A fast-paced narrative set to the tune of talented-teen melodrama.

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HONEYCOMB

From the Orca Limelights series

After a week of music camp, 15-year-old Nat, her longtime best friend, Jess, and their new friend Harper have found that they can create beautiful harmonies singing together, and they are approached with a unique opportunity to perform at an upcoming music festival. Let the drama commence.

Each girl immediately seizes her role, and not just in terms of vocal range: Jess is the moody one, Harper is the prima donna, and Nat is the doormat. The novel focuses on Nat, whose family is much more excited about her brother’s hockey skills than her developing interest in music. Nat doesn’t often speak up for herself, but she does help keep the peace when Jess and Harper are at each other’s throats. Throughout the novel, the girls argue, make a little musical progress and argue some more. There is an abundance of jealousy and gossip, interspersed with musical references and a touch of romance. The art of being in a performing group takes center stage over any of the characters. With minimal adult guidance, the girls learn specific elements of their craft, how to navigate opportunities in the music industry and how to work together, even coming to understand that their arguments are a natural part of the music-making process.

A fast-paced narrative set to the tune of talented-teen melodrama. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0579-8

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.

A MAP OF DAYS

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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