BRETT McCARTHY

WORK IN PROGRESS

Bigmouth Brett has two great loves: vocabulary words and soccer. When she’s not getting her adrenaline fix on the soccer field, she hangs out with her best friend Diane and enjoys a close relationship with her eccentric but loving grandmother, Nonna. A phone prank Brett and Diane play sets off a series of events that turn Brett’s life from average, even happy, to disastrous. Because of the prank, Brett loses all hope of attracting hottie Bob Levesque. She and Diane fight and suddenly Diane is best friends with the snotty, obnoxious Jeanne-Anne. Brett seems to have nowhere to channel her energy and that feistiness, combined with frustration at her friends and family, gets her suspended from school. A caring, innovative teacher comes to Brett’s rescue, but in order for Brett to regain her place at school she’ll have to stand up for the “brainiac” kids . . . and for herself. Through all her trouble she has the support of Nonna and her friend Michael, who are both funny, interesting characters that readers will appreciate. Brett herself is observant but not always endearing. The pacing is smooth and the actions build to a sad, if realistic, ending. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: March 11, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84675-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

FABLEHAVEN

Witty repartee between the central characters, as well as the occasional well-done set piece, isn’t enough to hold this hefty debut together. Teenagers Seth and Kendra are dropped off by traveling parents at their grandfather’s isolated Connecticut estate, and soon discover why he’s so reluctant to have them—the place is a secret haven for magical creatures, both benign and decidedly otherwise. Those others are held in check by a complicated, unwritten and conveniently malleable Compact that is broken on Midsummer Eve, leaving everyone except Kendra captive in a hidden underground chamber with a newly released demon. Mull’s repeated use of the same device to prod the plot along comes off as more labored than comic: Over and over an adult issues a stern but vague warning; Seth ignores it; does some mischief and is sorry afterward. Sometimes Kendra joins in trying to head off her uncommonly dense brother. She comes into her own at the rousing climax, but that takes a long time to arrive; stick with Michael Buckley’s “Sisters Grimm” tales, which carry a similar premise in more amazing and amusing directions. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-59038-581-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Explanatory note; reading list.

DRAGON'S GATE

From the Golden Mountain Chronicles series

Yep illuminates the Chinese immigrant experience here and abroad in a follow-up to The Serpent's Children (1984) and Mountain Light (1985).

After accidentally killing one of the hated Manchu soldiers, Otter (14) flees Kwangtung for the "Golden Mountain"; he finds his adoptive father Squeaky and Uncle Foxfire in the Sierra Nevada, where thousands of "Guests" are laboriously carving a path for the railroad. Brutal cold, dangerous work, and a harsh overseer take their toll as Squeaky is blinded in a tunnel accident, Foxfire is lost in a storm, and other workers are frozen or half-starved. By the end, toughened in body and spirit, Otter resolves never to forget them or their sacrifices. Foxfire and Otter consider themselves only temporary residents here, preparing for the more important work of modernizing their own country while ridding it of Manchu, Europeans, and, especially, the scourge of opium. America is a dreamlike place; English dialogue is printed in italics as a tongue foreign to most of the characters; and though Otter befriends the overseer's troubled son, such social contact is discouraged on both sides. In a story enlivened with humor and heroism, Yep pays tribute to the immigrants who played such a vital role in our country's history.

Explanatory note; reading list. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1993

ISBN: 0-06-022971-3

Page Count: 276

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1993

Did you like this book?

more