LEMONADE MOUTH PUCKERS UP

The continuing, shambolic adventures of Rhode Island’s rockingest trumpet-and-ukelele–based quintet finds plenty of sweet to balance out the sour (Lemonade Mouth, 2007).

It’s summer, and although each of the band’s five members—Olivia, Charlie, Mo, Wen and Stella—have jobs, they compose and record new songs in their friend Lyle’s garage studio. Their performance at Cranston’s Chowder Fest attracts the attention of legendary agent Earl Decker, who tries to mold the group into a chart-topping indie phenom, paying for an expensive, moody photo shoot and studio time. He also secures them an audition on American Pop Sensation, where the gutsy teens stand up to the mean-spirited judges. When video of their judge-scolding incident—sure to inspire the many compulsive watchers of Simon Cowell to punch the air in solidarity—goes viral and combines with their philosophical objections to being Photoshopped in a sponsor’s ad, Lemonade Mouth fires Earl in favor of remaining true to their convictions. The band’s independent, quirky journey is conveyed through the diary entries, letters, transcribed interviews and screenplay excerpts that form the narrative—and that promise at least one more chapter in the band’s imaginary history.

Warmhearted and innocently wild, this stand-alone sequel will find appreciative fans among teen music obsessives and social activists. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-73712-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Despite its potential, though, it’s likely that the book will have limited appeal.

THE PATH OF NAMES

Goelman’s debut novel, part summer-camp tale, part ghost story and part murder mystery, is served with a sprinkling of math and a heavy dose of often-confusing Jewish orthodoxy.

Thirteen-year-old math and magic geek Dahlia reluctantly agrees to three weeks at a Jewish summer camp. There, the ghosts of two little girls visit her, and she begins to dream of David Schank, a young yeshiva student in New York in the 1930s. Soon, she realizes his spirit has possessed her; he is an ibur who needs her help to complete a task he began when alive. The novel alternates between David’s story, in which he first discovers and then fails to hide from the Illuminated Ones the 72nd name of God, and Dahlia’s, as she attempts to figure out what the ghosts and the spirit want and why the creepy caretaker won’t let any children into the camp’s overgrown hedge maze. A substantial cast of characters, multiple plot twists in both narrative storylines, some subplots that go nowhere, a golem, gematria or Jewish numerology, the cabala and more make this novel a challenging read. It’s certainly a refreshing change from the usual focus in middle-grade Jewish fiction on the Holocaust, immigrants and bar/bat mitzvahs, and the inclusion of a girl protagonist who loves math is also welcome.

Despite its potential, though, it’s likely that the book will have limited appeal. (Paranormal mystery. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-47430-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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Telepathic kids on futuristic skateboards fleeing G-men; a little too long but totally fun.

MIDNIGHT ON STRANGE STREET

Four kids with inexplicable powers have a close encounter in a near-future Texas.

The Sardines just want to ride their glowboards, hang out in their clubhouse, and be left alone by the class bully. It’s been years since Component G—glow—was discovered in Callaway, and on the coasts the Global War is raging, but Callaway is just a regular American suburb. Regular, that is, except for the Sardines: Dani, Avery, and the twins, Bastian and Lola. The four best friends and passionate glowboarders discover something else they have in common: They can all hear one another’s thoughts and move things with their minds. The telekinesis and telepathy (or, as Dani says, “tele-whatevers”) are scary, but maybe it can help them win the big glowboarding championship! But the Sardines start to receive terrifying messages from outer space. Are aliens coming to destroy the Earth? Faux typescript interludes from the point of view of an unnamed stranger working with the government introduce a different menace, one the kids only slowly become aware of. The Sardines, from a variety of white ethnic backgrounds, need to win the race, escape the government, and prevent the destruction of the Earth. Easy peasy. The setup is so compelling that kids will keep going even though the pace doesn’t always live up to the page count.

Telepathic kids on futuristic skateboards fleeing G-men; a little too long but totally fun. (Science fiction. 12-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-04768-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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