TELL US WE'RE HOME

It’s the typical story of middle school BFFs—all immigrants. Ridiculously, unfairly, that makes all the difference in the lives of Lola from Slovakia, Maria from Mexico and Jaya from Trinidad. The daughters of maids and nannies, these eighth graders navigate young adulthood in an upscale suburb. Though their concerns include everyday American adolescent angst (having the right dress for the dance, not doing as well in class as the mean girl), the girls also confront race and class privilege. Jaya’s mother is accused of theft, Maria’s cousin might be imprisoned and Lola’s engineer father can’t get work. A fight leaves the girls not on speaking terms at the worst possible time, as town feeling heats up against those people, the ones who play soccer instead of lacrosse and have too-large families. Though the narrative is clearly ideological (perhaps drawing on Budhos’s nonfiction Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers, 1999), the heartwarming friendship overcomes any polemic. These fully realized heroines are full of heart, and their passionate struggles against systemic injustice only make them more inspiring. Keenly necessary. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 4, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-0352-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2010

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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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STORMBREAKER

What if James Bond had started spying as a teenager? This thriller pits 14-year-old Alex Rider against a mad billionaire industrialist. Non-stop action keeps the intrigue boiling as Alex tries to stop the remarkably evil Herod Sayles from murdering Britain’s schoolchildren through biological warfare. Alex begins as an innocent boy shocked by the death of his Uncle Ian in a traffic accident. Suspicious of the official explanation, he investigates and finds Ian’s car riddled with bullet holes. He narrowly escapes being crushed in the car as it’s demolished, then climbs out of a 15-story window to break into Ian’s office. He learns that Ian was a spy, and reluctantly joins Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency. After surviving brutal training and armed with stealthy spy tools, Alex infiltrates Sayles’s operation as the teenage tester of the “Stormbreaker,” a new computer Sayles is giving to British schools. Thereafter he survives murderous ATV drivers, an underwater swim in an abandoned mine, and an encounter with a Portuguese man-o-war jellyfish before hitching a ride on an already airborne plane. The plot is, of course, preposterous, but young readers won’t care as they zoom through numerous cliffhangers. This is the first book in a series planned by the author, and may prove useful for reluctant readers looking for excitement. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23620-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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