A CIRCLE OF TIME

A tiresomely perfect heroine travels back in time in a melodramatic fantasy. When a car accident leaves 14-year-old Allison Blair in a coma, her spirit is sent back to 1906, to occupy the body of poor, downtrodden Becky Lee Thompson. While Becky stays in 1996, keeping Allison’s body alive, Allison must somehow prevent a tragic death—but whose? Her abusive stepmother’s? Joshua, Becky’s boyfriend, with whom Allison is falling in love? The insane daughter of the neighboring wealthy Spanish family? Or Becky’s own? And can she save them before her own body, in the future, dies during brain surgery? This might have been an entertaining thriller if Montes (Egg-napped!, 2001, etc.) hadn’t stretched credulity until it snapped. Allison is brave, resourceful, clever, and (in Becky’s body) beautiful; everybody loves her, as she inspires Joshua to feminism, heals the ailing matriarch with modern medical notions, softens the crusty patriarch, awes the local psychic herbalist, patches up a star-crossed romance, reveals a lost heir, and predicts the San Francisco earthquake. Aside from the latter geological deus ex machina, there is nothing in the setting to indicate turn-of-the-century California. The aristocratic Cardona Pomales family may sprinkle their speech with Spanish, but with their golden tresses and soap opera intrigues might as well be transplanted fairy-tale royalty, while spooky Magda plays the part of the witch in the woods and Joshua is the stereotypical shepherd-prince. For young teens looking for a good romantic cry. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202626-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2002

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Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense.

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REFUGEE

In the midst of political turmoil, how do you escape the only country that you’ve ever known and navigate a new life? Parallel stories of three different middle school–aged refugees—Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo—eventually intertwine for maximum impact.

Three countries, three time periods, three brave protagonists. Yet these three refugee odysseys have so much in common. Each traverses a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. Each third-person narrative offers an accessible look at migration under duress, in which the behavior of familiar adults changes unpredictably, strangers exploit the vulnerabilities of transients, and circumstances seem driven by random luck. Mahmoud eventually concludes that visibility is best: “See us….Hear us. Help us.” With this book, Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future. Excellent for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy for new and existing arrivals from afar.

Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense. (maps, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-88083-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An outstanding new edition of this popular modern classic (Newbery Award, 1961), with an introduction by Zena Sutherland and...

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS

Coming soon!!

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0-395-53680-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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