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

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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There’s violence and gore in profusion, cool gear, hot wheels, awesome feats, inner conflicts on both sides—all that’s...

STEELHEART

From the Steelheart series , Vol. 1

A straight-up Marvel Comics–style action drama featuring a small band of human assassins taking on costumed, superpowered supervillains with melodramatic monikers.

It’s certainly a tried-and-true formula. Twelve years ago, a mysterious Calamity began turning random ordinary humans into evil Epics gifted with various combinations of superpowers (and also, always, some Achilles heel). Now, 18-year-old David Charleston manages at last to make contact with a cell of Epic-killing Reckoners led by legendary mastermind Jon Phaedrus. Then it’s on to a nonstop thrill ride that begins with the killing of David’s father 10 years before and roars through car and motorcycle chases, secret missions, huge explosions and hails of gunfire with high-tech weaponry to a climactic battle with Epic Steelheart. He’s bulletproof, shoots energy balls, has transformed the entire Chicago area into solid steel with a wave of his hand and wears a stylish silver cape. Shockingly, the book closes with the stunning revelation than not all Epics are evil through and through. As further sign that Sanderson (Rithmatist, 2013, etc.) isn’t taking any of this too seriously, the cast of Epics includes not only the likes of Steelheart, Faultline and Deathpoint, but Pink Pinkness and El Brass Bullish Dude, and some of their powers are equally silly. Stay tuned for sequels.

There’s violence and gore in profusion, cool gear, hot wheels, awesome feats, inner conflicts on both sides—all that’s missing are the pictures. (Fantasy. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-385-74356-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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