Compulsive reading all the way to the end.

READ REVIEW

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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A must-read graphic novel that is both heart-rending and beautifully hopeful.

WHITE BIRD

A WONDER STORY

A grandmother shares her story of survival as a Jew in France during World War II.

As part of a homework assignment, Julian (Auggie’s chief tormentor in Wonder, 2012) video chats with Grandmère, who finally relates her wartime story. Born Sara Blum to a comfortable French Jewish family, she is indulged by her parents, who remain in Vichy France after 1940. Then, in 1943, after the German occupation, soldiers come to Sara’s school to arrest her and the other Jewish students. Sara hides and is soon spirited away by “Tourteau,” a student that she and the others had teased because of his crablike, crutch-assisted walk after being stricken by polio. Nonetheless, Tourteau, whose real name is Julien, and his parents shelter Sara in their barn loft for the duration of the war, often at great peril but always with care and love. Palacio begins each part of her story with quotations: from Muriel Rukeyser’s poetry, Anne Frank, and George Santayana. Her digital drawings, inked by Czap, highlight facial close-ups that brilliantly depict emotions. The narrative thread, inspired by Palacio’s mother-in-law, is spellbinding. In the final pages, the titular bird, seen in previous illustrations, soars skyward and connects readers to today’s immigration tragedies. Extensive backmatter, including an afterword by Ruth Franklin, provides superb resources. Although the book is being marketed as middle-grade, the complexities of the Holocaust in Vichy France, the growing relationship between Sara and Julien, Julien’s fate, and the mutual mistrust among neighbors will be most readily appreciated by Wonder’s older graduates.

A must-read graphic novel that is both heart-rending and beautifully hopeful. (author’s note, glossary, suggested reading list, organizations and resources, bibliography, photographs) (Graphic historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64553-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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