A fun work with strong reader appeal.

FIERCE HEROINES

INSPIRING FEMALE CHARACTERS IN POP CULTURE

A collection of lovingly crafted entries to inspire and empower.

This compilation of artwork and character profiles serves as a celebration of fictional women. The profiles are split into sections dedicated to characters from anime and manga, cartoons, comics, movies, TV shows, and video games. Each two-page spread contains a gorgeous full-color illustration and a page of text that details the character’s interaction with gender roles, their admirable traits, and a brief, relatively spoiler-free summary of their plotline and character arc along with the names of their creators and first appearance. Racial and ethnic diversity is represented, with characters included who are Latinx, Black, Asian, Muslim, and Pacific Islander. A plus-size woman is shown, as are disabled characters. Queer characters represent a range of identities including transgender women; however, some queer characters, such as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman—who is bisexual—do not have their identities fully addressed. With 75 entries (and brief tributes to additional characters at the end), readers are sure to find someone they haven’t heard of before. Each entry is designed to invest readers in the character and entice them to seek out the works in which they appear. The format lends itself well to casual browsing while the short length of each profile makes the book ideal for those averse to longer reads.

A fun work with strong reader appeal. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-9663-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A fresh, beautifully written look at high school sports that sparkles with strong female athletes.

WE ARE THE WILDCATS

“The girls who played varsity last season each still nurse a secret wound, the thinnest of scabs capping a mountain of scar tissue.”

The intense pressure that Coach exerts on these former field hockey champions is far less than what they place on themselves. They are tormented by last season’s championship loss: Ali and Kearson choked; Mel, the leading scorer, didn’t score at all; and Phoebe limped off the field. This year, the West Essex Wildcats—including new members Grace and Luci—are willing to give up romance, free time, and family for the privilege of being a Wildcat. At sleepovers before weekend games the girls enjoy dinner, movies, and bonding, but on this night, the first before the new season, devastating secrets are revealed. Anyone who raised a high school championship trophy—or dreams of doing so—will find Vivian’s (Stay Sweet, 2018, etc.) book powerfully familiar and sink deeply into this juicy read. The writing is both poetic and blunt, just like the badass Wildcats. The pace may frustrate—it takes a while to grasp that the book is not about the season but a series of perspectives and shocking reveals over the course of one long night. The end, while satisfying, lacks sophistication. Most main characters are white; Ali is Korean American, and Luci is Argentinian and white American.

A fresh, beautifully written look at high school sports that sparkles with strong female athletes. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3990-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale.

LEGACY AND THE QUEEN

A 12-year-old girl living in a kingdom ruled by a mysterious queen dreams of attaining her sport’s highest prize.

Legacy Petrin lives and works in the financially strapped orphanage in the provinces run by her father and rises early every day to practice tennis with her old racket. After her best friend, Van, excitedly tells her about a scholarship competition for a spot at an esteemed academy and the opportunity to try out for the national championships, Legacy runs away to the city to compete. After winning, she learns there is still much she doesn’t know: The players are not just proficient in tennis, but also have magical skills that they use to their advantage. Legacy befriends Pippa, a knowledgeable girl from an elite tennis family, and acquires a builder, or coach, Javi. With Pippa and Javi at her side, Legacy makes her way through the competition, despite sabotage attempts, learning secrets about her own family along the way. Legacy is a strong character, and the secondary characters also have interesting backstories. The storyline is reminiscent of other dystopian stories, but centering tennis—with lively descriptions of matches that give a strong sense of the sport—is an unusual touch. Most characters are white, although Javi is brown-skinned, and some other characters of color are mentioned.

Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949520-03-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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