The author leaves Alice and friends posing for graduation pictures and looking forward to pre-college summer jobs aboard a...

INCREDIBLY ALICE

From the Alice McKinley series , Vol. 26

The newest entry in a series that sits proudly in second place on the ALA’s list of Most Banned/Challenged titles of the 21st century (behind Harry) takes its insecure but sensible 17-year-old narrator through her final semester of high school.

Alice navigates past such fixed points as Senior Prom, Prank Day and graduation as well as more personal triumphs and tribulations, from getting one of those flat business envelopes from her first-choice college to finding out that her boyfriend Patrick will be spending the next year in Spain. As ever, Naylor-as-Alice fills the interstices with teachable moments including (but not limited to) the short-lived appearance of a “Restricted Reading” shelf in the school library, watching an older co-worker and her loving husband with their new baby, coping with stress-related insomnia, attending a pregnant classmate’s baby shower and wedding and reacting to a friend’s admission that she’s saving up for a labiaplasty. It's all embedded in a milieu of quotidian detail, familiar characters and memories from previous episodes that add both continuity and a matter-of-fact credibility to the advice and insight.

The author leaves Alice and friends posing for graduation pictures and looking forward to pre-college summer jobs aboard a cruise ship that will frame the next few volumes in this richly entertaining, reliable and informative guide to growing up. (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7553-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the...

THE MOST DANGEROUS THING

An eleventh-grade girl wants to start a relationship but is stymied by depression and anxiety.

Syd knows her depression isn’t really out of control, like some people’s. She can usually manage the crushing fog that weighs her down: tricking herself into getting out of bed by playing the phone game; biking around Vancouver, British Columbia, until she’s exhausted; investing online with her cantankerous grandfather; eating just enough to get by. It works well enough until her lab partner, Paul, starts texting and flirting. Syd would respond in kind if she could, but she’s afraid to make eye contact or have conversations with new people—how could she possibly start a relationship? Fading into the background would be ideal, but her gregarious family has other plans. Her mother, revitalizing the family Passover celebration, ropes Syd into embarrassing Jewish singalongs. Worse, Syd’s vivacious sister wants to perform The Vagina Monologues for the school drama festival, and she’s written her own monologue—one that uses “the c-word”! The oozing darkness that dominates Syd’s thoughts is authentically represented in her present-tense narration and appropriately addressed with professional mental health treatment. Frustratingly, however, Syd’s nervousness about romantic and sexual intimacy is pathologized as a curable symptom of her mental illness.

An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the flavor for a tale of recovery and empowerment . (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1184-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion

THE PACK

A group of shape-shifting runaways from the circus, on the run from genocidal hunters, tries to find a home.

Flo, her boyfriend, Jett, and the other shifters just want to find a strong pack to join. The teenagers (all either white or with no identified race) can all shift into an animal form: bears or tigers, parrots or rats, elephants or horses. The frightened escapees, who’ve lost many of their loved ones to hunters, have been seeking some safe place in the woods. The members of this huge cast (with too many names and animal forms to keep track of) have a wide array of agendas. Should they join the wild pack? The wolf pack? Should they even stay together? After brief dramas, many of these newly introduced characters vanish, never to be heard from again. Finally, Flo and the shifters are captured by hunters, who are in league with the lion who used to run their circus, who’d been betraying them for years and who now seeks to strike a bargain. Further dramatic revelations and betrayals await, of course. There’s no attempt to summarize the events of The Wanderers (2015), and with so many characters, side quests, and double crosses, it’s often difficult to keep track.

Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1218-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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