Would-be wordsmiths will come away with a marginally useful toolkit and, if not “hack writing of the highest order” as...

WRITE THIS BOOK

A DO-IT-YOURSELF MYSTERY

Offering “a book written by you that’s already published,” “Bosch” follows his own title page with a blank alternative one, then goes on to sketch out a fragmentary plotline filled with options to circle and dotted lines to fill in (guaranteeing that any library copy won’t stay unmarked for long).

The “story” involves two children, A____ and Z____, who are searching for vanished writer I.B. Anonymous. In fits and starts, the author provides generic arcs for noir, fantasy and gothic stories that all lead in the end to I.B. Anonymous’ reappearance to congratulate his supposedly unwitting collaborators. With frequent pauses for technical advice, dubbed “Pseudo-intelligence,” writerly “Pseudo-assignments,” and forms for creating villains and other characters—not to mention squabbles with a smart-mouthed rabbit typist, off-topic footnotes and distractions for procrastinators—the emphasis is on amusement rather than instruction. Sample jacket-flap word lists give readers a taste of self-marketing. Two features in the appendix—the “Parental Obituary Section” and notable first lines—bridge the gap between theory and practice. Ford supplies accusatory eyes on blank pages and like visual commentary.

Would-be wordsmiths will come away with a marginally useful toolkit and, if not “hack writing of the highest order” as promised, at least a finished practice piece. (writing tips, self-awards) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-20781-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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A thrilling conclusion to a beautifully crafted, heart-stopping trilogy.

THRIVE

From the Overthrow series , Vol. 3

This is the moment teens Seth, Anaya, and Petra have both been anticipating and dreading ever since aliens called cryptogens began attempting to colonize the Earth: the chance to defend their planet.

In an earlier volume, Seth, Anaya, and Petra began growing physical characteristics that made them realize they were half alien. Seth has wings, Petra has a tail, and Anaya has fur. They also have the power of telepathy, which Anaya uses to converse with Terra, a cryptogen rebel looking for human allies who could help stop the invasion of Earth. Terra plans to use a virus stored in the three teens’ bodies to disarm the flyers, which are the winged aliens that are both masterminding the invasion and enslaving the other species of cryptogens known as swimmers and runners. But Terra and her allies can’t pull any of this off without the help of Anaya, Seth, and Petra. Although the trio is anxious about their abilities, they don’t have much of a choice—the entire human race is depending on them for salvation. Like its predecessors, this trilogy closer is fast-paced and well structured. Despite its post-apocalyptic setting, the story is fundamentally character driven, and it is incredibly satisfying to watch each protagonist overcome their inner battles within the context of the larger human-alien war. Main characters read as White.

A thrilling conclusion to a beautifully crafted, heart-stopping trilogy. (Science fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-80-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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