THE SNOG LOG

Boys and bets—rarely a good combination. Robbie Brookes is not alone in noticing the development of his female classmates, and Malcolm, the class bookie, is taking advantage of that fact with a kissing pool; each girl is assigned a bonus per second kissed, 60 seconds maximum. While Robbie is worrying about scoring (literally) with the highest-ranking girls, he’s also concerned with his parents’ crumbling marriage and his boss’s declining health. Targeting the tween audience, Coleman strives for an Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging for guys and succeeds moderately. Straddling the line between competitive and compassionate, 14-year-old Robbie has a genuine personality, even if the surrounding action and other characters feel forced. The competition quickly grows wearisome, with the boys misbehaving and the girls seeking revenge. This edition (it was first published in the United Kingdom in 2001) provides a glossary of English-American translations, including the nonsense word “puffin’,” which is abused with an enthusiasm normally reserved for the F-word. With a trite premise, dull action and annoying language, this is not one for the record. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5609-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2009

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THE LOUD SILENCE OF FRANCINE GREEN

It’s 1949, and 13-year-old Francine Green lives in “the land of ‘Sit down, Francine’ and ‘Be quiet, Francine’ ” at All Saints School for Girls in Los Angeles. When she meets Sophie Bowman and her father, she’s encouraged to think about issues in the news: the atomic bomb, peace, communism and blacklisting. This is not a story about the McCarthy era so much as one about how one girl—who has been trained to be quiet and obedient by her school, family, church and culture—learns to speak up for herself. Cushman offers a fine sense of the times with such cultural references as President Truman, Hopalong Cassidy, Montgomery Clift, Lucky Strike, “duck and cover” and the Iron Curtain. The dialogue is sharp, carrying a good part of this story of friends and foes, guilt and courage—a story that ought to send readers off to find out more about McCarthy, his witch-hunt and the First Amendment. Though not a happily-ever-after tale, it dramatizes how one person can stand up to unfairness, be it in front of Senate hearings or in the classroom. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2006

ISBN: 0-618-50455-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2006

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BURIED ONIONS

Eddie, a young Mexican-American scraping by in the mean streets of Fresno, California, counts four dead relatives and one dead friend in the opening, in-your-face lines of this new novel from Soto (Snapshots from the Wedding, p. 228, etc.). In bleak sentences of whispered beauty, Eddie tells how he dropped out of vocational college and is attempting to get by with odd jobs. His aunt and friends want him to avenge the recent murder of his cousin, but Eddie just wants to find a way out. Everything he tries turns soura stint doing yard work ends when his boss's truck is stolen on Eddie's watchand life is a daily battle for survival. This unrelenting portrait is unsparing in squalid details: The glue sniffers, gangs, bums, casual knifings, filth, and stench are in the forefront of a life without much hope``Laundry wept from the lines, the faded flags of poor, ignorant, unemployable people.'' Soto plays the tale straightthe only sign of a ``happy'' ending is in Eddie's joining the Navy. The result is a sort of Fresno Salaam Bombay without the pockets of humanity that gave the original its charm. A valuable tale, it's one that makes no concessions. (glossary) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-201333-4

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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