FREAK THE MIGHTY

``The unvanquished truth'' concerning the extraordinary friendship between Kevin (``Freak''), a brilliant 12-year-old whose birth defect prevents growth, and gigantic Max, who recognizes in his new two-foot-tall neighbor the feisty kid with crutches he knew in daycare years ago. Meanwhile, Max has his own troubles; he can barely read, making school an ordeal, and since his dad's in jail for killing his mother, he lives with gentle Gram and the aptly named Grim in a fairly rough neighborhood. As ``Freak the Mighty''—as they call themselves when Freak perches on Max's shoulders, guiding him like a horse and issuing instructions—the two have much to give each other. With Freak's quick wits and Max's long legs, they explore the neighborhood and best a gang of bullies on July 4. Freak, with his vast vocabulary and imagination to match, is uncondescending but uncompromising. He gets Max involved in his elaborate fantasy games and lures him into reading; when school starts, Max (somewhat implausibly) is placed in the gifted class to help his friend. When Max's father gets out on parole at Christmas, a mesmerizingly suspenseful sequence echoing the earlier rout of the bullies ensues. Max's description of their friendship—ostensibly written, after Freak's death, in the blank book Freak had given him—is gritty, unsentimental, sparked with Freak's wry verbal wit and Max's earthier humor, and ultimately poignant. Easily read but compelling: an intriguing and unusual story. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-590-47412-X

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY

Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

ASK ME NO QUESTIONS

Illegal immigrant sisters learn a lot about themselves when their family faces deportation in this compelling contemporary drama. Immigrants from Bangladesh, Nadira, her older sister Aisha and their parents live in New York City with expired visas. Fourteen-year-old Nadira describes herself as “the slow-wit second-born” who follows Aisha, the family star who’s on track for class valedictorian and a top-rate college. Everything changes when post-9/11 government crack-downs on Muslim immigrants push the family to seek asylum in Canada where they are turned away at the border and their father is arrested by U.S. immigration. The sisters return to New York living in constant fear of detection and trying to pretend everything is normal. As months pass, Aisha falls apart while Nadira uses her head in “a right way” to save her father and her family. Nadira’s need for acceptance by her family neatly parallels the family’s desire for acceptance in their adopted country. A perceptive peek into the lives of foreigners on the fringe. (endnote) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-4169-0351-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Ginee Seo/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more