MY SISTER SIF

In another beautifully written story by the author of Playing Beattie Bow (1982), an adult Erika (``Riko'') narrates events in 2000 A.D. when she was 14, imaginatively linking environmental concerns with a plausible explanation of mermaids as humans with special adaptations (e.g., webbed fingers), but with lungs and sophisticated technology to maintain their undersea cities; the ``tail'' is a sort of wet suit. Daughters of a mermaid (Marika) and a Scandinavian seaman, Riko and Sif, 17, are unhappily living with a bossy older sister in Australia; until their father's death, they had lived on an island near Tahiti, where they were friends with dolphins and could visit their mother. Riko plans to become a marine biologist, but Sif pines for the sea; deeply concerned, Riko contrives to take her back to their beloved paradise. They find it threatened by man's depredations: whales and porpoises are tragically born dead; the sea people plan to migrate to a cold, desolate, but safer place, and Marika wants Sif to join them. Sif is torn: she realizes how precious she is to Riko and has also fallen in love with Henry, a young scientist they have both learned to trust. Like many of the poignantly evoked sea creatures, Sif doesn't survive, losing her life in a dramatic undersea climax. In a final chapter/epilogue, people are finally stirred by the earth's impending death (and by Henry and Riko's well-informed pleas) to give up their greed and begin to reclaim their environment. A compelling novel with unique, memorable characters and a thoughtful message. (Fiction. 11+)

Pub Date: May 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-670-83924-8

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1991

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned...

THE HUNGER GAMES

From the Hunger Games series , Vol. 1

Katniss Everdeen is a survivor.

She has to be; she’s representing her District, number 12, in the 74th Hunger Games in the Capitol, the heart of Panem, a new land that rose from the ruins of a post-apocalyptic North America. To punish citizens for an early rebellion, the rulers require each district to provide one girl and one boy, 24 in all, to fight like gladiators in a futuristic arena. The event is broadcast like reality TV, and the winner returns with wealth for his or her district. With clear inspiration from Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and the Greek tale of Theseus, Collins has created a brilliantly imagined dystopia, where the Capitol is rich and the rest of the country is kept in abject poverty, where the poor battle to the death for the amusement of the rich. However, poor copyediting in the first printing will distract careful readers—a crying shame. [Note: Errors have been corrected in subsequent printings, so we are now pleased to apply the Kirkus star.]

Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned trilogy, as good as The Giver and more exciting. (Science fiction. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-02348-1

Page Count: 394

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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