Exciting, original and lively fantasy adventure.

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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Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror.

THE ICKABOG

Rowling buffs up a tale she told her own children about a small, idyllic kingdom nearly destroyed by corrupt officials.

In the peaceful land of Cornucopia, the Ickabog has always been regarded as a legendary menace until two devious nobles play so successfully on the fears of naïve King Fred the Fearless that the once-prosperous land is devastated by ruinous taxes supposedly spent on defense while protesters are suppressed and the populace is terrorized by nighttime rampages. Pastry chef Bertha Beamish organizes a breakout from the local dungeon just as her son, Bert, and his friend Daisy Dovetail arrive…with the last Ickabog, who turns out to be real after all. Along with full plates of just deserts for both heroes and villains, the story then dishes up a metaphorical lagniappe in which the monster reveals the origins of the human race. The author frames her story as a set of ruminations on how evil can grow and people can come to believe unfounded lies. She embeds these themes in an engrossing, tightly written adventure centered on a stomach-wrenching reign of terror. The story features color illustrations by U.S. and Canadian children selected through an online contest. Most characters are cued as White in the text; a few illustrations include diverse representation.

Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-73287-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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