An insightful, action-packed, and thought-provoking adventure.

In a dystopian future ravaged by climate change, a 12-year-old tech genius must save her community from an evil government.

Raised on her family’s strawberry farm in the Valley, Yolanda Cicerón, who has Cuban roots, aspires to become a neurolink surgeon, install computer chips in human skulls, and live in Silo, the most developed city around. But Camila, Yoly’s older sister and her guardian since their parents’ exile, can’t afford the tuition. After Yoly secretly accepts a scholarship from Silo’s Mayor Blackburn to fund her studies—against Cami’s explicit wishes—she realizes the scholarship’s terms require her to go on Retreat, a life-threatening mission in territory plagued by extreme weather disasters. Terrified, Cami finally shares secret family history that explains her mistrust of the mayor. Yoly belatedly understands that the System that purportedly keeps everyone safe from nature is actually oppressive and is spying on them. Looking for a way to pay off the scholarship and avoid the Retreat, Yoly and Cami discover a honeybee colony on their farm and recognize that the bees can pollinate fields and thereby reduce people’s dependence on Silo. But questioning and innovation are dangerous under an authoritarian regime, and when people dear to Yoly are taken away, she must fight to save them and bring down the whole corrupt System. Readers will root for Yoly, who is as kind and brave as she is smart, in this page-turning story that deals with all-too-relevant themes.

An insightful, action-packed, and thought-provoking adventure. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-300655-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019


From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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