Horrific atrocities—and the ghastly realities of any war—seen through the eyes of a child with heartbreaking cognitive...

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MAX

The education of a young Nazi, from fetus to 9-year-old.

One of the lesser-known Nazi atrocities, the Lebensborn program, aimed to increase the numbers of so-called Aryans; the program encouraged sexual contact between SS officers and unmarried (sufficiently blonde) white women while also Germanizing 200,000 kidnapped European children. Max is a fictional Lebensborn child, born in 1936 of unmarried parents. He begins his narrative in utero, determined to be born on April 20, the Führer’s birthday. Platinum blond and with icy blue eyes and a perfectly Aryan dolicephalic head, he plans to become an ideal Nazi, full of Draufgängertum—a hotheaded lack of self-preservation. As a fetus and an infant, Max’s point of view is that of an adult true believer, full of grotesque crudeness, endless sexual violence, and unremitting anti-Semitism. He’s eager to serve the Reich, even as a toddler, and he gladly helps his eugenicist keepers identify appropriately Nordic-looking children to kidnap. Though he’s intellectually convinced of Hitler’s philosophies, Max’s visceral discomfort with Nazi atrocities expresses itself through stomach troubles (described in scatological detail). A dysfunctional friendship with a blond, blue-eyed teenage Polish boy with a terrible secret only accelerates Max’s poor digestion. After a slow start, readers will find Max’s story reminiscent of M.T. Anderson’s National Book Award–winning The Pox Party (2006).

Horrific atrocities—and the ghastly realities of any war—seen through the eyes of a child with heartbreaking cognitive dissonance pack a wallop. (Historical fiction. 15-18)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-071-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

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THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality.

I'M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT

Two teenage girls—Lena and Campbell—come together following a football game night gone wrong.

Campbell, who is white and new to Atlanta, now attends the school where Lena, who is black, is a queen bee. At a game between McPherson High and their rival, a racist slur leads to fights, and shots are fired. The unlikely pair are thrown together as they try to escape the dangers on campus only to find things are even more perilous on the outside; a police blockade forces them to walk through a dangerous neighborhood toward home. En route, a peaceful protest turns into rioting, and the presence of police sets off a clash with protestors with gruesome consequences. The book attempts to tackle racial injustice in America by offering two contrasting viewpoints via narrators of different races. However, it portrays black characters as violent and criminal and the white ones as excusably ignorant and subtly racist, seemingly redeemed by moments when they pause to consider their privileges and biases. Unresolved story arcs, underdeveloped characters, and a jumpy plot that tries to pack too much into too small a space leave the story lacking. This is not a story of friendship but of how trauma can forge a bond—albeit a weak and questionable one—if only for a night.

An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality. (Fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7889-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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