giddy sisters and the loss of her beloved sister Jane’s heart to Mr. Bingley. Although Lizzy notes that she is 20, the tone is very much that of a younger girl, as is suitable for her audience. Tiny sketches, watercolors, recipes and wonderful little foldouts of invitations, letters and other minutiae encourage much perusing. Dried flowers, reproductions of paintings and other objects are worked into the diary collages, as are comments by Lizzy about dresses, ribbons and delicacies. Her delight in walking through the fields and opening her mind to many things is evident, and of course, it all ends with the appropriate weddings.

Whether there’s a readership for this is open to question, but it is certainly done well. Miss Austen would probably be pleased. (Dear Reader note) (Fiction/pastiche. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7030-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud.

THE NEWSPAPER CLUB

From the Newspaper Club series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Nellie’s investigative reporting leads her to solve a mystery, start a newspaper, and learn key lessons about growing up.

Nellie’s voice is frank and often funny—and always full of information about newspapers. She tells readers of the first meeting of her newspaper club and then says, “But maybe I’m burying the lede…what Dad calls it when a reporter puts the most interesting part…in the middle or toward the end.” (This and other journalism vocabulary is formally defined in a closing glossary.) She backtracks to earlier that summer, when she and her mother were newly moved into a house next to her mother’s best friend in rural Bear Creek, Maine. Nellie explains that the newspaper that employed both of her parents in “the city” had folded soon after her father left for business in Asia. When Bear Creek Park gets closed due to mysterious, petty crimes, Nellie feels compelled to investigate. She feels closest to her dad when on the park’s swings, and she is more comfortable interviewing adults than befriending peers. Getting to know a plethora of characters through Nellie’s eyes is as much fun as watching Nellie blossom. Although astute readers will have guessed the park’s vandalizers, they are rewarded by observing Nellie’s fact-checking process. A late revelation about Nellie’s father does not significantly detract from this fully realized story of a young girl adjusting admirably to new circumstances. Nellie and her mother present white; secondary characters are diverse.

Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-9685-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Running Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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