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  • New York Times Bestseller

FAST BREAK

Nothing groundbreaking here, but Lupica delivers solid sports action and character growth.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
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  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

  • New York Times Bestseller

Twelve-year-old Jayson, a tough kid from the poor part of Moreland, North Carolina, is sent across town to live with foster parents, where he’ll play basketball for a rival team.

Jayson's mom's boyfriend took off a few days after Jayson's mom died. Ever since, Jayson has been guiltily stealing bread and peanut butter from corner stores. When Jayson is caught trying to steal sneakers to replace his worn, too-small pair, he is matched with the Lawtons, a pair of kind, wealthy, and patient foster parents, who enroll him in a private school, Belmont Country Day. Jayson is a notoriously talented point guard, and basketball has always been his emotional outlet, but now his anger bubbles out on the court as well as in his new home. Jayson's progression from resentment of his new life to acceptance follows a predictable path, as does his basketball season, which includes two tense games against his old team. Nevertheless, the dynamics here are handled with subtlety and depth, particularly Jayson's shame at being labeled a thief. Jayson's friendship with Zoe, a popular and outgoing star soccer player, shows warmth and mutual respect, though the question of what will happen after a conflict erupts between them goes strangely unresolved.

Nothing groundbreaking here, but Lupica delivers solid sports action and character growth. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25606-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

NOWHERE BOY

A captivating book situated in present-day discourse around the refugee crisis, featuring two boys who stand by their high...

Two parallel stories, one of a Syrian boy from Aleppo fleeing war, and another of a white American boy, son of a NATO contractor, dealing with the challenges of growing up, intersect at a house in Brussels.

Ahmed lost his father while crossing the Mediterranean. Alone and broke in Europe, he takes things into his own hands to get to safety but ends up having to hide in the basement of a residential house. After months of hiding, he is discovered by Max, a boy of similar age and parallel high integrity and courage, who is experiencing his own set of troubles learning a new language, moving to a new country, and being teased at school. In an unexpected turn of events, the two boys and their new friends Farah, a Muslim Belgian girl, and Oscar, a white Belgian boy, successfully scheme for Ahmed to go to school while he remains in hiding the rest of the time. What is at stake for Ahmed is immense, and so is the risk to everyone involved. Marsh invites art and history to motivate her protagonists, drawing parallels to gentiles who protected Jews fleeing Nazi terror and citing present-day political news. This well-crafted and suspenseful novel touches on the topics of refugees and immigrant integration, terrorism, Islam, Islamophobia, and the Syrian war with sensitivity and grace.

A captivating book situated in present-day discourse around the refugee crisis, featuring two boys who stand by their high values in the face of grave risk and succeed in drawing goodwill from others. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-30757-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

DRAMA

Brava!

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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