FADE

Young Paul Moreaux discovers that he's inherited the ability to disappear at will, and what might have been at least partly a blessing in the hands of another author is in Cormier's hands an unalloyed curse. Paul's French-Canadian family has a secret known to very few: once each generation a "Fader" is born, though the trait doesn't manifest itself until adolescence. Paul lives through 13 peaceful, unmemorable summers before he begins to notice that people can't always see him. His wayward uncle Adelard, the previous generation's Fader, steps in to teach him partial control over the Fade, to caution him against misusing his ability, and to tell him that when the next Fader begins to mature it will be his responsibility to pass on the teaching. Since Paul is an introspective, commonsensical sort, he doesn't try to hurt anyone with his talent, but he does succumb to the temptation to be a voyeur: in quick succession, he catches an ultrarespectable local shopkeeper engaging in oral sex with a teen-age girl, and watches in horror as his elegant, new-found friend Emerson makes love to his own twin sister. Shortly thereafter, Paul kills a man in a fit of anger. These experiences sour him on the whole idea of Fading, and he remorsefully vows never to Fade again. The next generation's Fader is Ozzie Slater, illegitimate, abused so much that his nose is permanently mutilated, with a bone-deep grudge against the entire world. Once he discovers his ability, he immediately kills his adoptive father and goes on a rampage. An older Paul appears on the scene, but by now Ozzie is too far over the edge; after a violent scuffle, Paul finds himself a killer once again. Setting, structure, and characters are woven together in shifting, complex patterns as Paul finds out that the Fade is a terrible burden, capable of doing more harm than good: Cormier has once again produced a profoundly disturbing, finely crafted gem that's hard, cold, and brilliant.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0385731345

Page Count: 318

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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HATCHET

A prototypical survival story: after an airplane crash, a 13-year-old city boy spends two months alone in the Canadian wilderness. In transit between his divorcing parents, Brian is the plane's only passenger. After casually showing him how to steer, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. In a breathtaking sequence, Brian maneuvers the plane for hours while he tries to think what to do, at last crashing as gently and levelly as he can manage into a lake. The plane sinks; all he has left is a hatchet, attached to his belt. His injuries prove painful but not fundamental. In time, he builds a shelter, experiments with berries, finds turtle eggs, starts a fire, makes a bow and arrow to catch fish and birds, and makes peace with the larger wildlife. He also battles despair and emerges more patient, prepared to learn from his mistakes—when a rogue moose attacks him and a fierce storm reminds him of his mortality, he's prepared to make repairs with philosophical persistence. His mixed feelings surprise him when the plane finally surfaces so that he can retrieve the survival pack; and then he's rescued. Plausible, taut, this is a spellbinding account. Paulsen's staccato, repetitive style conveys Brian's stress; his combination of third-person narrative with Brian's interior monologue pulls the reader into the story. Brian's angst over a terrible secret—he's seen his mother with another man—is undeveloped and doesn't contribute much, except as one item from his previous life that he sees in better perspective, as a result of his experience. High interest, not hard to read. A winner.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1987

ISBN: 1416925082

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1987

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