THE JOKER AND THE THIEF

In a suspenseful first novel, a complacent teenager's intended tryst becomes a weekend of stunning self-discovery. Anticipating a delicious reunion with his high-school sweetheart, Didra, Eric arrives at a secluded country house to find a fugitive from a nearby juvenile-detention center holed up there. Griffin is a paradox: tough, brutally scarred, sporting a self-made tattoo, yet magnetically charming and surprisingly well-educated; Didra, when she arrives, is fascinated by him and his tale of being framed on drug charges. As circumstances force the two young men into reluctant cooperation, the well-planned life Eric is weaving for himself begins to unravel under Griffin's merciless scrutiny. After a shocking series of revelations—Didra's faithlessness to Eric, in the service of her TV career, is only the first—Eric finds himself swinging between rage, fear, desire for Griffin's sister Jojo and confusion at what is, by his lights, irrational behavior. Still, in the end, refusing to let Griffin face the music alone, he gives up a chance to get away. The nature and value of art is an important subtheme here; strong or weak, most of these characters are artists. The author tries their mettle in an intricately complex situation—laced with storms of emotion and violence (Griffin spends most of the novel bleeding from one wound or another)—and ably delivers some sharp insights into what makes people tick. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-385-30855-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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TOP LAWYERS AND THEIR FAMOUS CASES

According to Emert, the eight lawyers profiled in this book all shared a ``commitment to the causes of justice, fairness, and equality.'' Andrew Hamilton, John Adams, and Abraham Lincoln played prominent leadership roles in American history. Belva Lockwood, the first woman lawyer to appear before the US Supreme Court, assisted the Cherokee Indians in their monetary claim against the government. Clarence Darrow (the Scopes trial), Robert H. Jackson (the German war-crimes trial), and Joseph Welch (the McCarthy hearings) exemplified lawyers whose trial skills were at the highest levels. Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and ``the first attorney to file suit against a racist organization,'' has won substantial monetary judgments against the Ku Klux Klan and the White Aryan Resistance; his work continues today. Emert (All That Glitters, 1995, not reviewed, etc.) presents legal theories in clear and concise language; the tone is intentionally admirable in keeping with the book's goal of counteracting the negative image of lawyers. It meets and surpasses that goal, hands down. (b&w photos, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14+)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 1996

ISBN: 1-881508-31-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1996

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.

INFINITE COUNTRY

A 15-year-old girl in Colombia, doing time in a remote detention center, orchestrates a jail break and tries to get home.

"People say drugs and alcohol are the greatest and most persuasive narcotics—the elements most likely to ruin a life. They're wrong. It's love." As the U.S. recovers from the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, from the misery of separations on the border, from both the idea and the reality of a wall around the United States, Engel's vital story of a divided Colombian family is a book we need to read. Weaving Andean myth and natural symbolism into her narrative—condors signify mating for life, jaguars revenge; the embattled Colombians are "a singed species of birds without feathers who can still fly"; children born in one country and raised in another are "repotted flowers, creatures forced to live in the wrong habitat"—she follows Talia, the youngest child, on a complex journey. Having committed a violent crime not long before she was scheduled to leave her father in Bogotá to join her mother and siblings in New Jersey, she winds up in a horrible Catholic juvie from which she must escape in order to make her plane. Hence the book's wonderful first sentence: "It was her idea to tie up the nun." Talia's cross-country journey is interwoven with the story of her parents' early romance, their migration to the United States, her father's deportation, her grandmother's death, the struggle to reunite. In the latter third of the book, surprising narrative shifts are made to include the voices of Talia's siblings, raised in the U.S. This provides interesting new perspectives, but it is a little awkward to break the fourth wall so late in the book. Attention, TV and movie people: This story is made for the screen.

The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.

Pub Date: today

ISBN: 978-1-982159-46-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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FROM THE HEART

LIGHT-HEARTED VERSE

In the same delicately precise style and brilliant colors of his Bizarre Birds and Beasts (1991), Marsh paints plants and animals cleverly posed to form hearts as integral parts of the decorative designs illustrating his ``light-hearted verse'': a ram's horns (``Warm-Hearted,'' concluding, ``...I must declare that I love ewe''); the space between two hippos' open jaws (``Big-Hearted''); an autumnal pear (pair) tree (``Change of Heart''); a barbed-wired frame, dripping blood and entwined with roses, with tiny cupids to sharpen points and also offer bandaids (``Empty-Hearted''). The accompanying verses are neatly scanned and spiced with ironies, puns, and—occasionally—odd facts: ``Here's a most romantic thing; / Dragonflies mate on the wing! / When secure in their embrace, / Procreation's taking place.'' This should be a hot item in bookstores for Valentine's Day; it also suggests some creative uses for art or poetry classes. (Poetry/Picture book. YA)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-8037-1449-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1992

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