Great, smart fun.

READ REVIEW

DISENCHANTED

THE TRIALS OF CINDERELLA

From the Tyme series , Vol. 2

The second Tyme fantasy features dark-skinned Ella, whose journey of self-discovery—and perhaps true love—dovetails with her eventually becoming a champion for workers’ rights.

The remarriage of Ella’s widowed father has catapulted them into elite status among other business owners in the garment industry. Ella and her stepsiblings attend a posh school, but Ella resists the trappings and the attitudes. Meanwhile, Prince Dash Charming—recent breaker of the 150-year-old spell rendering all males of his line charming but unfaithful—is resisting attempts by his father to betroth him to a member of the Jacquard dynasty. More resistance brews at the National Academy of Fairy Godparenting due to a corrupt leader. The third-person narrative alternates perspective among Ella, Dash, and fairy godfathers Serge and Jasper, all endearing and believable characters. Their tales are as deftly interwoven as the vying houses’ fine garments, even as they reveal to young readers such dark, contemporary issues as enforced child labor, difficulties faced by working-class families, and the harm that is caused by grim factory conditions. Balancing such strong stuff as a graphically depicted garment-factory fire are liberal infusions of magic and humor, which includes a government with a House of Mortals and a House of Magic. Casual references to different skin colors and to LGBTQ characters are also commendable. The book stands alone while also complementing Grounded (2015), the first in the series.

Great, smart fun. (maps) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-64271-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning.

ARU SHAH AND THE TREE OF WISHES

From the Pandava Quintet series , Vol. 3

In the third instalment of the Pandava Quartet, 14-year-old Arundhati “Aru” Shah and her companions need to defeat their archnemesis (and Aru’s father), the Sleeper, and prevent the impending war between the devas and asuras.

The novel opens with Aru and her friends on a mission to rescue two people from the Sleeper’s soldiers. The two people are 10-year-old identical twins and Pandavas Nikita and Sheela, trapped atop a Ferris wheel in downtown Atlanta. This mission is of utmost importance because Sheela is a clairvoyant with an important prophecy, which speaks of the rise of the Sleeper and an untrue Pandava sister—and which the Sleeper must not hear at any cost. Despite their best efforts, however, one of the Sleeper’s soldiers overhears the prophecy, and Aru, Mini, Brynne, and Adin—accompanied by Rudy, a serpent prince—set off to find the missing Kalpavriksha, a wish-granting tree, so that they might wish upon it to set things right. Much like its predecessors, this fast-moving adventure draws on Hindu cosmology and South Asian pop-culture references to create an enchanting but believable magical Otherworld, where gods, demigods, demons, and talking animals abound. Chokshi’s novel is pitch perfect: The plot is action-packed, the dialogue witty, and the characters (almost all of whom are either Indian or part-Indian) are compelling, diverse, and complex.

Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-01385-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2020

Did you like this book?

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more