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RIDING INVISIBLE

AN ADVENTURE JOURNAL

When Yancy’s older brother threatens Yancy’s horse Shy, running away seems the only answer. For all of Yancy’s 15 years, he confides to his journal, he’s felt threatened by Will, his Conduct Disorder–diagnosed brother. To protect Shy, Yancy flees into the California wilderness with the horse. After an educational bout of hard labor assisting the Mexican ranch hand Tavo (who returns to Veracruz and vanishes from Yancy’s consciousness once he’s served his narrative purpose), Yancy is returned home. With his brother increasingly violent and his parents impotent, it’s only a matter of time until someone is seriously hurt. All’s well that ends well—at least for Yancy, who gets a girlfriend, a safe home for his horse and his parents to himself. Too bad for Will, who gets committed to a facility where he’s drugged to the gills. Huang’s cartoons add spice and verisimilitude to Yancy’s journal, despite the distractions of a handwriting-style typeface. The tale’s many weaknesses are made up for by Yancy’s engaging writing style, alternating adolescent poems, narrative and comics. (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-1898-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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MONSTER

The format of this taut and moving drama forcefully regulates the pacing; breathless, edge-of-the-seat courtroom scenes...

In a riveting novel from Myers (At Her Majesty’s Request, 1999, etc.), a teenager who dreams of being a filmmaker writes the story of his trial for felony murder in the form of a movie script, with journal entries after each day’s action.

Steve is accused of being an accomplice in the robbery and murder of a drug store owner. As he goes through his trial, returning each night to a prison where most nights he can hear other inmates being beaten and raped, he reviews the events leading to this point in his life. Although Steve is eventually acquitted, Myers leaves it up to readers to decide for themselves on his protagonist’s guilt or innocence.

The format of this taut and moving drama forcefully regulates the pacing; breathless, edge-of-the-seat courtroom scenes written entirely in dialogue alternate with thoughtful, introspective journal entries that offer a sense of Steve’s terror and confusion, and that deftly demonstrate Myers’s point: the road from innocence to trouble is comprised of small, almost invisible steps, each involving an experience in which a “positive moral decision” was not made. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-028077-8

Page Count: 280

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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TIES THAT BIND, TIES THAT BREAK

Namioka (Den of the White Fox, 1997, etc.) offers readers a glimpse of the ritual of foot-binding, and a surprising heroine whose life is determined by her rejection of that ritual. Ailin is spirited—her family thinks uncontrollable—even at age five, in her family’s compound in China in 1911, she doesn’t want to have her feet bound, especially after Second Sister shows Ailin her own bound feet and tells her how much it hurts. Ailin can see already how bound feet will restrict her movements, and prevent her from running and playing. Her father takes the revolutionary step of permitting her to leave her feet alone, even though the family of Ailin’s betrothed then breaks off the engagement. Ailin goes to the missionary school and learns English; when her father dies and her uncle cuts off funds for tuition, she leaves her family to become a nanny for an American missionary couple’s children. She learns all the daily household chores that were done by servants in her own home, and finds herself, painfully, cut off from her own culture and separate from the Americans. At 16, she decides to go with the missionaries when they return to San Francisco, where she meets and marries another Chinese immigrant who starts his own restaurant. The metaphor of things bound and unbound is a ribbon winding through this vivid narrative; the story moves swiftly, while Ailin is a brave and engaging heroine whose difficult choices reflect her time and her gender. (Fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-385-32666-1

Page Count: 154

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1999

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