A smart romp that sets the stage for worlds of future adventures.

MISSION MULTIVERSE

To save their world—and countless others—humans will have to be much better.

Delegates of the Multiverse Allied Council are at a loss for what to do with Earth, a Dimension14 planet in such dire condition that its inevitable collapse will likely affect other dimensions. A diverse group of seventh graders from Conroy Middle School are the answer, whether they know it yet or not. On a class trip to the NASA research center where new kid Dev Khatri’s dad works, Dev and his marching band friends, Maeve Greene, Lewis Wynner, Isaiah Yoon, and Tessa Hawthorne-Scott (convincingly imitating her twin sister on a dare), find themselves detoured by a quiver, the sort of seismic incident that has become a new normal on an unrecognizably polluted Earth. An impromptu jam session and malfunctioning tech transport the five tweens to Station Liminus, the Council’s headquarters. The apparent demise of Dim8 taught the Council a difficult lesson about intervening in planetary issues when greed threatens the whole multiverse, and Earth isn’t the first planet to suffer malevolent rulers and general ineptitude. But Earth music—in the right young hands—might prove singularly valuable. The politics of interdimensional diplomacy are mostly lost on the five, but with Caprara’s brisk storytelling and smooth juggling of out-of-this-world characters and settings, the situation’s high stakes are easy to grasp, and readers will anticipate how things unfold in the next entry.

A smart romp that sets the stage for worlds of future adventures. (Science fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4823-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child...

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES

A San Diego preteen learns that she’s an elf, with a place in magic school if she moves to the elves’ hidden realm.

Having felt like an outsider since a knock on the head at age 5 left her able to read minds, Sophie is thrilled when hunky teen stranger Fitz convinces her that she’s not human at all and transports her to the land of Lumenaria, where the ageless elves live. Taken in by a loving couple who run a sanctuary for extinct and mythical animals, Sophie quickly gathers friends and rivals at Foxfire, a distinctly Hogwarts-style school. She also uncovers both clues to her mysterious origins and hints that a rash of strangely hard-to-quench wildfires back on Earth are signs of some dark scheme at work. Though Messenger introduces several characters with inner conflicts and ambiguous agendas, Sophie herself is more simply drawn as a smart, radiant newcomer who unwillingly becomes the center of attention while developing what turn out to be uncommonly powerful magical abilities—reminiscent of the younger Harry Potter, though lacking that streak of mischievousness that rescues Harry from seeming a little too perfect. The author puts her through a kidnapping and several close brushes with death before leaving her poised, amid hints of a higher destiny and still-anonymous enemies, for sequels.

Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child who, while overly fond of screaming, rises to every challenge. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4593-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Busy—but exciting action and a likable character make up for it.

THE STORM RUNNER

From the Storm Runners series , Vol. 1

A chosen-one adventure through the Southwest.

Zane’s backyard in New Mexico is unique—it has its own volcano. He lives with his mom and their dog, Rosie, and his biggest problem is having to start a new school…until he makes a huge mistake and sets loose ancient Maya god Ah-Puch, also known as the Stinking One. A mysterious girl named Brooks appears at Zane’s school and then at home, and she reveals to Zane that she is a nawal, or shape-shifter, and she’s there to help him fulfill his destiny in a great prophecy. And so begins a race against time as Zane, Brooks, and a growing band of sidekicks race across the Southwest to find Ah-Puch, learn who Zane’s estranged father is, and save the world. As readers accustomed to Rick Riordan’s books will expect, additional Maya gods and magical creatures are revealed along the way. Unevenly paced and complicated by gods with two or three monikers, this second in Riordan’s eponymous imprint may frustrate close readers, but the high stakes will grab kids who just want to turn pages as quickly as possible. Zane is Mexican-American; his limb disability turns out to have a magical origin (not unlike Percy Jackson’s dyslexia), which may well feel like a cheat for readers with disabilities themselves. Nevertheless, Zane’s incredibly appealing kid voice and wry internal interjections make him easy to root for.

Busy—but exciting action and a likable character make up for it. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-01634-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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