Nothing spectacular, but the movie’s many fans will have fun.

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MEAN GIRLS

In this novelization of the 2004 movie of the same name, readers are treated to the film’s events from multiple characters’ viewpoints.

White 16-year-old American Cady Heron grew up home-schooled in “Africa,” where her researcher parents evidently studied both the Maasai and animal behavior. They’ve returned to the States, and Cady is off to public school. She’s nervous about the change but reassures herself. She survived the African wilderness; high school couldn’t be much worse. New pals—arty Janis and gay boy Damian—fill her in on the school’s hierarchy. The Plastics are the school royalty, led by cruel queen bee Regina George and her sycophants, ditzy but oddly insightful Gretchen and sweet but not-so-bright Karen. Regina pulls Cady into her inner circle, but when Cady winds up on the receiving end of Regina’s nastiness, Cady launches a revenge plan to take Regina down a few pegs. However, she risks losing herself in the process. Gretchen’s Valley girl–speak and Janis’ acerbic wit are the most notable voices in the alternating first-person narration, which also includes Cady, Regina, Damian, and others. Hilarious text messages, emails, Regina’s mother’s ridiculous to-do lists, and newspaper articles bring in minor characters’ perspectives. North Shore High is racially diverse, but each of the primary character-narrators is white.

Nothing spectacular, but the movie’s many fans will have fun. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-08756-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Though no punches are pulled about the unimaginable atrocity of the death camps, a life-affirming history

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  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner

THE LIBRARIAN OF AUSCHWITZ

A teenage girl imprisoned in Auschwitz keeps the secret library of a forbidden school.

Dita Adlerova, 14, is confined in the notorious extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Compared to her fellow inmates, Dita’s relatively lucky. The several thousand residents of camp BIIb are inexplicably allowed to keep their own clothing, their hair, and, most importantly, their children. A young man named Fredy Hirsch maintains a school in BIIb, right under the noses of the Nazis. In Fredy’s classroom, Dita discovers something wonderful: a dangerous collection of eight smuggled books. The tale, based on the real life of Dita Polach Kraus and the events of 1944 and 1945, intertwines the stories of several real people: Dita, Fredy, several little-known war heroes, even a grim cameo from Anne and Margot Frank. Holocaust-knowledgeable readers will have suspicions about how many characters will die horribly (spoiler alert: this is Auschwitz). Yet somehow, myriad storylines told by multiple narrators offer compelling narrative tension. Why does BIIb exist? Will Rudi and Alice have a romance? What’s Fredy’s secret? Will Dr. Mengele subject Dita to his grotesque experiments? Dita’s matter-of-fact perspective, set in a slow build from BIIb to the chaotic starvation of the war’s end, both increases the horror and makes it bearable to read.

Though no punches are pulled about the unimaginable atrocity of the death camps, a life-affirming history . (Historical fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-618-7

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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