An overly busy girl-power adventure.

THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP

BUILT ON HOPE

The Wasp fights a hive mind in this Marvel tie-in novel.

Sixteen-year-old Nadia Van Dyne has a superpowered suit, assassin training, and an infamous father but also wants to be a Cool American Teen. Following her escape from the Soviet Red Room and a life-changing bipolar diagnosis, Nadia strives to control her mental health and form her own family. She’s got her friends and lab partners—Priya Aggarwal, Taina Miranda, Shay Smith, and Ying Liu—and an awesome stepmom, former Wasp Janet Van Dyne, but yearns to know more about her real parents: scientist mother Maria Trovaya and Ant-Man father Hank Pym. Yet in her quest to forge connections and advance science, Nadia follows the standard superhero comic-book arc: befriending bad people, alienating allies, and almost unleashing an apocalypse. Incorporating Nadia’s canonical origins, powers, and problems, Maggs focuses on mental health issues and gender inequality. Nadia is a white Hungarian Russian émigrée, and her teammates are diverse in ethnicity, physical ability, and sexual orientation. By opting for prose over graphics, this too-long tale sacrifices some of the best elements of comic books, with once-brief fight scenes taking place over pages, not panels; lengthy dialogue substituting for succinct speech and thought bubbles; and repetitive character and place descriptions replacing visual shorthand. Non-English words are italicized.

An overly busy girl-power adventure. (Action. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-05465-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Marvel Press

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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