Liberally peppered with both swears (from both times) and Dickens references, this gritty coming-of-age story is best suited...


In Printz honoree Gardner’s (Maggot Moon, 2014) time-travel historical mystery, 17-year-old white Londoner AJ Flynn, having passed only one of his qualifying exams, faces a bleak future until he discovers a door to the 1830s and the possibility of a different life in another century.

AJ’s mom considers him “a waste of space," his drunken stepfather is “a huge, blancmange slug of a man," and all he knows about his father is that he is dead. He lands a junior position in a law firm and, while tidying the archives one day, comes upon a key labeled with his name. Finding the door that fits the key, AJ learns not only how his father died, but that he time traveled to obtain 19th-century snuffboxes that he sold in the 21st century at great profit. AJ’s Turkish friend, Slim, is being pursued by a gangster whose girlfriend he dated, while his friend Leon, a Jamaican, is on the wrong side of the dealer whose drugs killed his mother. AJ takes both through the portal, where they find a chance to start over. The convoluted time-travel mystery has verve, but readers will encounter some bumps. AJ’s fondness for Dickens (he excelled at English if nothing else) prepares him somewhat for life in the early 19th century, though the ease with which the characters adapt to different centuries strains credibility. Too, many of the large cast of characters add nothing to the plot beyond a thicket of complications.

Liberally peppered with both swears (from both times) and Dickens references, this gritty coming-of-age story is best suited to readers as fundamentally romantic as AJ. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-54997-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing.


This perspective-jumping thriller shows you the two sides of fear.

Izzy has had a crush on Justin forever, but in her last year at Rock Bay High, will she be able to finally talk to him, or will the sudden violent death of a classmate put a wrench in the situation? After a meme daring everyone to repost how they are most afraid to die races through the teenage population, a student appears to have been killed exactly in the way she had feared. Izzy must race against time to find the killer, and with no shortage of suspects, everyone is under suspicion: her loner lab partner, Axel; his older cousin, Tristan; and even Justin, who has been acting strange. It becomes clear no one is safe from experiencing fear. This swift-moving slasher adventure proves to be a page-turning mystery. The book is written in the first-person perspective, allowing readers a deeper view into Izzy’s mind; whether she is thinking Axel is innocent or the killer, her stream of thought and persistent questioning give readers clues to help connect the dots before surprising them with clever plot twists at the end. Main characters read as White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast.

This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-12501-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard.


From the Campfire Graphic Novels series

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The timeless tale of the young and disaffected Danish prince who is pushed to avenge his father’s untimely murder at the hands of his brother unfolds with straightforward briskness. Shakespeare’s text has been liberally but judiciously cut, staying true to the thematic meaning while dispensing with longer speeches (with the notable exception of the renowned “to be or not to be” soliloquy) and intermediary dialogues. Some of the more obscure language has been modernized, with a glossary of terms provided at the end; despite these efforts, readers wholly unfamiliar with the story might struggle with independent interpretation. Where this adaptation mainly excels is in its art, especially as the play builds to its tensely wrought final act. Illustrator Kumar (World War Two, 2015, etc.) pairs richly detailed interiors and exteriors with painstakingly rendered characters, each easily distinguished from their fellows through costume, hairstyle, and bearing. Human figures are generally depicted in bust or three-quarter shots, making the larger panels of full figures all the more striking. Heavily scored lines of ink form shadows, lending the otherwise bright pages a gritty air. All characters are white.

A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard. (biography of Shakespeare, dramatis personae, glossary) (Graphic novel. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-93-81182-51-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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