Exciting, original and lively fantasy adventure.

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DARKBEAST REBELLION

Keara, Goran and Taggart have been denounced for keeping their darkbeasts and are searching for a safe haven in this well-constructed sequel to Darkbeast (2012).

In their world, the darkbeasts, who have nurtured the children and assumed responsibility for their faults and negative emotions, must be killed as a preparation for adulthood. Those who refuse are named Darkers and face the constant threat of capture and punishment; this society adheres to ancient rules and precepts that remain finite and unchanged. Keara and her friends face cold, hunger and illness until they are rescued by a group that proves to be made up of false Darkers, bent on betraying them to the Inquisitors who carry out the laws of the rulers. They are captured and subjected to imprisonment, harsh punishments, deprivation and an uncertain future. A more mature Keara narrates her tale, supported, guided and comforted by Caw, her raven darkbeast, with whom she converses telepathically. Relationships with Goran and Taggart take on deeper complexity. Once again, Keyes conveys a richly imagined, fully developed and textured universe. There are friendships and betrayals among a large cast of new characters, plot twists and surprises, a conclusion that offers hope and a measure of freedom, and plenty of possibilities for the story to continue.

Exciting, original and lively fantasy adventure. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4208-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Brava! (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

DRAMA

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 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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REFUGEE

In the midst of political turmoil, how do you escape the only country that you’ve ever known and navigate a new life? Parallel stories of three different middle school–aged refugees—Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo—eventually intertwine for maximum impact.

Three countries, three time periods, three brave protagonists. Yet these three refugee odysseys have so much in common. Each traverses a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. Each third-person narrative offers an accessible look at migration under duress, in which the behavior of familiar adults changes unpredictably, strangers exploit the vulnerabilities of transients, and circumstances seem driven by random luck. Mahmoud eventually concludes that visibility is best: “See us….Hear us. Help us.” With this book, Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future. Excellent for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy for new and existing arrivals from afar.

Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense. (maps, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-88083-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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