A multi-world adventure starring a band of heroes that readers will want to join.

THE TWINNING PROJECT

A high stakes twin-switch adventure.

Unconventional, antisocial Thomas "Tom" Canty is highly intelligent and a gifted musician. He also has a bad habit of getting expelled from schools for standing up against bullies. Being a rebel and talking to his "imaginary" friend are two of the coping mechanisms he developed after his father went missing in a plane crash. His friend, Eddie, lives on a slightly younger alternate Earth, about 50 years in the past. Eddie is Tom's identical twin and polar opposite—athletic and popular. Third-person perspectives of other characters, such as the not-so-imaginary Eddie, fill gaps in Tom's first-person narration. The twins are key figures for a group of alien scientists wanting to take down the resistance that protects both Earths from imminent destruction, and the twins must switch places for some reason never fully explained. The overarching threat is ill-defined, but the immediate struggles of the young protagonists keep the story moving and enjoyable. The alien villains—who can appear on both Earths at the same time to menace all characters, although how is never addressed—are underdeveloped, like the threat they pose. Instead, the writing tightly focuses on Tom, Eddie and their friends on each Earth, and their interactions are more than strong enough to carry the weight of the plot.

A multi-world adventure starring a band of heroes that readers will want to join. (Science fiction. 9-14) 

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-64571-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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 riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star.

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DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP

A teenager faces seemingly insurmountable challenges in this riveting modern-day spinoff of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

For Ana Dakkar and her fellow ninth graders at Harding-Pencroft Academy, there is nothing more momentous than the weekend trials each student must ace at the end of freshman year. Students who fail to showcase their survival skills are asked to leave the academy, a heavily guarded place Ana has thought of as home since the mysterious deaths of her parents. Though Ana’s brother, Dev, is a senior, what happens at trials is such a closely guarded secret that no one in her year knows what to expect. While her group is out on the water for their trials, Harding-Pencroft is demolished in an attack orchestrated by a rival school. As Ana and her classmates discover that the events depicted in Jules Verne’s classic novels were real, Riordan’s lifelong love of the source material is clear—especially when Ana learns information that will help her find a way to protect the group. A foreword by Roshani Chokshi introduces this adventure that is both great entertainment and centers a well-developed protagonist who is thoughtfully shown dealing with loss. Ana is of Bundeli Indian descent, and her group of peers, who are diverse in various ways, experience losses and struggles of their own. (Final illustrations not seen.)

A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star. (Harding-Pencroft Academy guide, cast list) (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07792-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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