An irresistible English import with sequels to come.

MURDER IS BAD MANNERS

From the Wells & Wong Mystery series , Vol. 1

A pair of eighth-grade girls, admirers of Holmes and Watson, expose a real murderer in a tony English boarding school in 1934.

This splendid school story/murder mystery opens with a map and a helpful cast of characters: the staff and students of Deepdean School, where Hazel Wong, daughter of an Anglophile Hong Kong banker, and Daisy Wells, golden-haired member of the English nobility, have formed the Wells & Wong Detective Society. From Part One, “The Discovery of the Body,” to Part Eight, “The Detective Society Solves the Case,” Hazel, as the society’s secretary, worriedly but methodically recounts the case. Her account begins on Oct. 30, 1934, one day after finding Miss Bell's dead body, runs through the end of November, when the murderer is arrested, and wraps up during their Christmas holiday. Her narrative is punctuated with occasional handwritten updates of their suspect list. Hazel’s outsider status allows her to comment humorously on the curious customs of the English world, while cheerful Daisy’s need to know and her privileged assumption that everyone will love her and do her bidding earns them access to places and information that help them solve their first serious case. There are clues, red herrings and suspenseful chases galore, as well as heaps of boarding school trivia that amuse and delight.

An irresistible English import with sequels to come. (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2212-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense.

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REFUGEE

In the midst of political turmoil, how do you escape the only country that you’ve ever known and navigate a new life? Parallel stories of three different middle school–aged refugees—Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo—eventually intertwine for maximum impact.

Three countries, three time periods, three brave protagonists. Yet these three refugee odysseys have so much in common. Each traverses a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. Each third-person narrative offers an accessible look at migration under duress, in which the behavior of familiar adults changes unpredictably, strangers exploit the vulnerabilities of transients, and circumstances seem driven by random luck. Mahmoud eventually concludes that visibility is best: “See us….Hear us. Help us.” With this book, Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future. Excellent for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy for new and existing arrivals from afar.

Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense. (maps, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-88083-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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