Something for everyone but especially fans of fast-paced eco-fiction.

STINGERS

From the Sharks Incorporated series , Vol. 2

A visit to a small Bahamian island pitches young shark taggers into a whirl of encounters with natural hazards, pirates past and present, and more than one kind of hidden treasure.

Following on their adventures with shark poachers in the series opener, Fins (2020), 13-year-old Maribel; her younger sister, Sabina (both Cuban refugees); and White ex–farm boy Luke teamed up as Sharks Incorporated. They have barely arrived on idyllic, cave-riddled Katt Island to help their secretive biologist employer investigate the invasive lionfish that are devastating the local reef ecology before one is sucked into a tidal whirlpool, another falls into a pit and finds a golden doubloon, and all three save an elderly author from sharks. Folding in real-life issues such as the pressures poverty puts on the racially diverse local residents as well as info-dumps on natural and island history as he goes, White puts his trio, who are joined by the writer and a young islander, on the trail of a century-old mystery featuring descendants of Anne Bonny and other pirates and also up against a bumbling but scary pair of treasure hunters on the way to climactic revelations, a glittering hoard, and the pursuit of poachers who are hunting hatchling sea turtles. Anything else? Well, there may or may not be a ghost or two in the mix, too.

Something for everyone but especially fans of fast-paced eco-fiction. (Adventure. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-24463-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Entrancing and uplifting.

STAY

A small dog, the elderly woman who owns him, and a homeless girl come together to create a tale of serendipity.

Piper, almost 12, her parents, and her younger brother are at the bottom of a long slide toward homelessness. Finally in a family shelter, Piper finds that her newfound safety gives her the opportunity to reach out to someone who needs help even more. Jewel, mentally ill, lives in the park with her dog, Baby. Unwilling to leave her pet, and forbidden to enter the shelter with him, she struggles with the winter weather. Ree, also homeless and with a large dog, helps when she can, but after Jewel gets sick and is hospitalized, Baby’s taken to the animal shelter, and Ree can’t manage the complex issues alone. It’s Piper, using her best investigative skills, who figures out Jewel’s backstory. Still, she needs all the help of the shelter Firefly Girls troop that she joins to achieve her accomplishment: to raise enough money to provide Jewel and Baby with a secure, hopeful future and, maybe, with their kindness, to inspire a happier story for Ree. Told in the authentic alternating voices of loving child and loyal dog, this tale could easily slump into a syrupy melodrama, but Pyron lets her well-drawn characters earn their believable happy ending, step by challenging step, by reaching out and working together. Piper, her family, and Jewel present white; Pyron uses hair and naming convention, respectively, to cue Ree as black and Piper’s friend Gabriela as Latinx.

Entrancing and uplifting. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-283922-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff

THE GREAT SHELBY HOLMES

From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success.

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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