Haddix’s insightful tale is a compelling blend of sports, action and mystery.

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GAME CHANGER

An elite athlete, KT is on the fast track to softball stardom when her world is turned upside down.

The eighth-grader’s life drastically changes when she collapses while pitching during a major tournament. Awakening to an alternate reality, KT discovers the traditional roles of academics and sports have been reversed. Now, KT’s younger and supremely nonathletic brother, Max, is the focus of family life due to his status on the school’s math team. Yet KT soon realizes she is not the only one who wants out of this other world. Ultimately, she must figure out the common ground among an athlete, a genius and a video gamer and determine what issues drove them into this altered reality. While the premise of the sports/academics switch provides some humorous scenarios, it also conveys a powerful message. Haddix illuminates the pressure middle school–aged students often feel to conform to predetermined roles. Her cleverly constructed tale gives a voice to all students, encouraging them to look beyond the labels of sporty, smart and so on, to define themselves. KT’s transition from athlete to advocate is calculated to inspire readers to celebrate their individuality.

Haddix’s insightful tale is a compelling blend of sports, action and mystery. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-689-87380-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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An emotionally moving portrayal of the effects grief has on a family.

A GIRL IN THREE PARTS

Eleven-and-a-half-year-old Allegra is divided by a family at odds with each other.

Allegra’s mum died when she was 3, but she doesn’t know what caused her death or why it made her family stop speaking to each other. She just knows that they each love her differently, and she feels split in three ways trying to maintain relationships with each of them. Allegra lives at Number 23 with her Hungarian Jewish grandmother, Matilde, who is haunted by memories of the war and who runs a strict household. With Matilde she is Allegra. Her father, Rick, takes her surfing, and they have a good time together. But for reasons she doesn’t understand, he lives in the flat above Matilde’s garage; with him she’s Al Pal. Next door, at Number 25, lives her passionate Catholic grandmother, Joy, to whom she is Ally. When Allegra helps a friend and things go awry, their family secrets must be confronted. Set in 1970s Australia at the cusp of a cultural revolution, this is both a story of self-discovery and one of family healing. Debut author Daniel’s strength lies in the creation of complex characters; Allegra in particular operates from a sheltered existence and makes decisions, judgments, and mistakes in an authentic—and, at times, painful—way. Most characters are white except Allegra’s best friend and her mother, who are Indigenous.

An emotionally moving portrayal of the effects grief has on a family. (Historical fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-5107-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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This series opener won't win any prizes, but it will appeal to those who want puzzles and action mixed with their fashion...

THE CONSPIRACY OF US

From the Conspiracy of Us series , Vol. 1

A friendless teen discovers she's the key to a millenia-old epic prophecy—making her an invaluable pawn of the world's great powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery West has a Plan: don't make friends, so as to remain unhurt when she inevitably has to change schools. Her single mother is a military contractor (something to do with a mandate), and Avery never lives anywhere long. At least Avery's learned to hide her violet eyes behind colored contacts, so she's only friendless instead of mocked. Avery's plan doesn't take into account the two gorgeous young men who appear fascinated with her: suave Jack and scruffy Stellan. The boys insist they're taking her to meet long-lost family and whirl Avery across the Atlantic to Paris (an unplanned trip about which she's remarkably sanguine). There, she learns of a conspiracy almost as old as Western civilization. Political leaders, actors, sports heroes and businessmen have come from just 12 families for nearly 2,000 years. Avery's place in all this has to with a prophecy called, surprise surprise, the mandate. Avery's thrust into a cinematic, puzzle-solving action-adventure that takes her from Paris to Istanbul. Though she's overwhelmed by "boy drama," she knows her quest is "way more important." Thrill as Avery's outfitted in Prada and Louboutin! Gasp as she jumps from a fire escape into a gunfight! Swoon as sexy Europeans fight for her hand!

This series opener won't win any prizes, but it will appeal to those who want puzzles and action mixed with their fashion and romance . (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16650-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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