Compulsive reading all the way to the end.

ABOVE

In this follow-up companion to Beneath (2015), three white teens who have escaped a cult that lives underground (literally) try to elude recapture and learn what the cult’s brilliant and tyrannical leader might be planning.

Born into the People of the Deep, Kate lived a privileged life until she defied Larry, the cult leader, and escaped in New York City. Trained to be a skilled Shadow, an expert at observation and trailing, Kate spots tails in Oregon. She splits up from Pat and his brother, Coop, and allows herself to be captured in order to spy on the group. Indeed, the cult members are aboveground and on the move, heading south in motor homes. Pat and Coop do their best to follow, teaming up with Alex, the Pod’s former Librarian, now traitor to the cult. For much of the book, the trio works to keep Kate and her captors in sight as they also try to evade the notice of the savvy cult members. Pat tries to keep the FBI informed, but Larry has plans that may defy all the might of the world. His scheme, when revealed, looks unstoppable and will devastate the modern world. Smith keeps suspense thumping and pages turning as he concocts his chase tale, slowly revealing the extent of Larry’s power, intellect, and evil intent. He writes alternating chapters from the points of view of Kate and Pat, dovetailing the story details nicely. Though the publisher recommends a middle-grade audience, this seems better suited for young teens.

Compulsive reading all the way to the end. (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-56489-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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THE LIGHTNING THIEF

From the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series , Vol. 1

Edgar Award–winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn’t his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a “half-blood,” the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy’s journey to retrieve Zeus’s master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-5629-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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Sensitive subject matter that could have benefited from a subtler, more sober touch.

RESISTANCE

A Jewish girl joins up with Polish resistance groups to fight for her people against the evils of the Holocaust.

Chaya Lindner is forcibly separated from her family when they are consigned to the Jewish ghetto in Krakow. The 16-year-old is taken in by the leaders of Akiva, a fledgling Jewish resistance group that offers her the opportunity to become a courier, using her fair coloring to pass for Polish and sneak into ghettos to smuggle in supplies and information. Chaya’s missions quickly become more dangerous, taking her on a perilous journey from a disastrous mission in Krakow to the ghastly ghetto of Lodz and eventually to Warsaw to aid the Jews there in their gathering uprising inside the walls of the ghetto. Through it all, she is partnered with a secretive young girl whom she is reluctant to trust. The trajectory of the narrative skews toward the sensational, highlighting moments of resistance via cinematic action sequences but not pausing to linger on the emotional toll of the Holocaust’s atrocities. Younger readers without sufficient historical knowledge may not appreciate the gravity of the events depicted. The principal characters lack depth, and their actions and the situations they find themselves in often require too much suspension of disbelief to pass for realism.

Sensitive subject matter that could have benefited from a subtler, more sober touch. (afterword) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-14847-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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