Deliciously scary and satisfying.

THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY

A pinch of Grimm, a dash of Greek mythology and a heaping helping of fresh chills make for an irresistible contemporary fairy tale centering around a food enchantment.

A sparkling new school pops up in Lorelei’s neighborhood, and events conspire to make her and her brother enroll. Not that they resist—Splendid Academy has the most phenomenal playground they’ve ever seen, and Principal Trapp lets the kids run in the halls. As icing on the cake, food’s provided constantly, especially desserts. Everyone’s desk contains a magically refilling candy bowl, and the lunches and (oddly non-optional) breakfasts are succulent feasts. Rules barely exist; teachers balk only when a student doesn’t eat enough. Even at home, Lorelei awakens with “a sick, twisting hunger that felt like teeth chewing at my insides.” Readers familiar with "Hansel and Gretel" will smell the reason why these teachers push food. Lorelei is smart, but two obstacles block her: knowledge that “there [i]sn’t an adult in the world who would believe” the preposterous truth at the school’s core, and emotional baggage from her mother’s death a year ago. In clear, accessible prose with a sense of immediacy, Loftin smoothly melds Lorelei’s conviction that she’s “done something unforgivably evil” with the deadly danger hovering at school. Refreshingly, Lorelei’s learning disability (dysgraphia) is simply a fact of life, not a literary symbol.

Deliciously scary and satisfying. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59514-508-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A moving tale of baseball, magic, and former rivals who come together to solve a problem.

MUCH ADO ABOUT BASEBALL

A middle schooler struggles to adjust after moving to an idyllic Massachusetts town.

Trish Das is at a crossroads. Not only is the 12-year-old unhappy that her family has moved yet again due to her mother’s cardiology career, she also has to try out for a new baseball team. The fact that one of her new teammates is a former archrival further complicates matters. Math prodigy Ben Messina went head-to-head against fellow math whiz Trish at last spring’s Math Puzzlers Championship. When Trish emerged victorious, Ben was stunned. The two get closer when the team’s mysterious pregame snacks start making everyone play better while also causing magical side effects during games. Equally surprising are the cryptic puzzle booklets Trish and Ben receive in the mail that lead them to even more wins. But as the puzzles get harder to solve, the risk of failing to do so increases. Alternating between Trish’s and Ben’s perspectives, LaRocca’s novel—a companion to 2019’s Midsummer’s Mayhem—is a Much Ado About Nothing homage that explores parental expectations, complicated friendships, and teamwork. The protagonists’ love of problem-solving shines through, and the puzzles themselves are clearly explained. As a third-generation Indian American, Trish also has moving conversations about the circumstances that led her grandparents to emigrate and how those decisions still impact their lives. Ben is implied White. Final illustrations not seen.

A moving tale of baseball, magic, and former rivals who come together to solve a problem. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1101-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Yellow Jacket

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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