This alternatingly touching and suspenseful adventure captures some real-life magic.

FOREVERLAND

When growing up becomes too overwhelming, escape to a place where troubles don’t exist….

Or where you can pretend they don’t. Margaret has run away to Foreverland, an amusement park in full summer splendor. She plans to hide out after closing, gorging on junk food and evading park security. Complicating this brilliant scheme is the tanned, black-haired, Spanish-speaking “Mystery Boy” she keeps seeing and who appears totally at home in the park. But what’s his story? For a severely anxious girl with an affinity for acrostic poetry, this is an extreme rebellion. It goes to show how intense the changes have recently been in Margaret’s life, particularly an ominous red suitcase by the front door: Her parents are on the brink of divorce. Kear depicts this already-sensitive white preteen in a light that validates all her feelings; similarly, the emotional struggles of the Puerto Rican boy, Jaime, are sympathetically rendered. Margaret’s observational distance from others, a product of her need to go unnoticed as well as her personal inclinations, means readers spend a lot of time in her head. The stable but widely varied landscape of the amusement park banishes any danger of dullness. Foreverland “isn’t a theme park like Disneyland or whatever,” but it nevertheless has several Disney-esque features, like the word “magic” splashed everywhere. The carnival atmosphere, however, evokes more of a Coney Island feel appropriate to the location just outside of New York City. Kear includes gently placed Peter Pan references for those familiar with the tale.

This alternatingly touching and suspenseful adventure captures some real-life magic. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21983-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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THE CROSSOVER

Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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